Two Santa Cruz food popups on Friday, Jan 6

A curry dish by HANLOH Thai Food (served at an event in December)

A curry dish by HANLOH Thai Food (photo is from an event in December)

Santa Cruz’s popup food scene is deliciously thriving; here are two events occurring this Friday, Jan. 6.

HANLOH will be at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing from 6:45-10 p.m. The menu for “Ultimate Thai Beer Snack” will include Moo bing (charcoal grilled pork), Pla mug yang (charcoal grilled Monterey squid), and Khao rad geng (rice and spicy red curry bowl with two options–vegan or with chicken). The curry will be made from homemade curry paste; some of the ingredients are lemongrass, galangal, bird eye chili, dried shrimp, shallot, and garlic.  Owner/chef Lalita Kaewsawang, a Santa Cruz resident, recently started her Thai popup/catering business. As she proclaims on her web site (hanloh.com), her mission is to “bring justice back to Thai food by staying away from canned curry paste and super sweet stir-fry. We focus on the comfort and vibrancy of Thai street food.”

Location: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, 402 Ingalls St.

 

La Sofrita is doing a “Dia de los Reyes Puerto Rican Popup” from 5:30-9 p.m., at POPUP next to Assembly. Chef Anna says she will be serving traditional Puerto Rican holiday fare like “mouth-watering pernil, or Puerto Rican succulent, skin-on, bone-in, roasted pork shoulder stuffed with garlic mojo. The pernil, made with pasture-raised pork from local Fogline Farm, will be accompanied by avocado-tomato salad over mixed greens plus arroz con gandules (Anna says the latter is “the quintessential rice dish that is served on every Puerto Rican table on Christmas Day and on Dia de los Reyes”). A selection of La Sofrita empanadas will also be available; I tasted one of these for the first time a few weeks back and it was absolutely delectable! The variety I had was veggie (kabocha squash, spinach, and leeks with goat cheese) but I’ve heard that the beef picadillo, chicken and shrimp ones are fantastic too.

Here’s a bit of background on Dia de los Reyes from La Sofrita’s Facebook event page: “in Puerto Rico, January 6th is Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day. It marks the culmination of the Christmas season. In Puerto Rico, this is a bigger celebration than Christmas Day itself; gifts are traditionally exchanged on this day rather than Christmas. The night before, children put shoeboxes of hay under their beds for the camels to eat after their long journey, and are rewarded with a gift left under their bed. The day is filled with festivities that include traditional foods and drinks.

Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.

 

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San Francisco & Napa restaurant highlights for New Year’s Eve 2016

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. Photo credit: Top of the Mark

It’s almost New Year’s Eve 2016-2017! If you’re planning to dine in San Francisco or Napa, here are a few restaurant highlights for New Year’s Eve and a couple for New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve:

San Francisco

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Ring in the New Year with family, friends, and an unforgettable view at Top of the Mark! From 7:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m., enjoy a special reception, entertainment, dinner, dancing, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Start your evening with champagne and hors d’oeuvres including assorted caviar, Tomales Bay & Rockefeller oysters, Spanish Serrano ham carving station, raw seafood selections, and more. Following the reception, guests will enjoy a seated five-course dinner with bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial before dancing the night away and toasting the New Year with a glass of Moet & Chandon Rose. Rounding out the festivities is live entertainment by Mirage, whose exciting style ranges from Jazz to rock. Formal dress is required. Regular reservations are $400 per person; premium seating is $450 per person. Reservations required at 415-616-6941.

 

Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco

Chef Daniel Corey of the Michelin-star Luce rings in the New Year with a five-course menu and optional wine pairing. Guests will enjoy live entertainment from 6pm – 8pm featuring Ricardo Scales and a jazz band will toast the New Year starting at 8pm. Dinner is $159 per person/$234 with wine pairing, excluding tax and gratuity. First seating is at 6pm and last seating is at 11:30pm. For reservations, visit OpenTable.

Presidio Social Club
On New Year’s Eve, Presidio Social Club will have a special a la carte dinner menu available, including specials like Foie Gras with Pineapple-Quince Marmalade and Quatre épices; Cannelloni with Crawfish Etouffee and Grilled Andouille Sausage; Black Bass with Potato-Celery Root Puree, Leek Confit with Bacon, and Black Truffle Sauce; and Filet Minon with Bone Marrow, Winter Hash, and Sauce Bordelaise. Presidio Social Club will be pouring from magnums of Charles Heidsieck all night long and a live band will be playing throughout the evening! Call 415-885-1888 or make a reservation through OpenTable.

Roka Akor 

Count down to the New Year at Roka Akor (801 Montgomery St.) while enjoying Japanese robata cuisine and prime-cut steaks, seafood and sashimi. This year, Executive Chef Roman Petry has put together a special dinner tasting menu that will highlight signature menu items prepared on the open-charcoal robata grill. Priced at $138 per person, the tasting menu will feature dishes such as King Crab Legs with chili lime butter; Robata Grilled Wagyu Fillet with grilled bone marrow and spicy sweet garlic soy; and a Sweet Corn with butter and soy. For dessert, a Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake with almond caramel and vanilla ice cream will conclude the tasting menu. Known for their high quality steaks, Roka Akor will offer an optional $50 Japanese Wagyu upgrade (requires a minimum of two people to order). Additionally, an optional wine pairing with the tasting menu is available for $68 per person as well as a limited a la carte menu. Roka Akor’s New Year’s Eve dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Please note that Roka Akor will be closed for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online, in-person, or by calling 415-362-8887.

La Mar
Ring in 2017 on the waterfront at La Mar Cebichería Peruana! With views of the Bay’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, the restaurant will offer the below three seatings throughout the night with colorful multi-course Peruvian feasts from Chef Victoriano Lopez. Reservations can be made on OpenTable or by calling 415-397-8880.

First Seating: 4:45-5:30pm, $89 3-course menu with signature Pisco greeting

Second Seating: 6:45-7:30pm, $89 3-course menu with signature Pisco greeting

Third Seating: 8:45-9:30pm, $129 4-course menu with signature Pisco greeting and midnight sparkling wine toast!

 

Nico
Critically acclaimed, Michelin-starred French/Californian restaurant Nico will be offering a festive six-course prix-fixe menu for $90 on New Year’s Eve, with special truffle supplements offered with certain courses for $15/each. Beverage Director Maz Naba has also created special standard ($65) and premium ($85) beverage pairings options for those looking to indulge in the last hours of 2016. Visit nicosf.com or call 415-359-1000 for reservations.

Foreign Cinema 

Join Foreign Cinema as they say farewell to 2016 with a nod to Old Hollywood. Ring in 2017 in true Foreign Cinema style with our celebratory prix fixe three course menu, with choice of options in each course, and a touch of vintage Hollywood glitz and glamour. $125.00 per person. Seatings from 5:30pm to 10:30pm

Napa

FARM at Carneros

Featuring jazz tunes by the Dan Daniels Trio, FARM at Carneros invites guests to celebrate New Year’s Eve and choose from one of two seatings (5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.). Designed by Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, two indulgent tasting menus will highlight the end of the year’s best ingredients. The first seating will offer a 5-course menu ($195) with courses such as a Big-Eyed Tuna with seared foie gras and kumquats; and Free-Range Venison from Broken Arrow Ranch with rosemary and bay laurel sourced from the 28-acre property, among others. For an extravagant bite, guests can add two courses that include white truffles and caviar. The second seating, priced at $225, will highlight seven courses, including Hand Cut Pasta with carbonara and Italian white truffles; a lobster course, and more. A special caviar course can also be added to top off the last supper of 2016. Finally, wine pairings for each course are available as well as a special curated bottle list for New Year’s Eve. On December 31, FARM at Carneros will be open from 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 707-299-4880 or visiting farmatcarneros.com.

New Year’s Day:

San Francisco

Presidio Social Club

Presidio Social Club will be open for brunch on New Year’s Day from 10 am—3 pm. Sleep off the previous night’s festivities before joining PSC for comfort foods like Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls, Challah French Toast, burgers, Macaroni & Cheese, and Brioche Beignets. Call 415-885-1888 or make a reservation through OpenTable.

Top of the Mark

Start off the New Year in style with a special brunch at Top of the Mark. From 10:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Chef Michael Wong presents a delicious feast offering something for everyone’s taste. Brunch features an omelet and waffle station, along with Rock Shrimp Eggs Benedict with choron sauce. Also available are small plates and antipastos featuring Smoked Salmon, Grilled Winter Vegetables with spiced buttermilk dressing and roasted pepper sauce, local and international artisanal cheeses, homemade soups, and a selection of salads. Mouthwatering entrees and roasts include Kurobuta Pork Loin with caramelized granny smith apple and calvados cream along with Bone-In Leg of Lamb with rosemary jus. Pianist Michael Athens will provide the musical entertainment for New Year’s Day guests. Top of the Mark’s New Year’s Day brunch is $109 per adult and $59 per child (ages 4 – 12). Reservations are required at 415-616-6941.

Napa

FARM at Carneros

On New Year’s Day, FARM at Carneros is serving a decadent brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Guests can celebrate with bubbly, oysters, caviar, and generous family-style courses. Priced at $45 per person, dishes to indulge in include Sweet Corn Johnny Cake with 72-hour short rib, braised collard greens, and sunny-side egg; and Apple Crumble Coffee Cake with harvest apple compote and cinnamon cream, among others. FARM’s bar also serves a variety of bubbles, fresh juices, and handcrafted cocktails, such as the Basil Gin Fizz with Nolet’s Gin, basil, green chartreuse, and cream; or the Garden Cooler with Rain vodka, fresh fruit, cucumber and lime juice, among others.  Regular dinner service is from 5:30– 9:30 p.m.  Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 707-299-4880 or visiting farmatcarneros.com.

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Last minute foodie holiday gifts in Santa Cruz

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co. Photo credit: PCC web site

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co.
Photo credit: PCC web site

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping and have some foodies on your list? Want to shop local? There are lots of choices in the Santa Cruz area including some discounts; here are some highlights including a gift fair tomorrow that has plenty of options–whether you want to buy something food/drink-related or something else that’s made locally.

First, the gift fair:

2nd Annual Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market — Saturday 12/17 at Food Lounge

I went to this fabulous event last year and bought gift items for several friends/family members, not to mention a few things for myself! The market will feature locally made packaged foods including jams, olive oil and hot sauce that are currently available in the Food Lounge Pantry, which opened in September. The holiday market will also offer beautiful jewelry, textiles, glass art, print art and kitchen antiques. Additionally, a few small-batch food producers will offer tamales, empanadas, meat pies and other items that would work well for holiday entertaining or for a delicious dinner with your family. Plus they will sell ready to eat food that customers can enjoy while shopping like empanadas (from La Sofrita Puerto Rican pop-up), tamales (Yoli’s Adobo) and savory pies (Artisan Hand Pies).

“We offer this market as close to the holidays as possible so that all of our vendors’ food-based products are fresh for gift-giving and entertaining,” said Andrea Conklin Mollenauer, one of the three partners in the Food Lounge, an incubator kitchen and event venue that will celebrate its second birthday in January. “We are excited to offer market space to 25 local vendors who don’t have their own brick-and- mortar places to sell products.”

Vendors with food gifts will include Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Notso Hot Sauce, My Mom’s Mole, Ashby Confections, and Farmer Freed Salts. Non-food vendors will include True Blue Indigo (textiles), Love Light Vintage Candles, Verdant California (body products) and  Fereshteh Fatemi (artisan jewelry and greeting cards – disclaimer, this is the author’s mother).

In addition to the holiday market, the Food Lounge Pantry is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to

7 p.m. as a hub for local artisan food products – a perfect stop for holiday shopping, including next week when you realize which folks you forgot to buy for!

Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz

Date/Time: Sat Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Next, some gift card discount highlights:

Until Christmas, Hula’s Santa Cruz (221 Cathcart St.) is offering a special: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get a free $10 certificate for yourself; purchase $100 and get a free $20 gift card to treat yourself.

Mission Hill Creamery (1101 Pacific Ave.) has these discounts until Christmas: Buy a $25 gift card for $20 OR buy four $10 gift cards and receive the fifth free OR re-Charge your existing gift card with at least $20 and get 20% off your gift card purchase.

Through Dec. 24, Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake) is offering a bonus: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get $10 free; spend $100 and get $20 free, etc.

Other gift ideas

Last but not least, other foodie gift options include certificates from local restaurants. The Glass Jar announced they’re offering a card that’s good at any of their three restaurants—that’s Assembly, The Picnic Basket AND The Penny Ice Creamery. If you know people who are fans of Soif and/or La Posta, you can also purchase gift cards that are good at both. And Crow’s Nest gift cards are redeemable at the restaurant or its neighboring Crow’s Nest Beach Market.

Want to send a sweet Santa Cruz-themed food gift to someone? Pacific Cookie Company has lots of options. These include Top Tier Cookies & Chocolate Box ($49.95), with 36 two-ounce cookies and 32 white and milk chocolate flower medallions made by local chocolatier Mackenzies Chocolate; Sweet Elegance Cookie Gift Box ($37.95) with 24 two-oz. cookies, Season’s Eatings Christmas Tin ($26.95) with 36 one-oz. cookies, and Classic Cookies and Milk ($24.95) with a dozen two-ounce cookies and two 8-oz cartons of organic milk (it’s shelf-stable low-fat Horizon milk which doesn’t require refrigeration). Also, Los Gatos-based Manresa Bread now ships its scrumptious artisan bread anywhere in the continental U.S.; see my November article and/or the Manresa site for details.

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Christmas 2016 at Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market Credit: Whole Foods Market

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Whether you need to shop for a holiday feast or check some folks off your gift list, Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey have lots to choose from—including the always-dependable gift card idea (ones for the market itself or for other retailers).

Customers need to place orders for holiday dinners two days ahead of their desired pick up date. Food is available for pickup Dec. 18-24, and then again on Dec. 26 (WFM is closed on Christmas Day). Order in person or online.

For gifts, WFM has several selections where part of your purchase goes to a worthy cause. For example, they partnered with PBS Kids to carry the company’s toys and help raise money. I’ve seen some of the Aurora Plush Animals in the store (pandas, penguins, foxes and more) and they definitely look cuddle-able! Some of the animals are endangered species. There are also some colorful and fun PBS Kids toys made with a composite featuring rubber wood from mature trees that no longer produce latex. All net proceeds benefit PBS Kids’ mission of “building knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity to empower children for success.”

Other “gifts with a cause” include ones where part of proceeds goes to Whole Planet Foundation to help alleviate poverty worldwide. These include Alaffia trios (coconut oil triple-milled bar soap or whipped body butter); one percent benefits WPF. Or if you buy west elm kitchen products made from upcycled denim—such as potholders—a dollar from each purchase goes to WPF. In addition, they have gift cards for sale where one percent benefits the Whole Kids Foundation (which aims to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness). These include Chipotle and Best Buy physical gift cards, and Starbucks digital cards.

There are room sprays and handmade soy wax candles from Thistle Farms; scents include lavender & lemon (Gratitude) and Geranium & Citrus (Hope). Thistle Farms is a community, sanctuary and social enterprise led by women survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution. It provides housing, recovery support and education. Each spray or candle purchase directly benefits the women who made it.

WFM wine experts have compiled a list of “10 favorite wines for the holiday season.” Available online, each wine has several suggested food pairings plus a recipe for an additional food pairing. Two examples: Andover Estate Pinot Noir goes well with items like Sartori Herbs des Provence BellaVitano cheese or roasted winter vegetables, or with the dish “Easy Porchetta Pork Tenderloin” (recipe included). Autoritas Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Vermont Creamery Coupole cheese, poached white-fleshed fish, or “Bay Scallop Linguine with White Wine and Parsley” (recipe included).

There are lots of other enticing articles on the WFM blog, including ones with recipes like “holiday cakes worth celebrating” (includes mini chocolate ricotta cakes and cinnamon-almond olive oil cake) and “holiday appetizers” (how about sweet potato bacon bites, spinach bites with honey mustard, or pigs in a blanket with cranberry-mustard dipping sauce? Ok now I’m hungry!).

For holiday appetizers, if you’re a cheese fan, WFM just announced a big “12 Days of Cheese” sale. From Dec. 13-24, a different artisan cheese is on sale for FIFTY PERCENT OFF each day! Some highlights with notes from the market’s cheese experts:

Vermont Creamery, Bonne Bouche (Dec. 15)

  • This mild ash-ripened goat cheese with earthy notes and a subtle hazelnut flavor is a visually stunning addition to any cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company, Pheasant Ridge Reserve (Dec. 17)

  • The only three-time winner of the American Cheese Society Best of Show, this cheese has a sweet, broth-like flavor with notes of butterscotch and fruit.

Cypress Grove Chevre, Truffle Tremor (Dec. 19)

  • A silky, creamy soft-ripened goat cheese packed with truffles. Deep floral, herb and mushroom flavors. An American original!

Rapin, Le Maréchal (Dec. 20)

  • This creamy, raw-milk Alpine cheese is infused with flavor from herbs added by hand during the ripening process.

Papillon, Roquefort (Dec. 21)

  • This classic cave-aged sheep’s milk blue cheese shows rich spiciness, complex layers of flavor and a smooth texture.

Vermont Creamery, St. Albans (Dec. 23)

  • An American take on a traditional French cheese, sourced from milk from one farm. Delicate and smooth with rich creamy flavors and nutty notes.  Non-GMO Project verified.

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving article, WFM’s 2016 holiday food shopping guide  features selections such as traditional turkey dinner for eight ($99.99). This comes with a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted Diestel turkey, four pounds each of herb stuffing and mashed potatoes, a quart of turkey gravy, a pint of cranberry relish, 16 dinner rolls, and a nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie. You can also order turkeys (cooked or uncooked) and ready-to-eat sides a la carte.

Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Monterey is at 800 Del Monte Center, (831) 333-1600.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

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Midtown Café & Burn Hot Sauce partner for Standing Rock benefit pop-up

Midtown Café is the site of Friday’s benefit

Midtown Café is the site of Friday’s benefit, photo courtesy of Midtown Facebook page

 

Stand with Standing Rock: A Pop-Up Fundraiser, from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16 at Santa Cruz’s Midtown Café, will feature creations from Burn Hot Sauce, Assembly and Outstanding in the Field.

 

Amanda Pargh of Burn Hot Sauce, Jessica Yarr of Assembly, and Seth Heitzenrater of Outstanding in the Field will be collaborating to serve up heaping bowls of beans-and-brown rice made with ingredients including Everett Family Farm onions, and a variety of optional toppings such as Burn pickled jalapenos and hot sauce and sprouts from New Natives. Local musicians Spurs, Jessie Marks, and Aliza Hava will perform in the back patio.

 

Organizers invite attendees to join for “an evening of community and solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota.” All proceeds from this event—including sales from a silent auction with many local products and services—will go directly to the camps at Standing Rock and their medical and legal funds. Food and drink-related businesses donating to the auction include Live Earth Farm, Companion Bakeshop, Alta Organic Coffee and Steamer Lane Supply.

Also, there will be a presentation by a member of the Lakota People’s Law Project, who will share their experiences and explain the current reality and future of the anti-pipeline efforts.

 

Location: Midtown Café, 1121 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz

Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 16, 5-9 p.m.

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December classes at New Leaf Community Markets include gingerbread houses for kids and free health lectures

Kids can make gingerbread houses at New Leaf on Dec. 9

Kids can make gingerbread houses at New Leaf on Dec. 9

New Leaf Community Markets has a few lectures and classes this month. Here are some highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306).

Preregistration is required at newleaf.com/events.

 

If you want to plan ahead, check out their site for lots of enticing offerings in January. These include a free series of Monday afternoon nutrition workshops beginning Jan. 9 (January Jumpstart: 4 Weeks to Healthier Eating with Holistic Nutritionist Madia Jamgochian), a paella class (Thurs. Jan. 26, $45 or two for $80, includes wine) and a “one-pot Ayurvedic soups and stews” class with Ayurvedic Practitioner Talya Lutzker (Tues Jan. 31, $45 or two for $80).

 

Friday, Dec. 9

Kids’ Class: Gingerbread House Making Workshop

For ages 8 and up: drop your kids off for a fun, creative hands-on workshop led by Kristen Valenza, founder of Living Roots Food and Floral. They will create houses from scratch using organic ingredients, and take home their masterpieces.

Time & Cost: 6–8pm, $35/Two for $60

 

Tuesday, Dec. 13

For Seniors: Tuesday Tea with Holiday Spice

Join us for tea time and discover how spices add more than flavor to your recipes. Full of antioxidants and potent antimicrobials, you may be surprised to find out what your spice rack has in store.
Time & Cost: 12–1pm, Free

 

Thursday, Dec. 15
Supporting Your Immune System through Winter

Herbal storyteller Tom Dadant will give a lecture on how to support your body’s primary immune system naturally with beneficial herbs and nutrients. Dadant is a National Educator for Planetary Herbals.

Time & Cost: 6–7pm, Free

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Ty’s Eatery returns to Santa Cruz for benefit dinner at Food Lounge

At the 2nd annual Give Back Dinner at the Food Lounge, 100% of the proceeds will benefit Wings Homeless Advocacy

At the 2nd annual Give Back Dinner at the Food Lounge, 100% of the proceeds will benefit Wings Homeless Advocacy

Ty Pearce, owner and chef of Ty’s Eatery, had a loyal following for his popup brunches and dinners at the Food Lounge before relocating to the East Bay earlier this year. So people are thrilled that he’s returning for one night—Thursday, Dec. 1—especially because it’s for his second annual Give Back dinner.

 

The 2015 version of this dinner raised more than $1,300 in cash plus many in-kind donations for the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. This year’s event benefits Wings Homeless Advocacy; read more about the nonprofit below. I attended last year’s dinner; there was delicious food, but what I remember even more was the palpable spirit of community and generosity that filled the room.

 

Ty’s Eatery and a group of volunteers will create and serve a buffet dinner from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Cost is $15 for adults and $7 for kids. The meal features local, organic produce and dessert is included. There will be options for vegetarians. All attendees who bring an in-kind donation for Wings (see welcome home basket list below) will receive a free raffle ticket and raffle tickets will also be for sale.

 

Here’s the menu for Thursday:

  • Kale salad (green goddess dressing, Parmesan, croutons)
  • Carrot salad (fresh herbs, raisins, cumin citrus vinaigrette)
  • Beets (goat cheese, dill, hazelnuts)
  • Broccolini with garlic
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Spinach/ricotta lasagna
  • Lemon & rosemary roasted chicken

 

Desserts will include Sunrise Bistro lemon bars and brownies, Buttercup Cakes mini cupcakes and Susie Cakes cupcakes. There will be many raffle prizes from local businesses such as Stripe, Berdels, Verve Coffee, Crossfit West and Palace Arts. There will be live music, a photo booth, a visit from Santa and a yummy-and-fun kids’ activity: decorating homemade gingerbread cookies!

 

Wings Homeless Advocacy provides newly housed individuals and families with a mattress and a “welcome home” laundry basket filled with new, basic household supplies to get them started. The organization is committed to living out its values of compassion, respect and dignity for all people by uniting the community to be volunteer advocates for those moving out of homelessness and onto a path of healing. Their goal is for all to work together to end chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County. Working with professional case managers, Wings acts as advocates to some of the most vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals in our community.

 

Wings Welcome Home Basket list (optional contributions for people to bring Thursday)

  • New dishtowels
  • Can opener
  • Spatula
  • Serving spoon
  • Dish soap
  • Laundry soap
  • Hangers
  • Plunger
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo

Location: Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

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A roundup of Santa Cruz and Monterey County restaurant Thanksgiving offerings

The main dining area at Solaire, one of several local restaurants serving a special Thanksgiving menu Photo credit: Hotel Paradox

The main dining area at Solaire, one of many local restaurants serving a special Thanksgiving menu
Photo credit: Hotel Paradox

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on – if you’re planning to dine out in the Santa Cruz area or in Monterey County, here are a few restaurants to consider.

Santa Cruz & Capitola

Solaire at Hotel Paradox offers an a la carte Thanksgiving menu from 4-10 p.m. The nature/nurture-themed menu highlights local, sustainable cuisine with fresh ingredients. Entree choices include Roasted Turkey with mashed potato, stuffing, blue lake beans and gravy, Slow Roasted Prime rib, Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb, and Zucchini Fritters with spinach, red cabbage and chive cream. Other highlights include roasted pumpkin soup, butternut squash salad, and cranberry white chocolate chunk graham bars and miniature pumpkin pies. Call 831-425-7100 or visit hotelparadox.com for reservations.

I wanted to also share a fun Hotel Paradox package, whether you’re a local planning a staycation or have friends or family visiting Santa Cruz sometime this holiday season. The Polar Express™ Train Ride package makes it easy to enjoy this seasonal attraction. Afterward, families are invited to snuggle fireside at Solaire for smores and hot cocoa. The “I Believe” package includes overnight accommodations, an exclusive Golden Ticket required for entry to the train, fresh-baked cookies and milk delivered after check-in, a keepsake “I Believe” sleigh bell, and complimentary parking and Wi-Fi. Price is $175 adults/$29 kids. The Polar Express is traveling to Santa Cruz for the first time this season, recreated to match the sights and sounds of the beloved story. It departs from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. On board the train, dancing chefs will serve warm cookies and hot cocoa to guests, while the Polar Express™ movie soundtrack–including a reading of the story–is played. Santa Claus will meet with each child, delivering silver sleigh bells. Contact the hotel at 831-425-7100 or hotelparadox.com for details.

Chaminade has a Thanksgiving buffet from noon to 6 p.m. The cost is $59.95 for adults, $18.95 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Selections include roast turkey with warm orange-cranberry compote, roasted Dijon-crusted lamb leg with mint jelly, apple cider braised pork loin with dried cherry bordelaise and crispy prosciutto, butternut squash ravioli with porcini crème and roast vegetable bruschetta, several salads, and winter squash soup with toasted pepita seeds.

One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz (831) 475-5600

 

Zelda’s has a traditional turkey dinner plus additional items on its holiday menu, beginning at noon. The dinner includes oven-roasted turkey, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, cranberries and a roll. A 10 oz. adult portion is $19.95, 14 oz. is $23.95. Kids are $11.95 and pumpkin pie is $5.95.

203 Esplanade, Capitola (831) 475-4900

 

Hoffman’s is serving both brunch and dinner on Thanksgiving. Brunch is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner starting at 3 p.m.

1102 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 420-0135

 

Your Place has a Thanksgiving buffet from noon to 7 p.m. The cost is $36.95 for adults, $13.95 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Selections include traditional roast turkey and house-made cranberry sauce, apple pecan bread stuffing, prime rib, honey brown sugar-glazed ham, grilled salmon with lemon caper sauce, eggs benedict (until 2 p.m.), penne pasta Bolognese, roasted beet salad, Caesar salad, pumpkin pie, apple crisp, lemon tart, chocolate cake and carrot cake.

1719 Mission St., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-3564

 

Monterey County

Anton & Michel Restaurant will serve its regular dinner menu plus a prix fixe three-course Thanksgiving dinner noon to 8 p.m. There are two choices for first course including spinach and radicchio salad with grilled pears, toasted walnuts, goat cheese and cinnamon-pear vinaigrette. The entrée is roast free-range turkey with cornbread and sausage stuffing, cranberry-port chutney, sweet potato-green onion mash and more. Dessert choices are pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie. Tea and coffee are included.

Cost is $42 for adults and $21 for kids 12 and under.

Location: Court of the Fountains on Mission between Ocean and Seventh Avenues, Carmel, 831-624-2406

 

Estéban

Estéban at Casa Munras is offering a few options for Thanksgiving Day, from 1 to 7 p.m. The last seating is at 6:30 p.m. A prix fixe three-course meal is $48 for adults and $23 for kids 5-12. Chef Thomas Snyder will offer two appetizer selections including butternut squash soup with rock shrimp and piquillo peppers. Customers can choose an entrée of turkey, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and homemade cranberry sauce or Snake River trout with white beans, garlic confit and bacon lardons. These items plus Snyder’s signature tapas will also be available a la carte.

700 Munras Ave., Monterey, 831-324-6773

 

Fandango is serving a prix fixe meal on Thanksgiving from noon to 8 p.m. Cost is $38.95 for adults and $16.50 for kids 12 and under. Entrée choices are roast Tom turkey with chestnut sage stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce; roast sirloin with mushroom sauce; Virginia baked ham with Hawaiian sauce; grilled salmon filet with Café de Paris butter; and fresh cheese tortellini with basil cream sauce. Mashed potatoes and vegetables accompany all entrees except the tortellini.

223 17th St., Pacific Grove, 831-372-3456.

 

The Portola Hotel and Spa is serving a Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in its grand ballroom. Selections include California cheeses and cured meats; peel and eat shrimp; carved to order turkey, prime rib and maple glazed country ham; candied garnet yams; Coke Farm beets with feta, pancetta, Marcona almonds and cider vinaigrette; and acorn squash with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. Desserts will include pecan and pumpkin pie and holiday cookies. Cost is $54.95 for adults, $39.95 for seniors 65 and up, and $25.95 for kids 6-12. There will be live music by pianist David Conley in the ballroom from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. and football games will be showing in the foyer.

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, 831-649-7874

 

Pacific’s Edge at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands will serve a four-course dinner on Thanksgiving with seatings from 3 to 8 p.m. Cost is $95. Selections include butternut squash soup with Frangelico, brown butter and pepitas; roasted beets with buttermilk mousse, pomegranate seeds, wild arugula and pistachio; and Pacific halibut with mussels, clams, heirloom chile bouillabaisse, saffron rouille and foccacia bread stick.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands, 120 Highlands Dr., Carmel, 831-622-5445

 

Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel is serving a prix fixe meal on Thanksgiving, with seatings from 2 to 9 p.m. Cost is $150 per person with optional wine pairings for $110. Selections include white truffles from Alba with carnaroli risotto ($85 supplement); slow-roasted organic turkey; and 21-day dry aged ribeye.

Monte Verde Street and Seventh Avenue, Carmel, 831-624-8578.

 

The C at Intercontinental The Clement Monterey is serving lunch and dinner on Thanksgiving. Lunch is 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there will be a la carte Thanksgiving dishes in addition to the regular lunch menu. Selections include Diestel Farms turkey with Yukon potato puree and sage-brioche stuffing. A prix fixe three-course dinner, from 5:30 to 10 p.m., costs $85 or $125 with wine pairings. Kids 5-12 cost $45. Choices include persimmon salad with Humboldt Fog, candied pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette; matsutake and sweetbreads with parsnip puree and truffle vinaigrette; Niman Ranch natural ribeye with salsify, chanterelle, creamed spinach and sauce bordelaise; and pumpkin upside down cake. There will be live music from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. In the evening, a bar menu will be available for bar and patio seating only.

750 Cannery Row, Monterey, 831-375-4800

 

Sardine Factory is serving a four-course prix fixe menu on Thanksgiving. Seatings are available between 1 and 8 p.m. The menu includes a first course of butternut squash bisque with toasted pumpkin seeds and maple Chantilly crème and an entrée of all-natural Diestel turkey with sage dressing, pan gravy, cranberry orange relish, Yukon gold and sweet potato gratin, fresh green beans and buttered baby carrots. The menu costs $49.75 for adults, $47.75 for 65 and older, $25 for kids 6 to 12. It’s free for kids five and under. A limited a la carte menu and the regular kids’ menu will also be available.

701 Wave St., Monterey, (831) 373-3775

 

Andre’s Bouchee is serving a three-course prix fixe menu from 2 to 8:30 p.m. Three appetizer choices include Redwood Farm goat cheese salad with baked cheese, baby greens and honey apple cider vinaigrette; and pumpkin soup with brown butter and cinnamon. Three entrée selections are free-range turkey stuffed with chestnuts and winter truffles with mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce; Bavette (flank) steak; and Monterey black cod with wild mushrooms and cognac reduction. Cost is $46 for adults and $21 for kids 12 and under.

Mission Street between Ocean and Seventh, Carmel, 831-626-7880

 

TusCA Ristorante at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is serving a buffet brunch from 1 to 6 p.m. (last seating is at 5:45). Selections include pumpkin soup; seasonal salads; a carving station with roasted turkey and honey ham; a pasta station; and sides such as green bean casserole and glazed yams with marshmallow gratin. Cost is $55 for adults, $25 for children ages 6-12 and free for kids 5 and under. The price includes one glass of champagne for adults over age 21, or sparkling cider. There will be live jazz from 3 to 7 p.m.

1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, 831-657-6675

 

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Wednesday wine discounts and more at Shadowbrook

Festive Capitola restaurant Shadowbrook. Photo credit: Shadowbrook web site

Festive Capitola restaurant Shadowbrook
Photo credit: Shadowbrook web site

The restaurant Shadowbrook offers great discounts and a chance to meet local winemakers on Winemaker Wednesdays, which occur most weeks through May 2017.

 

Every Wednesday a different wine is featured, and customers can meet the selected winemaker from 5-8pm. At this time, a flight of three to four wines from that winery is served in the Rock Room (bar area) and people can enjoy complimentary small bites with their flight. Additionally, a 50% discount is offered throughout the restaurant for glasses and bottles of wine from the featured winery. Although the winemaker is only available through 8 p.m. in the bar area, the complimentary appetizers and half-off wine pricing are available the entire evening.

 

The next winery and winemaker making guest appearances are Alfaro Family Vineyards and Richard Alfaro on Nov. 23. As a special bonus, for any Shadowbrook customers who purchase a bottle of Alfaro wine that night (either to enjoy with dinner or to take home), Richard Alfaro is providing a free wine tasting certificate that’s valid for a future visit to his Corralitos tasting room.

 

Other wineries making appearances in the near future include Naumann (Nov. 30), Roudon-Smith (Dec. 7), and Muns Vineyard (Dec. 14). Because of the holiday season, there are no Winemaker Wednesdays on Dec. 21 or Dec. 28.

 

Winemaker Wednesdays began in October, and Shadowbrook has several other promotions going on through the spring. These include two that started earlier this month:

Prime Rib Mondays—Shadowbrook’s house specialty is available for only $18.95 in the Dining Room. Includes creamed spinach, buttermilk mashed potatoes and horseradish cream

Seafood Night Thursdays—Order any seafood item on the menu for $18.95. I’ve truly savored the seafood I’ve had at Shadowbrook in the past, including scallops and salmon, and this is reminding me that I’m due for a seafood visit soon!

 

Both specials will be offered through February, and are not valid on holidays.

Learn more about these and other delicious offers at shadowbrook-capitola.com/promotions/.

 

The Details:

Shadowbrook Restaurant, 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola (831) 475-1511

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Thanksgiving 2016 at Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

A few Thanksgiving side dishes from Whole Foods Market Credit: Whole Foods Market

A few Thanksgiving side dishes from Whole Foods Market
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey have a wide array of Thanksgiving selections. You can place your Thanksgiving dinner orders in person or online http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/online-ordering — and if you order by Tuesday, Nov. 22, you get a $10 credit to use on a future in-store purchase of $75 or more (valid from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31).

Another promotion WFM is currently offering is if a customer buys a fresh or frozen organic turkey from the meat department, they receive a few free items from the “365” product line: a free 365 stuffing, free 365 broth and two 365 canned vegetables.

WFM has an online 2016 holiday guide. Selections include the always-popular traditional turkey dinner for eight for $99.99. It contains a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted Diestel turkey, four pounds each of herb stuffing and mashed potatoes, a quart of turkey gravy, a pint of cranberry relish, 16 dinner rolls, and a nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie. For the same dinner for eight with an organic turkey, the cost is $159.99. When customers pick up these dinners, products are cold but they are packaged in reheatable containers (WFM recommends allowing up to three hours for reheating turkeys).

Other prepared meals include spiral-cut ham dinner for eight ($129.99) that includes green beans with roasted shallots, sweet potato mash and more. I bought some sweet potato mash yesterday from the Capitola location’s hot bar and enjoyed it last night with my dinner; it went well with a roasted ready-to-eat chicken plus kale from my Live Earth Farm CSA that I cooked with olive oil and garlic. I’ll definitely be buying more sweet potato mash this season.

You can also order turkeys a la carte (cooked or uncooked), and ready-to-eat sides a la carte—in addition to the aforementioned sweet potato mash, stuffing, green beans with roasted shallots, and mashed potatoes, there are dishes like cauliflower potato puree with crème fraiche, broccoli cheddar gratin, sweet cornbread pudding, roasted butternut squash salad and vegan spicy pumpkin soup.

Want to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner, or are you tasked with bringing a dish or two to a friend or family member’s house? The store has lots of great ingredients, including made-in-house sausage that’s perfect for stuffing. If you’re hosting a feast at your house, WFM also stocks many party-friendly options including an exquisite variety of cheeses—actually each shop has between 250 and 1,000 varieties! One example, new this year at WFM, is an exclusive porcini flavored Herve Mons Camembert. If you want to pre-order appetizer platters, choices include a 3-pound fruit/cheese tray ($39.99); the cheeses are Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Saint Andre Triple Cream Brie and Chevre.

For dessert, pie choices include pumpkin, caramel apple, pecan and strawberry rhubarb. The latter is vegan and gluten-free, from the company Natural Decadence. Other selections include pumpkin vanilla roulade cake.

Local Store Details

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

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