Mother’s Day brunch possibilities from Whole Foods Market

A few flower bouquets from the bounty available at Whole Foods Market in Capitola

A few flower bouquets from the bounty available at Whole Foods Market in Capitola

Did Mother’s Day sneak up on you? Perhaps it’s time to organize a Mother’s Day brunch at home, in which case Whole Foods Market has a few ideas to help. And at WFM locations in Northern California—including the local Santa Cruz and Capitola stores—several delicious, brunch-friendly cheeses are currently on sale.

First, the cheese: speaking as just one representative mom, I think that fancy, tasty cheese is always welcome at brunch (or really, any meal…). Here are a few recommended soft-ripened cheeses:

  • Guffanti-Robiola Langhe Two-milk: this rich, earthy cheese is made with cow’s and sheep’s milk. It’s currently on sale for $23.99/lb., discounted from $29.99/lb. WFM Northern California Regional Cheese Buyer Francesca di Donato suggests pairing with items like orange jam, pumpkin-ginger jam, fresh fruit, and/or walnut bread.
  • Cowgirl Creamery – St. Pat: St. Pat is the Creamery’s seasonal cheese. The green rind commemorates the arrival of spring. These creamy wheels are wrapped in wild nettle leaves, which di Donato explains impart a smoky artichoke flavor. It’s currently on sale for $23.99/lb., discounted from $29.99/lb. di Donato recommends pairing with dry wine or an Irish-style lager.
  • Marin French – Supreme Extra Creme Brie: With a smooth texture and slightly sweet flavor, this delectable cheese lives up to the “lush and buttery” description promised on its label. It utilizes high quality milk from neighboring Marin County dairies.  This brie comes in a wheel, and is currently on sale for $23.99, discounted from $29.99. di Donato recommends pairing with California sparkling wine, Petit Syrah, or IPA. I enjoyed trying it with a small serving of “figs and olives” from the Capitola store’s olive bar.
  • Mitica- Cana de Cabra: This creamy goat milk log hails from Murcia in the southeastern part of Spain. The flavor is mild, yet satisfying, with citrus notes. It’s currently on sale for $13.99/lb., discounted from $16.99/lb. Di Donato’s pairing ideas: for drinks, a lean white wine (Albarino, or an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc) and for food, almonds and/or fig spread.

If you like cheese but want something more “brunch-traditional,” how about some quiche? WFM offers several ready-to-eat varieties in small ($5.99) and large ($14.99) sizes. I recently sampled a four-cheese quiche (Gouda, Parmesan, Swiss, and feta), and it was very good.

On a budget for Sunday brunch? I found this frittata recipe while browsing the “budget-friendly recipe” section on the WFM blog. You can incorporate leftovers in it, too.

If you have kids that like cooking, here are two recipes from the WFM blog that look easy, even for young ones:
Gluten-free Baked Berry French Toast (for breakfast at home)
or Berry Oatmeal in a Jar (for bringing a small breakfast somewhere else)

Last but not least, don’t forget to include flowers when developing your brunch plan. They are always a wonderful way to make a woman feel appreciated and Whole Foods carries lots of great arrangements. When I was at the Capitola location yesterday, I saw many vibrant bouquets, and most of them were made from flowers grown locally. Some of them are also fair trade. These are called “Whole Trade” flowers, and when purchased they donate funds to local community organizations that support flower farm workers.

“Whole Trade provides more money to producers, ensures better wages and working conditions for workers, and cares for the environment,” says Lily Hussey, Marketing and Community Relations Lead for Whole Foods Market, Northern California & Reno. “Also, they donate 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation.” Learn more about Whole Trade.

No matter what you decide to do for your Mother’s Day food, I hope it’s a very happy day for you!

Local Store Details
Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

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

On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: Santa Cruz area and Los Gatos

A dish from a past Sunday brunch at Hult’s (not part of their Mother’s Day brunch): pulled pork eggs Benedict with cheddar, slaw & bbq sauce

A dish from a past Sunday brunch at Hult’s (not part of their Mother’s Day brunch): pulled pork eggs Benedict with cheddar, slaw & bbq sauce

Dining out on Mother’s Day is a popular plan, so if you haven’t made reservations yet, better hurry: here are a few restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas and Los Gatos, plus a Manresa Bread box (pre-order for breakfast at home).

Also see:

Santa Cruz Area

Shadowbrook
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the usually-dinner-only Shadowbrook will open its doors at 11:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day. Reservations are available until 8:30 p.m. and customers must call 831-475-1511 (no online reservations accepted). The dinner menu will be served all day, and Mother’s Day specials will include spinach/gruyere quiche,  chicken Marsala, and 14 oz. Angus ribeye with lobster Bernaise.
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola

Chaminade
The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 9am-3pm; the price is $64.95 (adults), $18.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. Mother’s Day is the restaurant’s busiest day of the year; it always sells out. New executive chef Nicholas Church has created an extravagant menu including a savory seafood bar (including Dungeness crab legs), bourbon glazed honey ham with Jack Daniels glaze, prime rib, omelets made to order, and Belgian waffles with apple compote and fresh berries. Additional highlights: fresh fruit and vegetable medleys, chocolate fondue, and a sundae bar. The kids’ buffet features chicken strips and fries, mini pancakes, and mac and cheese. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings
Sanderlings at Seascape Resort has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $47.95 for adults (with a mimosa or a glass of champagne or sparkling cider) and $21.95 for kids 12 and under. Selections include a prime rib carving station; a fresh seafood bar; a salad assortment; fresh fruit; and baked breads. There will be special entrees for kids. Call (831) 662-7120 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos

Hollins House
Hollins House at Pasatiempo has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; the price is $65 (includes a glass of champagne). The menu will include made-to-order omelets; Applewood smoked bacon; a carving station with prime rib; Skuna Bay salmon; French toast bread pudding; a meat and chees board; and several gourmet salads. Desserts include crème brulee and carrot cake. Their more casual restaurant next door, MacKenzie Bar & Grill, will be serving an a la carte menu with brunch selections for adults (corned beef hash, eggs benedict, burgers, etc.) and kids (including eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches).
Call (831) 459-9177 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Los Gatos

Manresa Bread Mother’s Day Box
Pre-order breakfast for mom this Mother’s Day at Manresa Bread. The Mother’s Day Box includes two kale parmesan scones, two monkey breads, one bag of Manresa Bread almond granola, a 4 oz. jar of Big Sur marmalade, and an optional bag of Verve Street Level coffee. The Mother’s Day Box is available for pre-order on the Manresa Bread web site to pick up at Manresa Bread in Los Gatos. Pricing is $27 without coffee, $40 with coffee. The last day to pre-order is May 5.
276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos

Campo di Bocce
Campo di Bocce will offer a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; due to the popularity of the restaurant’s brunches, table reservations are limited to one hour. Food selections will include made-to-order omelets, a prime rib carving station, waffles and pancakes, sausage and bacon, fruit, pasta, salads, and strawberry crepes pastries. There are two prices: one for brunch only, and one for brunch and playing an hour of bocce. Adults are $34.95 without bocce and $47.45 with bocce; kids under 12 are $17.95 without bocce and $30.45 with bocce. Call (408) 395-7650 for reservations.
565 University Ave., Los Gatos

Dio Deka
Mediterranean/Greek restaurant Dio Deka will offer a special a la carte brunch menu. Selections will include Eggs Benedict, Strapatsada (baked eggs with tomato sauce, greens, chickpeas and Greek spices), Paithakia (mesquite-grilled boneless lamb-loin chops), and caramelized “Greek” toast with citrus-marinated strawberries. Call (408) 354-7700 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
210 E. Main St., Los Gatos

Hult’s Restaurant
Hult’s is serving a prix fixe brunch for $49, with reservations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers can select from two to five selections for each course. First course options include Swedish pancakes; main courses include chicken and waffles (sous vide fried chicken and cinnamon waffles plus bacon hash) and Eggs Benedict. Desserts include raspberry sorbet. Call (408) 354-3434 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
165 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd., Los Gatos

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: San Francisco, Napa, Albany and more

Food at La Mar Cebichería Peruana in San Francisco

Food at La Mar Cebichería Peruana in San Francisco

We are one week away from Mother’s Day so if you’re planning to dine in San Francisco or nearby cities, here are a few restaurants to consider.

Also see:
Mother’s Day highlights/menus for Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and more

San Francisco
Roka Akor

There will be an extravagant brunch at Roka Akor (801 Montgomery Street) with unlimited sparkling wine, Bellinis and sake, and an assortment of signature Japanese-inspired dishes. Designed by Executive Chef Roman Petry, Roka Akor will offer an impressive buffet of fresh oysters, sushi, Maki rolls and appetizers, as well as an entrée choice between a succulent robata grilled steak or fresh grilled seafood. Families and friends will top off the celebratory feast with a colorful dessert platter with exotic fruit and house-made sweets for the entire table to share. Served between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., the brunch menu with unlimited sparkling wine, bellini or sake is priced at $118 per person and the brunch menu without alcohol is priced at $98 per person. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 415-362-8887.

La Mar
Celebrate mom on the waterfront with a Peruvian feast at La Mar Cebichería Peruana. Alongside panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, La Mar will offer a unique Mother’s Day buffet brunch with both traditional and innovative Peruvian dishes from Chef and Peruvian-Native Victoriano Lopez. Offering colorful and fresh fare, the buffet will be offered at $78 per person for adults and $30 for children 12 years and under. Vibrant appetizer stations will take over the restaurant showcasing large-format versions of La Mar’s beloved Bandejas – or platters – inspired by the true Peruvian spirit. The stations will boast La Mar’s greatest hits including cebiche selections, causitas, tiraditos, nigiri, empanadas, and Anticuchos, to name a few. Guests will also choose between four main entrées served tableside with a dessert platter to follow. The first 100 moms will also receive a surprise gift. Brunch will be offered from 10am-3pm and reservations can be made on OpenTable or by calling 415-397-8880.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Celebrate mom over brunch at Top of the Mark this Mother’s Day. From 10am – 2pm, the iconic destination features a decadent brunch buffet by Chef Nenad Stefanovic with unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay and entertainment by Michael Athans on piano. Menu highlights include a raw bar, salads, antipasto, a selection of small plates including Shrimp ceviche shooter with Early Girl tomato broth and smoked duck, orange, and basil oil, and entrees such as Ricotta Ravioli with tomato cream and lobster morsels and assorted dim sum. Top of the Mark also offers a full selection of breakfast items and dessert bar including a strawberry dipping station. Brunch is $125 per adult and $59 per child, ages 4 – 12; pricing excludes tax and gratuity. Reservations are required at 415-616-6940.

Foreign Cinema
Celebrate this Mother’s Day at Foreign Cinema and treat Mom to elegant yet approachable dishes from chef/owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark. Indulge in delights such as the infamous Organic Seasonal Pop Tarts, Caramel Pecan Sticky Bun, Champagne Omelet, and Balsamic Fried Eggs. Dine with loved ones inside or outside on the airy and spacious covered patio. Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended at foreigncinema.com or call 415-648-7600.

Presidio Social Club
Celebrate Mother’s Day at Presidio Social Club with a number of special dishes available throughout the weekend. For brunch, PSC will have Soft Shell Crab Po Boys with Asian Slaw & Mixed Greens; Soft Poached Eggs with Artichoke Hearts, Creamed Spinach & Hollandaise Sauce; as well as Slow Roasted Devil’s Gulch Pork Leg with Soft Poached Egg, Fried Potatoes and Salsa Verde and classic brunch cocktails such as Mimosas, Bellinis and Spritzers.

PSC will also have new spring menu items available to order, including Presidio Scramble (an asparagus and herb scramble with a house made biscuit from Pastry Chef Rene Cruz); Chicken Arugula Salad with Candied Pecans & Avocado Vinaigrette; and Chickpea Hash with Roasted Pork, Poached Eggs & Harissa Yogurt. Call 415-885-1888 to make a reservation.

Luce 
Michelin-starred restaurant Luce invites guests to celebrate mom over a brunch buffet from 11am–2pm. Brunch is $85 per person and $45 per child ages 4–12 years. For reservations, visit Luce on OpenTable.

Napa
Ca’ Momi
Ca’ Momi is celebrating La Festa Della Mamma on Sunday May 8th at their downtown Napa Osteria with two-for-one Sangue Italiano, an Organic San Marzano DOP Tomato Bloody Mary and Ca’ Secco Bellini from 11:30am to 5pm. They’ll also be offering a $35 four-course prix fix menu from brunch through dinner service that includes a Burrata & Verdure plate to start, followed by Ca’ Momi’s signature Pizza Margherita or Pizza Veneta and an Insalata Mista before ending sweetly with a decadent Millefoglie Alle Fragole.

At Ca’ Momi Enoteca located within the Oxbow Public Market, moms who dine in will receive $5 glasses of sparkling wine, Ca’ Secco or Ca’ Rosa, and two complimentary sweet bignes. The whole family can enjoy any pizza & glass of Bianco or Rosso di Ca’ Momi for $22. If you’re throwing a Mother’s day bash at home, they’re also offering a take-out options with a bottle of Ca’ Secco or Ca’ Rosa plus 6 bigne for $30.

FARM at The Carneros Inn
Treat mom to a Wine Country celebration and leave the pampering up to FARM at The Carneros Inn (4048 Sonoma Hwy in Napa) with their lavish Mother’s Day brunch. Designed by Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, the family-style brunch will include a spread of seasonal dishes such as Warm Asparagus Salad with trumpet mushroom bacon, soft poached egg and frisee; Local Halibut with crushed fava beans and salsa verde; and Rosemary Honey Glazed Caggiano Ham with Carolina Gold rice, toasted cipollini onions, and English pea shoot, among others. The grand finale will conclude with a dessert platter that includes Chocolate Raspberry Tart, Cheesecake Pop, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with fruit compote. FARM will be open for brunch from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The adult menu is priced at $85 per person and the children’s menu is $40 (ages 4-12). Brunch is by reservation only and can be made by calling 707-299-4880 or visiting the web site.

East Bay – Albany
Café Eugene

With the recent unveiling of daily brunch, Albany’s newest restaurant Café Eugene will serve special Pacific Northwest-inspired treats this Mother’s Day. Mirrored after owner Ryan Murff’s favorite Mother’s Day tradition, Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream will be on special in addition to floral cocktails made just for the holiday. In Oregon fashion, moms will be sent home with special wildflowers. Brunch will run from 9am-3pm and reservations can be made online or by calling 510-647-9999.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and more

A dish at Restaurant 1833 in February: corned beef meatballs with potato dumplings, fermented butternut squash, red cabbage, pickled mustard seed, and caramelized whey. Mother’s day is a rare exception to Restaurant 1833’s dinner-only hours

A dish at Restaurant 1833 in February: corned beef meatballs with potato dumplings, fermented butternut squash, red cabbage, pickled mustard seed, and caramelized whey. Mother’s day is a rare exception to Restaurant 1833’s dinner-only hours

It’s Mother’s Day, one of the busiest restaurant days of the year — here are some Bay Area restaurant highlights, with several in the Monterey and Carmel areas.

Monterey

Restaurant 1833
At celebrated Restaurant 1833 in Monterey’s historic Stokes Adobe House, the usually-dinner-only venue will open its doors for a special brunch from 10am-3pm. Under the direction of Executive Chef Jason Franey, an à la carte brunch menu will be offered alongside $18.33 Bottomless Mimosas. Celebrated Pastry Chef Ben Spungin will also offer special Orange Sherbet, Raspberry Sorbet, Strawberry Sorbet, and Peach Sorbet Mimosas at $15 each. Moms can enjoy the unique brunch offerings such as spinach-ricotta-caramelized onion quiche, cornmeal waffles with bourbon maple whipped cream, crispy artichokes with cannelloni bean deap, the signature 1833 burger, and sides such as latkes or Brussels sprouts. Kids’ selections include grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken tenders. Reservations can be made through OpenTable or at 831-643-1833.
500 Hartnell St.

The C
The C at Intercontinental The Clement Monterey is hosting two events on Sunday, May 8: a “classic breakfast buffet” from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and a “sumptuous brunch buffet” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both events will feature cuisine from chef Matt Bolton and sous chef Michelle Lee. The breakfast buffet cost is $34 for adults and $17 for kids ages 5-12. A limited a la carte breakfast menu will also be available until 10:30 a.m. For brunch, cost is $64 for adults (includes one glass of sparkling wine) and $24 for kids ages 5-12. There will be live music during brunch, and all mothers will receive a red rose. Brunch selections will include Maine lobster eggs benedict, wild mushroom soup with bacon, Swank Farms grilled asparagus salad, free range chicken with goat cheese polenta and smoked tomato coulis and a carving station with roasted tenderloin and honey roasted ham. Desserts will include strawberries and cream cupcakes and chocolate cake pops. Reservations are required at 831-375-4800. See web site for more information.
750 Cannery Row

TusCA Ristorante
TusCA at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is featuring a Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $60 for adults (includes sparkling wine and mimosas) and $20 for kids 5 and older. Reservations are required at 831-657-6675. Brunch selections will include omelet and carving stations (includes all-natural prime rib), Alaskan king crab legs, grilled asparagus and artichokes and several salads and a cheese assortment. Desserts include chocolate-dipped strawberries and cream puffs. Visit the web site for more information.
1 Old Golf Course Road

Montrio Bistro
For Mother’s Day, Montrio Bistro is expanding half-price wine night to include all champagne and sparkling wine including half bottles and by-the-glass selections. Moms who dine that night will also receive a complimentary small-bite dessert. Reservations are recommended at 831-648-8880.
414 Calle Principal

Estéban
Estéban at Monterey hotel Casa Munras is expanding its traditional breakfast hours on Sunday, May 8, and will serve from 7 a.m. to noon. Chef Tom Snyder’s specials will include house cured salmon benedict with cream cheese biscuit and dill hollandaise and Wayne’s almond and bacon crusted French toast with honey dark rum butter and Vermont maple syrup. Drink specials will include blackberry Bellinis made with fresh fruit. Reservations are recommended at 831-324-6773.
700 Munras Ave.

Sardine Factory
The restaurant  is serving a three-course $39 prix fixe menu, with seatings from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m and 4 to 8 p.m., plus a selection of specialties from the regular menu. For the prix fixe, guests receive a choice of starter (selections include Maine lobster or Castroville artichoke bisque) and entrees (such as filet mignon brochettes or house-made Maine lobster ravioli). Call 831-373-3775 for reservations.
701 Wave St.

Pebble Beach
Porter’s in the Forest

The restaurant at Poppy Hills Golf Course is serving a few Mother’s Day brunch specials. These will be available until 3 p.m. and include blueberry and ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and eggs benedict with smoked salmon, avocado, caviar, and kale. For reservations call 831-622-8240. Visit the web site for more information.
3200 Lopez Rd.

Carmel
Aubergine
Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel is hosting brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Executive chef Justin Cogley and executive pastry chef Ron Mendoza will prepare a special menu. Cost is $110. Reservations are required at 831-624-8578.
Monte Verde Street at Seventh Avenue

Carmel Valley
Pacific’s Edge

Pacific’s Edge at Hyatt Carmel Highlands is hosting a brunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Selections include an omelet station, maple glazed bacon, basil ricotta ravioli with yellow tomato coulee and crispy opal basil, California sea bass, slow roasted grass-fed prime rib salads. Desserts will include warm crepes, strawberry shortcakes and chocolate peanut crunch bars. Cost is $79 for adults and $39 for kids 12 and under. Items will also be available a la carte. Reservations are required at 831-622-5445.
120 Highlands Drive.

Pacific Grove
Fandango

Fandango is offering a prix fixe brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $39.75 for adults and $18.75 for kids 12 and under. The menu includes Caesar salad; entrée choices such as shrimp scampi spaghetti or leg of lamb Provencal with Pinot Noir demi-glace sauce; and very berry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles filled with cappuccino ice cream. Call 831-372-3456 for reservations.
223 17th St.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz food truck roundup & panel discussion from Event Santa Cruz

Aunt LaLi & Ate3One food trucks at a past Food Trucks A Go Go event

Aunt LaLi & Ate3One food trucks at a past Food Trucks A Go Go event

Event Santa Cruz is partnering with Food Trucks A Go Go to present The Food Truck RoundUp, which aims to highlight the area’s local food scene and will offer a short panel dialogue featuring a few of Santa Cruz’s event producers. The event will be held on Friday, April 29 at 5 p.m. at The Delaware Addition (2120 Delaware Ave).

Admission is free for kids and $3 for adults. Food from some of the area’s popular local vendors and craft beer from Humble Sea Brewery will be available for purchase. The food vendors are offering “small plate” menus so that guests can sample lots of different items; see below for highlights.

Event Santa Cruz’s Matthew Swinnerton will moderate a short panel discussion at 6:45 p.m. Panelists include David Dennis (Ventana Surfboards & Supplies), Doug Erickson (Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup), Sally Kane (Santa Cruz Food Lounge), Monica Karst (Santa Cruz Socialites) and LaLi Kates (Food Trucks A Go Go).

Food vendors & menu highlights

Ate3One, Santa Cruz & Monterey County – A truck with delicious “modern street food” by a husband and wife team. Friday’s food will include:

  • Mini Poke “Nachos”
  • Mini Naughty Fries (I’m not sure if they’re the same every time, but last fall I had this at a Food Trucks A Go Go event and it included bacon, garlic confit, Parmesan and cheddar cheese, sour cream, house aioli and scallions)
  • “CBC-P” Corralitos Brewing Co. draft beer-braised Pork Sando
  • Bavarian Cream Stuffed Churro

Aunt Lali’s Mobile Cafe, Scotts Valley – A fabulous ice cream truck. Friday’s food will include:

  • organic espresso drinks
  • affogatos
  • scooped ice cream
  • your fave ice cream truck treats
  • ‘Nawlins-style organic iced coffee
  • made-to-order ice cream sandwiches

Tacos Las Varas Nayarit, Watsonville – It’s been described as a “gigantic taco truck” and I haven’t had the opportunity to try their food yet. Friday’s food will include:

  • tacos
  • tortas
  • quesadillas
  • plates with rice, beans, salad
  • meat choices: asada, pastor, carnitas, pollo, chile verde & birria

Kickin Chicken, Santa Cruz – This local business first got famous for their scrumptious fried chicken and waffles. Friday’s food will include:

  • Fried chicken sandwiches
  • Strawberry snap pea salad
  • Succotash

Event Santa Cruz produces monthly events that showcase thriving local businesses and the people behind them.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz PopUp Dungeness Crab Feed from Ocean2Table

Ocean2Table lingcod that was dry cured, then cooked to perfection, with asparagus and Parmesan/bean salad at a July 2015 Pescetarian PopUp

Ocean2Table lingcod that was dry cured, then cooked to perfection, with asparagus and Parmesan/bean salad at a July 2015 Pescetarian PopUp

We’ve all been waiting patiently (okay, maybe impatiently!) for Dungeness crab season, and Santa Cruz-based Ocean2table has created an event to celebrate its arrival.

On Sunday, April 24, at the Food Lounge (link) in downtown Santa Cruz (1001 Center St.), Ocean2table is hosting the latest in its series of Pescetarian PopUp Dinners: a Dungeness crab feed. Tickets are $60 and must be purchased in advance, online. See end of article for the menu, which includes local, organic vegetables plus some burn morels that Charlie Lambert and Ian Cole foraged this week. As always, the seafood will be local, wild and sustainable.

Lambert and Cole are the founders/operators of seafood company Ocean2table. I went to one of their popup dinners last year and it was absolutely wonderful—for a visual example, see photo above. Local companies they are utilizing for the April 24 dinner include Companion Bakeshop, Rodoni Farms, Pinnacle and Swanton Berry Farm.

Whether or not you can make this event, you should know that Ocean2table is a great place to get very fresh seafood via pick-up or delivery. Subscribers to their email list (fresh catch “fish alerts”) get notified the day before local fresh fish is available. Customers must place half- or full-share orders by the announced deadline. There is no obligation to make a certain number of purchases; you can remain on the email list and buy seafood as infrequently or frequently as you choose.

For more information on the event or their seafood alerts, visit getocean2table.com.

April 24 Dinner Menu

Main course:

  • Dungeness crab in the shell, caught in the Monterey Bay, served with garlic butter and homemade cocktail sauce

Sides:

  • Rosemary-infused Companion Bakeshop sourdough boules
  • Wild morel, Brussels sprout and potato salad including wild King fire burn morels and creamy tarragon dressing
  • Kale and Parmesan salad featuring Pinnacle kale

Dessert:

  • Strawberry crisp featuring Swanton Berry Farm berries

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets Pop-Up Breakfast Series tickets on sale

Food at a 2015 farmers’ market pop-up breakfast

Food at a 2015 farmers’ market pop-up breakfast. Photo credit: Carolyn Lagatutta

Credit: Carolyn Lagatutta

Tickets are on sale for the entire 2016 season of pop-up breakfasts at the Westside Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley farmers’ markets. The first event is the morning of Saturday, May 28 at the Westside market with chef Kevin Koebel of Local FATT—see menu below. There is limited seating; $37 tickets are available for purchase online and at the markets.

Different local chefs are featured at each event. For each dish at these multi-course meals, nearly 100% of the ingredients are sourced from farms at the markets. Event proceeds benefit the markets’ public educational programs including the Foodshed Project.

2016 Pop-Up Breakfast Dates and Chefs:

Scotts Valley market

Westside market

Full menus will be posted on the web site as events draw closer.

Santa Cruz’s Food, What?! youth empowerment program graduates provide service at the events, which begin at 9:30 a.m. Attendees choose their seats by placing their own plates and silverware at spaces along u-shaped, family-style tables. At 10 a.m., plates of seasonal cuisine made with ingredients sourced from the markets begin rolling out. As the guests eat and visit, farmers and chefs share their knowledge and perspectives regarding agriculture, community and consumer choice within the food system. There is also live local music at each breakfast.

The first summer series occurred in 2013, and the farm-to-table breakfasts continue to draw sell-out crowds. For more information call 831-325-4294 or email education@santacruzfarmersmarket.org.
May 28 Pop-Up Breakfast Menu

  • PAN GRIDDLED WALNUT-VANILLA BEAN FRENCH TOAST with Strawberry-caramelized sugar compote and crème fraiche
  • LATE SPRING SAVORY SALAD: micro greens with prosciutto di parma carpaccio, crispy leek and savory Tuile
  • GRILLED WILD SALMON FILET BRIOCHE WITH FARM EGG AND GREENS served with a duo of lemon chutney and cilantro chutney
  • SPRING VEGETABLE CADEAUX (bundle) wrapped in sweet leek, roasted and served with Meyer lemon-local sea salt beurre blanc sauce
  • SWEET FINISH Champagne syrup macerated fruit gratin
  • TASTY BEVERAGES COURTESY OF Lulu Carpenter’s Coffee

Read more about the Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee celebrates 50th anniversary with new signature blend coffee

New Big Bang blend at Peet's Coffee

New Big Bang blend at Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and in honor of this occasion it has launched a new signature blend called “Big Bang” coffee. It’s now available in grocery stores and Peet’s cafes nationwide, including Northern California cities like Santa Cruz, Capitola, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Monterey.

I had the opportunity to sample this coffee recently by brewing some Big Bang coffee at home, and I enjoyed the resulting coffee quite a bit. It’s described as  a medium roast, and I liked its bold flavor. Big Bang features some of the same premium coffees that are found in Major Dickason’s Blend (the best-seller out of all of Peet’s coffees) but it also has “Ethiopian Super Natural” which includes citrus notes.

Curious about why Peet’s named this coffee “Big Bang?” Peet’s founder Alfred Peet, who opened the first Peet’s retail café in 1966 and essentially kickstarted the craft coffee movement, died in 2007. A quote from “The Joy of Coffee” author/Atlantic Monthly editor Corby Kummer that appeared in Mr. Peet’s New York Times obituary said, “He was the guru of everyone in the gourmet coffee revolution. He was the big bang. It all started with him.”

To find a Peet’s Coffee location near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Trio of food events in Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley this Friday

Tacos and cactus/kale salad from My Mom’s Mole

Tacos and cactus/kale salad from My Mom’s Mole

There are many food events occurring this weekend in the Santa Cruz area—here are details for three events Friday, April 15: two in Santa Cruz and one in Scotts Valley.

Tacos & Waffles at POPUP

My Mom’s Mole and The Green Waffle are partnering for dinner at POPUP from 5-9:30 p.m. (or earlier if the food sells out). Customers get their choice of waffle (cauliflower, blueberry or yam) and their choice of mole tacos: My Mom’s Mole traditional sauce with pork and garnished with persimmon; My Mom’s Mole with roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and green beans) and garnished with persimmon, or mole verde with chicken and garnished with cranberry. You can also add cactus/kale salad as a side. I went to last month’s My Mom’s Mole popup and tasted this salad—plus roasted vegetable mole and chicken mole verde—and highly recommend all. Cesario Ruiz, founder of My Mom’s Mole, describes the salad–with nopales, kale, red onion, tomato, jalapeño & cilantro in a citrus dressing—as having “an acidity and tartness that balances well with the flavorful moles…this is a must-try that we often sell out of first!” Ruiz recently won a 2016 NEXTies award for “Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Unfamiliar with The Green Waffle? Like My Mom’s Mole, they are a small local food business that does their production at Watsonville’s El Pajaro Commercial Kitchen Incubator. All waffles are made with oats, egg whites, spinach, and banana. You can also find the waffles at Staff of Life in Santa Cruz, Deluxe Foods in Aptos, and GNC and Second street cafe in Watsonville.
Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

Indian cuisine at Food Lounge
Karma Khana will be hosting a dinner pop-up at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge from 5 to 9 p.m. Dishes available—with prices from $4.50 to $7—will include chundal chaat, paneer-stuffed peppers, rockfish biriyani, turkey and lamb kebabs, and Gobi Manchurian. I had the opportunity to taste founding chef Varun Raghavan’s delicious food when he collaborated with LionFish Supper Club for their popup series “A Taste of India” last November at the Food Lounge.
Location: 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

Food Trucks a Go Go And Beer & Wine Garden
Food Trucks A Go Go, a food truck event company, is hosting its next food truck event at Skypark in Scotts Valley, with dinner and drinks being served from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Attendees can choose from seven local trucks, and there are picnic tables at the park. Participating food trucks are Ate3One, Zameen Mediterranean, The Choke Coach, Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Café, Carmona’s BBQ, Zocalo Tamales and G’s Tacos #2. Profits from a beer and wine garden, sponsored by the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation and the Mountain Charlie Challenge (the latter is happening the following weekend), will benefit the four Scotts Valley public schools.
Location: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

A few April classes—and class discount—at New Leaf Community Markets

Learn how to make superfood energy balls at a New Leaf cooking class

Learn how to make superfood energy balls at a New Leaf cooking class

New Leaf Community Markets has announced a bunch of classes for April and May, and it’s offering a discount: 10% off any class that costs more than $20 (except series). To receive the discount, use promo code SPRING10. The organic, community market urges readers who are amateur chefs to sign up today and “Unleash your kitchenthusiasm” (New Leaf’s theme for April). Another reason to be enthusiastic at New Leaf? The sustainably farm-raised Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon is $3 off during April. Verified by FishWise as a “Best Choice,” this fish is free of hormones and antibiotics and raised in the pristine waters of New Zealand.

Below are a few cooking class highlights for April; these are all at the Westside location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306). ALSO: Another interesting event – not a cooking class – is an opportunity to learn about reducing your impact on the environment. On Friday, April 15 at 7pm, for only $5 (no discount for this one), people can attend “Zero Waste Lifestyle: Reduce Your Eco Footprint.” New Leaf’s Eva Pollard, founder of “thekindplanet.com,” will explain how and why she lives a zero-waste life by not creating trash or using plastic. Eva will show how everyone can reduce their trash footprint and teach about the benefits of a zero-waste lifestyle. Attendees are encouraged to “bring an open mind and heart, as well as your own cup.”
Preregistration http://newleaf.com/events/ is required.

Spring Dips & Dressings – April 13
Nutrition consultant and chef Madia Jamgochian teaches this class. If you love eating fresh salads, but sometimes lack the inspiration for making a tasty dressing, New Leaf encourages you to attend this class. Learn how to prepare yourself for the week by whipping up several different types of healthy salad dressings and dips that will “keep you reaching for the veggies.” Each attendee will get to take home recipes and a small jar of dressing made in class. Preregistration is required.
Cost is $25 or $40 for 2 before discount. Wednesday, April 13, 6-8 p.m.

Pickling Workshop – April 16
Home Chef Lisa Bono leads this hands-on workshop. Attendees will learn how to make classic pickles and pickle other kinds of veggies using vinegar, sugar and spice. The class will cover pickling and food preserving basics: equipment, technique, ingredients, storage, and recipes. You’ll leave class with a few jars of your own creations and the knowledge to start pickling at home. No experience necessary. Preregistration is required.
Cost is $25 before discount. Saturday, April 16, 2:30-4pm.

Superfood Energy Balls – April 20
Goji berries, lecithin, bee pollen, lacuma and chocolate are all nutrient-dense superfoods. Join the Westside New Leaf’s Wellness Specialist Sundari Lauren in this hands-on cooking class. Using nuts, fiber, good carbs, protein and healthy fats as a base, participants will create a variety of flavor packed treats and take home a box of their final products. Learn new recipes and experiment with making your own unique favorite. Preregistration is required.
Cost is $25 or $40 for two before discount. Wednesday, April 20, 6-7:30pm.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.