Whole Foods Market in Northern California, including stores in Santa Cruz and Capitola, has lots of selections for the 2014 holiday season including food and gifts.
Also, just for today, Friday, Dec. 19, the Capitola and Santa Cruz locations are having a great deal on lobster tails: three for $15.
I’ve been introduced to a few new WFM treats this holiday season, including Whole Foods-brand chocolate truffles and Fleur de Sel French caramels. I highly recommend both as a hostess gift, co-worker gift, or a gift to yourself!
A tip for Hanukah, Christmas, or New Year’s: My family decided to have WFM Dungeness crab for Thanksgiving and it was some of the best crab we’ve had in a long time. If you buy 3 crabs or more, you get $1 off per pound (the initial cost varies depending on market price that day).
They offer a build-your-own Hanukah dinner for eight for $119.99. Customers choose one entrée from
- Brisket 4 lbs
- Roast Turkey 10-12 lbs
- Organic Roasted Chickens 6-9 lbs
- Vegan Stuffed Field Roast En Croute 4 lbs
With this meal, you also receive Matzoh Ball Soup–3 qts, Chopped Chicken Liver–2 lbs, Tzimmes–4 lbs, Applesauce–1 qt, 12 Potato Latkes, 16 Rolls, and Chocolate Matzoh Crunch — 2lbs.
WFM has several Christmas feasts with turkey, serving from 4-12 people. If you want something less than traditional, they have options like a roasted pork loin meal for four with a fully cooked pork loin (tender thanks to sous-vide technique), mashed maple sweet potatoes, green beans with shallots, roasted root vegetables, and rosemary and thyme seasoning blend.
No matter what you decide to order for a holiday feast—and remember you can add party platters, flowers, desserts, and more—the deadline for ordering Hanukah and Christmas meals is 12/22. In-store pick-up for Hanukkah is daily until 12/24; for Christmas it’s 12/19-12/26 (except 12/25 when they are closed).
Want a chance to win a fabulous prize while donating to a great cause? The Capitola store is holding a raffle benefiting Teen Kitchen Project (teenkitchenproject.org). Donate $5 at the register and be entered to win a ham dinner for 8 (to be picked up 12/24), a $100 gift card, or a holiday gift basket filled with WFM goodies. You get to choose which of the three prizes you’re competing for. The raffle drawings take place at the end of the day Dec. 21, but the store will continue to fundraise for Teen Kitchen Project until Dec. 24.
Other seasonal news:
- Planning a Hanukah feast? WFM has menu suggestions including a recipe for pear and sweet potato latkes
- Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz has unique “Ornaments for the Planet” made by kids. They partnered with Gault Elementary 5th grade classes, teaching them about the Whole Planet Foundation and how micro-loans work. Students made ornaments that are being sold for $5; all proceeds benefit Whole Planet Foundation
- A stocking stuffer idea: WFM sells holiday gift cards in denominations of any amount
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.
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If you want suggestions on how to make your holidays less stressful, look to organic, Santa Cruz-based New Leaf Community Markets this season. They have a large variety of gifts including Andes Gifts – Fair Trade, handmade alpaca items – and PACT organic cotton socks, available in the Bloom Departments. New Leaf will also wrap your gifts for free in gift bags during the month of December.
New Leaf also has a blog that includes an early December entry entitled “Simple Tips for Holiday Success.” Check it out at newleaf.com/blog.
For holiday meals — including a la carte items or full dinner packages — you need to order by Saturday, Dec. 20 for pick-up on Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014.
New Leaf has Holiday Side packages – the perfect compliment to any centerpiece with three delicious options – savory, gluten-free and vegan, for $49.99 each.
Other holiday ideas, both traditional and alternative:
- New Leaf offers easy catering options, here is the general (not-holiday-specific) catering menu. Selections include coffee/tea carafes, and assorted platters such as cheese, crostini, Mediterranean, and cookies
- Butternut Squash Lasagna is a house favorite from the deli ($7.99 per pound, serves 3-4)
- Parsnip Bread Pudding (also $7.99 per pound, serves 3-4) is a fun, different side dish and I personally recommend it – I had the chance to sample it around Thanksgiving
- New Leaf’s Own pie crust is now available in the freezer section – made with all butter, and reportedly very light and flaky
- A popular item that can be used as a festive snack or unique dessert: Angie’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt popcorn
The market has holiday packages like “Turkey Dinner” ($139.99, feeds 4-6) with Diestel brown and serve turkey, organic herb bread stuffing, buttermilk mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more. There’s also a gluten-free dinner package ($139.99, feeds 4-6) with the same turkey. Accompaniments include wild and brown rice stuffing, citrus beet salad, organic green bean casserole, gluten-free dinner rolls, and gluten-free pumpkin pie. These packages are available at all New Leaf locations except for Felton and Boulder Creek, which are offering different holiday dishes.
Read more at the New Leaf web site newleaf.com/holidays.
Several store locations are hosting Holiday Solutions Stations to help customers during the holiday season. This is where you can place orders, find recipes and cooking tips, and ask questions about suggested pairings and/or accommodating your guests’ dietary restrictions. The stations also feature occasional holiday treat and drink samples.
Find the station at the front of each store—including downtown Santa Cruz, Westside SC, Capitola, Half Moon Bay, San Jose, Pleasanton—open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Dec. 30.
Contact Info (there are also locations in Half Moon Bay, Felton, San Jose, Pleasanton, and Boulder Creek)
- Westside Location: 1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 426-1306
- Downtown SC Location: 134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 425-1793
- Capitola Location: 1210 41st Ave, Capitola, (831) 479-7987
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Santana Row shops and restaurants are offering a fun holiday event over four Tuesdays in December, and you have two more opportunities before it’s over.
The “Holiday Wine & Dine Around” is Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants can enjoy complimentary wine and food tastings, plus shopping discounts, inside several Santana Row shops and restaurants.
Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. The ticket price also includes a signature Santana Row wine glass. If you donate canned food when you purchase your ticket, you receive a $2 discount (this is when you buy in person through the Santana Row Concierge; note these tickets are cash only). Tickets are also available at SantanaRow.com. If you pre-purchase your ticket, go to the walkway between Left Bank and Sino Restaurant after 5:45 p.m. the night of the event to complete your registration.
You must be 21 years or older to attend. For more information, call the Santana Row Concierge at (408) 551-4611.
Santana Row, which features 70 shops and 20 restaurants, is located near Stevens Creek and Winchester Boulevards.
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Are you behind on Christmas shopping? Buying for folks who are tea or coffee lovers? Peet’s has some fun options including special holiday packages.
I had the opportunity to receive a wonderful gift package from Peet’s, and I’ve already enjoyed all of the coffees enclosed in the beautiful box (see photo above). The Holiday Connoisseur Coffee Collection ($32.95) includes a half-pound each of four ground coffees: Holiday Blend, Major Dickason’s Blend, Garuda Blend and Uzuri African Blend. Below are details on each of these; the tasting notes in parentheses are directly from Peet’s:
1. Holiday Blend (Exquisite, Complex, Celebratory, Dark Roast): Each season, Peet’s seeks the year’s best beans to create a unique, celebratory blend. The 2014 blend is elegant, smooth, and refined with hints of dark chocolate and brown sugar, with beans from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sumatra.
2. Major Dickason’s Blend (Rich, Complex, Full Bodied, Deep Roast): One of the first Peet’s blends, it’s the company’s all-time bestseller (and one of my favorites).
3. Garuda Blend (Gutsy, Earthy, Full Bodied, Deep Roast): A blend of first-rate single-origin Indo-Pacific coffees that celebrate the diverse flavors of the islands.
4. Uzuri African Blend (Beautiful, Dark Berry Notes, Deep Roast): A fully sustainable coffee that you can drink while knowing you’re helping small-scale farmers improve their lives.
If you’re not interested in the exact package listed above, the 2014 Holiday Blend ($16.95/lb.) makes a great gift on its own, or as part of a gift package you design yourself. It’s also part of a few other Peet’s holiday gift packs like the Holiday Blend & Gold Stainless Logo Tumbler Gift ($35.95).
Holiday teas include Holiday Breakfast Blend ($11.95/4-ounce tin, $9.95/25 tea bags), a strong black tea that features Darjeeling and other varieties, and the new Vanilla Keemun ($9.95/4-ounce tin). Peet’s is offering a special “Holiday Breakfast Blend Tea Bags Gift” ($25.95) with tea, a red holiday mug, and chocolate-covered cherries.
Interested in a very decadent gift for a coffee & tea-loving friend or family member? The Peet’s Ultimate Holiday Gift ($149.95) includes one pound each of Holiday Blend coffee and Major Dickason’s Blend, Holiday Breakfast Blend Tea, an 8-cup Bodum Young press pot, a Bodum Assam teapot, two red holiday mugs, Jo’s Peppermint Bark, and Semifreddi’s Almond biscotti.
Happy Holidays and Bon Appetit!
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Jingle Shells will be on Sunday, Dec. 7, at Seymour Center in Santa Cruz. It’s a family-friendly holiday shopping event with ocean- and nature-inspired gifts plus gourmet food gifts.
The annual Jingle Shells Arts & Crafts Festival is from noon to 5:30 pm. Participants can explore the Seymour Center’s exhibits and aquarium, and meet local artisans while shopping for unique holiday gifts including jewelry, ceramics, and art glass. There will be crafts for kids, too.
Vendors selling gifts include four related to food and drinks. Twins Kitchen creates innovative jams and mustards using seasonal and organic fruits from local farms. Flavors include Strawberry Balsamic Jam with rosemary, Black Pepper Raspberry Vanilla Jam with lavender, and Apricot Bourbon Mustard. Farmer Freed makes culinary salt blends using local organic ingredients. Yami’s Spicy Secrets will be there with curry spice blends, and you can purchase gifts from Mutari Hot Chocolate which creates handcrafted single origin hot chocolate blends using organic cacao beans.
Seymour Center will be serving free hot cider, and selling Odwalla bars and juices. Weather permitting, Gary and his Snappy Dog truck will be selling his famous sausages for people to eat. Attendees can also enjoy live music.
Also note that the Center’s Ocean Discovery Shop (this is separate from the special vendors appearing that day) is offering 10% off all purchases on Sunday. All proceeds from these shop sales benefit the Center’s educational programs. For anyone unfamiliar with the Center, it’s dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans. Read more at Seymour Center’s web site or call (831) 459-3800.
Sunday, December 7: Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for Friends of Center members, UCSC undergrads, and kids under 3
Location: Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab, 100 Shaffer Road (past Natural Bridges State Beach, at the end of Delaware Avenue).
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There are many fun food-related events in Santa Cruz this weekend; here are a couple highlights.
POPUP has two events: one today and one tomorrow. On Friday night, Dec. 5, it’s hosting “Paella with Panache” with guest chefs Jehan Hakiman of The Spanish Table, and Katie Pearce and Alexa Newman of Contigo. Two kinds of paella will be featured: Paella de Marisco with shrimp, mussels and calamari; and Paella Cazadora. A selection of traditional sides and accompaniments will also be available.
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends when the food sells out.
Hakiman grew up in Argentina watching his father help friends process and bottle their grapes in various wine regions. Eventually, he learned to make paella there, amongst other dishes in the heavily Spanish influenced landscape of his youth. Once he moved to the Bay Area, he took at a job at The Spanish Table. POPUP organizers say, “What sets Jehan’s cooking apart from others is both his incorporation of his Persian culinary techniques influenced from his own nationality, and also his unwavering beliefs in the symbiotic relationship between food and wine, adding what he calls ‘the third dimensions of flavor.’ Through the years of selling wines to some of the Bay’s most recognized restaurants, Jehan speaks poetically about the wine and food he is most passionate about, and is rarely seen without a glass in hand or a great story to tell.”
Saturday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon, POPUP will be selling hot cocoa and sticky buns, a perfect treat before doing your holiday shopping and/or for a warming snack while watching the downtown Holiday Parade on Pacific, which starts at 10 a.m. Unfamiliar with POPUP? Chef Kendra Baker and partner Zachary Davis—the team behind Assembly, The Picnic Basket, and The Penny Ice Creamery—host rotating food vendors in this space.
Location: 1108 Pacific Ave. near Cathcart
On Friday night, Dec. 5 from 5:30-8 p.m., Homeless Garden Project is hosting its annual Holiday Store Open House and Celebration with food and drink including cupcakes from Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting. The event coincides with First Friday, and there will be work by a few artists and a dance performance in collaboration with MAH. There will be music by Rick Zeek and Rhan Wilson. At 6 p.m. a special presentation will include comments from HGP program trainee Angela, as well as Mayor Lynn Robinson and Council member Don Lane. The holiday boutique offers items including culinary products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at the HGP organic farm. I’ve bought their wonderful lavender shortbread mix as a holiday gift in the past. Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.
Location: 110 Cooper St.
For more info on POPUP, see heypopup.com.
For more info on HGP, see www.homelessgardenproject.org.
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Tuesday, Dec. 2
From November through April, Capitola restaurant Shadowbrook hosts a “Community Tuesday” series benefiting local non-profit organizations. The restaurant donates one-third of sales on selected nights; usually two or more non-profits share the evening. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, the beneficiaries are the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Club and Holy Cross School.
Make your reservations at (831) 475-1511 or just show up at the restaurant for dinner. Note that Shadowbrook takes some walk-in customers, and its Rock Room Lounge doesn’t accept reservations so that’s a great place to dine at the last minute. Make sure to tell your server you are there to support the Women’s Club or Holy Cross School, and your selected organization will receive 33% of your pre-tax sales including both food and drinks. If you dine at the Rock Room, do not order anything from the Two-Fer Tuesday (2-for-1) promotion; those selections don’t count for the benefit.
The UCSC Women’s Club is a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. One of the Club’s main goals is to raise funds to provide scholarships for UCSC re-entry students. Visit womensclub.ucsc.edu for more information. Holy Cross School is a private Catholic school with kids from preschool age through eighth grade. They have been educating students for more than 150 years. Learn more at holycsc.org.
Sundays: Dec. 7, 14, 21, & 28
Every Sunday night (except for holidays) from October through March, Shadowbrook features an international Ports of Call three-course dinner for $29.95. The country changes each month, and for December Executive Chef Roger Gowen has chosen Mexico.
There are two appetizer choices, two entrée choices, and two dessert choices, plus an optional wine pairing for each course ($12). In December, appetizer choices include Posole Rojo, a Mexcian stew with ancho and guajillo chiles, shredded pork, hominy, onions, and garlic (served with cabbage, avocado, and lime wedge). Entrée selections are Camarones a la Diablo (prawns with garlic, peppers, onions, and chiles), and Chicken Mole (a mildly spiced chile sauce flavored with chocolate), both served with rice and beans). Tres Leches cake is one of the dessert choices.
Shadowbrook Restaurant, 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola (831) 475-1511, www.shadowbrook-capitola.com
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I’ve got details on two wine and holiday shopping events worth checking out this holiday weekend: one in Santa Cruz, and one in Carmel Valley.
Surf City Vintners is hosting an art, wine and gift bazaar on Friday afternoon in Westside Santa Cruz at the Swift Street Courtyard.
Surf City Vintners is comprised of 10 wineries including Equinox/Bartolo, Odonata, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Silver Mountain Vineyards, and Vino Tabi. At the event, there will be wine tasting, plus gifts for sale by local artisans. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations of clothing or non-perishable food for the Walnut Ave. Women’s Center. Wineries are also donating a portion of the day’s tasting fees, which range from $5-10, to the Women’s Center. For more information, visit surfcityvintners.com.
Swift Street Courtyard is at Ingalls & Swift Streets.
Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery is holding a special two-day event at its Carmel Valley Village wine tasting room from 1-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday Nov. 28-29.
You’re invited to taste wine as you browse beautiful jewelry and cards for sale from Santa Cruz-based designer Fereshteh Fatemi (disclaimer: I might be biased about the “ beautiful” because Fereshteh is my mother, but she definitely has a lot of fans!). Fifteen percent of all sales will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
Beginning Nov. 28, if you visit the tasting room you can pre-order holiday wreaths and gifts from family-owned Creekside Farms, and 15% of these sales will benefit Alzheimer’s research. Other holiday gifts that are available from Holman regularly – not just this weekend – include wine packs, wine club memberships, and organic Holman Ranch extra virgin olive oil (the latter has a 50-case limited production).
The Holman Ranch Tasting Room is at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road. Visit holmanranch.com.
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Here are a few more choices for dining out in the Bay Area on Thanksgiving.
Monterey & Carmel
On Thanksgiving, Restaurant 1833 will host a feast from 1:30 – 7pm with a special three-course menu for $65 per person. Located in the historic California landmark, the Stokes Adobe house, guests can enjoy selections such as Roasted Apple Soup with sage, Brandy syrup and candied walnuts; Herb-Roasted Free Range Turkey with sage and chestnut dressing, potato puree, haricot verts, cranberry-orange relish, and classic gravy; Acorn Squash Ravioli with roasted mushrooms, port-braised shallots, and Parmesan; and choice of Pumpkin Mousse Pie or Spiced Chocolate Cremeux for a sweet ending. Reservations can be made through Open Table or by calling (831) 643-1833.
500 Hartnell St., Monterey
Cannery Row Brewing Company
The restaurant will offer its regular full menu on Thanksgiving, plus a three-course Turkey Dinner. The dinner will be $29.95 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under. Make reservations via Open Table or at (831) 643-2722.
95 Prescott Ave, Monterey
Il Fornaio in Carmel, located at the Pine Inn, will offer its full menu on Thanksgiving plus a special Thanksgiving dinner with traditional favorites. They invite you to celebrate “Thanksgiving with an Italian twist.” Make reservations via Open Table or at (831) 622-5100.
Ocean Avenue & Monte Verde St., Carmel
Lark Creek Blue
The restaurant is offering a three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner for $49 (adults). Children 10 and under get a half portion for half-price. First course options include roast butternut squash soup with maple glazed bacon lardons; jumbo shrimp cocktail; and steamed clams with housemade chorizo, scallions, garlic, cilantro, white wine, and butter. Entrée choices include lobster (stuffed with bay shrimp and served with green beans and drawn butter), and turkey accompanied by traditional items like cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes. One dessert option is a fun decorate-your-own gingerbread cookie that benefits charity (click here for more info on the month-long promotion).
378 Santana Row, San Jose, (408) 244-1244
The Fairmont San Jose
The Fairmont San Jose is serving two special meals: the Fountain Restaurant is the site of their Family Orchard Buffet; reservations are available from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The cost is $54 per adult and $27 per child 6-12. Kids 5 and under are free. Appetizers include fruit, chilled jumbo prawns, Caesar salad, and sushi. Entree highlights include an organic egg and omelet bar; parsley, rosemary, and thyme rubbed roast turkey; honey baked ham with bourbon mustard and brown sugar glaze; and garlicky Spanish saffron and seafood stew. There will also be festive holiday desserts. The Imperial Ballroom is hosting a Fairmont Harvest Brunch; reservations are available from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The cost is $69 per adult (includes one glass of sparkling wine, mimosa, or house wine) and $34 per child 6-12. Kids 5 and under are free. Appetizers include pulled duck confit; honey-glazed salmon; King crab legs; kale-and feta-faro-pomegranate seed salad. Entrees include an organic egg and omelet bar; parsley, rosemary, and thyme rubbed roast turkey; and sustainably fished Arctic char with pickled onion-cabbage slaw.
For full menus, visit fsjholidays.com/thanksgiving2014.html.
170 South Market St, San Jose, (408) 998-3960
Lago Di Como
Lago Di Como is serving Thanksgiving brunch, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with brunch and dinner menus plus specials including an Italian roasted turkey meal. Make reservations via Open Table or at (831) 454-8257.
21490 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz
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