Get Ready for the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival!

The 38th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival is coming up on July 29, 30 and 31, 2016! We hope you can join us for “summer’s ultimate food fair,” a three-day celebration that draws visitors from around the globe to enjoy great garlicky food, dramatic Gourmet Alley flame-ups, live entertainment, cooking competitions, and unique arts and crafts. And don’t forget the FREE only-in-Gilroy garlic ice cream!

The toughest part of the day is deciding which garlic-laced dishes you want to eat first. Gourmet Alley is the best place to start. This is where the world-famous “Pyro Chefs” put on their spectacular flame-up show while cooking up garlic-laced calamari in huge iron skillets. Other Gourmet Alley favorites include pepper steak sandwiches, scampi, pasta con pesto, stuffed mushrooms, zesty garlic fried calamari, and sausage sandwiches, as well as garlic fries and garlic bread. Fortunately, two different Gourmet Alley combo plates are available, so you can sample all the dishes and decide which ones you like best. And more than 60 other booths spread across the Festival grounds offer a wide variety of other food and beverages, from crawfish and kettle corn to frozen lemonade and mimosas. 

If you enjoy watching cooking shows on TV, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Gourmet Alley Test Kitchen and the Garlic Cook-Off Stage. There will also be cooking demonstrations and competitions going on all weekend long. Local firefighters and EMTs will compete in the new “Champions for Charity” cooking contest on Friday. Amateur cooks from around the country will compete for the coveted garlic crown (and $5,000!) in the Great Garlic Cook-Off on Saturday. And at high noon on Sunday, local pro chefs will do battle in the iron chef-style Garlic Showdown.

This year, for the first time ever, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is also hosting the “Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge,” which combines an officially sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society contest on Saturday with a Backyard BBQ Ribs Challenge for amateurs on Sunday.

There’s also live music going on at three stages throughout the weekend. There really is a little something for everyone, including rock ‘n roll, country, jazz, blues, reggae, and swing. KRTY 95.3 will present hot country music stars Brooke Eden, Drew Baldridge, and The Last Bandoleros, all appearing on Saturday on the Amphitheater Stage. And kids have their own entertainment stage, featuring singers, magicians, puppeteers and more. 

The Garlic Festival Arts and Crafts areas showcase unique, high-quality creations from over 100 artists, while the Garlic Mercantile stores offer shirts, gourmet products, cookbooks, wine glasses, and many other Festival souvenirs. Younger guests will find live entertainment, rides, and hands-on arts and crafts activities in the Children’s Area. Visitors can even learn how to make their own garlic braid and take it home as a unique souvenir!

This year visitors can take Caltrain to the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Saturday, July 30, or Sunday, July 31. Round-trip tickets must be purchased online in advance for the special event “Garlic Train,” which departs from the San Jose Diridon Station at 10:00 am and includes shuttle bus service from the downtown Gilroy station to the Festival entrance.

Hope to see you July 29, 30 and 31 at the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival!

EXPLORE MORE>>  Go to VisitGilroy.com and book a hotel room today so you can stay and explore Gilroy Gardens, Lumination, award-winning wineries, Gilroy Premium Outlets, and more!

New Summer Flavors at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey

By: Allyson Thommen
Blog Monterey
SeeMonterey.com

The season of warm weather, longer days and more importantly, patio drinking is quickly upon us and nowhere is more prepared than Restaurant 1833. The historic Stokes Adobe in downtown Monterey has been quenching thirsts with unique craft cocktails on their popular onyx bar for the past few years and is now stepping up its game for the summer months ahead.

Restaurant 1833Bar at Restaurant 1833

Today, Restaurant 1833 launches its new summer cocktail menu full of interesting concoctions created by mastermind and bartender Josh Perry. Not one, not two but eleven new summer spirits line the menu with names as interesting as their ingredients.

Summer Cocktail Menu Restaurant 1833

The Big Guns packs a punch with rye whiskey, coffee liqueur and orange bitters while the Hummingbird offers softer flavors with cana brava reserva rum, honey syrup and lavender sprig picked directly from the restaurant’s garden.

Bartender Josh Perry at Restaurant 1833

Looking to share? Try the tropical Coconut Milk Punch for two which serves as an instant vacation and presented in a copper pineapple chalice. The Suzie-Q is nice choice for those looking for a refreshing potion with suze, vermouth, prosecco and fresh cucumber slices.

Coconut Milk Punch at Restaurant 1833

The adobe’s expansive patio and deck is the perfect place to post up with one (or four) of these crafty cocktails. Complete with rousing fire pits, daybeds for lounging and pumping background jams- there’s truly no better place to spend your summer nights!

Restaurant 1833Restaurant 1833

Soak up the sun, and those drinks, with delicious noshes and desserts that are sure to pair nicely with your sweet libation(s). Executive Chef Jason Franey continues to amaze guests with his contemporary cuisine while Pastry Chef Ben Spungin proves that dessert is easily the most important addition to any meal.

Be sure to try one of their new pizzas including the luscious mushroom pizza with gooey fontina cheese, spring onion and roasted broccoli rabe and their short ribs wrapped in phyllo with an Asian fusion kick.

Mushroom Pizza at Restaurant 1833Baby back pork ribs wrapped in feuilles de brick Restaurant 1833

Wrap up the night with a tantalizing dessert, the trifle even comes with a flaming dose of rum!

Strawberry Trifle at Restaurant 1833

4 Reasons to Love Melville Tavern in Downtown Monterey

By: Allyson Ryan
Blog Monterey
SeeMonterey.com

“If you get nothing better out of the world, get a good dinner out of it, at least.” This quote by Herman Melville (also author of Moby Dick) sparked what is now one of Monterey’s newest dining establishments, Melville Tavern.
Melville TavernThe brick building at A.G. Davi Court on Washington Street is just a façade of the charm and comfort foods awaiting you inside. The wood laden floors and maroon painted walls play up the tavern’s old timey décor which makes you feel as though have stepped inside a secret British pub. Antique books and frames scatter the walls which eventually opens up to spacious kitchen and charming brick oven where the true star of the show is cooked up. Melville TavernMelville TavernMelville Tavern

There are many reasons to love this new eatery but here are a few to get started.

1.    Comfort Food with a Twist of Sophistication

The self-described “Creative American Food” menu is exactly that. American classics like burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and salads are available all with their very own tasty spin. The sophisticated gastropub dons a juicy lamb burger complete with hunks of melted feta cheese and refreshing yogurt sauce while the fall-of-the-bone pork shoulder is accompanied by irresistible creamy polenta.

Lamb Burger at Melville TavernPork Shank & Polenta at Melville Tavern

2.    Friendly Atmosphere

The expansive bar and cozy set up creates the perfect ambiance for get-togethers with old friends while making new ones. Locals have taken notice of the casual and friendly atmosphere since opening late 2015 while welcoming visitors into their lair. The outdoor patio is a bonus and uber-popular during weekend brunch.

Melville TavernMelville Tavern

3.    Beer and Wine of the Week

$3 beers are hard to come by, especially after Happy Hour. Melville Tavern not only serves a $3 beer all day long but it’s actually a delicious one at that. Each week the tavern rotates a weekly beer and wine special where a specialty beer such as Long Board and Deschutes are served for $3 and a house glass of wine is $6. For those looking for something else, the tavern also has quite the expansive beer and wine menu sure to wet your appetite.

Melville TavernMelville Tavern

4.    Great Value

Aside from an unbeatable beer of the week, the tavern also hosts a Happy Hour offered weekdays from 4pm-6:30pm serving up appetizers ranging from $3 to $7. The mushroom quesadilla and fried artichokes are particularly tasty! Entrée options also come at a steal for both lunch and dinner starting at $10.95 for a gourmet, and filling, meal.

Mushroom Quesadilla at Melville TavernFried Artichokes at Melville Tavern

5 New Restaurants You Need to Try in Monterey & Carmel

By: Allyson Ryan
Blog Monterey
SeeMonterey.com

Monterey County has seen an explosion of new restaurants in some of the area’s most popular hot spots. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, good old comfort food or an uber-authentic Mediterranean meal there is a new tasty addition here that is sure to please the palate.

Melville Tavern: Downtown Monterey

Located in downtown Monterey, Melville Tavern is one of the newest eateries hitting the dining scene. Its cozy brick facade is just the beginning to the classic comfort foods being divvied up inside.  Lunch and dinner brings cozy dishes with a twist of sophistication like their pork shank with creamy polenta and au jus and lamb burger with feta cheese and yogurt sauce. Great food aside, the tavern lives up to its name with an incredible selection of beer and wine including a $3 beer of the week!

Pork Shank & Polenta at Melville Tavern

The Crab House: Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

Panoramic views of the Monterey Bay, margaritas for $3.95 and a plethora of seafood dishes- need we say more? The Crab House, towards the end of Monterey’s iconic Old Fisherman’s Wharf, stands out from its neighbors with a unique south-of-the-border inspired menu. Every guest is welcomed with a basket of addicting tortilla chips and tantalizing menu option like seafood infused burritos, tacos and enchiladas.

The Crab House

Mediterranean Restaurant: Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Local Carmel visitors and foodies have been flocking to Dametra restaurant for years for unbelievable dolmas, lamb shanks and Greek Moussaka. Just down the street from this popular eatery is its new sister storefront the Mediterranean Restaurant serving up the same authentic cuisine, live entertainment and family friendly atmosphere. The only difference here is its location and beautiful wall décor.

Live Music at Mediterranean Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Lalla Oceanside Grill: Cannery Row, Monterey

Among the hustle and bustle of Cannery Row lays a sanctuary complete with crashing waves, tantalizing treats and mind-numbing craft cocktails. Lalla Oceanside Grill is one of Cannery Row’s newest attractions offering some of the best views of the Monterey Bay. Let the views, or their insane cocktail menu, wet your palate for delicious California coastal cuisine.

Craft Cocktails at Lalla Oceanside Grill

Scales Seafood & Steaks: Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

Love Monterey’s famous Old Fisherman’s Grotto? Then you are going to love the new restaurant owned and operated by the same family. Scales Seafood & Steaks just across the way features a convenient grab-and-go café, cozy bar lounge, a spacious dining room with views for days and a wide variety of menu items including seafood, steaks and pastas.

Calamari at Scales Seafood & Steaks

Bonus- Sovino Wine Bar: Downtown Monterey

Before indulging at one of these new eateries, build your appetite at the Sovino Wine Bar located in the esplanade near Custom House Plaza. Here you will find a wide selection of California produced wines with a large range of Monterey County wines. Be sure to pair one of your libations with one of their lovely cheese and charcuterie plates.

Gilroy Garlic Fries Now at Select McDonald’s Locations!

In May 2016, McDonald’s began offering Gilroy Garlic Fries at select locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using a purée made with world-famous garlic from Gilroy, California – the Garlic Capital of the World – the fries are being served in four restaurants in San Jose and Santa Clara.

The new fries are made-to-order in McDonald’s kitchens, where restaurant employees toss French fries in stainless steel bowls with a purée mix that includes chopped Gilroy garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, parsley and a pinch of salt. The garlic fries are part of a trend at McDonald’s to experiment with regional flavors and food on its menu.

The garlic in McDonald’s new Gilroy Garlic Fries is grown in Gilroy, California, approximately 80 miles south of San Francisco and nicknamed “The Garlic Capital of the World.”  The fourth-generation, family-owned Christopher Ranch in Gilroy is the largest garlic production operation in the United States and grows the garlic used in the Gilroy Garlic Fries—as well as the 2+ tons of fresh garlic used each year at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

McDonald’s French fries are one of the most-iconic items on the menu. The fries are made with North American-grown, premium potatoes that are partially fried and flash frozen. Once they arrive at the restaurant, they are cooked in a Canola oil blend and flavorings and served crispy and hot. McDonald’s French fries have zero grams of trans fat per labeled serving.

“As many people know, McDonald’s is committed to listening to our customers,” said Chef Michael Haracz, Manager of Culinary Innovation at McDonald’s USA. “We’re proud of the work done by local franchisees and the regional team to create this menu item with locally-sourced garlic, and we look forward to introducing Gilroy Garlic Fries to our customers in the Bay Area.”

“The response from our customers has been very positive,” said Nick Vergis, Co-op President, San Francisco Bay Area. “We enjoy giving our customers options and bringing this local flavor to our world-famous French fries.”  

Pending positive customer feedback, the Gilroy Garlic Fries will be available at nearly 250 McDonald’s restaurants across the San Francisco Bay Area in August.

The 4 Bay Area McDonald’s locations offering Gilroy Garlic Fries are:

  • 3509 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA
  • 2191 Monterey Rd., San Jose, CA
  • 1398 W. San Carlos St., San Jose, CA
  • 4838 San Felipe Rd., San Jose, CA

So get out there and get your garlic on! 

Explore More >
McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries are good—but for the ultimate garlic gourmet experience, you’ll have to come to the world-famous Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 29, 30 & 31)! 

Can’t make it for the Festival? Don’t despair. You can find garlic in Gilroy all year long!
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