Readers' Poll

editors' picks BEST REALIZATION OF A MASSIVE DONATION INTO SOMETHING GOOD Ohana 2 Upper Ragsdale Drive A, Monterey (831) 642-6201, ohana Life was for hard for young Dust Bowl refugees in John Steinbeck’s novels. If only they’d had mental health services, emotional growth might have been different for generations of families. Luckily for children and teens today, Ohana is now helping fill a critical gap in mental health services for young people. In 2017, Bertie Bialek Elliot (sister of Warren Buffett) gave an unprecedented $105.8 million gift to the Montage Health Foundation to pursue a grand vision of delivering care and support to young people in crisis and also navigating the day-today challenges of life. That gift became Ohana, a collection of resources and also a glowing new campus offering residential care, opening in fall 2023. BEST USE OF POP CULTURE MOVIE REFERENCES IN LOBBYING FOR A BUSINESS USE PERMIT Michaela Kuenster Pop and Hiss 215 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove When a few residents of Pacific Grove threw up roadblocks in August 2023 to Michaela Kuenster’s plan to turn an empty downtown storefront into a record store/live music venue and bar, she told the Weekly: “We’re living in the town of Footloose, but I’m about to Kevin Bacon it!” Kuenster used the reference to the 1984 movie to attract dozens of supporters to write letters to the P.G. Planning Department and pack the room at a Monday morning zoning administrator hearing on Aug. 21. During the hearing, Kuenster made reference to another movie to argue why, even though her business didn’t quite fit P.G.’s current code for music venues, it still belonged: “‘Nothing in the rule book says a dog can’t play football,’ Air Bud joke, anybody?” Kuenster said, eliciting a laugh from the audience. She won a ruling in favor of her permit at the end of the hearing. BEST-LOOKING HIGH SCHOOL—EVER Salinas High School 726 S. Main St, Salinas (831) 796-7400, Although Salinas High looks like a prop from George Lucas’ American Graffiti or Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, it’s a bonafide institution of secondary education with some 2,500 students in grades 9-12. Architecturally, the Spanish mission revival style is an iconic landmark in the city, and is quintessential California. Originally built in 1892, the school was rebuilt to its current beautiful manifestation in 1999. The main wing showcases vast stucco exterior walls, arched windows with small panes, octagonal portholes, covered walkways and terracotta roof tiles, but its bell tower and clock are the signature design elements that make many a passerby think about heading back to school. And yes, John Steinbeck was a graduate of Salinas High. BEST EXAMPLE OF USER-FRIENDLY LOCAL GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS City of Salinas City Hall, 200 Lincoln Ave., Salinas (831) 758-7381, “I know now why confusion in government is not only tolerated but encouraged,” Steinbeck wrote. “A confused people can make no clear demands.” But what if everything is crystal clear? The agendas prepared for the Salinas City Council and provided to the public would ease Steinbeck’s concerns. Any reader will grasp each item on the agenda without head-scratching, all in a user-friendly format. It’s also easy to follow along remotely. Whether you think councilmembers make the right decision—that’s another matter. But at least you know what they are going to discuss. And if you want documents? Submit a California Public Records Act request via an intuitive website portal, and chances are these speedy city officials will respond faster than their 10-day legal requirement. 120 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Rated the 12th Best Restaurant in the country by Yelp Top 1% of Restaurants Worldwide and Best Everyday Dining - U.S. 2010, ‘12 Business of the Year, Carmel Chamber of Commerce No. 2 Favorite Finds of 2013 Chris Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Ocean Avenue between Dolores and Lincoln 831-622-7766 • Carmel-by-the-Sea “Like nowhere else” We would like to thank our loyal Monterey County Weekly customers, -you’re like family- for your support and votes! ’11 ’12 ’13 ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 ’18 ’19 ’21 ’20 ’22 ’23 Mediterranean Restaurant in Monterey County Best For 13 Years!