Hop N’ Barley Beer Festival this weekend in Scotts Valley

The 6th annual Hop N’ Barley Beer Festival is June 27-28

The 6th annual Hop N’ Barley Beer Festival is June 27-28

This weekend is the 6th annual Hop N’ Barley beer and BBQ festival. The main event is on Saturday, June 27, but this is the second consecutive year that the festival is holding activities over two full days instead of just one. The festival offers live music occurring on two stages.

There are more than 50 regional and local breweries participating, including Ballast Point, Ninkasi, Discretion, Green Flash, Sante Adarius & Alpine. For the first time, there will be craft cider tastings.

Saturday is the main event with beer and barbecue, plus other food including vegetarian selections and oysters. The gates open at 10 a.m. and beer starts flowing at noon. The gates close at 5 p.m. On Sunday, there is a home brew competition.

General admission is $20; purchase tickets here. Kids under 10 are free, and adults who are not drinking beer get in for a reduced price of $5. The Hop N’ Barley beer and BBQ festival benefits non-profit Community Housing Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.

When:  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (beer starts at noon)
Where: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
Cost: $20 general admission, $5 for non-beer-tasters, free for kids under 10
Details: www.hopnbarley.org

If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz weekend roundup

WFM is offering “Ready for Action” bags for $10 at 10 a.m. Saturday

WFM is offering “Ready for Action” bags for $10 at 10 a.m. Saturday

Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz is dishing up lots of appealing sales and events this weekend, June 26-June 28, including a big discount on protein powder and a chance to help kids in Togo, West Africa.

Fri. June 26-Sun. June 28
Beginning Friday, June 26, WFM is offering a 25% discount on all protein powder at both the Santa Cruz and Capitola locations.

Sat. June 27
WFM in Santa Cruz and Capitola are releasing “Ready for Action” bags for $10 at 10 a.m. Saturday. They will contain $50 worth of products “to gear you up for your summer activities.”

Also on Saturday, the Santa Cruz location is hosting a BBQ from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The $8 lunch includes chicken, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and watermelon. The store is serving up these BBQs every Saturday.

Sun. June 28
WFM Santa Cruz is partnering with Alaffia, a sustainable skin care line dedicated to lifting up people in poverty in Africa, to source bikes for kids in the West African country of Togo. On Sunday, shoppers can bring used bikes and bike parts to WFM Santa Cruz between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Bikes will be sent directly to Togo to give kids a much-needed method of transportation to school. “Many kids in Togo must travel more than 15 miles to and from schools,” said Alaffia founder Olowo-n’dj Tchala. “Without a reliable transportation source, many of these children would not attend school at all. Bicycles that would otherwise be destined for the landfill are encouraging students in Togo to stay in school so they can lead their communities out of poverty.” 95% of these students graduate from school when given a bicycle.

Customers who are unable to bring a bike but want to contribute to Alaffia’s mission can buy Alaffia Good Soap Bars for only $1 the day of the event.

Attendees will be also be able to sample Alaffia’s skin care products, which feature shea and coconut butter from Tchala’s homeland of Togo. For more information, visit alaffia.com.


On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Lots of food & drinks at Saturday’s family-friendly Pleasure Point Street Fair in Santa Cruz

The 2015 Pleasure Point Street Fair is Saturday, June 27

The 2015 Pleasure Point Street Fair is Saturday, June 27

This Saturday is the third annual Pleasure Point Street Fair in Santa Cruz, with a variety of local food and drinks for sale. The event, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Portola Drive between 38th and 41st Avenues, has free admission.

The fair includes two stages with nine bands, a kids’ area, and more than 75 vendors selling arts, crafts, local services, and food. Food selections include products from New Leaf Community Markets, East Side Eatery, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, The Point Chophouse, Lucy’s Hot Dogs, Surf City Sandwiches, and India Gourmet. A beer and wine garden will offer traditional European-style craft lagers and pale ales from Capitola’s New Bohemia Brewing Co. and several wine selections from Bonny Doon Vineyard.

The kids’ area will have face painting, crafts, and a photo book. Kids between 3-8 can also play at June Bugs Gym on Portola for $10/hour.

Bands at the fair include reggae, rock, and funk musicians. The headliners are Coffee Zombie Collective at the New Leaf Stage and El Cuadro Verde at the NuBo Stage, both performing at 3:30 p.m. I saw Coffee Zombie Collective perform last month as they received a 2015 NEXTtie award and they were fun and fantastic. Here is the full music schedule.

Other highlights include a skateboard contest organized by the Santa Cruz Boardroom, and a dunk-a-surfer dunk tank. Proceeds from this activity and from other parts of the event will be donated to Surfrider Foundation. The 2014 Pleasure Point Street Fair donated $2,000 to the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group. The Pleasure Point Business Association presents the event. David Adams, Association president, is excited about this year’s fair, which, he promises, will be “bigger and better.”

For more information, call 419-8433 or visit pleasurepointstreetfair.com.

Details: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 27
Location: Portola Drive between 38th & 41st Avenues

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Soif reopens tonight with expanded menu, new wine bar, revamped wine shop

Soif chef Mark Denham and owner Patrice Boyle in the newly renovated kitchen. Photo credit: Soif

Soif chef Mark Denham and owner Patrice Boyle in the newly renovated kitchen. Photo credit: Soif

Downtown Santa Cruz’s Soif Restaurant & Wine Bar has just finished a month-long renovation, resulting in expanded food and beverage menus plus a new wine bar and an upgraded wine shop. Soif has been closed for a few weeks, and is re-opening tonight, Friday June 19, at dinnertime.

The renovation consisted of three major elements: a new kitchen, new retail shop, and new bar area. The new kitchen, nearly double the size of the old one, features direct views into the chef’s preparation area, and includes new culinary tools such as a grill, griddle, fryer and plancha that provide Chef Mark Denham the opportunity to expand the range of dishes available to diners, including finger foods such as fritters. “I’m particularly excited to have a grill,” says Denham. “Not just because it allows us to add a classic steak or burger to the menu (which we have), but also because it allows us to utilize it with unique ingredients not normally associated with it — such as potato-ricotta gnocchi with charred broccoli di cicco pesto, walnuts & Parmesan.”

If you haven’t had a chance to eat at Soif since Chef Denham joined the restaurant last year, you’re in for a treat. His experience includes cooking at top Bay Area restaurants like Chez Panisse, Manresa, and Postrio. His seasonal menu changes almost daily. Every dish – including small plates, appetizers, entrées and desserts – focuses on sustainably grown ingredients primarily sourced from Bay Area farmers and suppliers. Dishes on the new menu include Moorish-style lamb meatballs with cumin yogurt; polenta frites (cornmeal fritters with smoked blue cheese aioli); grilled local asparagus with fried farm egg, pecorino, and mustard bread crumbs; caramelized cauliflower with fingerling potatoes and salsa verde; and Napa lamb mixed grill with spring peas, their tendrils, braised Little gem lettuces, and cipollini.

As Soif fans may recall, the retail shop was formerly in a space next door to the restaurant. Now, it’s in a completely new, larger space connected to the main dining room. This translates to a wider selection of local wines plus hard-to-find and lesser-known wines from around the world. The wine inventory emphasizes small, family-run domains that employ organic practices. There are also wine-related gift items and chilled wine bottles available to go. In the future, they hope to create a lounge area with comfy chairs, Wi-Fi, and a library of wine books, where visitors would have the ability to relax and enjoy drinking wine during the day before the restaurant opens.

Wine Director John Locke, who has done a fantastic job overseeing the wine at Soif and sister restaurant La Posta for many years, will continue in his role. Retail Operations Manager Alyssa Twelker, who collaborates with Locke on Soif’s wine programs, received her sommelier certificate from the French Culinary Institute.

What has happened to the former retail shop space, you are wondering? That is now Soif’s bar area, where customers can purchase wine, local draft beer, and wine-based cocktails (think Spanish Rebujito with yuzu juice and cucumber or Chimera with fresh pluots and aperitif wine) — plus the full dining menu during the restaurant’s normal operating hours.

The bottom line: the new Soif seems destined for a fabulous future. “Great restaurants know when it’s time to mix things up a bit, and that’s exactly what we’ve done at Soif,” said Proprietor Patrice Boyle. “We’re so pleased to offer more variety in our dining and beverage menus for our loyal customers, and we hope, of course, that we meet new customers as a result.”

Details: Soif, 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
(831) 423-2020

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

A Santa Cruz foodie’s Carmel getaway: Hofsas House, Rio Grill, & 5th Ave. Deli

Breakfast at Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel

Breakfast at Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel

A piece of pork belly that tastes so sweet and addicting, it’s no wonder the appetizer is named after a legendary candy. Feeling heat beaming up through the floor tile, warming my bare feet. These are just two highlights from my recent overnight getaway from Santa Cruz to Carmel.

First, the lodging: I highly recommend Hofsas House Hotel, a Bavarian-inspired boutique inn. I stayed in a spacious, wonderful ocean-view room with a king bed, fireplace, and kitchenette. The room (#45) had quaint, pleasant furnishings and I was delightfully surprised at the size of the bathroom. The next morning, I toured several other guest rooms and they looked very comfortable. There are accommodations, even dog-friendly ones, ranging from a single-queen-bed room to cottages and a two-bedroom suite. Some of these are perfect for groups, whether it’s a couple families traveling together or a girls’ getaway. Hofsas House offers fun packages for family reunions and other group events, as well as a la carte selections like massages or local wine/cheese pairings.

The very reasonable room cost includes refreshing bath amenities like chamomile clove orange blossom bath gel, which I liked so much I tracked down where to buy a larger bottle for my own home.  There is complimentary continental breakfast, too. You can eat this in the hotel lobby’s cozy sitting area, or take food back to your room or to an outdoor deck. Breakfast features French Roast coffee, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, and pastries from Paris Bakery in Monterey. These baked goods, which include yummy, buttery croissants, are delivered fresh every day.

Hofsas House is walking distance from lots of restaurants, cafes/bakeries, and wineries. It’s also close to a park, the beach, and many other attractions. The hotel features dry saunas and a heated pool, which I didn’t get the chance to try, and lots of easy off-street parking. Only a few rooms have that luxurious heated bathroom floor I mentioned, but owner/general manager Carrie Theis says that as she renovates various rooms, the plan is to add more of these.

After relaxing in the hotel room, we decided to get in the car and drive to Rio Grill for dinner. There were many great-sounding options within walking distance, but I had tried Rio for a delicious lunch a few months ago and was excited to taste Chef Cy Yontz’s Southwestern Cuisine-themed dinner creations.

We had the privilege of being waited on by manager Joe Valencia, a consummate host who regaled us with entertaining stories and food recommendations. Thank goodness we listened to his suggestions; the thought of not getting to try the “Candied Swine Jolly Rancheros” makes my heart ache. It was THAT good. It’s a very popular appetizer that Yontz makes with pork belly. He’s a talented man with a smoker; the restaurant’s most popular entree is house-smoked half chicken with chile butter (the meat has been rubbed with annatto oil, garlic, and herbs, and smoked for four hours). My favorite dish from dinner, that I ordered based on Joe’s suggestion, was duck breast with tortilla-squash chilaquiles, Oaxacan mole rojo, and duck confit tamale. Every bite was nuanced with layers of flavor; you won’t be disappointed if you order this entrée! It’s no wonder that Yontz’s accolades include getting the award for 2015 Monterey County Celebrated Chef of the Year from the American Culinary Federation Monterey County Chamber.

The next morning, I enjoyed talking to Carrie Theis and learning more about the hotel’s history. She is a very gracious host who cares deeply about her guests’ comfort. Hofsas House has been in Carrie’s family for more than 60 years, and it’s obviously more than a job to her. Her grandmother, Donna Hofsas, established Hofsas House in the early 1950’s; at the time it was just a few cottages. Donna completed the first expansion in 1957, adding 25 rooms and a pool. As a child, Carrie spent summers in Carmel and got to help her grandmother behind the hotel’s front desk. Her journey has come full circle, as she returned to Hofsas House a few years ago and realized it’s her true calling.

After a leisurely morning in Carmel, we decided to stop and get sandwiches to go so we’d have lunch taken care of upon our return to Santa Cruz. Carrie recommended 5th Ave. Deli, and now I’m heartily passing that recommendation on to you. The service was extra-friendly, and the menu had something for everyone. Next time I visit, I plan to buy a few things before taking a picnic to Point Lobos. Delectable highlights from this lunch included edamame salad, and sandwiches with curry chicken salad and teriyaki salmon.

I had a wonderful time in Carmel, and I definitely suggest you visit this relaxing and beautiful town soon—it’s full of great food, friendly people, and so much more!

For more information:
www.hofsashouse.com / 831-624-2745 / San Carlos St. between 3rd & 4th Ave., Carmel
www.riogrill.com / 831-625-5436 / The Crossroads, Highway 1 at Rio Rd., Carmel
www.5thavedeli.com / 831-625-2688 / 5th Ave. between San Carlos & Dolores, Carmel

Event Santa Cruz hosts PopUp Santa Cruz Night

Food by Lionfish Supper Club, a participant at Event Santa Cruz: PopUp

Food by Lionfish Supper Club, a participant at Event Santa Cruz: PopUp

Matthew Swinnerton has done it again: he started Event Santa Cruz in September 2013 to tell stories about local businesses and the people behind them, and he’s been bringing our community fantastic monthly events—always sell-outs—ever since. The next one, “PopUp Santa Cruz Night,” is June 25 with eight speakers. Warning to all you foodies out there: tickets are almost gone.

The setting is An Epicurious Lifestyle, owned by Adrienne Megora and Marci Prolo—themselves speakers in last November’s ‘Edible Santa Cruz’ program from Event Santa Cruz. As Swinnerton has announced on the eventsantacruz.com site, Megora and Prolo are welcoming attendees into their kitchen “to sample delicious PopUps from all over Santa Cruz” before listening to the speakers, who are all part of the burgeoning Santa Cruz PopUp movement.

Scheduled speakers, in alphabetical order:

  • Matthew Armstrong – Mutari Chocolate
  • Elizabeth Birnbaum – Slow Food Santa Cruz
  • Austin Kaye – Back Porch
  • Charles Lambert – Ocean2Table
  • Zachary Mazi – Lionfish Supper Club
  • Noah Kopito – Mortal Dumpling
  • Ty Pearce – Ty’s Eatery
  • Justin Williams – Kickin Chicken

Lionfish’s Zachary Mazi recently came across some intriguing statistics from Eventbrite: “In 2014, PopUp dining events enjoyed the largest growth of any type of ticketed event, with an 82% increase in attendance and sales,” Mazi shares. “Following closely on the heels and coming in second on growth was Communal Dining events, at around 64% growth.” One reason Mazi cites for his excitement about participating in Event Santa Cruz: PopUp: “…we are riding a national wave of the changing face of dining, and it feels like Santa Cruz really has a lead on this particular growing industry.”

Mazi likes being able to have a dialogue with the local foodie community. “Foodies should know that connecting back to the source of our food is the most important step anyone can take in their eating habits,” he says. “For me, that includes growing your own food, foraging, understanding your local food history and your current agricultural surroundings.  LionFish strives to bring these factors to full attention with every meal we craft.”

Ty Pearce is very enthusiastic about the June 25 event. “It brings exposure to a lot of great PopUps, and gives each of us the opportunity to explain why we are going on this journey in the PopUp world.” I met Pearce a few weeks ago when I ate his delicious food at the weekly Wednesday night Food Lounge PopUp, and it’s obvious how much care goes into his creations. “I take the time to source organic wholesome ingredients that make delicious comfort food that is sold at a fair price,” he says. “My menu can be completely customized to each individual’s lifestyle needs.”

Speaker Justin Williams, chef and co-owner of Kickin Chicken, is looking forward to the event. “This is a great opportunity to talk about how late-night food doesn’t have to be subpar,” says Williams. “We strive to deliver the undeliverable!”

Back Porch owner/chef Austin Kaye is honored that he was included in this program. “I enjoy being part of an event that explores the pop-up scene in Santa Cruz, with an emphasis on community and collaboration, rather than competition,” shares Kaye. “I can’t wait to talk about something that I care so much about!” Back Porch has just acquired a food trailer, and on the evening of June 25 Kaye will be revealing its menu and its late summer locations.

Matthew Armstrong, Mutari Chocolate co-founder, also looks forward to speaking to local food fans June 25. “The way we make and deliver our chocolate has always been something exciting to speak about,” says Armstrong. “We are doing something both new and traditional, that also carries my own personal adventure. Armstrong is very excited to hear from “others in the community who have their own stories of inspiration.”

Slow Food Santa Cruz Board Chair Elizabeth Birnbaum is thrilled to be included in Event Santa Cruz’s PopUp Night. “I am the only woman in the speaker line-up, and the only non-chef/food producer. I am also the only non-business-owner of the group, but I am always creating food-based projects and am presently working to build a business.” Birnbaum has collaborated with some of the other speakers—including Mutari, LionFish, and Mortal Dumpling. “They are all awesome and I am inspired by working with them!”

“Being the only non-chef, I have an interesting opportunity to cross over between the chefs and food producers, and help support them all by creating events,” Birnbaum adds. “I consider myself an event producer and community organizer. I especially love creating space for food literacy education. I have been able to do this for work and for fun, which is really incredible.”

Tickets are only $15; purchase tickets online at eventsantacruz.com. There are only 38 tickets left as of Sunday morning, June 14.  There are also a limited number of “annual passes” available for $75. This grants pass-holders admission to 12 consecutive months of events, through June 2016.

For more information call 831-332-8677. Ian Janco is the evening’s musical guest.


Thursday, June 25, 2015
6 p.m. doors open, and food will be served from most of the speakers
7 p.m. speakers begin

Location: An Epicurious Lifestyle, 104 Bronson St. Suite 13, Santa Cruz

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Artisan Food Market: Farmer Freed culinary salts, oysters, & other local treats

Spice It Up Salt from Farmer Freed, a vendor at the inaugural Artisan Food Market Photo credit: Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends

Spice It Up Salt from Farmer Freed, a vendor at the inaugural Artisan Food Market
Photo credit: Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends

Farmer Freed culinary salts and Belle Farms olive oil to enhance your cooking, Mortal Dumpling dim sum and comfort food from Kickin Chicken to provide a delicious easy dinner: these are just a few examples of what will be available at the debut Artisan Market this Friday afternoon and evening at the Food Lounge. See the full list below, and keep reading for more details.

The Food Lounge’s Andrea Molleanauer describes the inaugural Artisan Market as ‘farmers market meets cocktail hour.’ She encourages attendees to stop by whether they want to stock up on delicious food and supplies for the weekend, sit and have a drink after work or grab a snack from one of the pop up vendors. It’s family-friendly, and bound to be a unique, fun event. I know I am excited, what with the wonderful space at the new venue and all the fabulous local food artisans that are participating.

Emily Freed of Farmer Freed is also excited. “Farmer Freed is thrilled to be a vendor at the Inaugural Artisan Food Market because this event will create an opportunity for farmers and local food entrepreneurs (both grassroots and established) to gather together and sell their wares to Santa Cruz community members who are interested in supporting local food related businesses,” Freed shared.  “There are so many wonderful people making exceptional food products in the area…I hope there is a lot of cross pollination between vendors, consumers, and tourists at the event, and that the community comes out to support their fellow artisans who work so hard to produce unique food products.”

At Friday’s market, CardamomTuesday’s Naomi Woldemar will be pouring tastes of “The Dirigible,” described as a Negroni-like craft cocktail made with the company’s new Bitter Orange Chocolate Elixir. Like many of the participating Artisan Market vendors, CardamomTuesday is a Food Lounge tenant, using their incubator kitchen. Woldemar will also be selling her CardamomTuesday Elixirs (natural syrups) at the event. These are house made from real food ingredients like green cardamom, Maturi cacao nibs, organic bitter orange, gentian, and saffron. They can be used to sweeten coffee, cocktails, sparkling water, and even be used as marinade for fish.

Friend In Cheeses Jam Company will be debuting their “Drought Responsible Project utilizing either dry farmed or low water need crops to help preserve our precious resources with jars of love.” Tabitha Stroup announced on Facebook that they will be serving Dirty Shirley Cocktails with Pinot Cherries.

This is the first of a planned monthly event. The second one will be Friday, July 10.

Vendors with packaged or fresh foods

  • Belle Farms Olive Oil
  • CardamomTuesday Elixirs
  • Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends
  • Fish Princess Farms
  • Fogline Farm
  • Friend In Cheeses Jam Company
  • La Onda Sauces
  • Mäkse Bar
  • Ocean2Table
  • Squash & Blossom Alternative Flour Bakery

Vendors with grab n go foods

  • Kickin Chicken
  • La Marea Oyster Bar
  • LionFish SupperClub
  • Mutari Hot Chocolate
  • Mortal Dumpling
  • Melissa’s Mexican Tamales


  • MJA Vineyards
  • Tanuki Cider

Where: Food Lounge, 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz
When: Friday, June 12, 2-7 p.m.
For more info, see facebook.com/scfoodlounge

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Mortal Dumpling returns to POPUP & Assembly now open Mondays

Mortal Dumpling’s chicken curry bao Photo credit: Mortal Dumpling Facebook page

Mortal Dumpling’s chicken curry bao
Photo credit: Mortal Dumpling Facebook page

There are a couple bits of news related to downtown Santa Cruz’s Assembly and its neighbor, POPUP.

First: Chef Noah Kopito’s Mortal Dumpling is returning to POPUP on Thursdays beginning tomorrow, June 11! As you may recall, these delights were first available for Thursday lunch at POPUP in May 2014, but they took a hiatus earlier this year when they moved their production from Front St. Kitchen to Food Lounge. Along with past favorites (garlic green beans, pork or tofu bao, etc.), you can expect to see new bao flavors such as chicken curry, and accompaniments such as sticky rice in lotus leaves and fried taro puffs.

Lunch is 11:30am-2pm Thursdays. POPUP is located at 1108 Pacific Ave. (next door to Assembly) in Downtown Santa Cruz. Learn more at heypopup.com. Zach Davis and Kendra Baker, who run Assembly, launched POPUP in April 2014.

Next, Assembly is opening its doors on Mondays beginning June 15. They will be serving lunch and dinner on Mondays, so they will now be open six days a week (closed Tuesdays).   Discussing the decision to be open on Mondays, Davis shared “The goal is to get a little playful, make it the day to break the mold a bit and do some fun specials.”

Visit assembleforfood.com for more details. They are located at 1108 Pacific Ave., 831-824-6100.

Davis and Baker opened Assembly in March 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights including Sabieng opening Marina location

Noni's Frittata from Surf City Sandwich.  Photo credit: Surf City Sandwich Facebook page

Noni’s Frittata from Surf City Sandwich.
Photo credit: Surf City Sandwich Facebook page

Here is some restaurant news for Santa Cruz and other local areas. Have some food/restaurant/wine/culinary event news to share with me? Please write me at tfatemi@gmail.com.

Surf City Sandwich opened in late April. All their sandwiches are served with housemade potato chips. Sandwiches include Napa Grilled Chicken with grilled chicken salad, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, melted brie, and organic spring mix on grilled Francese; Surf City Banh Mi with Vietnamese style skirt steak, pickled cucumber, carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, mayo, and Sriracha on sweet baguette; and Noni’s Frittata (a special featured last month) with zucchini, spinach and marinated artichoke hearts, baked with eggs, cream, cheddar, Parmesan and fresh thyme, served with mayo, pickle, tomato and spring mix on ciabatta roll. Other selections include Caesar salad with organic romaine, housemade croutons, shredded Parmesan, and creamy Caesar dressing (option to add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp brochette), and a kids’ menu that includes PB&J, grilled cheese, and tater tots. There is a rotating wine and beer menu. Current beer on tap includes Corralitos Brewing’s Belgian Wheat and Uncle Dave’s Rye IPA from Discretion Brewing.
Visit surfcitysandwich.com
Location: 4101 Soquel Drive (in the new Soquel Tower plaza at the north end of 41st Ave.), Santa Cruz
(831) 346-6952

Santa Cruz Food Lounge got a few new tenants, and some of its existing tenants began regular or semi-regular service. Details:

  • Ty’s Eatery: pop-up brunch every Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (dishes include chilaquiles, pancakes, and omelettes) AND pop-up dinner every Wednesday 5-9 p.m. (dishes include Moroccan chicken, broccolini with lemon/toasted garlic/chili flakes, and Live Earth Farm beet salad with citrus)
  • Kickin Chicken: pop-up dinner selected Sundays 5-9p.m. Dishes include fried chicken and cornbread waffles.
  • Mortal Dumpling: pop-up dinner every Monday 5:30-9p.m. Dishes include steamed or fried dumplings (fillings like chicken/cilantro), garlic green beans, and pork bao.

See my February restaurant news article if you missed original details on the new Food Lounge and the first tenant that was opening there, the Chocolate House operated by Mutari Hot Chocolate.
Visit facebook.com/scfoodlounge for details on the Food Lounge AND the individual businesses
Location: 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

New Bohemia Brewing Company (or Nubo for short) opened in late March. As their web site says, they make many different kinds of beer but “specialize in brewing European-style craft lagers.” They usually have eight beers on tap. Customers can select from a few snacks that are designed to complement the beer, and these all feature local products including bread from Companion Bakeshop (Rustic Bread Board, which also has churned butter and Hawaiian lava sea salt) and Friend in Cheeses Jam Company (Three Blind Mice Board, which has four cheeses and other items like seasonal Friend in Cheeses spreads).  In May, Nubo started weekly event nights: Monday has happy hour prices all night long, Tuesday is trivia & growler night, and Wednesday offers live acoustic music.
Visit nubobrew.com
Location: 1030 41st Ave., Santa Cruz
(831) 350-0253

Main Street Burgers and Brews opened in Watsonville in April, after a postponement from their projected Fall 2014 opening. They offer several burger varieties, hot dogs, and sandwiches like BLTs and grilled cheese. They also feature about a dozen beers on tap.
Visit watsonvilleburgers.com
Location: 1116 Main St., Watsonville
(831) 536-4632

Opening in the Future
Although it’s not in Santa Cruz, it has a Santa Cruz connection: Anna (Nicharat) Sawadpeera used to operate Thai restaurant D’Anna Thai in Marina. She closed that restaurant to open Ginger Thai Kitchen in Salinas at the end of May. Owners of Santa Cruz’s Sabieng Thai and Scotts Valley’s Kao Sook, including Thailand native Wanlop Kachinthorn, are opening a new restaurant in the former D’Anna Thai location at 210 Reindollar Ave. Their new venture will be called Coconut Thai Kitchen and they hope to be open by July.

Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar ‘n’ Eatery is opening a Pleasure Point location at 3617B Portola Drive. The company already has locations in Salinas, Seaside, Marina and Prunedale (the latter just opened in May). They will soon have a second Salinas express location (juice only). At traditional locations, there are many cold-pressed organic juices made with fruits and/or vegetables for sale, plus a small selection of food. Visit perfectlypressedjuice.com.

Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant has been closed for several weeks for renovations. They are re-opening this Thursday, June 4.
Location: 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
(831) 423-2020

Two venues in Capitola recently closed:
Tony & Alba’s on 41st closed May 30 after losing their lease. The rumor is that a new brewery is taking over the spot.
Carl’s Jr. at the Capitola Mall has closed.

Zizzo’s Coffee
in Capitola—at Brown Ranch Marketplace adjacent to Trader Joe’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond—added a wine bar and became Zizzo’s Coffee, Wine & Piano Bar
Learn details at zizzoscoffee.com

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz’s Chaminade serves up new season of Farm to Table Wine Dinners

A scene from Chaminade’s 2014 Farm to Table Dinner Series. Photo credit: Chaminade Facebook page

A scene from Chaminade’s 2014 Farm to Table Dinner Series. Photo credit: Chaminade Facebook page

Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner series, which features very fresh items from local farms plus delectable libations from Central Coast wineries, is starting soon. Want to whet your appetite? Read my recap of 2014’s opening night feast.

2015 Chaminade dinner dates:

  • June 26: Martin Ranch Winery, Coke Farms, Black Hen Farm
  • July 24: Storrs Winery, Fiesta Farm
  • August 21: Morgan Winery, LeftCoast GrassFed
  • September 25: Summit to Sea Wineries, Everett Family Farm
  • October 30: Alfaro Winery, Route 1 Farms

The cost is $110 per person and that includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception), a seated five-course dinner at 6:30 p.m., and wine (served at reception AND dinner). Tax and gratuity are excluded. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit web site for details, including links to the wineries and farms that are being showcased. The specific menu is posted as each event draws near.

Chef Kirsten Ponza promises an exciting season. “We are very excited to be welcoming a new farm Pescadero called LeftCoast GrassFed,” says Ponza. “Also, Rebecca King will be coming back this year with her Garden Variety Cheeses.” I’m a big fan of Garden Variety Cheese; if you haven’t yet tried King’s products, or even if you have, I can only imagine the scrumptious and creative ways that Ponza will incorporate them into her menu! Chef Ponza hasn’t yet decided which night she will feature these, but when she does, it will be posted on the Chaminade site.

For people visiting from another town who want to stay overnight—or for locals interested in a fun “staycation,” the Chaminade offers Farm to Table culinary packages that include overnight accommodations for two, Farm to Table dinner for two, and breakfast for two.

Chaminade’s first Farm to Table Wine Dinner was held in 2008 with only a dozen guests. Now each event draws dozens of guests, and usually sells out quite a while ahead of time.

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The Details
Farm to Table Dinner Series
Monthly, June through October 2015: Selected Fridays at 6 p.m.
Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
(831) 475-5600
$110 per person