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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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The C Gets an A

C Restaurant (375-4500) is doing wine dinners differently on Cannery Row. And the sequence of oenological excitement is but one element of the InterContinental Hotel's magnetic epicurean endeavors this summer.

A week from Thursday, July 8, they host Stag's Leap, and the lineup looks lavish, even for $85 (plus tax and tip), given the Napa wines they're pouring and Chef Jerry Regester's penchant for fresh tastes, local ingredients and sustainable seafood. The key difference: Instead of sitting at a big table and enduring the winemaker and vineyard manager and winery owner speeches, folks are free to set up at their own table.

Here's the rundown:

1st Course
Wild King Salmon Tartare
Masumoto Family Farms Pickled Green Peaches, English Peas & Asparagus
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2007

2nd Course
Caramelized Pancetta Wrapped Sea Scallop
Grilled White Corn, Brown Butter and Black Truffle Sauce
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Chardonnay, Arcadia, Napa Valley, 2007

3rd Course
Lightly Smoked Lamb Rib Chop
Porcini Mushroom Bread Pudding, Braised Summer Greens, Maple Cap Mushroom Jus
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fay, Napa Valley, 2006

Cheese Course
Whipped Fromage Blanc and Goat Cheese
Spiced Hollister Cherry Compote and Cocoa Scented Honey
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Merlot, Napa Valley, 2005

Quintessa is on the bill for the next wine dinner in August (the date is pending). But the saliva-inducing action at the InterContinental goes well beyond there. Also of note:

• The perfect-for-summer Ocean Terrace, complete with firepits and views of Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz beyond.

• The generous public walkways.

• The comfortably appointed Reading Room off the lobby, where, like the restaurant and the Ocean Terrace, you can also enjoy wines from A Taste of Monterey (646-5446)—which carries scores of great local labels at its gorgeous tasting bar just up the block—or Sheid bottles from their sleek tasting lounge (386-0316) across the street…with ZERO corkage.

• Happy hour Sunday-Thursday 4-7pm—on the awesome Ocean Terrace or the pretty little bar patio, in the Reading Room or the slick bar (above)—means half off everything. That includes draft beers like Scrimshaw, Longboard, Anchor Steam and Leffe Blonde ($2.75 instead of $5.50), Jekel house wines ($4-$6 instead of $8-$10)…

…and signatures flights in New World, Old World and Best of Both iterations ($9 instead of $18 for four 2-ounce pours). Small plates—oysters on half shell, shrimp cocktail, calamari, clam chowder, lobster bisque, garlic fries, cheese plate—are all half off too, so they range just $2.25-$8.25 rather than $5-$16.50.

• Live music Thursday-Saturday. Bryan Diamond does light rock 4-7pm Thursday and 3-5pm Saturday. Terrence Farrell finger plucking classic guitar 5:30-9pm Friday and Saturday.

• Sunday brunch 11:30am-3pm with highlights pulled from the C's breakfast and lunch menus. Think smoked pork loin tonnato ($10), crossaint french toast ($11.50) and huevos rancheros with prawns ($15.25).

• A three-course chef's menu every Friday that run $39-$45 and spotlights Regester's creativity and sourcing. This week he sends out (1) Swank Farms heirloom tomatoes with shaved copa, cabernet onions, St. George cheese and rosemary bread, (2) Syrah-braised short ribs with white corn polenta, local chard, maitake mushrooms and horseradish cream and (3) an indulgent cheese courses starring whipped formage blanc, mascarpone with wildflower honey, Hollister cherries and apricots.

• A 10 percent discount for locals.

All told, there's a lot to C.