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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Green is Good

Peter B's (649-2966) has some A-grade qualities. It enjoys a plaza-adjacent patio with a waterfall, brews its own worthy IPAs, ambers and stouts, draws a spirited sports crowd for Sharks and Lakers playoff games and boasts a pool table (though rates are rough on the budget). The happy hour knocks a buck off beers—which are already good values in big mugs of 16 ($5 non happy-hour), 20 ($6) or 25 ($7) ounces—and pours $3 house margaritas on the rocks and $5 Long Islands. The food deals are solid, particularly the onion rings with stout aoili and pale ale blue cheese ($3.50) and the large lump of nachos with braised pork ($4.50, above). Best of all, it's a wide 4-7pm window for those deals that doesn't close (like most) on Fridays or weekends.

But now there's another reason to believe in this brewpub. As part of an admirable effort to green its operations in sync with a LEED certification application, they approached Surfrider to see if they could help out with Earth Day. That doesn't happen every day.

To help rally folks to Asilomar to scour the beach this Sunday, the Portola Hotel people threw a post-cleaning party at Peter B's with tasty fried treats and pitchers for the sea-protecting peeps. They also granted them mug memberships, normally $50, which includes a 25-ounce stein to hang on the wall/ceiling that gets filled for just $4. Most impressive, the Portola team, including Peter B's Manager Alvin Olis and Jacks Chef Jason Giles, joined the clean-up, dragging palettes and old metal buoys off the beach and plucking plastics and Styrofoam from tide pools and wads of kelp.

(In a related note, anyone late to the game on banning styrofoam in restaurants only need participate in a clean up to see how insiduous the stuff is, breaking down into tiny specks that ever-so-ironically will end up back in our bellies after sea critters and their predators eat it and pass it back up the food chain. Fortunately the county just passed a ban, joining Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Del Rey Oaks and Seaside.)

Over at the recently reinvented Jacks (649-2698), where they use Bio-Pak to-go containers, Giles is making some great sustainable plays in adhering to the Seafood Watch Program and seeking out Salinas Valley and Central Cali sources for his produce and meats.

From the lunch menu I like the looks of the corn and crab chowder ($6) and the grilled swordfish sandwich with heirloom radish salad (Swank Farms) on a focaccino roll (with house cut fries, potato salad, fruit or a side salad, $10.95), though the salad bar is among the best in town—and $2 off with local ID.

And the green restaurant in-roads are just one of 16 advances happening at the wider hotel, including everything from renewable sheep's wool carpets to organic cotton mattresses to chemical-free cleaning programs to a cogeneration hot water machine that also generates electricity.