Readers' Poll

’23 We travel with John Steinbeck to the pearls our readers have selected for 2023. monterey county® best of

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(831) 373-1241 • 2801 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey • ATTORNEYS Christopher Panetta Sara Boyns Brian Call Troy Kingshaven John Kesecker Elizabeth Leitzinger Andrew Kreeft Kenneth Kleinkopf Alex Lorca Derric Oliver Carol Hilburn Marco Lucido Gladys Rodriguez-Morales Bradley Levang Ashley Cameron Christopher Long Christopher Nannini Tara Clemens Matthew Ferry Emmanuel Perea Jimenez Of Counsel: Charles Keller Business Real Estate Civil Litigation Tax Planning & Representation Nonprofit Law Employment Counseling & Litigation Workplace lnvestigations Labor Law Land Use Mediation & Arbitration Personal Injury Estate Planning & Administration Trust & Estate Litigation Public Entity Law AREAS OF PRACTICE For more than 70 years, Fenton & Keller has offered practical solutions to complex legal challenges faced by clients in the Monterey Bay area and beyond. Thank you for voting Fenton & Keller Best Law Firm! ’16-’23 8 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023

Nestled on six beautifully landscaped acres just a short walk from downtown Pacific Grove, Canterbury Woods is a senior living community offering the charms of a small-town where your neighbors are like family. Be involved, get creative and discover a variety of opportunities to connect with your fellow neighbors. Choose eclectic apartments to cozy cottages with month-to-month agreement and no entrance fee for maximum financial stability. Independent Living • Assisted Living • Skilled Nursing Contact us for a tour or to learn more. 831.373.3111 | 651 Sinex Ave., Pacific Grove CA 93950 License No. 270708224 Best Senior Living Community Where Neighbors are like Family BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 9

10 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 FOUNDER & CEO Bradley Zeve (x103) PUBLISHER Erik Cushman (x125) EDITORIAL EDITOR Sara Rubin (x120) FEATURES EDITOR Dave Faries (x110) ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tajha Chappellet-Lanier (x135) STAFF WRITER Celia Jiménez (x145) STAFF WRITER Pam Marino (x106) STAFF WRITER Rey Mashayekhi (x102) STAFF WRITER Agata Pope¸da (x138) STAFF WRITER David Schmalz (x104) STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Daniel Dreifuss (x140) ART DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION MANAGER Karen Loutzenheiser (x108) GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kevin Jewell (x114) GRAPHIC DESIGNER Alexis Estrada (x114) GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lani Headley (x114) SALES SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE Diane Glim (x124) SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE George Kassal (x122) SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE Keith Bruecker (x118) CLASSIFIEDS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Keely Richter (x123) DIGITAL DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA Kevin Smith (x119) DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTION AT Arts Co. DISTRIBUTION CONTROL Harry Neal BUSINESS/FRONT OFFICE OFFICE MANAGER Linda Maceira (x101) BOOKKEEPING Rochelle Trawick 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, CA 93955 831-394-5656, (FAX) 831-394-2909 Copyright © 2023 by Milestone Communications Inc. 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, California 93955 (telephone 831-394-5656). All rights reserved. Monterey County Weekly, the Best of Monterey County and the Best of Monterey Bay are registered trademarks. No person, without prior permission from the publisher, may take more than one copy of each issue. Additional copies and back issues may be purchased for $1, plus postage. Mailed subscriptions: $120 yearly, pre-paid. The Weekly is an adjudicated newspaper of Monterey County, court decree M21137. The Weekly assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Visit our website at http://www. Audited by CVC. Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa best p. 12 Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa AGrICuLTurE p. 42 entertainment arts and Ed Caraeff / Iconic Images Jimi Hendrix photo from Monterey Pop © Ed Caraeff / Iconic Images p. 28 ’23 monterey county® BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 11 of highlight the seven categories is based upon produce crate labels common in Steinbeck’s time. Graphic designer Lani Headley took inspiration from such labels to create artwork representing some of the best things about the county. In Journal of a Novel, Steinbeck reasoned that “It is a strange feeling to be taking people who are close to me apart and putting them on paper. But I see no reason why I should not. They are mine and I can do what I like with them.” In reading the selections inside this publication, you might find reason to disagree with our readers. Similarly, Steinbeck’s work was not always met with universal acclaim. These are their decisions, and they can vote as they please. You might also notice a theme as you read. Steinbeck provided us with a trove of material to draw on as we assembled the 2023 edition of The Best of Monterey County. Were we all familiar with the dozens of books he wrote or the details of his life when we started? Hardly. But we learned along the way. Inside these pages, you will learn what our readers believe to be the county’s best. We hope it serves as a fun and inspiring guide. Preface By Dave Faries It is said that by the time John Steinbeck finished the manuscript that would become East of Eden, he had worn more than 300 pencils down to the nub. Well, probably not that far. Steinbeck was rather particular about his pencils and tossed them when they had worn down to a certain length. By some accounts, the famed author and Salinas native sharpened 60 pencils each day he sat down to write. Since it took him a year to finish East of Eden, the 300 figure seems low. But it’s a handy number, at least as far as we’re concerned. The Best of Monterey County is a compilation of over 300 descriptions of the region’s favorite people, places, things and…well, let’s just remain in the literary world and say nouns. Of the Best Of write-ups included in this issue, 266 are regular categories, voted on by our readers. The final section is reserved for Weekly staffers. Called Editors’ Picks, it’s our chance to weigh in. The artwork used throughout this edition to editors' pickS Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa p. 118 Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa restaurants p. 82 Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa p. 48 specialty foods Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa p. 102 BEST OF 2023 CONTRIBUTORS Marielle Argueza Sloan Campi Tajha Chappellet-Lanier Erik Cushman Dave Faries Caitlin Fillmore Paul Fried Ivan Garcia Celia Jiménez Linda Maceira Pam Marino Rey Mashayekhi Jeff Mendelsohn Agata Pope¸da Keely Richter Sara Rubin David Schmalz Gabriel Skvor Jacqueline Weixel Copyediting Sheila Gibbons Hiebert Illustration Lani Headley Photography Daniel Dreifuss Cover design Lani Headley, Karen Loutzenheiser, Daniel Dreifuss

Best of Monterey County® product of california,usa BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 13 around town Best Volunteer Organization Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula 700 Jewell Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 375-4454, One of Steinbeck’s gripes was that government could do more to help its poorer citizens. In his time, there were just dribbles of aid from charities. But when the organization providing aid is Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula, you can be sure that help is on the way. Last years, its 250 volunteer drivers delivered 276,000 meals around their service area—meals prepared by a team of cooks, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer group dining in the Community Center, as well as recreational and social activites—again through the support of volunteers. Steinbeck would have been impressed. Best Local Do-Gooder Elsa Rivera Seemingly wherever you go in Monterey County, Elsa Rivera is there. Mostly, she’s behind the scenes, orchestrating creative events that support charitable causes—things like the Big Sur Fashion Show (executive director) or Big Sur Food and Wine Festival (CFO and events director). Sometimes she’s on the stage as an emcee, a role the dancer has leaned into since a knee injury. “I love uplifting people’s talents,” she says. “Art is essential—we need it for our souls.” Other volunteer roles include serving on the boards of the Monterey Bay Jade Festival and GI Josie, where she introduced the Blue Water Project to support surf therapy for women recovering from PTSD. Rivera also helped grow pandemic relief efforts The Big Share and ALL-IN Monterey. In short, giving back is built into her daily life. “I believe we make time for anything we want to do,” she says. “I think not having time is a lame excuse. We can always make time for things we love.” Best Local Nonprofit Best Place to Take Visitors Monterey Bay Aquarium 886 Cannery Row, Monterey (831) 648-4800, montereybayaquarium. org Ed Ricketts, Steinbeck’s best friend and the model for the character Doc in Cannery Row, would be amazed that a neighbor to his famed Pacific Biological Laboratories—a compact wooden building where he stored and researched his marine animal finds from Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean from 1936 until his untimely death in 1948—is today the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium takes the storage and study of those animals to a level beyond what Ricketts might have imagined. Since 1984 the Aquarium has been one of the top aquariums in the world, and along with its research arm, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, has been facilitating important discoveries and bringing them to millions of visitors. The newest exhibit, Into the Deep, was made possible using a remotely operated vehicle, named appropriately the ROV Doc Ricketts. If you and your visitors haven’t seen the exhibit, it’s a good reason to return. And with a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s oceans, the Aquarium remains one of the leading nonprofit organizations anywhere. Best Radio Station 101.7 FM, KCDu The Beach 80 Garden Court, Monterey (831) 658-6200, If a song is hot, The Beach has it on the playlist—“Minnie The Moocher,” “In the Mood,” Wabash Cannonba... Woops! Wrong era. Instead, think Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, SZA, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and all the current hits. On-air talents like JoJo Lopez, Tommy Del Rio, Fredo and Tino Cochino set the soundtrack of now, making every day lively. Plus, you can score some great concert tickets from their contests. Best Radio DJ Jeff White KRML, 94.7 FM 27300 Rancho San Carlos Road, Carmel (831) 620-7374, Between music, general wisdom and a devotion to surfing, the tides and the nonprofit organization Surfrider, Jeff White sets a unique tone that clearly resonates with listeners. Every morning on KRML he lays down information that is useful and helps people stay in the know. Best of all, best College Professor | Enid Ryce

14 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 around town White’s delivery is not from on high, but as a friend. He’s conversational—a DJ of the people—George would have been listening in the bunkhouse. You can also find him every Wednesday evening indulging fresh brewed hops at one of the now four Alvarado Street Brewing pubs during the eponymous talk show “Pub Talk,” featuring voices from the community. Best School CSu Monterey Bay 5108 Fourth Ave., Marina (831) 582-3000, In Steinbeck’s Monterey County, soldiers were a constant presence; a couple of them have a cameo in Cannery Row. But Fort Ord was decommissioned, and in a perfect swords-into-plowshares evolution, in its place came CSU Monterey Bay. The university is often recognized for its service to the area. In fact, it’s a graduation requirement that students get involved in community projects, exploring subjects like social justice, social responsibility and diversity. This year, CSUMB climbed 224 places in Forbes’ college rankings, and now ranks 119th for affordability and student advancement. Best K-12 Teacher Imogen Erickson Pacific Grove High School 615 Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove (831) 646-6590, John Steinbeck made pozole with a can of chili and a can of hominy. Thank God he was a writer and not a chef. But his talents would certainly have improved if Imogen Erickson—a chef and culinary arts teacher at Pacific Grove High School—had given Best Place For A Birthday Party | MY Museum


around town him instruction. Erickson says cooking “is a skill for life.” The best part, she says, is that her students also learn about other subjects along the way, including chemistry, physics, cultural anthropology, math and more. “Their learning is supported by what we’re learning in the kitchen,” Erickson says. BEST COLLEGE TEAM Hartnell Women's Soccer Team Hartnell College 411 Central Ave., Salinas (831) 755-6700, “Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war,” John Steinbeck noted. Likely he was talking about American football, not soccer. But that’s how the rest of the world knows it. The ferocious Panthers have played solidly over the past couple of years, and it’s a strength that has been built by head coach Ivan Guerrero for over a decade. Two years ago, the team won its first state championship. Last year they made it to the second round of playoffs. These felines are no longer strays, but serious house cats any opponent has to be cautious with. BEST COLLEGE PROFESSOR Enid Baxter Ryce CSU Monterey Bay 5108 Fourth Ave., Marina (831) 582-3126, “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist,” John Steinbeck observed. How true. That’s why he is a revered writer. And that’s why Enid Baxter Ryce is a revered instructor. Ryce’s lectures in the Cinematic Arts & Technology Department and the Arts, Humanities & Social Science Department aren’t just a class, but an experience. Her students go out of the classroom, work with their hands and collaborate with others. Ryce says her goal is to make her classes relevant to students and their personal goals. Beyond cultivating creativity, they work on real projects for institutions like NASA, National Geographic and museums— experiences they add to their resumes. BEST PLACE TO WORK Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula 23625 Highway 68, Monterey (831) 624-5311, We’re a little biased at the Weekly, because it’s a really good place to work. But CHOMP—the wonderful acronym for Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula—clearly has us beat. Besides a healthy environment and good benefits, the Montage Health facility offers perks such as a great cafeteria serving the best milkshakes in the entire county (see Specialty Foods for proof). That’s why the doctors and nurses we depend on stay on, year after year. So CHOMP being the best place to work is good for all of us. BEST LOCAL POLITICIAN Jimmy Panetta 1200 Aguajito Road, Monterey (831) 424-2229, When the newly elected Congressman Jimmy Panetta went to Washington in 2017, he entered a ferment: Donald Trump, also newly elected, had turned the GOP establishment upside down, a trend that has continued. Yet Panetta entered into that fray with the hope, if not conviction, that he could get legislation done by reaching across the aisle to his GOP colleagues. It’s the same mentality that Joe Biden has brought to his presidency, as Biden has 16 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 ’22 ’23 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 17 Thank you, readers of The Monterey County Weekly, for voting California State University, Monterey Bay as “Best School”! 1192672711 Best of Monterey MCWeekly 9.38x4.94 Ad 23 01.indd 1 9/1/23 1:41 PM VOTED #1 BEST PLACE TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY PARTY 2023 425 Washington Street, Monterey, CA 93940 MY Museum 831.649.6444 Thank you for voting us Best Boutique Fitness Studio 3730 The Barnyard, Suite G-21, Carmel P M (831)238-9766 ’23 Locally Grown. Community Focused. Fitness for Everyone FREE class with mention of this ad. Exp. 12/31/23

18 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 ’23 ’17 ’16 ’13 Thank you MC Weekly Readers! Erin Lee Gafill voted Best Artist Scan to sign up for FREE online class ’23 for voting us best mens store in monterey county carmel plaza • ocean ave & junipero st • 831.625.8106 carmel-by-the-sea, california • shop at from all of us at khaki’s, thank you♥ CONGRATULATIONS OLD MONTEREY MARKET PLACE! Tuesdays 4–7pm Year Round On Alvarado St. ’23 Voted Best Farmers Market & Best Place To See And Be Seen Old Monterey Cafe 489 Alvarado St 646-1021 Pacific Bowls and Rolls 475 Alvarado St 583-8433 Panda Express 570 Munras Ave 920-3992 Papa Chanos Taqueria 462 Alvarado St Paris Bakery 271 Bonifacio Pl 646-1620 Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Café 539 Hartnell St 641-9188 Peet's Coffee & Tea 560 Munras Ave 641-9029 Perfectly Pressed Juice 491 Alvarado St 747-1127 747-2007 266 Pearl St 375-0655 502 Munras Ave 920-1018 wery & Grill 426 Alvarado St 655-2337 o 565 Abrego St 641-0610 452 Alvarado St 372-5242 136 Olivier St 644-9007 444 Alvarado St 656-9543 Bar 525 Polk St 920-1046 & Things 118 Webster St 646-5486 600 Munras Ave 375-1111 560 Munras Ave 718-9369 485 Tyler St 373-5153 301 Alvarado St 649-8151 412 Alvarado St 747-2244 211 Alvarado St 649-1930 150 W. Franklin St 649-6496 398 Fremont St 372-0160 498 Washington St 747-1387 422 Tyler St 655-8108 700 Munras Ave 375-0176 560 Munras Ave 324-0658 350 Calle Principal 647-4000 570 Munras Ave 333-1288 643-0900 372-4744 649-7830 655-9696 230-0570 d Sandwiches 373-4646 484 Washington St Eats & Drinks Downtown Monterey Visit for a complete list of downtown dining, services, shop & events Free Car & Bike Parking Available Throughout the Downtown! 423 Alvarado St 429 Alvarado St 220 Olivier St 2 Portola Plaza 398 Alvarado St 431 Tyler St 643-9525 165 Webster St estaurant ano ne Room 474 Alvarado St e and Kitchen 316 Alvarado St 241-6994 413 Alvarado St 920-1251 483 Calle Principal 884-5143 casa Munras Hotel) o. Cuisine d Wine Lounge 373-2816 wiches kah Lounge Hotel SPA) 321 Alvarado 467 Washington St 264-7013 414 Calle Principal 648-8880 170 Webster St 920-1400 470 Alvarado St 645-9876 Peter B's Brewpub (Portola Hotel & Spa) 2 Portola Plaza 649-2669 Petra Café 435 Alvarado St 646-2080 Plumes Coffee House 400 Alvarado St 747-1911 Red's Donuts 281 Alvarado St Puma Road on the Plaza Revival Ice Cream 433 Alvarado St 373-4526 372-9761 Rosine's Restaurant 463 Alvarado St 747-2113 434 Alvarado St 375-1400 Round Table Pizza 375 Alvarado St 373-1351 Savvy Bar 131 Webster St 920-2518 Siamese Bay Restaurant 420 Tyler St 373-1550 Sovino Wine Bar & Merchant 241 Alvarado St 641-9463 Starbucks Coffee 316 Alvarado St 646-1182 Stokes Adobe 500 Hartnell St 264-8775 Subway Sandwiches & Salads 195 W. Franklin St 655-2613 Sur Burger 409 Alvarado St 241-6064 414 Alvarado St Sushi Kuma Taco Bell 321 Alvarado St 373-8166 Instagram: sushi.kuma.monterey Terra Superfoods 570 Munras Ave, Ste 50 324-4178 Toribashi 487 Alvarado St 643-9556 Turn 12 400 Tyler St 372-8876 TZone Monterey The Whisky Club Monterey 460 Alvarado St 999-3636 425 Alvarado St 241-6713 *Local Area Code: (831)

around town helped negotiate numerous bipartisan bills that seek to improve our infrastructure, safety nets and the global climate. So maybe bipartisanship isn’t dead. When not inside the Beltway, Panetta is regulary out and about his district. He’s got charm, a great smile, and you can tell that he cares. BEST LOCAL BLOG BEST LOCAL WEBSITE Monterey County Weekly 668 Williams Ave., Seaside (831) 394-5656, Just like the 2020 presidential election, the Monterey County Weekly winning for Best Local Blog and Best Local Website did not involve election interference, voter suppression or fraud. The only ones crazy enough to falsely claim these shenanigans currently have their hands full in the courts of Georgia, New York and Washington, D.C. John Steinbeck— just like us—started as a journalist, reporting on migrant workers for the San Francisco News, and reporting on World War II for the New York Herald Tribune. Thank you for trusting us as your go-to for community information, from entertainment to breaking news. BEST CLERGY Dr. Bill Little Center for Spiritual Awakening 522 Central Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 372-1942, To a God unknown? Hardly. Dr. Bill Little is a frequent flier in the Best Of Readers’ Poll. Unique to Dr. Little’s tenure among the winners of this poll is the fact that he has won in two rather disparate categories—Best Professor and Best Clergy. Dr. Little has led the Center for Spiritual Awakening since 1976, and offers talks on a diverse range of topics. But all of them are designed to help answer the biggest questions of all: What will awaken you spiritually? BEST BUSINESS SIGN Other Brother Beer Co. 877 Broadway Ave., Seaside (831) 747-1106, Doc would often leave his lab on Cannery Row and head to Alvarado Street for a beer. This was, of course, many decades before Other Brother Beer Co. opened in Seaside under a painted sign reminiscent of the 1930s—suggesting establishment and longevity, yet with a modern appeal. It does not intrude, it’s simply part of the place. The sign leaves no doubt that Other Brother belongs to the neighborhood and that people gravitate to the brewpub. BEST NEON SIGN Dust Bowl Brewing 290 Figueroa St., Monterey (831) 641-7002, It was on May 8, 1948 when Ed Ricketts—Steinbeck’s best friend—died while driving across the train tracks at Drake Avenue in Monterey after a Del Monte Express passenger train smashed into his vehicle. He was only 50. That rail line, which started service in 1889, took its last ride in 1971, and in the 1980s, the City of Monterey converted the tracks into the Rec Trail, a regional treasure. The former depot of the Monterey stop now houses a Dust Bowl Brewing taproom, and its neon sign shines out toward Del Monte Avenue, announcing its presence to the passersby and visitors as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike in a spot that holds a place in Monterey history. Beyond that, Steinbeck’s most celebrated novel, Grapes of Wrath, followed Okies from the Dust Bowl to California, where they tried to make a new life. Dust Bowl Brewing followed them. BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 19 Thank you to the readers of the Monterey County Weekly! ’23

20 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 around town Best Place To Drink Next To A Celebrity Mission Ranch 26270 Dolores St., Carmel (831) 624-6436, At one point in time it would have been possible to sit next to Steinbeck in a Monterey bar. Ed Ricketts—Doc from Cannery Row—liked to visit Alvarado Street establishments, but his lab was truly happening. Gabe Bicknell (famous as Mack) might have frequented La Ida. The point is, hobnobbing with celebrities is something that makes everyone a little giddy, and Monterey County is no stranger to some of the world’s more famous clientele. These days, Mission Ranch is a star in its own right among readers in the know. Maybe it’s the drool-worthy food selection for both pre and post cocktails, or maybe it’s the ever present chance that you might run into Bill Murray or Justin Timberlake. Best Hotel Bernardus Lodge & Spa 415 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley (831) 658-3400, Most hotels have pools. Bernardus has an infinity jacuzzi to go along with a pool, hot tub and other pleasures. Each room has a soaking tub for two—as well as fireplaces and goose down comforters. So there’s no real need to leave your exquisite villa…except that there are gardens to roam, a bocce and croquet lawn for elevated activity, the finest craft cocktails and a memorable restaurant. And the service? Impeccable. And Bernardus is dog-friendly. So if you’ve been traveling around the country in a pickup with Charley in tow and need a respite—and you happen to be a famous author with the means, Bernardus is clearly the best. Best Local Event/ Festival AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Pebble Beach Golf Links, 1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach (831) 649-1533, Imagine a pairing of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith, Bill Murray and John Steinbeck. Yeah, yeah—couldn’t happen. Besides, Steinbeck had a wicked slice and was woeful with the putter. But the annual PGA Tour stop is unlike any other because it brings celebrity starpower together with golf’s finest, so it’s possible to see top authors playing alongside tour pros. The format changes in 2024, but the celebrity draw remains. Oh—the remarks about Steinbeck’s golf game? A bit of fiction. Best Place To See & Be Seen Best Farmers Market Old Monterey Marketplace and Farmers Market Alvarado Street, Monterey (831) 655-2607, On Tuesday afternoons, with all due respect to Soledad, it’s happening on Alvarado Street in Old Monterey. Packed with produce, flowers, cakes and crafts, this weekly event—with its three blocks of local vendors—feels more like a festival than a farmers market. And with its happy hour schedule (4-7pm every Tuesday), this market draws folks of all ages from all walks of life. It’s people watching, with a lot of distractions. Mack and the boys could have easily stocked up at a market like this. But we don’t condone five-finger discounts. Best Place to Read the Weekly Alta Bakery 502 Munras Ave., Monterey (831) 920-1018, Monterey’s Alta Bakery is very popular. It’s deserved popularity—the bakery boasts delicious baked goods and innovative coffee drinks and a hearty lunch menu. It’s also great news for the business. That said, it is slightly less good news for us patrons—Alta’s popularity leads to long lines on virtually any given day. Here’s an idea for how to make line time fly by: Read the Weekly. We’ll bet you can make a pretty good dent in the news section, or plan your weekend with our Hot Picks, while you wait. And once you place your order, head out back to the Cooper Molera Adobe gardens to enjoy the features at a more leisurely pace. Best Local Event/Festival | AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 21 CONGRATULATIONS Clarissa Rowe voted BEST BANKER 2022 & 2023 Monterey County Bank would like to Thank You for voting Clarissa BEST BANKER for the 2nd year! Clarissa continues to works tirelessly for her clients and the community which makes this award so deserving. She has worked on the Monterey Peninsula in the banking industry for over 30 years as a Branch Manager and has found her perfect fit as VP of Community Relations for Monterey County Bank. She continues to serve on the Boards of Carmel, Pacific Grove and Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s. Clarissa Rowe V.P./Community Relations Officer 831-649-4600 Four branches to serve you in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Salinas ’22 ’23 ’22 ’21 ’23 ’21

around town BEST PLACE TO GET MARRIED Lovers Point Ocean View Boulevard and 17th Street, Pacific Grove (831) 648-3100, Lovers Point Park is a long-time favorite local wedding venue, and it’s hard to imagine a more spectacular spot for your big day. Stand on the edge of the Pacific, looking out over the Monterey Bay, and embark on a new chapter. The ceremony space (maximum 100 people) can be reserved for very reasonable per-hour rates (especially if you happen to be a Pacific Grove resident), and your guests will enjoy fresh sea air and the sound of the crashing waves while you celebrate. Love is in the air—and right in the name. BEST PLACE FOR A BIRTHDAY PARTY MY Museum 425 Washington St., Monterey (831) 649-6444, It is said that “a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended.” And the thought has some weight to it, since it was Steinbeck who pointed it out. However—and it’s a big however— the potential for chaos is muted by the right venue. MY Museum is the perfect place to host a birthday party for a youngster. For one thing, you don’t need additional decorations. And it’s versatile, in that MY Museum can host small or larger gatherings. And both kids and adults love the place. So party on, because it will go as intended. BEST PLACE TO EAVESDROP vesuvio 6th and Junipero, Carmel (831) 625-1766, Oh, the stories you may hear. Part of what made Steinbeck such a great writer was his ability to hear—and not just stories. He could pick up on inflections and character. That Aperol spritz says something about the couple at the next table. But here’s the problem. This is seriously good pizza and pasta, so you don’t want to be distracted by the stumbling conversation of first dates or those recounting celebrity sighting. But it is good listen. And you’ll probably want to retell the story in some way. BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE Pacific Grove Golf Links 77 Asilomar Blvd., Pacific Grove (831) 648-5775, As John Steinbeck noted, “Pacific Grove benefits by one of those happy accidents of nature that gladden the heart, excite the imagination, and instruct the young.” We’re guessing that his observation referred to Pacific Grove Golf Links, which takes full advantage of the crashing waves and rugged dunes to create a golf experience rivaled only by the storied courses of Pebble Beach—on a Tom Joad budget. In fact, the course is often referred to as the poor person’s Pebble Beach, something Steinbeck would appreciate. And the bar to complete the 19th hole experience is pretty swell, too. BEST SURF SPOT Asilomar State Beach Along Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove (831) 646-6440, John Steinbeck was a skilled sailor attuned to the machinations of tides and swells, just like modern-day surfers. When the surf is small, Asilomar is great for learning to paddle through the whitewater and to attempt standing up. When the surf gets bigger, finding a channel to paddle through is a challenge unto itself for experienced surfers aiming to get outside to catch peaks for open-faced rides. On the biggest of big days when the beach break is closing out, the outer reef might wake up where 30- to 50-foot waves have been ridden. Even if you don’t surf, watching surfers walk on water is peak people watching. 22 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Book now at Lighthouse 599 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey 831.241.6616 Wave Street 765 Wave Street, Suite A2, Monterey 831.324.0513 AND FROM THE MAKERS OF ESCAPE ROOM 831 ARCADE Ž LOUNGE Ž ESCAPE ROOMS Ž SKEE BALL Ž EVENTS 685 Cannery Row, 3rd Floor, Monterey 831.241.6616 OSCARSPLAYGROUND.COM NOW OPEN! THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST NEW BUSINESS We appreciate all your support! ’23 Book now at Lighthouse 599 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey 831.241.6616 Wave Street 765 Wave Street, Suite A2, Monterey 831.324.0513 Looking for Fun for the Whole Family? Thank you for voting us as the Best Place for a Birthday 2 Years Straight! AND FROM THE MAKERS OF ESCAPE ROOM 831 Book now at Lighthouse 599 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey 831.241.6616 Wave Street 765 Wave Street, Suite A2, Monterey 831.324.0513 Looking for Fun for the Whole Family? Thank you for voting us as the Best Place for a Birthday 2 Years Straight! BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 23 Stop by for a complimentary tour! No appointment necessary. MONTEREY SPORTS CENTER The Premier Fitness Facility on the Monterey Peninsula, Est. 1992 301 E. Franklin Street, 831.646.3730 MONTEREY SPORTS CENTER For voting Thank you Monterey County Readers! MONTEREY SPORTS CENTER the BEST HEALTH CLUB IN MONTEREY COUNTY 10 YEARS IN A ROW Two iconic courses. One reimagined tournament. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is o�ciall� a ���� P�A Tour Signature Event. January 31-February 4, 2024 Learn more at 201 ALVARADO ST. • MONTEREY • 831-647-9000 • SPAONTHEPLAZA.COM STEAM ROOMS - POOL - JACUZZI - FITNESS CLUB - MEMBERSHIPS WELLNESS CENTER - FREE PARKING Voted Best Skin Care in 2023 for the 12th time and Best Spa 7 Times ’23 Thank you

around town BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE SUNSET BEST PLACE TO WALK THE DOG BEST BEACH Carmel Beach Along Scenic Road, Carmel (831) 620-2000, This beach contains multitudes. It faces west, for a perfect angle on the sunset. It’s roughly a mile long, inviting pooches to run free, and their humans to walk or jog alongside and spread out. It’s a place to play volleyball or catch a wave or just relax and gaze out at the deep blue sea. It’s also a place to observe the power of nature. Return throughout the year and watch the beach change as winter swells carry sand away, exposing sandstone formations, then pile up that iconic white sand again in summer. Carmel Beach can be many things to many people, and in all of those ways, it’s the best. BEST HIKING TRAIL BEST PARK Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 2 miles south of Rio Road on Highway 1, Carmel (831) 624-4909, If you’re a local who regularly finds yourself driving by Point Lobos, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the park has become overrated. It’s packed virtually daily (but especially on weekends and holidays), with cars lining Highway 1 near the entrance. But the truth is that hairy parking situation or not, Point Lobos is magical. Gaze out at the turquoise water from China Cove, visit with gorgeous old cypress trees and climb to Whaler’s Knoll and watch for whale spouts in the distance. You’ll be glad you came. BEST PLACE TO BIKE / MOUNTAIN BIKE Fort Ord National Monument Various entrances; Regional BLM office at 940 2nd Ave., Marina (831) 582-2200, national-conservation-lands/california/ fort-ord-national-monument Who would have thought, back in the 1980s, say, that Fort Ord—an Army post and training area owned by the federal government since 1917—would later become one of the world’s preeminent destinations for riding bikes? Life is unpredictable. And Fort Ord is unlike any other place: a vast expanse of oak woodlands, draped by lichen, and rolling hills of maritime chaparral now filled with trails perfect for those on two wheels to roll through and experience the majesty of the landscape. The hills aren’t steep, the views can be epic, and when you’re riding a bike, the place just feels like a playground. It’s easy to fall into taking the places you live for granted, but Fort Ord, when you’re rolling through it, reminds you that we live in a very special place. BEST LIBRARY Monterey Public Library 625 Pacific St., Monterey (831) 646-3933, Before Al Gore invented the internet, people often had to leave their caves and go to libraries to do research and find books. The world has since changed, but the Monterey Public Library continues to stay relevant and wildly popular—at any hour in which 24 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 1-4s 4.6” x 4.94” For youthful adults 55+ SE Corner of 8th & Lincoln 831.624.1588 ’23 Thank you for voting us the “Best Hangout for Seniors” 22 years in a row! BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 25 Hartnell College Women’s Soccer Congratulations

around town it’s open, the place is packed with people working on their laptops, doing their homework, searching the aisles for a good read, and the occasional disheveled journalist sifting through files and texts in the California History Room, which is arguably the library’s greatest treasure. The library has everything: kid’s books, a vast collection of fiction and nonfiction, internet access, great resources for research and, despite how many people are there, peace and quiet. BEST HANGOUT FOR TEENS Del Monte Shopping Center 1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey (831) 373-2705, Where else would teens spend a day with friends, the Palace Flophouse? Not a good idea. Instead, they gather at Del Monte Shopping Center. Why? Chipotle, J.Jill, the Apple Store, pizza, ice cream, clothing stores, a multiscreen theater playing the must-see movies, the math learning center…just wanted to see if you were still paying attention. But there is a math learning center, as well as dozens of shops, restaurants, even a gym. That’s a lot to Instagram. BEST HANGOUT FOR SENIORS Carmel Foundation Corner of 8th and Lincoln, Carmel (831) 624-1588, John Steinbeck died at the age of 66, which means he didn’t get to experience the fruits of the golden years that seniors enjoy today. No better place to enjoy oneself toward the end of life’s “back-9” than at the Carmel Foundation. Surrounding oneself with contemporaries and having a full schedule has been shown to prolong life, and the staff here pack it in. From movie nights to field trips to classes, members will always stay engaged. For those needing advanced care, the Carmel Foundation offers services including medical, meal delivery and other in-home support services. BEST SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY Canterbury Woods 651 Sinex Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 373-3111, This is the third year in a row that Canterbury Woods has been voted readers’ favorite senior living community. It’s not a surprise to the staff and residents of Canterbury Woods, where some of today’s residents are the children of past residents and staff members remain working there for decades, says Executive Director Elvyra Abare. Children of employees have been known to follow in their parents’ footsteps and come to work at Canterbury Woods themselves as adults. “The reputation of Canterbury Woods is really what it’s all about,” Abare says. Part of that reputation includes staff listening and working collaboratively with residents. Residents feel like contributing members of the community “and their voice will be heard,” Abare adds. There’s a robust residents’ council supported by a variety of committees that keep residents engaged and happy to live in a supportive community. 26 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Thank you, KRML listeners, and MC Weekly readers, for voting Jeff White as the Best DJ in Monterey County. The LoCaLs’ Radio sTaTion foR The MonTeRey Bay BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 27 Reservations up to 60 days IN ADVANCE. ’12 ’11 ’13 ’14 RECOGNIZED BY GOLF DIGEST AS ONE OF THE “BEST DEALS IN GOLF” 77 ASILOMAR BLVD, PACIFIC GROVE • 831.648.5775 • • Best Public Golf Course ’16 ’15 ’18 ’17 ’23 ’20 ’19 ’22

arts and entertainment XX BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 entertainment arts and BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 29 Best Bartender Best Late-Night Hangout Katie Blandin, Pearl Hour 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 657-9447, “It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.” So wrote John Steinbeck in Cannery Row, and thus is named Pearl Hour, a true gem in the Monterey Peninsula’s otherwise far-too-safe nightlife scene. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Monterey County’s Best Late Night Hangout is home to, and the brainchild of, its Best Bartender. From its name to its live jazz, drag and burlesque nights, Pearl Hour is Katie Blandin’s love letter to Monterey. She’s created a space and a vibe that is wholly distinct (and desperately needed) around these parts—while also happening to serve a delectable cocktail menu that’s unparalleled anywhere in the county, if not the entire Central Coast. Don’t think mezcal and gin can go together? Try the Pearlescent—you won’t regret it. Best Bar For Baby Boomers Mission Ranch 26270 Dolores St., Carmel (831) 625-9040, missionranchcarmel. com The bar at Mission Ranch has it all— pastoral views of sheep grazing, with Point Lobos and the Pacific Ocean beyond. A wine list featuring a range of local wines. A menu of small bites for when you start to feel peckish after that second glass (there are so many good wines to choose from). Nightly piano music sets the mood, so settle in and order a Jack Rose—it’s what Steinbeck would do. Best Bar For Gen Xers Best Bar For Millennials Alvarado Street Brewery 426 Alvarado St., Monterey, (831) 6552337 Carmel Plaza, Suite, Ocean Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel, (831) 293-8621 301 Main St., Salinas, (831) 356-219 Tasting room at 1315 Dayton St., Salinas (831) 800-3332, Can’t keep track of where Gen X ends and Millennials begin? That’s OK, neither can we. But what we can be sure of is that Alvarado Street Brewery is the place to find both generations imbibing and dining together in harmony. It’s more than your standard bar. Would an ordinary pub have smoked salmon pizza or crispy burrata salad? Would the common hangout include dozens of beer selections alone featuring Monterey Countyinspired names like “Bixby Blonde” and “Chill’d Out: Ocean Water”? An impressive selection of local wines and signature cocktails round out the options to make for our readers’ favorite multi-generational watering hole. Best Drink With A View Schooners Monterey Plaza Hotel, 400 Cannery Row, Monterey (831) 372-2628, There’s no problem with emphasizing just the drink here, even if you end up seated with your back to the view. The signature cocktails are strong and fresh, and play up the oceanfront setting—the Eden of Edgewater features cucumber vodka, cucumber juice and elderflower, or the Purse Seiner has gin, lime and fresh ginger. But what’s extra special is that those drinks are served on a perch over the kelp beds off Cannery Row, providing an excellent vantage point to watch otters, seals and seabirds. Or look further out at the horizon. Or focus even more closely on the invertebrates, like sea stars visible on a clear day, and think about pioneering marine biologist Ed Ricketts, gathering specimens just a few doors down. From micro to macro, the view delivers. Best Neighborhood Bar Other Brother Beer Co. 877 Broadway Ave., Seaside (831) 747-1106, There’s something different about this place. Perhaps that’s why it’s the “other” brother. What that means in this case is, unlike a lot of watering holes on the Monterey Peninsula that fill up with tourists (not a bad thing), Other Brother is a place where one can almost always find a table, and even if everyone doesn’t know your name arts and entertainment Jimi Hendrix image: Ed Caraeff / Iconic Images Best Pub | Crown & Anchor

30 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 arts and entertainment (or, more likely, even if no one knows your name), it has a vibe that feels like home. Its capacious interior with high ceilings gives the spot an airy feel, and the garage-door-style sliding windows bordering the sidewalk are usually open when the weather ain’t foul. And by the sidewalk, there’s a parklet that makes for some great people- and car-watching while hanging with your besties. And did we forget to mention that the beer is really good? It’s no surprise Other Brother wins in this category. No-brainer. Best Place For Day-Drinking Dust Bowl Brewing Co. 290 Figueroa St., Monterey (831) 641-7002, When John Steinbeck was alive and moving through the world, as writers do, there was a train that traveled from Pebble Beach to San Francisco, the Del Monte Express, which had its last run in the 1970s. Among the stops was a station in Monterey, on the Rec Trail near Fisherman’s Wharf, which has finally found the best reuse of the spot: It’s home to a Dust Bowl Brewing Co. taproom, and its outdoor patio, right along the Rec Trail, is blessed with salt air and, on a good day, plenty of sunshine. Not to mention the beer is excellent, as are the offerings from adjacent Wedo’s food truck. And the passersby traffic on the Rec Trail makes it a top-notch spot in the county—maybe the best—to watch people. And that’s just what Steinbeck did. Best Bar For Darts Bulldog Sports Pub 611 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 658-0686, A long-time institution in New Monterey, the Bulldog has always been a locals’ favorite. After a recent renovation, the bright, clean, open space shines with TVs everywhere so you don’t miss a moment of the action. The Bulldog offers karaoke, trivia and live music throughout the week. If you’ve got a hankering to throw darts with your pals—or make a new friend to play with—head on down, order a beer and pick a board. Best Happy Hour Hula's Island Grill 622 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 655-4852, A great crowd, fun drinks, discounts, a 60-minute time limit—these are common happy hour traits. What sets Hula’s apart is their dedication to happy hour. To begin with, it lasts an hour and a half, from 4-5:30pm. And they host it seven days a week. But it only gets better on Tiki Tuesday, when Hula’s breaks all the rules and extends happy hour all night long. That’s right— tiki drinks until the moon is down. Best Pub Crown & Anchor 150 W. Franklin St., Monterey (831) 649-6496, The only thing better than Sunday funday is sweet Thursday. Fortunately, for Monterey County residents, The Crown & Anchor is open on both of them—and the other days, too. This authentic British pub affectionately known to locals as “The Cranker” is celebrating its 20th year being voted Best Pub in Monterey County. Whether it’s the beer, the British fare, or the one-liners delivered by owner Tony Sutton Deakin, Crown & Anchor would certainly meet the approval of Old Jingleballicks himself, to whom Deakin might’ve said, “You will be a stranger here but once.” Best Place To Shoot Pool Easy Street Billiards 511 Tyler St., Monterey (831) 333-0825, Like drive-in movie theaters and bowling alleys, pool halls have all but disappeared. Easy Street in downtown Monterey is a thriving throwback and meeting place for the lovers of billiards in all forms. Well maintained tables and thirst-quenching adult beverages are the tip of the iceberg. They have pinball, darts and, for those who Best Selection Of Wines By The Glass | A Taste of Monterey BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 31 HAPPY HOUR SUNDAY BREAKFAST 4PM TO 6PM LATE NIGHT 9PM TO 10PM 9:30AM TO 11AM Catch all your favorite teams on 18 HDTV’s LOCATED BEHIND THE PORTOLA HOTEL & SPA | COMPLIMENTARY PARKING (831) 649-2699 | PETERBSBREWPUB.COM FOOTBALL AT PETER B’S BREWPUB VOTED BEST SPORTS BAR BY MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY READERS! THANK YOU FOR VOTING BEST MARGARITA BAJA CANTINA 7166 CARMEL VALLEY RD, CARMEL CA 831.625.2252 Stop by and enjoy a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. Visit our website to learn about CPA’s many online offerings. San Carlos at Ninth Avenue Sunset Center, Carmel-by-the-Sea 831-625-5181 | Wednesday - Sunday 12-4pm ’23

arts and entertainment like the color of money, Easy Street hosts billiard tournaments with cash prizes. Pros are known to stop in to hone their craft, so don’t let hubris get you hustled when looking for a game. BEST CLUB FOR ROCK Salty Seal Brewpub & Sports Bar 653 Cannery Row, Monterey (831) 920-2327, Rock and roll often reveals the masks we wear during our normal, boring lives, and invites us to exit for a moment and be honest. The happening club (and former brothel in the old Bear Flag building) invites local rockers to dance the night away with two full bars, a restaurant, darts, pool, and foosball accompanying a jukebox. Check the rotating lineup of live music and linger (or dance) depending on your mood. BEST CLUB FOR JAZZ Cibo Ristorante Italiano 301 Alvarado St., Monterey (831) 649-8151, Three simple words are etched on the wall of Cibo: “Cocktails, Dinner, Jazz.” It’s from Steinbeck’s The Moon Is Down, a tale of nightlife in…nah! We’ve never even read The Moon Is Down. But these words tell you that this is a place where good times are to be had, and in appreciation. Windows blue as the cool, sultry tunes of Glenn Miller or Charles Mingus and a bar that somehow reminisces the ocean as a smooth character will greet you at this long-time classic jazz club—a staple of Monterey County. You can find great local jazz musicians at this groovy venue playing on Wednesday nights to accompany your dinner, followed by revelry on the weekends with a nearly-packed bar open until 2am. BEST BLUES CLUB Deja Blue 500 Broadway Ave., Seaside (831) 324-0044, With his novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck painted a truly dire portrait of scores of people hoping to remove themselves from the calamity that was the Dust Bowl, a series of severe dust storms over the drought-stricken southern plains of the U.S. during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Hopefully no one reading this has the blues on such a big scale as that, but the blues do come in all shapes and sizes. If that resonates with you, head on over to this big-time blues, jazz and comedy club for some real relief via solid live blues and other music, great cocktails and a soul food menu including braised oxtail, jalapeño hushpuppies and shrimp, grits and eggs to set things just right. BEST PLACE FOR COMEDY Golden State Theatre 417 Alvarado St., Monterey (831) 649-1070, In three years, Golden State Theatre in Monterey will be 100 years old, and that by itself is impressive. Built as a Castilian castle in 1926, a time when Steinbeck was an unknown, it was supposed to be a fancy venue that could be attended by the masses. Once the largest theater between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it had 1,600 seats, which means that back then it could have entertained onethird of the city (population 6,000). These days you have to fight for tickets to go experience a night of laughter. Big stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Paula Poundstone and Al Franken have made local audiences laugh here. It is also a wonderful venue for small concerts by bigtime artists such as Patti Smith, the Pixies and Macy Gray. 32 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 FINEART ARCHIVES PUBLISHING CREATIVE Let your walls tell a story… Visit our gallery on-line to see the best in fine-art photography. The hills are alive, with the sound of... WOODY’S THANK YOU! TIM WOOD BEST CHEF 2023 How do you solve a problem like Maria? Take her to Woody’s! WOODYSMONTEREYAIRPORT.COM ’23