This weekend is the 7th annual Greek Food Faire in downtown Santa Cruz. This popular event is a smaller version of the annual September celebration that won the Gold Award for “Best Street Festival” in 2012, chosen by the readers of local newspaper Santa Cruz Weekly.
You and your family are invited to the downtown celebration which includes lots of good food and drinks plus live Greek music; admission is free. It’s located behind the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in the church’s Mediterranean courtyard. The cross streets are Church and Center.
The delightful group of women who cook the food for this Greek Food Faire have lots of experience: they range in age from about 73-85! One event fan describes them as an “industrious, sweet, devoted group of great cooks.” Dishes available will include moussaka, spanakopita, grilled marinated lamb souvlaki and handmade pastries like diples (delicate fried pastries dipped in honey and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar). Drinks will include American and Greek beer, wine, traditional Greek spirits, and coffee.
The festival has perfect timing, since May is National Mediterranean Diet Month!
May 17, 5-10 p.m.
May 18, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
May 19, Noon – 8 p.m.
It is with great jubilation that I share this news: the owners of Soquel’s Sawasdee Thai Cuisine recently opened a second restaurant! It’s called Sawasdee by the Sea and you can find it between the Boardwalk and the Wharf, in the former location of Casablanca Bistro (the Casablanca Inn is still open, but the restaurant is gone).
The Soquel location of Sawasdee serves excellent Thai cuisine with very fresh ingredients, and owners Bill and Dee Hongmanee are doing the same at the new oceanfront location. The menu includes vegan and vegetarian-friendly selections. I ate lunch there the other day. I had a $7.95 lunch special and it came with an entrée plus choice of soup or salad. I chose green curry and my friend had Pad Thai; we both thoroughly enjoyed our dishes. Can’t wait to go back!
Sawasdee by the Sea offers Peet’s coffee in both the bar and the restaurant. Bill shared that he wants people to have a second convenient venue to get this tasty and popular beverage, since there is only one main Peet’s coffeehouse in the downtown/mid-town vicinity.
For now, the upstairs restaurant hours are 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily and Sawasdee’s full bar downstairs is open until 11 pm or midnight. The plan is for bar hours to extend until 1 a.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend. Everything is evolving since Sawasdee by the Sea just opened in late April. There is a happy hour Mon-Fri from 3 – 6 p.m. with $1 off all drinks.
Stay in touch with the new restaurant via its Facebook page.
Location: 101 Main Street, Santa Cruz (831) 466-9009
Parking: Avoid the hassle of street/metered parking by driving up Beach Street from Main and looking for the special Sawasdee lot, which is free (you’ll drive by the Casablanca Inn lot first, on the left, then the next driveway is the Sawasdee one).
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Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project is hosting the 2nd annual “Kalefest” on Saturday May 18 at its Natural Bridges Farm, located at the intersection of Shaffer Road and Delaware in Westside Santa Cruz.
At the 12-4p.m. Homeless Garden Project (HGP) festival, guests will enjoy hourly farm tours, gardening workshops, a raffle, and cooking demos. In addition, there will be live music, a “kale kingdom” for kids (with activities for all ages), and lots of food and drinks.
There will also be a kale recipe contest; view details here.
For more information including directions to the event, click here.
Founded in 1990, HGP offers many programs – some of which take place in a 2.5-acre organic farm. The organization also operates an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) from May-October. Get more details on the CSA (it’s wonderful!) at the HGP web site.
Dining out on Mother’s Day is a great way to honor the mom in your life, and Santa Cruz and the Bay Area have many restaurants offering special menus this Sunday. See Part 1 for more restaurants in the Santa Cruz area plus one in Monterey, and see below for the second and final group of restaurants I am highlighting. Happy Mother’s Day!
Santa Cruz & Soquel
For Mother’s Day, downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Chocolate is offering all-day brunch specials such as Crab Cream Puffs, Roast Duck Crepes, & Creme Brulee French Toast. Call (831) 427-9900 for reservations.
1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Main Street Garden & Café
Soquel restaurant Main Street Garden & Cafe is doing a prix fixe lunch for Mother’s Day from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The cost is $40 and includes a mimosa which you can enjoy on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Call (831) 477-9265 for reservations.
3101 N. Main St., Soquel
Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats is serving a special menu all weekend, including Mother’s Day. Savory selections include Aji Limo Crepes with lobster and prawns, Jalapeno honey ribs, and Crab Enchiladas, and desserts include Strawberry Mango Mousse and Raspberry Tarts. On Mother’s Day Tortilla Flats opens at 11:30 a.m. Contact the restaurant at (831) 476-1754.
4615 Soquel Dr., Soquel
Michelin-starred Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka offers “a Mother’s Day filled with traditional Greek favorites seasoned with California technique.” The patio will be open with limited seating outside and a complimentary rose will be presented to all mothers. The a la carte menu will feature dishes such as Dio Deka Steak & Eggs with grilled prime filet mignon, poached eggs and sauce béarnaise; Keftethakia lamb meatballs, blistered grapes, Kalamansi yogurt and a light herb-broth; Zambonopita – a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with Virginia smoked ham, green onion, feta, Kasseri and ricotta cheeses; Plevrakia – slow-cooked pork ribs rubbed with Greek spices, Attiki honey and lemon glaze, and sour cherries with ouzo; and Cinnamon “Greek” Toast with whipped vanilla butter and maple syrup. Brunch will be available from 10:30am – 2:30pm and entrees range from $8-$46. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (408) 354-7700. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.
210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos
San Francisco Restaurants (see restaurant web sites for individual addresses)
Located in San Francisco’s Marina District, A16 focuses on Southern Italian cuisine from regions including Campania and Naples. Known for its wood-fired pizza, A16 boasts a certified pizzaiolo, Chef Christopher Thompson who has made a mark on crafting this specialty from Naples. A16 will celebrate Mother’s Day with extended dinner hours from 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. and Executive Chef Christopher Thompson will prepare a special dinner menu featuring dishes such as Zuppa di zucca with spring squash, house made ricotta and herbs, Olive oil poached local halibut with mussels, baby octopus, tomato, peppercress, white wine and bread crumbs and Limoncello Tiramisu with blueberries and genoise. A16 will also offer a special Mother’s Day beverage of Sgroppino alla fragola, Prosecco with homemade strawberry sorbetto and each mother will be sent home with a bag of A16 cookies. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (415) 771-2216.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
At Absinthe in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, Executive Chef Adam Keough will be offering a new Mother’s Day Special in addition to the regular menu. The intriguing Baked Salmon Wellington will be served with peas and favas, wild mushrooms, and a caramelized potato speck ham broth. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations for Mother’s Day can be made by calling (415) 551-1590.
Chambers Eat + Drink
Chambers Eat + Drink boasts that it has San Francisco’s only poolside patio. Executive Chef Trevor Ogden offers innovative California cuisine and guests can choose from dishes such as Japanese Omelet “Tamago” with house-smoked chorizo, sweet potato, cana de oveja, and scallions; Eggs Royale with two sous vide eggs, crispy hash browns, cold smoked salmon, mandarin hollandaise, caviar, chive, and dill; Tofu Hash with Brussels sprouts, oyster mushrooms, red onions, garlic confit, farro, and almond; or the classic Egg in a Hole with two eggs in brioche toast, house smoked bacon, seasonal greens, champagne vinaigrette. The restaurant is also known for its Bloody Marys mixed with housemade sambal. Reservations can be made by calling (415) 829-2316.
CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco
CHAYA Brasserie is known for its beautiful views as well as cuisine that blends European and Asian flavors. CHAYA celebrates Mother’s Day with a special brunch menu created by Executive Chef Yuko Kajino. The three-course Chef’s Menu will include dishes such as Crispy Goat Cheese & Pickled Beets with red watercress, marcona almonds and cabernet vinaigrette; Buttermilk Fried Organic Chicken Breast with jalapeno bacon cornbread, maple syrup and Sriracha ketchup; and a Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich rolled in oatmeal and currants. Brunch will be served from 11 am – 2 pm for $42; bottomless mimosas will also be available. There will be a young adult menu for $15. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (415) 777-8688. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.
At Michelin-starred Luce in the InterContinental San Francisco, mothers will receive complimentary roses for their special day. Dish highlights include Niman Ranch Short Ribs Hash with organic poached egg, root vegetable, and Weiser Farm fingerling potatoes; and Smoked Salmon Benedict with spinach, hollandaise sauce, and cucumber fennel salad with Weiser Farm fingerling potatoes. For reservations, call (415) 616-6560.
One Market Restaurant
One Market Restaurant has received a 3 ½ star review from Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, and has consistently been on the Chronicle’s “Top 100” list. Acclaimed chef Mark Dommen’s menu of farm-fresh American cuisine changes daily, depending on the best available ingredients and highlighting the best of local purveyors. His Mother’s Day a la carte brunch menu served from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. will be no exception. Dishes will include Bay Shrimp Tacos with jalapeno and shiso; Savory Cheese Doughnuts with bacon aioli; Grass Fed Steak Tartare with quail egg yolk, parsley, and country bread; and Spit Roasted Prime Rib with horseradish, spinach, and potato puree. For reservations, call (415) 777-5577.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Mother’s Day is around the corner – better make reservations if you haven’t already! Here are details on a few restaurants in the Santa Cruz and nearby areas. I’ll post more tomorrow.
Santa Cruz & Aptos Restaurants
Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria
Santa Cruz restaurant Lago di Como, located in the former site of Nuevo, is serving a special Mother’s Day brunch from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call (831) 454-8257 for reservations. Read more on the restaurant in my January 2013 article. Note that Lago di Como recently expanded its hours and now serves weekday lunch (except Mondays when it’s closed) and weekend brunch.
2-1490 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside is offering special dishes for both brunch (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (4-8:30 p.m.) in addition to its regular menu. Mother’s Day brunch specials include lobster, ratatouille, goat cheese and asparagus omelet with choice of potato hash, fruit, or polenta ($16), garden frittata ($12), and sauteed sea bass filet with goat cheese mashed potatoes and more ($16). Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz
Aptos restaurant Bittersweet Bistro is serving a Mother’s Day champagne brunch buffet from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The buffet includes Teriyaki Glazed King Salmon, Greek Style Roasted Leg of Spring Lamb, Bourbon Glazed Ham, Truffled Garden Vegetable Risotto, Bittersweet Grand Marnier French Toast, Classic Eggs Benedict, Made to Order Omelets, Croissants & Muffins, Pesto Pasta Salad, and Tomato Mozzarella Salad – plus a dessert extravaganza including chocolate fountains. There will be a special kids’ table with Grilled Cheese, PB & J Sandwiches, Chicken Fingers and Cookies. The price is $55 Adults, $20 Children 6-12, and $7 Kids Five and Under. For the 9:00 a.m. seating only, receive a $10 discount per adult. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations. Also, dinner reservations are available from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Bittersweet will be offering its regular dinner menu plus a few specials.
787 Rio Del Mar Boulevard, Aptos
Hoffman’s, located in downtown Santa Cruz, is serving Mother’s Day brunch and dinner. The restaurant is featuring its regular menus plus specials during both meals. Call (831) 420-0135 for reservations.
1102 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz
The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 9 a.m.-3 p.m; the price is $49.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. The menu includes whole poached salmon, Dungeness crab legs, roast prime rib of beef, bourbon glazed honey ham, cheese blintzes with raspberry coulis, a salad bar, pastries and breads, and a chocolate fountain. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
The Pasatiempo Golf Club’s Hollins House is serving a brunch buffet from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The price is $45.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids 6 and under. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
20 Clubhouse Rd, Santa Cruz
Restaurant 1833 in Monterey offers a Mother’s Day brunch to remember. This James Beard-nominated hotspot is opening up early and Chef Levi Mezick is serving up delicious dishes inspired by Central California and his own upbringing in Southern Virginia. The menu features a la carte items such as Poached Egg Cocote with spinach, béchamel sauce, parmesan; Sunny Side Grits with house made Andouille and bacon lardon; Pork Belly with cornbread, pickled beans, buttermilk; Bacon Biscuits & Gravy with sausage, béchamel sauce; Frittata with asparagus, parmesan, tomato; Diver Sea Scallops with cauliflower, black grapes and toasted almonds; and served family-style, a Bone-In Ribeye Steak and Eggs with soft scrambled eggs and rustic potato or Whole Roasted Pork Belly Hash with poached eggs and crispy potato. Brunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Call (831) 643-1833 for reservations.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Celebrate Mother’s Day at Mom-O-Rama, being held at Whole Foods Market in Capitola and Santa Cruz.
Mom-O-Rama will take place on Thursday May 9, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 1 .pm. According to Capitola Whole Foods’ Marketing Team Leader Melissa McConville, both store locations will be “celebrating all the fabulous local moms” with free 12-oz servings of coffee and tea, free makeovers in the stores’ whole body department, free mini-muffins from the bakery department, and more. Plus, the first 50 moms to attend in each location will receive a free goodie bag!
Whole Foods Capitola is located at 1710 41st Avenue (across from Capitola Mall). Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.
Whole Foods Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave (in the same center as Tony & Alba’s). Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Peet’s Coffee and Tea has two delightful specialty coffees available through May 2013: a ready-to-drink Mayan Chocolate Mocha and a special anniversary blend coffee that you can make at home or buy in-store. These new offerings are available at your local Peet’s (including the San Francisco Bay Area) and across the country.
First, details on the delicious Mayan Chocolate Mocha, which you can see in the image at the top of this article. It’s been available at Peet’s since the beginning of April, and contains ingredients such as Peet’s espresso and unsweetened Dutch Cocoa powder. As Peet’s describes it, the drink has a “…rich cocoa flavor…and spices inspired by the cacao and chili beverages enjoyed millennia ago by the ancient Maya, in what is now Mexico and Central America.” I recently tried a Mayan Chocolate Mocha and I greatly enjoyed it. The mocha had a nice depth and flavor, with a subtle spiciness that added just the right kick without being overpowering. One way Peet’s achieves this combination is through a spicy chocolate syrup which includes sweet cinnamon and a blend of aged chili peppers. Another note: it’s sweet, like a mocha should be, but not cloyingly so. I am definitely returning to Peet’s to have a couple more of these before they leave in late May.
Next, a few facts on Peet’s Anniversary Blend coffee, which was first released on March 18. Each year, Peet’s celebrates its anniversary by creating a special, “never before tasted and never to be sold again” blend. The 2013 blend, for its 47th anniversary, combines citrus-infused beans from Ethiopia with beans from Colombia and Java. The result is a full-bodied and smooth coffee. As always, it’s a limited edition and will be available until sometime in May. Peet’s is donating 5% of proceeds from Anniversary Blend 2013 to Ethiopia’s Kidane Mehret Students Self-Help Association (KIMSSA), which empowers underprivileged kids aged 6-18 with food and education. It’s also donating the same 5% from any purchases of Anniversary Breakfast Blend tea and Steamers beverage purchases, for a total of up to $25,000.
To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Eat a variety of delicious soup from more than 30 local restaurants on Thursday April 25, and you will benefit Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center.
The 14th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, Thursday April 25, 2013 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For $25 per person or $50 per family, you receive soup, bread, and dessert. The event is set up with different booths where chefs serve their homemade soup, so you can choose which ones to sample. Public officials, top executives, and other community leaders serve as “Celebrity Ladlers.” There are lots of tables set up in the dining room where attendees can relax and enjoy their soup and other goodies. Buy tickets and read more information online at the special Soupline event site.
More than 30 participating restaurants in this year’s Soupline include Sawasdee, La Posta, Manuel’s, The Buttery, Soif, Charlie Hong Kong, Walnut Ave Café, Zameen, India Joze, Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook, and Aquarius. See full restaurant list.
The event also includes live music by local jazz duo NoNette, and a silent auction. Auction items include restaurant and spa gift certificates (such as Café Cruz, Linda’s Seabreeze Café, and Well Within), wine, performance tickets such as the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and passes to places like Disneyland.
The Homeless Services Center is a community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals that will enable clients to achieve self-sufficiency.
If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Soquel-based Mexican restaurant Tortilla Flats started serving a special menu today, Thursday, April 18, to celebrate being open for 35 years. The 35th Anniversary menu, available through Sunday April 21, features two favorite dishes from each of the many special events Tortilla Flats hosts throughout the year. During all of these events, the restaurant offers special menus but the regular menu is also available with savory dishes like Green Corn Tamales and Red Pepper Enchiladas.
Here are some excerpts from the April 18-21, 2013 menu; not all selections are available each day.
Frida’s peanut mole with chicken
Scallops and pescado in scallop shells with lobster, habanero saffron sauce
Nopales rellenos: tender cactus pads with fluffy egg batter and melted cheese
Cactus chile verde
Basa cocohu’ut: Mild white fish baked in a coconut, lemongrass habanero sauce
Cochinita pibil: Pork carnitas with annatto sauce steamed in a banana leaf
Tamales salmone: Fresh wild caught salmon served in corn husks
Tamale Oaxaca: Pork carnitas served in a banana leaf with mole poblano
White truffle crepes filled with shitake, oyster and huitlacoche mushrooms
Crepas del Mar: Buttery handmade crepes filled with lobster and prawns
Mole Manchemantales: Fragrant dark mole drawing its sweetness from plantains, raisins, pineapple, mango and rum
Mole Mirasol: A blending of two rare chiles from Oaxaca and Peru, served with chicken
If you’re a party of six or more, make reservations at (831) 476-1754.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mon-Fri and 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sat-Sun.
Location: 4616 Soquel Drive, Soquel
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For Earth Day 2013, Santa Cruz restaurant Charlie Hong Kong is partnering with UC Santa Cruz’s Life Lab for a fun kids’ festival and party. The theme is “We love veggies! We love our Earth!”
The event is Saturday, April 20 from 10:30 a.m. – noon at Charlie Hong Kong. Kids ages 4-11 are invited; adults are invited only if they are accompanied by a child. The party is a benefit for UCSC-based Life Lab, which has worked for 30 years to teach children and educators how to care for themselves, each other, and the world through farm- and garden-based educational programs.
On Saturday, Life Lab will provide fun activities and there will be face painters, music, and “kid-sized tastes” of food from Charlie Hong Kong. There will also be “roaming veggies” for photo opportunities (!). Tickets are $8 and required for admittance to the festival. Purchase tickets by visiting the events section of Edible Monterey Bay’s web site.
Carolyn Rudolph, who owns Charlie Hong Kong with her husband, is very excited about this first-time event. “I’ve been wanting to acknowledge all the children I see eating at CHK and I’m a big supporter of Life Lab, so for Earth Day this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” she shared. For more info, contact Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (831) 471-2609.
Even if you aren’t attending the festival, you can do your part for farm- and garden-based education on April 20 by eating at Charlie Hong Kong: during the entire day and evening, CHK is donating a percentage of its sales to Life Lab.
If you’re on Twitter follow me @santacruzfoodie.
Location/Hours: Charlie Hong Kong, 1141 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 426-5664, Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily.