.Jozseph Schultz Highlights New Music Works’ Annual Avant Garden Party

Plus, Taste of Terroir winemaker dinner, Bantam’s non-pizza options and Venus brings on John Harry as chef of its new Rio Del Mar location

Woking the wok on June 5th at the 43rd installment of New Music Works’ Avant Garden Party will be tireless Jozseph Schultz, former restaurateur and eternal catering maestro. 

In his hands, catering a large gathering of bohemian music lovers looks both delicious and aerobic. If you’ve never attended one of these incredible afternoon garden parties, then make plans immediately. 

In addition to savory foodstuffs by Schultz, the event features a no-host Tiki Island wine and beer bar, Hidden Peak Teahouse tea ceremonies in a quiet garden nook, plus—included in the price of admission—India Joze delicacies. 

Oh, and there’s provocative music, including chamber music, jazz, African marimbas, sambas and deeply surreal electric slide pieces from guitarist Cary Nichols and Stan Poplin on double bass. Hot licks! The amazing Lars Johannesson accompanies on flute, and much, much more. Sunday June 5th from 3-6pm at 2888 Sandy Lane, Live Oak Lagoon. Tickets are $15-35 at brownpapertickets.com/event/5331023. For more info, call 831-536-5603.

Non-Pizza Bantam

Wood-fired pizza may be the big draw at Bantam, but it would be a mistake to miss the amazing non-pizza dishes (and cocktails) turned out by this terrific kitchen. Consider this: creamy burrata topped with a crown of tart, sweet kumquat slices and olive oil. Nestling next the snowy white burrata was a pool of beet puree, topped with thick, impeccably cooked asparagus spears. Little slabs of chioggia beets, toasted hazelnuts, fresh sprigs of feathery infant dill and nasturtium blossoms added more eye candy and flavor discovery ($17). 

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Seated outside in one of those spacious-yet-cozy booths, Jenny and I started out with one of those quarter-loaves of housemade bread and salted butter that is required (in my book) to get things going at Bantam. 

Jenny always opts for a white wine, but I’m continually intrigued by the inventive cocktails. Case in point was a Byrrh spritz with a huge spiral twist of orange suspended in the tall glass ($10). More on this excellent and refreshing drink in a minute. 

Our other shared plate was a tour de force of broccolini and king trumpet mushrooms, surrounded with squashes, almonds and goat cheese. The foil for these outrageous veggies was a generous side of wild rice ($20). It was a satisfying light dinner without meat, poultry or fish.

Back to the Byrrh, an amaro that hails from the foothills of France bordering Spain. A port-like creation, Byrrh sits on a backbone of quinine (the basis of tonic water) and takes well to clear mixers such as gin and champagne. The Bantam version offered Prosecco as the addition to the pale-peach-colored Byrrh, and the effect was of an incredibly refreshing orange-rhubarb flavored spritz. Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-9pm. bantam1010.com.

Pinot Time

Looking for a few great pinot noirs made in the Santa Cruz Mountains winegrowing district? Look no further than the June 24 Taste of Terroir winemaker dinner plus tasting. Seven wineries will be on hand pouring Pinot Noir and rosé of Pinot Noir at the Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards. A tasting salon begins at 6pm, followed at 7:30pm by a four-course winemaker dinner created by Ross Hanson of Oak & Rye. Tickets are $170 (15% discount for SCM wine club members). https://winesofthesantacruzmountains.com.

New Chef at New Venus

John Harry will be developing the menu at the new Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen Beachside (that’s the new Rio del Mar location). Venus spokesperson Lauren Long revealed that the wildly popular signature Brussels sprouts appetizer will migrate from the Westside Venus to the Beachside Venus. But we can expect new dishes from Chef Harry. 

Meanwhile, Chef Gabrielle Molina stays on as Chef de Cuisine at the Delaware outpost of Venus delights. Thank you, Sean!

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