Whether you're a music-lover looking to catch some up and coming bands before they hit SXSW, a foodie jonesin' for a couple of palate-pleasing events, or an art fan between paychecks looking for a free event, this weekend's got something for you.
Some say the perfect Valentine's Day gift is chocolate; others say it's a handmade present. Attend the Lula's Truffle Class at Scheid Vineyards Wine Lounge on Cannery Row, and you'll learn to make a gift that fills both recommendations. You'll also get to sample truffles that are perfectly paired with Scheid wines, and you'll take home a box of truffles and truffle recipes. Sounds like date night to us! (Not that we're hinting.) 751 Cannery Row, 6:30pm, $40/members, $50/non-members, RSVP at 831-455-9990.
'Tis the season for winemaker dinners in Monterey County. Much lauded Carmel-by-the-Sea restaurant Aubergine holds the Kosta Browne wine dinner hosted by winemaker Dan Kosta. The dinner pairs Kosta Browne's intense wines with a four-course menu by Executive Chef Christophe Grosjean. Monte Verde and 7th, reception at 6:30, dinner at 7pm. $190/person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 831-624-8578 to reserve.
Shake your booty to outrageous Latin-electro-funk act Trip Delight Fantastic at Bullwacker's at 653 Cannery Row. Remember, no matter how wild your outfit is, they'll outdo you. 8:30pm, no cover. Jose's in Monterey continues its track record of edgy bookings with the SXSW-bound Weekend (think My Bloody Valentine on speed), LA's shoegazey Speculator (think My Bloody Valentine teaming up with the Charlatans UK circa 1993), Young Prisms (think My Bloody Valentine gone super-low-fi) and Santa Cruz locals Green Flash (who are not at all like My Bloody Valentine). 638 Wave Street, 21+, 9pm, $5.
It's community day at the Pacific Street location of the Monterey Museum of Art. Translation: free admission for locals and visitors! True art fans can get insight into artist Pam Carroll's painting process as she discusses her work with Chief Curator Marcelle Polednik. Museum open 11am-5pm; discussion with Pam Carroll and Marcelle Polednik at 3pm. Free.
The Annual Valley of the World Wine & Food Festival, held at the National Steinbeck Center Museum in Salinas, may be one of Monterey County's best-kept secrets. Try food and wines from more than 70 wineries, chefs and restaurants, participate in the $10,000 grand prize reverse draw, and bid for vacation and golf packages, jewelry and more in the epic silent auction. And your money goes to fund the Rotary Club of Salinas' charitable ventures, so you can feel virtuous while you indulge. 6-9pm, $75 per person or $140/couple. Buy tickets at the Steinbeck Center Museum Store or online.
Monterey Bay's favorite local reggae band Jonah and the Whalewatchers bring the party to Bullwacker's at 653 Cannery Row. 8:30pm, no cover.
It's another pre-SXSW showcase tonight at Jose's on Wave Street. Local rockers The Mystery Lights (imagine a low-fi Eric Burdon and the Animals with a punk edge) and Oakland garage rockers Bare Wires (imagine Shonen Knife, but male and singing in English) are touring California and Nevada together in March, and then moving on to SXSW. They're playing Jose's tonight with Seattle big beat rockers Branden Daniel and the Chics and locals No Lights. 638 Wave Street, 9pm, $5.
Fungophiles, rejoice! Wild mushroom expert Phil Carpenter and Marina mayor Bruce Delgado take wannabe mushroom-hunters on an expedition across the Fort Ord Public Lands, finding edible wild mushrooms wherever they lie (hopefully not beneath the tire of a mountain biker). 9am-12:30pm, free, meet at the Fort Ord Thrift Shop parking lot on Lightfighter Drive.
The American Institute of Wine and Food hosts its annual Champagne and Caviar event at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Three champagnes and three California sparkling wines go head-to-head in a taste-off, accompanied by caviar, pâté, and a number of other tasty treats. 3pm-5:30pm, $65 for members, $140 for guests (includes AIWF membership fee). Call 831-626-9369 to reserve.
The Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa hosts the Rancho Cielo Culinary Roundup, a culinary gala for a good cause. The event benefits Rancho Cielo, a campus for at-risk youths. The Sardine Factory's Bert Cutino chairs the event, which features guest chef Jeff Henderson from the famed Bellagio in Las Vegas. In addition to the great food, there's a raffle, a small live auction, and live music from Eight Second Rodeo. 5-8pm, $125/person, call 831-444-3533 to reserve.
The Spirit of Uganda (above video) is a Ugandan children's performing arts group. They're touring the United States, both promoting awareness of the challenges that Uganda, with both the AIDS crisis and a civil war, faces, while simultaneously showing off the vibrant musical and dance culture of the country. They perform tonight at the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea. 7pm, tickets are $37, $44 and $51 and can be purchased online.