After six months of extensive remodeling Piatti Ristorante and Bar unveiled their much anticipated new look. Along with a refreshed décor, which includes a new patio for alfresco dining with views of the bay—Piatti has recently formed partnerships with Marin Organics and M.A.L.T. to support local sustainable agriculture. Former Poggio chef Chris Fernandez has also come onboard to lead the kitchen and reflect the new partnerships with regular menu changes coinciding with seasonal food from local producers. Architect Chris von Eckartsberg’s modern design includes recycled teak furniture from Marin’s Wooden Duck, a new community table, poured concrete floors and views of Mt. Tamalpais. 625 Redwood Hwy (Mill Valley). 415.380.2525, piatti.com
In Sausalito, British transport Jeremy John has opened Wellingtons, an expansive wine bar with a homey feel, views of the bay and a worldly cellar featuring affordable bottles and special reserves. The former North Sea Village restaurant sat empty for five years before John and his wife Jill spent months giving the 2,400 square foot space a much-needed facelift. “The place was a shell,” says general manager and wine director Julie Henderson. The restoration project included refurbishing the original floors and creating a custom bar made out of wine barrels. Although Wellington’s is John’s first bar in Marin, he isn’t new to the business. The Brit wasn’t only born in a pub but grew up working in the ones his parents owned. The wine bar is winning over locals with a space that feels like a home away from home with comfy couches, board games and coffee tables to relax and socialize around. The impressive list features wines by the glass for $5 to $20 and tasting flights of any three wines for $12. 300 Turney St (Sausalito). 415.331.9463, wellingtonswine.com
After much adieu about where it would be located, this past November P.F. Chang’s China Bistro opened in the former Circuit City location in Corte Madera’s Town Center. The menu features the chain’s signature lettuce wraps and items like oolong marinated sea bass and ginger chicken with broccoli. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and take out. 301 Corte Madera Town Center (Corte Madera). 415.413.9890, pfchangs.com
In Greenbrae, the former Pan American Airlines pilot (and Belvedere resident) Warren Simmons — known for the popular Chevy’s chain — has brought his San Francisco Pier 39 location of Wipeout Bar and Grill to the Bon Air Center. Simmons researched the concept of Wipeout by taking his wife and their three kids on a road trip to different beach towns along the coast. The result is a surf-themed restaurant complete with all its related paraphernalia. The location features a full bar, outdoor patio and features family-friendly items like sandwiches, salads and pizzas in a t-shirt and sandals atmosphere. 302 Bon Air Center (Greenbrae). 415.461.7400, www.wipeoutbarandgrill.com
New Venue on the Menu
Pebble Beach Food and Wine replaces the venerable Masters event – by Mimi Towle
For the past 21 years food and wine enthusiasts have descended on the Highlands Inn in Carmel for the Masters of Food & Wine event, where culinary legends such as Julia Child, Jacques Pépin and Eric Ripert sautéed, steamed and strutted their way through the crowds. For most foodies, however, the Masters, while considered better than most food festivals, could not match the granduer of the Aspen Food & Wine Festival or the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami; those two events drew bigger crowds and had more prestige. When it was announced the Masters would be moving to, drum roll please… Argentina, Robert Weakley, former director of the event, and local entrepreneur David Alan Bernahl II jumped at the opportunity to replace it with a new culinary confab. “Why not?” says Bernahl, who despite his youth wears an ascot with aplomb. “Here we are in California, the breadbasket of the country, the wine capital and breeding ground for innovative cuisine—California should have the best food and wine festival.”
Within months, the pair had signed up the likes of Lexus, American Express Publishing and the shaved-truffle topper, Pebble Beach Resorts, to sponsor the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event, to be held March 27 through 30 at four of the resort’s venues on the Central Coast. “I am humbled by the enthusiasm and excitement that has surrounded this event so quickly,” Weakley says. “I think the magnitude of these sponsors shows the strength of the Pebble Beach brand along with the history and quality of the Masters.”
Apparently the enthusiasm has oozed over to the talent as well. Culinary celebs on board include Queer Eye foodie Ted Allen, Bravo’s Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, award-winners Cal Stamenov and Charlie Trotter as well as superstars with Bay Area ties: Thomas Keller, Gary Danko, Michael Mina and Charlie Phan. And then there are the 200 wineries. “All of our wines are by invitation only,” says Weakley. “Unlike at other large-scale events,” he adds, “attendees will be able to sample food [and wine] from the weekend’s celebrity chefs in the grand tasting tent on Saturday and Sunday. No other event of this scale brings together this quality of talent and allows this kind of access for the guests.”
For the oenophiles, the lineup features events like “The Wines of Heidi Peterson Barrett,” “A Complete Retrospective of Pisoni Estate” and “The Wines of Kosta Browne.” For nostalgic oenophiles, the main event will be the uncorking of the Mondavi family’s newest wine venture, Continuum.
How much does it cost to partake? Considering an evening at the French Laundry could put you back a cool grand—depending on who’s ordering the wine—the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event could be seen as an economical way to sample the offerings of boutique wineries and talented chefs, especially when you factor in the invaluable commodity of face time. Packages that include up-close access to Thomas Keller or Gary Danko start at $995 per person and go up to $4750. Room rates at the Pebble Beach Resorts range from $1,700 for three nights to $3,000 for an executive suite.
Pebble Beach Food And Wine, March 27–30, pebblebeachfoodandwine.com