Companion Bakeshop
Dining Reviews

Windy Oaks Opens New Carmel-by-the-Sea Tasting Room

Plus Malabar promises tapas, and a fire at Manresa ceases operations

The palmier pastry at Companion Bakeshop is among our food writer’s top treats to pair with coffee. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

The outstanding wines made by Jim Schultze of Windy Oaks are now easier than ever to access in metropolitan Carmel-by-the-Sea.

More opportunities to taste. More opportunities to go nuts for the long line of delightful Pinots. And here’s why: Windy Oaks has moved its Carmel tasting room location to Lincoln Street, between Ocean and 6th avenues in Carmel-by-the-Sea. How easy is that? Simply cruising through the charming village at the southern end of the Monterey Bay you will practically trip over the new tasting room, loaded with the estate Pinot Noirs, accessible Chardonnays, and tangy Syrahs. Plus lots more, including the popular sparkling Albariño. Open every day (except Wednesday), noon to 6 p.m.

Tapas? Maybe.

I was disappointed that, even though the sign in the door has been advertising them for two weeks, there were no tapas available when I went to Malabar for dinner a few nights ago. I’d come on a Tuesday night, when it was quiet in the beautiful dining room, anticipating the new menu items. They sounded great on the “Tapas” portion of the menu. I would love to have sampled the new small plates of roasted baby Indian eggplant, or the Vietnamese-Sri Lankan spring rolls, or the stuffed peppers with potato, tomato and garam masala. But none were available when we arrived, due to a computer glitch the day before which required the staff’s attention. When we asked about the housemade raviolis, we were informed that they also were not available that night. We did enjoy being able to partner our dishes of Singapore Hawk Noodles ($11) and Tempeh La La with Gado Gado ($11.75) with glasses of Orsianna Organic Chardonnay 2016 and excellent Line Shack 2015 Petite Sirah (both $8). It honors the fine food this kitchen can make to have wine and beer now available on the menu. I’ll be back to try out the new tapas.

Top Five Pastries

In no particular order, here are the Santa Cruz-baked pastries you don’t want to miss: The kouign-amann at Verve, made by the bakers at Manresa Bread. Buttery, sinful. The palmier at Companion Bakeshop, usually delicately tinted with intriguing spice and fruit flavors. Exceptional flakiness. The zucchini muffin at The Buttery, brilliant spice balance, a toothsome tweed of flavors and textures. The light yet decadent almond croissant at Iveta, just barely sweet so that it fulfills your needs for a treat, as well as a breakfast carb. Add butter. Live large. The apple pie from Beckmann’s, available in a mini-pie at New Leaf. Very much like the imaginary grandmother in your collective memory would have made. There. Some clues to start foraging for pastries in our vicinity.

Manresa Update

Another fire, the second in four years, has closed Los Gatos landmark Manresa for the next while. From Manresa’s Executive Chef, David Kinch: “There was a fire at Manresa on the evening of July 16. The restaurant was closed at the time of the fire, no one was in the restaurant and no one was harmed. The fire department responded swiftly to put the fire out. The cause of the fire is being investigated.” As a result, the restaurant is currently closed and we will provide updates as available.” Such a shame. Hope Kinch and company get to the bottom of this latest bit of trouble.

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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