Valentine’s Day and discounts at Santa Cruz’s Chaminade Resort & Spa

Rose geranium body polish: part of a Valentine’s Day spa package at Chaminade

Rose geranium body polish: part of a Valentine’s Day spa package at Chaminade

Chaminade is a wonderful setting for Valentine’s Day dinner, an overnight stay, a spa treatment, or all of the above. They’ve got some special offers right now; here are a few highlights.

Seafood-themed buffet
For Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, Executive Chef Kirsten Ponza and her culinary team are offering an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner with lots of seafood from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Enjoy items like Monterey Bay calamari, a variety of shrimp, ahi sashimi, assorted sushi, cracked crab, oysters, and a smoked seafood platter. A selection of hot entrees such as rotisserie chicken and pasta with porcini crème and wild mushrooms will also be served. There will be New England and Manhattan clam chowders as well. Last but by no means least is dessert. Chaminade is renowned for its decadent, always-scrumptious sweets, and there will be NY cheesecake, Bananas Foster, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and more. The Valentine’s buffet price is $120 per person inclusive and each guest receives a glass of sparkling wine. Reservations are required at or 831-475-5600.

Don’t forget, the Chaminade offers a great brunch buffet every Sunday (including this year’s Valentine’s Day) from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $30.95 for adults, $17.95 for kids 6-12, plus tax/gratuity. Reservations are available by phone or online.

An Affair to Remember
Through February 29, Chaminade is offering a special package for two that includes overnight accommodations at 10% off the best available rate, two glasses of wine and an appetizer to share at Linwood’s Bar & Grill, and wine tasting for two at wineries MJA Vineyards and Beauregard Vineyards. Blackout dates apply. Package prices start at $219. For reservations or more information call 800-283-6569 or visit the web site.

Spa Valentine’s Packages
The Spa at Chaminade has created two different Valentine’s packages, both available until Feb. 29. For reservations and information call The Spa at Chaminade at 831-465-3465. When enjoying spa treatments at The Spa at Chaminade, guests can relax before and/or after on the spa’s peaceful patio with a rock waterfall and a beautiful view of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I took time to tour the patio recently, and it was divine.

  • The Be My Valentine spa package includes a 75-minute rose geranium body polish, a glass of sparkling wine, and chocolate-covered strawberries made on-site. Cost is $216 inclusive.
  • The Valentine for Two package features an 80-minute side-by-side couples massage, a split of sparkling wine, and chocolate-covered strawberries.  Cost is $405 inclusive.

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Chaminade location: One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Valentine’s Day dinner and hotel/spa discounts at Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

If you’re looking for a getaway for Valentine’s Day, the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey has packages available—and they’re good all the way through March—or you can just choose to dine there for a romantic and delicious dinner. Here are highlights of their offerings.

Valentine’s Dinner at Jacks Restaurant
For Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, Jacks Restaurant’s executive chef Jason Giles is serving a four-course dinner for two for $99. The meal includes a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for each person. Reservations are required at 831-649-7874.

  • First course: smoked serrano & chicken boudine with lemon spätzle chimichurri sauce and a micro green salad
  • Second course: choice of butter lettuce salad with roasted beets, candied pecans, glacier bleu cheese, and a port vinaigrette or lobster bisque with brioche croutons and crème fraîche
  • Third course: choice of petite filet mignon with grilled rosemary gulf prawns served over parmesan-whipped potatoes and asparagus; sesame and black pepper crusted ahi tuna served over cashew rice with a broccolini sauté; mesquite roasted chicken breast served with a cherry & faro ragout, organic spinach topped with a sherry vinegar butter sauce; roasted beet ravioli chive and white wine sauce with shaved parmesan
  • Fourth course: white and dark chocolate mousse filled tulips with fresh raspberries and a vanilla crème anglaise

Romance for Two Package
Through March 31, the hotel is offering a special package starting at $199 that includes overnight accommodations for two, warm homemade chocolate chip cookies at check-in, a bottle of Piper-Sonoma sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and use of the 24-hour fitness center plus the pool, Jacuzzi, and poolside cabanas. Blackout dates apply.  For reservations or information call 888-222-5851.

Spa Packages
The hotel’s Spa on the Plaza is offering a couple of Valentine’s specials; see details below. For reservations call the spa at 831-647-9000.

  • Aromatherapy Massage with a Hydrating Facial & private tub, 110 minutes / $175 (valued at $245)
  • Symphony Massage with a Spa Pedicure, 1.5 hours / $159 (valued at $180)

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay location: 201 Alvarado Street, Monterey

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Wine, cider, sweets, makeup & mini-makeovers at Whole Foods Market on the Peninsula

Customer Gillian from Barre3 Los Altos, who received a mini makeover from Whole Foods Market staff member Kiara (Los Altos Whole Body Assistant Team Leader)

Customer Gillian from Barre3 Los Altos, who received a mini makeover from Whole Foods Market staff member Kiara (Los Altos Whole Body Assistant Team Leader)

Whole Foods Market on the Peninsula is hosting “Natural Glow, Makeup and Pampering” during the next two weekends, Saturday and Sunday Jan. 23-24 and Jan. 30-31, 2016. See end of article for various locations’ dates and times.

The events, which take place at four stores (a different one each day), include free mini-makeovers, free goody bags, and refreshments. Makeup artists from Gabriel Cosmetics/Zuzu will be available at all four events. Artists from Dr. Hauschka will be at three locations: all but San Mateo. Artists from Mineral Fusion will be visiting just the Los Altos and San Mateo stores.

For the mini-makeovers, reservations are recommended but not required. These are available through customer service at each store location. Another bonus: during the pampering events, customers can participate in a special “do-it-yourself aromatherapy activity” by Aura Cacia at each store.

The makeup/pampering series leads up to Whole Foods Market’s annual pre-Valentine’s sale during Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb. 12-14), when all makeup and lip balm is discounted by 25%. Individuals who take part during the next two weekends can place pre-orders at the events. If you can’t make the events, you can also visit the stores anytime between Jan. 27-Feb. 11 for the pre-sale.

In terms of refreshments, the Palo Alto store will have complimentary sparkling rose and chocolate truffle samples available. Los Altos will offer hard cider samples with cheese pairings, plus coconut bites by Wonderfully Raw. The store will also be featuring free chair massages.  Redwood City will be serving a few appetizer platters plus healthy “superfood” tonics. San Mateo will have wine samples, and possibly cheese.

Curious about what else the markets are featuring during this series? Many other sales are occurring at the same time. For example, organic blueberries are on sale for $3.99, organic Opal apples are $1.99/lb., and Saffron Road frozen entrees are 2 for $7 — all through Jan. 26. Then, from Jan. 29-31, hair care and color products are discounted by 25% at WFM locations in Northern California.

Store details including event times and days

  • Whole Foods Market Palo Alto: Saturday, January 23, 11am – 2pm, 774 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
  • Whole Foods Market Los Altos: Sunday, January 24, 1– 4pm, 4800 El Camino Real, Los Altos
  • Whole Foods Market Redwood City: Saturday, Jan 30, 1-4pm, 1250 Jefferson Avenue, Redwood City
  • Whole Foods Market San Mateo: Sunday, Jan 31, 1– 4pm, 1010 Park Place, San Mateo

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Saratoga’s Mountain Winery serves up crab feed

Crab at the 2015 Mountain Winery crab feed

Crab at the 2015 Mountain Winery crab feed

The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is dishing up its delicious annual all-you-can-eat crab feed on Sunday, January 31. The cost is $100 for adults, $46 for kids 3-11, and free for kids under 3. Tickets cost a bit more than last year since the crab is being brought in from Oregon due to California’s crab shortage. Advance online ticket purchase is required. Parking is free.

The event takes place at the winery’s Historic Winery Building. Tickets include fresh crab from Oregon (choice of cold and/or hot) plus pasta, garlic bread, salad, and dessert. Beverages will be sold separately, and gratuity is not included. When buying tickets, attendees can choose a 4 p.m., 5 p.m., or 6 p.m. seating. But that doesn’t mean you only have an hour to eat. For example, if you choose 4, you can stay until the end. The separate seatings and staggered arrival times are for the purpose of eliminating long lines.

Dinner guests will enjoy live music by acoustic rock/pop band “Hootenanny!” (that’s not a typo, their name actually has an exclamation point in it). For those who will be attending for the first time, know that the event’s atmosphere is fun, casual and comfortable. I enjoyed it tremendously last year. Bon Appetit!

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The Details
Crab Feed
Sunday Jan. 31, 4-8 p.m.
Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Rd., Saratoga
$100 for adults; $46 for kids 3-11

Santa Cruz chocolate festival has sweet cause

Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting at the 2015 Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting at the 2015 Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 9th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival is Sunday, January 17, and there will be delicious sweets with a delicious cause: UC Santa Cruz scholarships. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings together about two dozen vendors. See complete list. Participants include local confectioners and bakers like Ashby Confections, Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting, and Pure Heart Chocolate; restaurants like India Joze; and companies like MÄKSĒ Gourmet Rice Crisp Bars, My Mom’s Mole, and Nut Kreations. Wineries include Burrell School Winery and Vineyard and Sones Cellars, and breweries include Highway 1 Brewing Company.

Each food vendor will have treats such as truffles, cupcakes, or ice cream available in exchange for a tasting ticket. Buy tasting tickets at the event (admission is free) or online. Each $15 purchase gets you six chocolate or wine tastes.

There will be live music and a silent auction. Attendees can enjoy activities like cupcake decorating ($4) and face painting (prices vary depending on artist). Select booths will sell chocolate products like Valentine-themed gift boxes.

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans).

The UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women from both the campus and local communities, presents the chocolate festival. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 37 years the club has awarded over 340 scholarships totaling nearly $250,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Sunday, January 17, 2016 from 1-4pm

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Scotts Valley Beatles-themed Sunday brunch with Food Trucks A Go Go

Acai Cup by Aunt LaLi, a featured item at Sunday’s Beatles Brunch

Acai Cup by Aunt LaLi, a featured item at Sunday’s Beatles Brunch

Food Trucks A Go Go is hosting a Beatles Brunch on Sunday, Jan. 10 at Skypark in Scotts Valley. It’s the latest installment for the fun monthly food truck series that LaLi Kates of Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Cafe launched in September. Save the date for February’s event—it’s going to be Sunday brunch on Feb. 21 at Skypark. Details will be announced soon.

On Sunday, Jan. 10, brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Food vendors include Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Café, Ate3One, G’s Tacos, and India Gourmet. In case of rain, the event will be canceled and rescheduled.

When asked what her inspiration was for creating this month’s new theme, Aunt LaLi replied, “I wanted to create a twist (and shout) for this month’s Go Go Brunch and pairing Beatles music with delicious brunch items seemed like a good fit!” She says that the food vendors are excited and are creating unique items for Sunday. Want a preview? How about cold poached salmon with champagne dill sauce, cucumber, local mixed greens and a buttermilk biscuit; a Huevos Rancheros sandwich; breakfast burritos; a bacon-eggs-pancake combo; samosa sliders; a large selection of naan (garlic, onion, and more) served with garbanzo beans and chutney; chai tea, and mango lassis.

Aunt LaLi’s will be selling espresso drinks, affogatos, and acai cups (see photo above). Aunt LaLi says these cups contain strawberries and bananas mixed with acai (from delicious Brazilian Amazon fruits packed with powerful antioxidants and healthy omegas), then topped with strawberries, bananas and granola.

There will be lots of seating available at picnic tables throughout Skypark. Attendees can enjoy Beatles music while they dine. LaLi says the playlist with “classics” will include Loaf Me Do, Lucy in the Fries with Diamonds, I Wanna Hold Your Ham, Lettuce Be, and Ate Days A Week.

Location: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz’s Food Lounge: three upcoming events

Chocolates from Ashby Confections, one of the vendors at Food Lounge’s Artisan Market

Chocolates from Ashby Confections, one of the vendors at Food Lounge’s Artisan Market

Santa Cruz’s Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. is hosting many upcoming events in the near future. Here are details for three in the next week; the dates are Jan. 8, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15.

Friday, Jan 8: Food Lounge’s Artisan Food Market
From 4-8 p.m., the Food Lounge is the site of the Artisan Food Market, described as ‘farmers market meets cocktail hour.’ There will be several local food artisans and pop-up vendors, with an emphasis on prepared foods this time (lots of opportunities for purchasing food to eat on-site or to take home). There will also be local wine and beer, and cocktails—and the Food Lounge has announced that later in January, they will be adding artisan cocktails to the regular bar menu. Vendors will include longtime market participant Ashby Confections, Zocalo Gourmet Tamales, LionFish SupperClub, My Mom’s Mole, Ocean2Table Sustainable Seafood, Hand Made Meat Pies, and Hidden Fortress Farm (locally roasted coffee, hot drinks, and more). The band Wild Iris will perform. The Artisan Market series, which began last June, is held the second Friday of each month.

Tuesday, Jan 12: LionFish SupperClub’s Ramen Popup
From 5-9 p.m., LionFish SupperClub is hosting its first Tasty Tuesday of 2016. This one will focus on ramen. They promise three different ramen choices plus some side dishes and dessert. Traditionally, LionFish creates dishes for a popup every Tuesday night. They often rotate cuisines on a monthly. In 2015, customers got to visit places like India and Thailand through their delicious menus.

Friday, Jan 15: Ocean2table’s Pescetarian Popup
From 5:30-8:30 p.m., Ocean2table is holding a “Pescetarian” Popup dinner with a la carte items available for purchase. The main ingredients will be sourced from no further away than 50 miles from Santa Cruz. Their partners for the dinner are Fogline Farm, Lionfish SupperClub, and Crescent Farm. Charlie Lambert and Ian Cole started Santa Cruz-based Ocean2table as a company that provides sustainably harvested fresh seafood to the local community. Last April they launched a popup dinner series with the goal of encouraging community support for local, sustainable food.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

San Francisco restaurant highlights for New Year’s Eve 2015-16


Central Kitchen in San Francisco

It’s almost New Year’s Eve 2015-2016! If you’re planning to dine in San Francisco, here are a few restaurant highlights.

Inspired by the New Year’s tradition of Spain in which twelve grapes are eaten at midnight in sequence with each bell strike, Aatxe is creating a special $95 menu of 12 offerings featuring grapes. Guests will be greeted by an introduction bite, followed by a set of three pintxos, five tapas such as Cana de Cabra with sultana membrillo, persimmon, grape-nuts, grape lees cured salmon with arbequina, celery root, kale, and Ajo Blanco Raw Scallops with pickled green grapes, jalapeño, and a plated entree before finishing with a palate cleaner and individual dessert. Reservations can be made via OpenTable or via phone at 415-471-2977.

This New Year’s Eve, A16 will ring in 2016 with truffles, lobster, and the requisite lentils for good fortune! With lovingly selected wine pairings from wine director/owner Shelley Lindgren, chef Rocky Maselli will prepare a multi-course feast promising traditional Southern Italian cuisine and a bountiful party including selections like Cioppino with lobster, clams, mussels, black cod, potato, fennel, and tomato and Baked Cannelloni with lamb sausage sugo, rapini, pecorino, and fried senise peppers. This special Southern Italian feast will be offered at $110 per person with truffle supplements and wine pairing options available. Reservations can be made by visiting the website or calling 415-771-2216.

Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco
Chef Daniel Corey collaborates with Beverage Manager Marissa Payne on a festive menu to ring in the New Year!  Luce invites guest to build their own three-course menu with wine pairings. Highlights include baked potato mousse, crispy sweetbreads, onions cooked in port wine, truffle with grosjean, ‘Vigne Tzeriat,’ Pinot Noir, Vallée d’Aoste, Italy, 2012; Dungeness crab & cauliflower, winter citrus, crab vinaigrette paired with Edwards, Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, 2013; filet of certified angus beef & glazed short rib, fermented black garlic, red Russian kale with Justin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2013; and duck breast, poached & roasted, chestnuts in honey, quince, local mushrooms with Paolo Scavino, Langhe, Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2012. Dinner is $95 per person and $140 with wine pairing, excluding tax and gratuity. Children ages 4–12 are $45. For reservations visit OpenTable. Call 415-616-6566 for more information.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins-New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
From 7:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. NYE, enjoy a special reception, entertainment, dinner, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight at at Top of the Mark. Start your evening with champagne and hors d’oeuvres including assorted caviar, ceviche shooter, 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 Rose 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 style ranges from jazz to rock. Formal dress is required. Regular reservations are $400 per person; window seating is $450 per person. Reservations required. Please call 415-616-6941.

On New Year’s Day, a special brunch at Top of the Mark will go from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Chef Nenad Stefanovic will be serving up a variety of brunch items from an omelet and waffle station, small plates and antipastos featuring lobster medallions with spiced mango-ginger gazpacho, assorted maki sushi rolls, local and international cheeses, charcuterie with homemade pates, and a selection of salads. Stefanovic will prepare entrees and roasts including braised beef short rib with root vegetables and natural jis and stuffed free range chicken breast with pine nuts, spinach, goat cheese and red wine chicken jus. Pianist Michael Athens will provide the tunes for New Year’s Day guests. Brunch is $109 per adult and $59 per child (ages 4 – 12). Reservations are required at 415-616-6941.

Nob Hill Club at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
This will be an evening of California wines and bites prepared by Chef Nenad Stefanovic. The four-course meal at Nob Hill Club at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins includes  lobster shooter; seared scallop with horseradish salsify crème, mizuna pesto, and rainbow carrot chipsl and filet mignon with smoked corttin de chavignol, pepper chimichurri, sweet potato gnocchi and baby romanesco; and poached rubarb, marscapone, hibiscus ice cream, and gin & tonic syrup. Throughout the evening guests can enjoy songs from the Al Marshall Trio. New Year’s Eve Dinner at Nob Hill Club is $79 per adult, $99 per adult with wine pairing and $49 per child (ages 4-12). Call 415-392-3434 for reservations.

Foreign Cinema
This New Year’s Eve, Foreign Cinema will be celebrating with a Belle Époque themed celebration with a champagne toast and a “Golden Age” a la carte dinner menu (priced at $120 per guest) from the 20th Century American Brasserie movement. Period attire is welcome, but not essential. Festivities begin at 5:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended at 415-648-7600.

Chef Thomas McNaughton of flour+water presents a festive five-course tasting menu for $95 per person highlighting the best of the season. Optional wine pairings begin at $70 per person. Spaces available online and subject to availability. Not seeing what you are looking for? Try asking for seats at the bar and communal table by reaching out to the reservationist at or calling 415-826-7000.

central kitchen
Central Kitchen is another one of Chef Thomas McNaughton’s restaurants. There will be a six-course tasting menu created by Chef Thomas McNaughton for $125 per person and optional wine pairings beginning at $75 per person. Reservations can be made online or by calling 415-826-7004. As of Dec. 29 there were still reservations available. A sample tasting menu features dishes such as truffle canapés; California sturgeon with caviar, cauliflower, preserved lemon and seeded sourdough; bruleed onion consomme with leek,  wagon wheel and bone marrow brioche; Matsutaki mushroom and sunflower porridge with foie gras and huckleberry; beef with sunchoke fonduta and cabbage; and chocolate custard.

Presidio Social Club
The restaurant is offering a special a la carte dinner menu. Dishes at Presidio Social Club will include seafood items like caviar deviled eggs, a petite Maine lobster roll, and local sea urchin on toasted rye. A selection of first courses will include a Sonoma foie gras torchon and hearts of palm and winter grapefruit salad. Main courses will include a variety of sea, land, and vegetarian options, such as oven-roasted Alaskan true cod, roasted Sonoma lamb, and cardamom roasted butternut squash. Live music will be playing all evening long. Call 415-885-1888 or visit OpenTable.

The restaurant serves progressive Italian cuisine in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. SPQR will host a special New Year’s Eve dinner where chef Matthew Accarrino will prepare a six-course tasting menu for $160 with optional wine pairings from wine director Shelley Lindgren for $80. Reservations are required and can be made through OpenTable or by calling 415-771-7779.

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

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 12: Win Roots & Rye gift certificate

Candy bar waffles at Roots & Rye weekend brunch

Candy bar waffles at Roots & Rye weekend brunch

It’s Day 12, the last day of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize: the chance to win 1 of 2 gift certificates valid at Roots & Rye on Santana Row in San Jose. See end of article for how to enter.

Roots & Rye opened in July. The gastropub is located at 3055 Olin Ave., Ste. 1005. Chef Chris Yeo, chef and owner at restaurants Straits and Sino on Santana Row, is also behind Roots & Rye.

For dinner on New Year’s Eve, Roots & Rye will be serving a four-course prix fixe $80 menu as well as the regular menu. They are doing a time capsule theme that night; it’s the 1930s. Sino Restaurant’s theme will be the 1960s and Straits will be doing the 80’s (these two restaurants won’t have prix fixe options; regular dinner items and specials will be available).

For all three restaurants, if you’d like to make reservations for the lounge, you can do this if you’re requesting bottle service—this is spirits delivered to the table—it’s a minimum $500 purchase. For Roots & Rye dinner or lounge reservations call 408-429-2909 or email For Straits, call 408-246-6320 & for Sino call 408-247-8880.

Roots & Rye serves lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunch—when dishes include candy bar waffles and duck confit hash—on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Current dinner dishes include Parmesan fries with truffle aioli, housemade pasta, day boat scallops with kohlrabi puree and buttered kohlrabi, and burrata salad (the latter two are also available at lunch). Current lunch-only items include grilled cheese sandwich with spicy tomato bisque.  The happy hour menu includes deviled eggs and oysters.

Roots & Rye prides itself on a wide whiskey selection. Approximately 20 choices include Angels Envy, Eagle rare 10-yr, and E.H. Taylor Bonded Rye. They have a large wine and beer selection including a dozen draft beers such as Ten Barrel Apocalypse Double IPA and St. Bernardus. Signature cocktails include Churchill Downs with bourbon, strawberry aquavit, lemon, green cardamom and fever tree ginger beer. The gastropub features live jazz every Wednesday and Thursday night from 8-11 p.m. and DJs every Friday and Saturday from 9pm-midnight.

There will be two winners: first place will win a gift certificate for one visit (up to $125 value) and second place will receive a certificate for brunch for two with a value of up to $50.

To enter, email your name to by 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 26 and include the name “Roots & Rye.” The drawing will take place later that day and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 11: Win $50 for Big Fish Grill in Monterey

Big Fish Grill serves fresh seafood on Monterey's Fisherman Wharf

Big Fish Grill serves fresh seafood on Monterey’s Fisherman Wharf

It’s Day 11 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $50 gift certificate for Big Fish Grill in Monterey. See end of article for how to enter.

Big Fish Grill will be closed on Christmas Day but open on Christmas Eve during traditional business hours (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.). They will be serving the full regular menu. For more information or reservations, call 831-372-7562. The restaurant is located at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, at the former site of Rappa’s Seafood Restaurant.

The same folks that operate Abalonetti, who you heard about through yesterday’s giveaway, run Big Fish Grill. Menu highlights include crab cakes, salmon cakes, garlic cheese bread, salads like BLT blue cheese or shrimp Louie, fish & chips, cioppino, housemade gnocchi, spaghetti and meatballs seafood linguini, prawns scampi, fresh Monterey abalone, roast boneless half chicken (Mary’s free-range organic), New York steak, and grilled seafood including Pacific rockfish.

For last minute gifts or future gifts, the restaurant offers gift cards you can purchase in person, as well as from the web site. When you purchase online you can instantly email, text or tweet the certificate to your gift recipient. These can be anywhere from $5-$250.
One person will win a $50 gift certificate to Big Fish Grill.

To enter, email your name to by 9 pm. Wed, Dec. 24 and include the words “Big Fish.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.