Event Watsonville presents “Entrepreneurs Taking their Businesses to New Heights” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, and there will be a few food/drink/farm-related speakers in the mix plus delicious food and drink for sale. Representatives from different local businesses will talk about how they started their business and what drives them to do what they do.
This is the second “Event Watsonville” evening; the first was in February. Matthew Swinnerton, who founded the popular Event Santa Cruz series a few years ago, decided to expand to South County to showcase even more of our local community.
“I am super excited to come back to Watsonville,” says Swinnerton. “It’s been far too long since we did the last one back in February and I definitely won’t let that happen again. I love the energy and excitement coming out of the Watsonville entrepreneur community. Events like this really show that off.”
As always, the evening begins with time to mingle and buy food and beverages starting at 6 p.m. Selections for sale will include tacos from My Mom’s Mole and beer from Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. In addition, food samples will be available from a variety of area vendors.
The setting is Specialized Helicopters in Watsonville. There will also be helicopter rides available for purchase.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.
Speakers begin at about 7, after the hour of mingling is over. Katie Raquel from fresh, organic juice business Katie’s Coldpress says she is participating as a presenter because she has found these types of events to be “a huge source of inspiration. It’s a total joy hearing from other entrepreneurs and connecting deeper with the community.”
Katie’s Coldpress is family-owned and operated. “We infuse every part of the business with love and attention,” shares Raquel. “I started KCP two years ago out of a desire to make the highest quality raw juice more accessible to people with busy lives—all of us, right?!—and to make products that are truly delicious, with a focus on excellent and personal customer service.” Her business is committed to staying 100% plant-based, and it’s in the process of being CCOF certified organic, after two years of being certified organic through the state of California.
Jessica Ridgeway from Farm Discovery at Live Earth is also a speaker. She’s excited to speak about the farm-based nonprofit she co-founded a few years ago, which works to empower youth and families to build and sustain healthy food, farming, social and natural systems. Farm Discovery offers “educational programs that inspire youth and families to transform their relationship to food, farming and nature.” She adds, “We steward our working farm and its wild spaces as an environmentally and economically viable piece of the food system and a learning space.”
She says it’s a perfect time to share the vision and programs with community members who may not be aware of the nonprofit. “Farm Discovery is reaching a new level or organizational maturity,” says Ridgeway. “We are in a place where we now have the capacity to actively create new partnerships in our local community. Participating in events like this helps Farm Discovery to build important relationships with other local businesses, individuals, and organizations in order to transform personal and community health and improve our impact on earth by building and sustaining collaborative agricultural, ecological and social systems.”
Other participants, in alphabetical order:
- Chris Gularte – Specialized Helicopters
- Sindy Hernandez de Cornejo – Queen’s shoes & more
- Jacob Martinez and Gabriel Jesse Medina – Digital NEST
- Luke Taylor – Corralitos Brewing Co.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016: 6 p.m. doors open/food & drinks begin, 7 p.m. speakers begin
Location: Specialized Helicopters, 150 Aviation Way, Watsonville
Follow me on:
Attention fine wine, spirit and beer lovers: the Santa Cruz Food Lounge is hosting events you can enjoy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Aug. 18-20, 2016.
Thursday: Venus Spirits Meet the Maker & Tasting
The event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with local spirit maker Sean Venus of Venus Spirits. At 5:30, doors open and the kitchen begins serving food; there is a limited selection that night (cheese plate and/or chicken entrée) and people can pre-purchase online to receive a discount and ensure the food doesn’t sell out. At 6:30 p.m., guests will learn the story behind the local distillery and the craft of making spirits as Venus leads attendees through six tastings of his award-winning agave, gin, and whiskey. A special crafted cocktail by Venus mixologist Andrew Hansen will conclude the evening. Cost for the spirit tasting and talk is $25; buy tickets at eventbrite.com.
Friday: MJA Winemaker’s Dinner
Chef Rachel Hughes of Tanglewood Catering is collaborating with MJA Vineyards for a multi-course dinner with wine pairings beginning at 6:30 p.m. Kristy Dawn Silveira and winemaker Marin Artukovich of MJA Vineyards will be present. Wines served will be Sauvignon Blanc (paired with watermelon/feta skewers), Chardonnay (with Burrata, beet and pancetta salad), Pinot Noir (pork medallions with smoked cherries and apple/potato mash), Merlot (“Forest Floor” savory nut crumble, roasted wild mushrooms, micro scallions and braised short ribs). The dessert course is Cabernet Sauvignon with bittersweet chocolate pot de crème with chocolate-covered coffee beans. Tickets are $75 with wine and $65 without. Buy online at eventbrite.com.
The Food Lounge debuted a summer beer garden series in June, and it continues today from noon to 7 p.m. There will be many beers available plus German-style food. There is lots of patio seating and a relaxing atmosphere. Free admission; attendees pay separately for food and drinks. The event is pet- and family-friendly.
Location: Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: www.scfoodlounge.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on:
In June, the owners of Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria opened Tutto Fresco, an Italian deli and small grocery store next door to their Santa Cruz restaurant.
In the deli, they make Italian Panini on freshly baked Ciabatta bread. The most popular sandwich is signature Panino Tutto Fresco with roasted turkey, provolone, tomato, and pesto. The seasoned turkey is roasted in-house. Tutto Fresco also sells selected specialty Italian deli meats and cheeses by the pound and a few salads by the pound.
The chef also bakes pizza daily, which customers can buy by the slice and take to go.
The deli serves Illy Italian coffee and espresso plus pastries—some made onsite, some from local vendors such as Heather’s Patisserie. Tutto Fresco also has grab and go items like parfaits with fresh berries and yogurt, Odwalla juices, fresh seafood, fresh ravioli, chicken, fresh housemade pasta sauces (pesto, Bolognese, marinara and bruschetta), roasted peppers and salads.
Groceries that Tutto Fresco sells include dairy (mostly from Clover), produce, spices, baking supplies, jams, and a few Italian imported items like pasta, olive oils, vinegar and biscotti. A few items are gluten-free. The shop also sells barbecue supplies (including charcoal), picnic supplies and firewood.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. Visit Tutto Fresco on Facebook.
Location: 21400 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz (831) 621-2063
Follow me on:
The 2016 California Beer Festival (CBF), at Aptos Village Park from Friday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 14, is the final celebration to cap off Santa Cruz Beer Week (Aug. 7-14). See the Santa Cruz Waves Beer Week site for details on lots of activities including a collaboration between burger and Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. at burger’s Aptos location on Thursday.
California Beer Festival details
Tickets range from $10 on Sunday to $99 for a three-day VIP pass that includes lots of benefits. Live music includes Sambada (Friday night) and Prince tribute band The Purple Ones (Sunday).
Location: Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek
More info or advance tickets: (805) 628-9588 or californiabeerfestival.com/santacruz
- Friday, Aug. 12: “Food & Beer Pairing” (5:30-8:30 p.m.) plus live music. Several Brew Masters are pairing up with gourmet chefs. Each is competing for attendees to vote for them for “best food and beer pairing.” A $50 a la carte ticket includes food samples, beer, live music and one CBF souvenir pint glass. Must be 21 years of age or older to attend. Pairings:
- The Jerk House & Brews of Santa Cruz
- Pour Tap Room & 101 North
- Hollins House & Seabright
- Ulterior & Leopold 7
- Peter B’s & Peter B’s
- Burt’s & Burt’s
- Saturday, Aug. 13: “Craft Beer Heaven” (Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and beer sampling is 1-4:30 p.m.). There will be more than 85 craft beers available plus live music, food, and bocce ball. You must be 21 years of age or older to attend. General admission is $50 and VIP tickets are $75. Designated driver tickets are $25.
- Sunday, Aug. 14: “Sunday Funday in the Park” (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) There is no beer sampling on Sunday but there is beer and food for sale. That day, kids 12 and under are free. Anyone over 12 pays $10. Families are encouraged to attend and people can bring lawn chairs and blankets.
Festival profits benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to student athletes in Santa Cruz County.
Follow me on:
Three Sunday events: Soif & Ocean2table in Santa Cruz, fire benefit with food/wine at Monterey Aquarium
There are many food and wine and events this weekend in the Santa Cruz and Monterey area. Here are details on three occuring Sunday, Aug. 7: a fun waiters race at Soif, a delicious seafood and wine popup with Ocean2table and MJA Vineyards, and an epic benefit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with more than 20 chefs and wineries.
Noon to 3pm: Waiters Race at Soif
Soif Restaurant & Merchants is hosting the fourth annual Waiters Race on Walnut Avenue. As in previous years, three-person teams from several area restaurants will navigate an outdoor course, demonstrating many of the skills members of the service industry bring to work every day. The event is billed as “not only a friendly competition among area restaurants, but also a celebration of the skill and dedication of members of the service industry.” This event is free; teams from Soif, Woodstock’s Pizza, 99 Bottles, Ulterior @Motiv, and Assembly are participating. The three judges are David Kinch (chef/owner of Michelin 3 Star restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos and owner of Bywater in Los Gatos, he’s a Santa Cruz resident); Sue Slater (Department Chair/Instructor in Cabrillo College’s Department of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management); and Paul Mekis (Director of Wine for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts and winner of an SF waiters race many years ago).
Location: 105 Walnut, Santa Cruz
5 to 8pm: Ocean2table Pescetarian Popup at MJA Vineyards
MJA Vineyards is hosting a popup with Ocean2table. There will be several a la carte dishes available featuring Ocean2table seafood and there will be optional wine pairings. Food dishes are subject to change depending on what the fishermen catch on Saturday. All seafood is local, wild and sustainable and all vegetables are local and organic. A tentative menu includes sablefish cakes drizzled in spicy garlic aioli; lettuce wraps with pan-fried lingcod, parsnip slaw and chipotle crema; tacos with pan-fried petrale from Half Moon Bay; and wild morel mushroom soup.
Location: 328 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz
6 to 8pm: Soberanes Fire Relief Benefit at the Aquarium
The Monterey-based restaurant group Downtown Dining (Tarpy’s Roadhouse, Montrio Bistro, Rio Grill) is partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a benefit. There is free admission and free coffee; tickets for food, beer and wine will be sold at the event. More than 20 chefs are participating including Todd Fisher (Tarpy’s), Tony Baker (Montrio), Cy Yontz (Rio), Michelle Lee and Matt Bolton (C Restaurant+Bar), Yulanda Santos (Aubergine), Tom Snyder (Esteban at Casa Munras); Mo Tabib (The Fish Hopper); Johnny DeVivo (Porter’s in the Forest); Tim Wood (Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch); and Angela Tamara (Peppoli at Spanish Bay). Aquarium exhibits will be open during the event. 100% of all proceeds collected will go to those impacted by the fire through the “Soberanes Fire Fund” of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC). The Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) created the Soberanes Fire Fund to assist communities affected by the Soberanes Fire which began July 22, 2016. Donations will provide both immediate relief and support in the aftermath of the fire.
Location: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
Follow me on:
New Leaf Community Markets has a lot of interesting cooking classes coming up this month. In addition, they have a few “tasting events” and nutrition/education lectures; some of these are free. Here are a few highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306).
Preregistration is required at newleaf.com/events.
Tuesday, August 16: All About Apple Gluten-Free Baking
Learn how to utilize gluten-free grains and flours in delicious, gluten-free apple recipes. Nutrition Consultant Stephanie Horning will also teach you how specific ingredients support your health.
Time & Cost: 6–8:30pm, $35 per person/$60 for two.
Thursday, August 18: Summer Pies and Galettes
Nutrition Consultant Madia Jamgochian will teach students how to assemble a pie crust from scratch and create delicious pies and galettes. Teams of 3 will prepare three different fillings: peach, rhubarb and blackberry.
Time & Cost: 6pm–8:30pm, $35 per person/$60 for two.
Monday, August 22: Mushrooms for Mind, Body and Heart
Discover which mushrooms improve immunity, lung function, brain function, athletic performance, the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and the whole body, with Host Defense National Science Educator Gina Rivers Contla.
Time & Cost: 6:30pm–7:30pm, Free (pre-registration required).
Thursday, August 25: California Wine and Food Pairing
WSET-Certified Kristen Valenza will share how to properly pair different California varietals with local and seasonal farm-fresh cuisine. The class will include several wine and food pairings.
Time & Cost: 6–8pm, $40 per person/$70 for two.
Follow me on:
There is a fun and delicious Taste of Orleans festival at California’s Great America, and you have one more day to enjoy it. The weekend-only festival began July 23-24 and continues this weekend July 30-31. I had the opportunity to experience it yesterday, and want to share some details.
For the festival, the Orleans section of the park features Southern and Cajun cuisine, live music and themed decorations. There was a band playing good jazz at lunchtime Saturday.
With the Southern and Cajun food, some selections are available a la carte or you can sample six different dishes for $25 if you buy a tasting card: Creole meatballs, chicken/sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee, bourbon honey BBQ sauce chicken wings, and beignets. There are food stands set up within a short distance of each other; as you order each Cajun delicacy, a staff member punches your card. You can choose to try them one after the other, or stagger them during your visit (perhaps during lunch and dinner time, as I chose to do).
The Creole meatballs were my favorite. Each order had three plump, savory meatballs with a choice of barbecue or spicy sauce. I was with two family members so for our three orders totaling nine meatballs we tried one order plain, one with barbecue sauce, and one with spicy sauce. They were all really good. The gumbo was also very satisfying; I’m not sure if that one or the crawfish etoufee was my second favorite. For the etoufee, you could order this savory stew over plain white rice or atop a hot dog on a bun with Creole mustard.
Even though it was a summer Saturday, we didn’t have to stand in much of a line for any of the food – this included lunch around 12:30 – 1 p.m. and then an early dinner around 5:30.
As part of the festivities, the park is also featuring a chalk artist painting Mardi Gras murals, mask decorating for kids 12-and-under, and stilts walkers who distribute colorful beads a couple times during the evening. Plus, there are fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
We did have to stand in relatively long lines for some rides, but that’s expected during the popular season, and I was surprised that some lines were fairly quick. It was my first time visiting Great America and I’m excited to return. There are lots of rides for kids—Planet Snoopy was great for my five-year-old, including a short outdoor show that I enjoyed too (I’ve always been a big Peanuts fan) and the park has more thrilling options, too (like the log ride). Then there’s the whole Boomerang Bay water park that we didn’t get a chance to explore; next time we will bring bathing suits.
All in all, I’m very glad I heard about this debut Taste of Orleans festival – it was the perfect, and it turns out scrumptious, excuse to make it to Great America!
For all park details, visit the web site at https://www.cagreatamerica.com.
Follow me on:
A couple weeks ago, I decided to try out Fogo de Chão on Santana Row with my family. From the moment we walked in, the service was impeccable. To me, having attentive staff greet you upon arrival is the signal of a good experience to come – and Fogo did not disappoint. Even the assistant manager, Yuri Teixeira, stopped by twice to make sure we had everything we needed.
After one staff member greeted us and immediately showed us to our table, another Fogo team member asked if it was our first time dining there (it was), in which case he would provide us with a little guidance. We were eager to try the new Brazilian Brunch which launched at all Fogo locations nationwide in May. Many locations only offer this brunch on Sundays, but Santana Row is one of nine restaurants that offer it on Saturdays too.
As our waiter explained, the Brazilian Brunch includes both the “full Churrasco experience” and the Market Table. Churrasco basically means you better come hungry! Anytime you want to eat some of Fogo’s fire-roasted meats, you flip a card on your table to the green side (green means go) and a chef will arrive and carve meat for you tableside. When you want to take a break, either to enjoy some of the other selections or to just pause from eating, you flip the card to show red. Each diner has their own card, and the chefs and other staff are continuously and carefully scanning the room—during our brunch, we never had to wait more than a minute after flipping a card before a chef was asking if we wanted what he was serving, whether that was a house specialty like picanha (signature sirloin sliced very thin), filet mignon, ribeye, cordeiro (lamb) or something else like Parmesan pork, chicken drumstick or breast, linguica sausage. The restaurant has 16 meats total.
Very soon after we sat down, waitstaff also brought over the Brazilian side dishes that are included with brunch. These included pão de queijo (warm cheese bread, which is gluten-free), mashed potatoes and fried polenta and caramelized bananas. It was hard to stop eating the scrumptious polenta, but I knew I wanted to save room for lots of other offerings.
The Market Table & Feijoada Bar is a self-serve area with salads, vegetables, feijoada (black bean stew with sausage and other toppings) and an egg bake with asparagus, broccoli, peppadew peppers, Swiss cheese, and the aforementioned gluten-free cheese bread. Other selections included a parfait with Greek yogurt, granola and berries. Some of my favorites were hearts of palm, asparagus, fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, marinated artichoke bottoms and an edamame/corn salad. My five-year-old daughter loved the olives and the giant Parmesan wheel that held an abundance of bite-sized cheese pieces.
When we commented to one of the waitstaff how great all the meats were, he explained that that the sea salt they use really brings out the flavors. I did some more research in the last few days and discovered that many of the meats they serve are seasoned only with sea salt; the fact that they taste so good is a testament to the meat’s top quality.
Our host asked which selections were our favorites and it was hard to choose (later, I counted how many we tried: my husband tasted nine, I tried eight and my daughter sampled small portions of five varieties). Mine was probably the garlic steak. The pork chop with Cajun seasoning was pretty darn good too. My husband’s was the Parmesan pork. My daughter enjoyed all the ones she tasted; she wouldn’t pick a favorite when I asked. I know she thoroughly enjoyed the linguica sausage, among others.
Believe it or not, after all this we couldn’t resist trying dessert. My daughter and I shared—and devoured—molten chocolate cake that was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
For weekend brunch in San Jose, adults cost $45.95 for the “full experience” or $26.95 for market table only. Drinks and dessert are extra. Kids 6 and under are free, and ages 7-12 are half price.
The restaurant’s atmosphere and the Santana Row location (a nearby movie theater and shopping) make Fogo a great pick for date night. Obviously I recommend it for weekend brunch with the family, and I also noticed that they offer a weekday lunch that starts at only $15. That gets you the Market Table & Feijoada Bar, but you can add a grilled meat selection for between $6-$9; other options include sea bass a la carte ($27.95) or the full experience ($36.95).
For more prices or specific information on Fogo’s San Jose location, see the Santana Row Fogo web site. To learn more about Fogo in general or other locations including San Francisco, visit the main site.
Want to learn more about Brazil and its cuisine? Fogo just launched an online guide that includes drink recipes (such as a passion fruit caipirinha, a twist on the national cocktail), food recipes, and etiquette and language tips.
Fogo de Chão on Santana Row location & hours:
377 Santana Row #1090 (corner of Olsen) (408) 244-7001
Saturday/Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Sat dinner 3-10:30 p.m. Sun dinner 4-9 p.m.
Mon–Fri lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Mon-Thurs dinner 5-10 p.m.
Fri dinner 5-10:30 p.m.
Follow me on:
Great news for local food truck fans: starting this week, Food Trucks A Go Go is going to operate weekly events in Westside Santa Cruz, Soquel and Scotts Valley.
First, the Westside SC details:
Starting July 26, there will be food truck lunch service every Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Delaware Addition parking lot. This week, G’s Tacos and Zameen Mediterranean Food Truck will be featured.
Location: 2120 Delaware Ave.
Next, Soquel details:
Taco Tuesdays at Blue Ball Park (the nickname for Soquel’s Anna Jean Cummings Park) start July 26. Every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., customers can buy special taco selections from local food trucks in addition to each truck’s signature dishes from their regular menus. This Tuesday, G’s Tacos and Holopono are confirmed. Pono Hawaiian Grill operates Holopono; there will be Hawaiian-style tacos plus nachos, salads, poke and more.
Location: 461 Soquel-San Jose Rd.
Finally, Scotts Valley:
Starting July 25, there will be lunches for sale on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Boys & Girls Club parking lot. This week, G’s Tacos and Zameen Mediterranean will appear.
Location: 5060 Scotts Valley Drive
After LaLi Kates of Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Cafe formed the business Food Trucks A Go Go last year, she launched a monthly food truck event at Scotts Valley’s Skypark. The community response was even better than she had imagined, and she was soon organizing a variety of events, sometimes on Friday nights and sometimes during Sunday brunch.
“We are so excited to be launching these new locations and present the unique and delicious food from our local food trucks,” shared Kates. “The food trucks will rotate to offer a variety of food options at each of the locations.”
At the end of this week, on Friday July 29, Food Trucks A Go Go is partnering with Event Santa Cruz for “Summer Nights & Edible Delights” 5-9 p.m. at the Delaware Addition. Admission is $3. The line-up includes: Holopono, Ate3One, G’s Tacos, Saucey’z, Conscious Creations, Humble Sea Brewing Company and Stockwell Cellars.
Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.
The second installment of Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner summer series is Friday, July 8, and there are still some tickets available for this event with local libations from Summit to Sea Wineries and fresh ingredients from Fiesta Farm. In case you missed it, here is my preview article which describes the series in more detail. You can also visit the Chaminade web site for more information.
The cost is $110 inclusive per person and this includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception with wine), a multi-course family style dinner with wine pairings (6:30 p.m.), and dessert. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
For this Friday’s dinner, Executive Chef Nicholas Church is utilizing produce from Fiesta Farm; see menu below. Three wineries from the Summit to Sea wine group will be featured: Burrell School Vineyards, Loma Prieta Winery and Wrights Station.
July 8 menu
Crostini with Grilled Vegetables and Fava Bean Puree
Bacon wrapped Figs
2013 Burrell School “Teacher’s Pet” Estate Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
2012 Wrights Station Unoaked Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
2013 Loma Prieta Pinotage, Amorosa Vineyard, Lodi
2013 Wrights Station Pinot Noir, Arena Block, Santa Cruz Mountains
Seared Day Boat Scallop with a Prosciutto and Mango Relish
Wine: 2013 Loma Prieta Viognier, Amorosa Vineyard, Lodi
Crispy Pork Belly with Quail Eggs
Wine: 2013 Wrights Station Pinot Noir, Arena Block, Santa Cruz Mountains
Grilled Romaine with Smoked Pork Loin and Peaches
Wine: 2012 Burrell School Estate Cabernet Franc, Santa Cruz Mountains
Pork Osso Bucco
Soft White Polenta
Wine: 2013 Loma Prieta Pinotage, Amorosa Vineyard, Lodi
Cherry Mousse, Almond Genoise
Farm to Table Dinner
July 8, 2016 at 6 p.m.
Courtyard Terrace at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
$110 per person
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.