Category Archives: Restaurants

Thanksgiving highlights for Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley

The dining room at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley
Credit: 1440 Multiversity

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and there are lots of offerings you can choose from—including a unique day at Scotts Valley’s 1440 Multiversity, restaurants with lunch or dinner, and caterers and personal chefs that have prepared food options. Here are a few highlights.

 

1440 Multiversity is offering an inclusive day of Thanksgiving programming. The cost is $125; this includes breakfast (8-9 a.m.), lunch (noon-1:30 p.m.) plus Thanksgiving dinner (4:30-6:30 p.m.). Tickets must be purchased by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. The dinner menu includes Oven Roasted Turkey, Cranberry Confit, Turkey Gravy (vegetarian entrée available); Roasted Brussels Sprout Apple Hash, Chive Gremolata, Fresh Horseradish; and Green Bean Casserole, Wild Mushroom, and Oven Dried Shallot. For the day, attendees will have full access to the campus including workshops, hiking trails, movement classes such as yoga, and an infinity tub soak at the Healing Arts center (participants also receive a $20 discount on any healing treatment of 50 minutes or longer, including massage). A kirtan concert follows dinner. Buy tickets and see full schedule online.

800 Bethany Dr., Scotts Valley, 1440.org

 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving to go: organic prepared food business The Open Hearth is offering a to-go Thanksgiving menu. All orders must be placed by Friday, Nov. 17 and will be ready for pick up Wednesday, Nov. 22 after 4:30 p.m. Selections are Winter Squash Apple Bisque; Pomegranate Persimmon Spinach Salad w/ Goat Cheese & Pomegranate Vinaigrette; Baked Tofu Strips (with Wildwood sprouted firm tofu); Garlic Mashed Potatoes; Portobello Mushroom Gravy; Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with Rodoni Farms sprouts); Cashew Carrot Spread; Jumbo Cornbread Muffins; and Cranberry Apple Crisp. Founder/chef Beth Freewomon has been offering ready-made meals made from organically grown, gluten-free, plant-based and whole unprocessed foods to the local community for more than 10 years. Visit IAmTheOpenHearth.com or contact 831-471-9677 or bethfreewomon@yahoo.com

 

Whole Foods Market has many take-out and catering options available in Santa Cruz and Capitola. All orders must be placed by Tuesday, Nov. 21; WFM recommends ordering as soon as possible, as some selections will sell out. WFM partnered with Philadelphia-based fine dining vegan restaurant Vedge to create a Vegan Meal for Two ($39.99), which includes lentil-mushroom stuffing, mustard-glazed cauliflower, a chocolate toffee mini cake and more. A la carte vegan dishes include roasted butternut squash. Gluten-free selections include several pie varieties from the company Natural Decadence. A traditional turkey dinner for eight for $119.99 contains a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted turkey, herb stuffing, mashed potatoes, organic turkey gravy, and two pounds each of organic cranberry orange sauce and green beans with crispy garlic and parsley (the latter two selections are vegan). For a similar dinner for eight with an organic turkey and slightly different selections, the cost is $159.99. You can place your Thanksgiving dinner orders in person or online at wholefoodsmarket.com/online-ordering. They also have a comprehensive online holiday guide which includes lots of tips and recipes.

911 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz (831) 426-9901

1710 41st Ave., Capitola, (831) 464-2900

 

Chaminade has a Thanksgiving buffet from noon to 6 p.m. The cost is $60 for adults, $20 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Selections include roast turkey with warm orange-cranberry compote, roasted Dijon-crusted lamb leg with mint jelly, apple cider braised pork loin with dried cherry bordelaise and crispy prosciutto, butternut squash ravioli with porcini crème and roast vegetable bruschetta, a Greek display (dolmas, falafel, tzatziki, hummus and more), several salads, and winter squash soup with toasted pepita seeds.

One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz (831) 475-5600

 

Aquarius at the Dream Inn is offering a buffet from 1:30-7 p.m. Cost is $64 for adults and $29 for kids 12 and under. Selections include Diestel free range turkey and prime rib carved to order; butternut squash bisque; a salad bar; cheese and charcuterie including Cypress Grove Bermuda Triangle, Marcona almonds, honeycomb, prosciutto, smoked duck breast, assorted pates and seafood and vegetable terrines; and traditional Thanksgiving sides like Yukon gold mashed potatoes and glazed sweet candied yams. Desserts include pumpkin pie, Kentucky bourbon pecan pie, mini pastries and cupcakes.

175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz (831) 426-4330

 

Severino’s Bar & Grill is offering a buffet from noon to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $42 for adults and $17 for kids 5-10; ages 4 and under are free. Selections include turkey, Angus prime rib of beef, honey-baked country ham and leg of lamb carved to order; traditional stuffing and Yukon mashed potatoes; Caesar salad; clam chowder; fish of the day; and vegetarian ravioli. Desserts include pumpkin pie, pecan pie and vanilla crème brulee.

7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos (831) 688-8987

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Enjoy delicious food & drinks at A Taste of Santa Cruz Thursday

The Point Chophouse serving food at a previous “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” Photo credit: A Taste of Santa Cruz, used with permission

The 13th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz” (ATOSC) at the MAH on Thursday, Nov. 9, features more than 15 participating restaurants plus 16 wineries and two breweries. The event runs from 5:30-9 p.m. and benefits first-time home buyers. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door if it’s not sold out. The cost includes a commemorative glass plus tantalizing tastings from 30-plus vendors. Buy tickets online, or visit atosc.com or call 831-464-2000 for more information.

 

This year’s event is at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for the first time, and attendees can enjoy the museum’s three floors of exhibits before or after their refreshments. There is also a “tasting garden” on the rooftop where attendees can purchase glasses of wine and beer and purchase wine to take home. All proceeds from the event benefit the grant assistance program of the Santa Cruz Association of Realtors Housing Foundation, which provides closing costs for first time, low-income home-buyers in Santa Cruz County. Also, Habit for Humanity Monterey Bay is collaborating with ATOSC this year.

 

Selected Bites at the Nov. 9 event

Splash!
Trout Bruschetta – House smoked trout with a tomato confit

Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Two items: Ruben Rolls with corned beef on an egg roll with sauerkraut & dipping sauces, and traditional Irish Bangers

Persephone
Budino (savory Parmesan custard with balsamic glaze and fried sage)

Michael’s On Main
Two items: Smoked Pork Belly Sliders-Chipotle aioli, pickled slaw, crème fraiche on Hawaiian sweet rolls, and Spicy Tuna Spring Rolls with avocado, shitake mushrooms and wasabi mousse

Pour Taproom 

Maine Lobster Rolls (with fresh lobster flown in from Maine)

Hula’s Island Grill – Santa Cruz 
Hawaiian Ceviche with fresh white fish, cooked in citrus with coconut milk, chili, cilantro & garlic

The Turkey Boat

“Thanksgiving Dinner in a Bowl” and dessert

The Jerk House

Jerk House Wings  with sweet Hibiscus Glaze or Jerk Glaze plus Sweet Fried Plantains

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting
Dessert Buffet of holiday treats and cupcakes

Other participating vendors include Akira, The Point Chophouse, Marini’s Candies (assorted chocolates), Aldo’s Santa Cruz, Percy’s Pies, Makse Bars, Oasis Tasting Room (El Salchichero cured meats and accompaniments), Woodstock Pizza and Cowboy Bar and Grill (pulled pork). Wineries include Alfaro Family Vineyards, Bargetto, Burrell School, Clos Tita, Equinox Wines & Bartolo Winery, Kings Mountain Vineyards, Loma Prieta Winery, McHenry Vineyard, Odonata Wines, Roudon-Smith Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Ser Winery, Villa del Monte Winery, Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery and 37th Parallel. Breweries are East Cliff Brewing Co. and Uncommon Brewers.

 

Other highlights at the event: live and silent auctions with items from local businesses and individuals. Prizes include stays at an oceanfront home in Aptos plus homes in Donner Lake, Puerto Vallarta and Maine; a wine lovers package; restaurant gift certificates; family-friendly activity tickets; shopping and wellness packages; and outdoor experiences.

Location: MAH, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz

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Feast for foodies & beer/wine lovers for cancer research

The 2017 Gourmet Grazing festival is October 7.

The 14th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green—Saturday, Oct. 7 at Aptos Village Park—features more than 75 vendors including local restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries, and spirits distilleries. Proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).

The event is from noon to 4 p.m. Buy $65 tickets at New Leaf Community Markets (downtown, Westside or Capitola locations) or online or pay $70 at the door if it’s not sold out. Adult admission includes food, drinks and a souvenir wineglass. Kids 10 and under are free; kids ages 10-20 are $35.

Participating food, drink & other vendors  include:

Alfaro Family Vineyards
Armitage Wines
Bargetto
Bonny Doon
Burrell School Vineyards
Café Rio
Cantine Winepub
Comanche Cellars
Corralitos Brewing
Dustbowl Brewery
East Side Eatery
Efi’s Dutch-Indo Kitchen
Ella’s at the Airport
Fresh Prep Kitchen
Hollins House
Hula’s Island Grill
Integrity Wines
Kathryn Kennedy
Kings Mountain Vineyards
Krazy Farm Cider
Loma Prieta
Malone’s Grille
MJA Winery

Muccigrosso Vineyards
Muns Vineyards
New Bohemia Brewing Co
New Leaf Community Markets
Odonata Wines
Pelican Ranch
Real Good Fish
Roudon-Smith
Santa Cruz Fish Co
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Seabright Brewery
Scheid Family Wines
Shadowbrook Restaurant
Solaire Restaurant & Bar
Something to Taste
Soquel Cider
Storrs
Surf City Sandwich
The Crow’s Nest Restaurant
The Turkey Boat
Venus Spirits
Via Vega
Villa del Monte Winery
Whole Enchilada
Wrights Station Vineyards
Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine

Ashby Confections
Cinnamon Bay
Cowgirl Creamery
Fran Battendieri Jewelry
Friend In Cheeses
Goose Organics

Hive And Hum
K Deznyz Jewelry
La Vie Wellness

Notso Hot Sauce
Pacific Coffee Roasting
Pure Valley Water
Redwood Hill Farm

Sandbar Solar
Santa Cruz Fish Co
Skyros Ceramics
Smart Chicken
Sunridge Farms
Tomales Bay Foods

 

Proceeds from SCCBG’s events benefit these local cancer support and research organizations: Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Association, Katz Cancer Resource Center, researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy.

 

For over 20 years, the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with cancer in the Santa Cruz community, by raising money to support beneficiary organizations and fund new research that will provide possible cures and better solutions for treating cancer. They have raised more than $22 million since 1995.

 

For more information on the event, see sccbg.org. Parking is limited at Aptos Village Park. There is free shuttle service every 15 minutes from Cabrillo College, where people can park for free.

 

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

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Saturday’s Taste of Soquel benefits Second Harvest

Bill and Dee Hongmanee of Sawasdee at a previous “A Taste of Soquel” event

The ninth annual “A Taste of Soquel,” benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank, takes place in the courtyard of the Congregational Church of Soquel Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be lots of food, drinks and music at this family-friendly festival.

 

Attendees can enjoy food from restaurants and vendors HOME, The Kitchen at Discretion, El Chipotle Taqueria, Café Cruz, Bella Chi-Cha, Jeff Walls’ Family Honey, Aldo’s Italian Bakery, and Sawasdee Thai Cuisine. There will be fresh cider from Everett Family Farm, beer and wine from Discretion Brewing, Soquel Vineyards, Bargetto Winery, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, VinoCruz, Wargin Wines and Poetic Cellars.

See menu details  below.

 

There will be lots of live music, including The Carolyn Sills Combo and “members of the EXPENDABLES Unplugged.” Complimentary coffee will be served by The Ugly Mug, plus tea, lemonade, and more from The Bagelry, Driscoll’s and Donut Station. A kids’ area will feature free activities such as singing with Musical Me, face painting, drumming, art with CherryVale Art Farm, inflatable archery with Kennolyn Camp, and crafts with Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery. More than 50 local businesses participate in the raffle, featuring prizes such as store and restaurant gift certificates.

 

Tickets are $25 for adults (includes music, food, wine) and $10 for youth 12-20 (includes music, food). Kids under 12 are free. Call 831-475-2867 for details. Advance tickets are available at the church or online www.brownpapertickets.com.

 

During the past eight years the event has raised over $62,000, providing 250,000 healthy meals to families in need in Santa Cruz County. The Congregational Church of Soquel and the Capitola/Soquel Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor A Taste of Soquel. Learn more at tasteofsoquel.org.

 

A few selections at Taste of Soquel 2017

Aldo’s: Tiramisu and Lemoncello Bites; Assorted cookies

Bella Chi-Cha: Pesto Sauce; Cheese Spread

The Kitchen at Discretion: Sourdough Crostini, Strawberry Gastrique, Fresh Herbed Ricotta, Pickled Red Onions

Sawasdee: Papaya Salad; Orange Chicken Thai

El Chipotle: Fresh Chips, Guacamole and Red Salsa

Jeff Walls’ Family Honey: Sample honeys from a variety of floral sources their bees have worked including Soquel-Wildflower, Sage, Buckwheat, Pumpkin-Squash, Lima Bean, Tocalote Thistle & Vanilla (infused) Sage while checking out the observation hive where you can see the inner workings of a hive.

 

Bargetto                        Merlot and Pino Grigio

Soquel Vineyards       Trinity Rosso & Trinity Bianco

Hunter Hill                      2014 Merlot & 2013 Chardonnay

Poetic Cellars                2012 Cab Sauvignon & 2010 Pinot Noir

Wargin Wines               Sangiovese & Pinot Gris

Everett Family Farm      Soquel Cider

 

Location: Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr., Soquel

 

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Dads & Grads gifts: Gilroy Premium Outlets, Santa Cruz restaurants & cookies

Selections from Le Creuset at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Photo credit: Le Creuset

Waited ‘til the last minute to buy the dad or grad in your life a gift for this weekend? If they like to cook or are a candy fan, see below for a few gift ideas at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Remember that the outlets feature nearly 150 stores, incorporating a range of tastes. For the dad not particularly interested in food, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th has a great selection of clothing and ties, plus designer sunglasses and wallets. And Bose is a good option for the dad that loves music or television.

Outlet hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

 

Also, if you are shopping for a Santa Cruz foodie or are interested in purchasing a gift with a Santa Cruz theme, see end of article for more ideas.

Gilroy Outlets Food and Cooking Gift Ideas

    • Gift possibilities include grilling skillets, tongs, basting brushes and panini sets for Dad
    • Personalized gift boxes for dads and grads
    • Unique flavors including draft beer
    • Kitchen gadgets, cutlery, small appliances, BBQ accessories

 

Gilroy Outlets restaurants or cafes to purchase gift cards

  • Erik’s Deli Café
  • Starbucks

 

For refreshments while shopping, in addition to the aforementioned Starbucks and Erik’s Deli (the Sandwiches with Character at the latter are always popular), three options are:

  • All Natural Carts  (fresh fruit parfaits you can eat on the go)
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Gilroy Market Place (specialty coffees, pizza, garlic fries, sandwiches and more)

 

Santa Cruz Gifts/Gift Cards

Lots of folks appreciate restaurant gift cards; one idea is a card from The Glass Jar, which owns Assembly, The Picnic Basket and The Penny Ice Creamery. Purchase a card at any of these three, and your recipient can choose which venue to redeem it at. Same with Soif and La Posta, you can purchase gift cards at either restaurant, and they are good at both.

 

Last but not least, Pacific Cookie Company has options if you want to mail a gift. These include what they refer to as “dad-inspired cookie gifts” like Executive Sweet Pack (15 cookies, currently on sale for $23.50 from $26.50). Graduation-themed gifts include Congratulations Cookie Gift Tower (a dozen cookies, $21.95).

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Monthly Santa Cruz Night Market continues June 10 at the Food Lounge

Kutsara is a participant at the Food Lounge’s Santa Cruz Night Market June 10
Photo credit: Kutsara Facebook page

It’s time for the popular and very delicious Santa Cruz Night Market. Held the second Friday of each month at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge, it’s a popup event with food, craft cocktails and live music. For the June 9, 2017 event, there will be several local vendors selling ready-to-eat food or take-home food products. These include Fogline Farm, Tanglewood Catering (chef Rachel Hughes), Rogue Pies (formerly Artisan Hand Pies), My Mom’s Mole, and the vendors listed below.

 

You can stop by anytime between 4-9 p.m., although the earlier you go, the more food options there are.

 

  • Hanloh Thai will have five gluten-free dishes ranging from $5-10 each. These include “A Very Big Spring Roll” with green gem, quick pickled carrot & daikon, sweet chili sauce, vermicelli noodles, mint, cilantro and tofu or Vietnamese sausage (made with Fogline Farm pork belly); and deep-fried curried catfish “Tod Mun Pla” with housemade curry paste, cucumber relish and sweet & sour sauce
  • Efi’s Dutch-Indo is doing three small plates at $6 each: Satay, Rissoles, and bitterballen (mini croquettes)
  • Kutsara with chef Clarissa Flores is serving Smoked Duck Banh Mi and Tocino Chicken Bao with Homemade Green Papaya and Korean Daikon Pickles

 

Location: Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

Contact Info: www.scfoodlounge.com, info@scfoodlounge.com

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Lots of popups this weekend in Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley

Mole nachos from My Mom’s Mole.
Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

There are many pop-up dining opportunities this weekend, May 26-27, 2017, in the Santa Cruz area–here are details for a few including two at local breweries.

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

My Mom’s Mole is hosting dinner at POPUP from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday (or earlier if the food sells out). There will be mole nachos (chicken and veggie options) made with My Mom’s Mole homemade tortilla chips plus their signature cactus and kale salad.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Friday night: La Sofrita at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co.

La Sofrita is doing dinner at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co. from 4-9 p.m. Friday. Dishes available will include empanadas; Puerto Rican achiote rice and pink beans, stewed with ham and sweet potatoes; mango-cucumber salad; and yuca fries served with garlic-mojo dipping sauce. Buck N The Odds will play live music.

Steel Bonnet Brewing Co., 20 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Saturday night: Homeless Garden Project at POPUP

Homeless Garden Project is holding its first “farm to table pop-up” at Assembly’s POPUP, from 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday. Angie Smith is preparing the food. Menu selections will be beet sliders with pickled radishes and creamy green goddess dressing; Southern style barbecue chicken sliders; grilled potato salad with arugula and lemon mustard vinaigrette; summer chopped salad; and strawberries, angel food cake waffles and honeyed whipped cream.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Saturday night: Hanloh at East Cliff Brewing Co.

Hanloh Thai Food will be at East Cliff Brewing Co. from 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Their menu will include vegan and gluten-free options. There will be live music by Take One from 7-9 p.m.

East Cliff Brewing Co., 21517 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz

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Hyatt Carmel Highlands features divine dinner options

Almond yogurt with root vegetables at California Market at Pacific's Edge. Photo courtesy of Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Almond yogurt with root vegetables at California Market at Pacific’s Edge. Photo courtesy of Hyatt Carmel Highlands

In early March, I visited the Hyatt Carmel Highlands and ate dinner at California Market at Pacific’s Edge for the first time, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. From the service, to the food, to the views—everything combined to make an incredible, enjoyable experience that I’ll remember for a very long time.

 

Soon after my husband and I sat down, our server David greeted us. He was extremely attentive for the next two hours, and I appreciated his down to earth nature and his enthusiasm and knowledge about the menu offerings.

 

We began with an appetizer, which was almond yogurt mixed with roasted root vegetables and pistachio granola. This is offered a la carte or as course one of the four-course plant based tasting menu ($50, or $80 with wine pairings, the menu rotates every six weeks or so).

I would not have ordered this dish without the waiter’s recommendation, and wow would I have missed out! Delightful, surprising tastes and textures…when I think of yogurt and granola, that sounds like a breakfast item. This worked beautifully as a light, unusual beginning to dinner.

 

We got the honor of meeting sous chef Pancho Castellon that night. He joined the Hyatt in April 2016, and he is vegan. “It was (executive chef) Chad Minton’s idea to create a plant-based tasting menu in order to enforce sustainability and to show people that you can still enjoy a full diner without the need of animal proteins,” says Castellon, who helped launch the menu last September.

 

As I talked to chef Pancho about watching some diners try vegan food for the first time, his eyes lit up with enthusiasm. He also became very animated when discussing the great ingredients the restaurant gets from various sources, including all the wonderful local produce. “I find this very inspiring, and love building relationships with our farmers and producers.”

 

We followed the first appetizer with an octopus starter that was extremely tender and flavorful. The fish is first done as a confit at a very low heat with California extra virgin olive oil. After the confit process, the octopus is chilled and then finished in the plancha. “Then we add some black garlic emulsion and new potatoes,” shares Castellon. There was also a kalamata olive aioli on the plate and I could have eaten a whole cup of this sauce.

 

One of our favorite dishes that night was Tom Yum soup, which included coconut squash broth plus strong lemongrass and kaffir lime flavors. Chef Pancho shared his inspiration for creating this: “I have always liked Thai coconut soup and was trying to find a way to make it less Thai and more ‘California/Pacific like’. It was also perfect for our winter menu. That is why we made the soup using local squash as a base, seasonal vegetables and some of the local foraged mushrooms Far West Fungi brings us.” The restaurant confits the mushrooms to give them a ham-like texture, which we noticed and enjoyed. Indeed, my husband—a devout meat-eater eating vegan soup—wanted to lick his bowl clean, but resisted.

 

California Market at Pacific’s Edge regularly uses Far West Fungi in Moss Landing for mushrooms (both wild and harvested), and receives other ingredients like huckleberries on occasion if these have also been foraged. A majority of the other produce used in the menu comes from a 50-mile radius, including Coke Farm, Brian’s Ranch, Mariquita Farms, Happy Boy Farms, and Swank Farms.

 

All of California Market’s menus, curated by executive chef Minton, feature a California map that points out local producers, such as Bellwether Farms Creamery in Sonoma and Monterey Abalone Company in Monterey. The restaurant also follows the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and serves cage- and GMO-free eggs in its dishes.

 

Two entrees that stood out were scallops and tuna. The meaty, fresh scallops were served with gorgeous heirloom cauliflower and a to-die-for Romesco sauce. I noticed that the plant-based tasting menu’s third course was a vegan version of the same dish. The main difference was utilizing king trumpet mushrooms instead of scallops. “I really wanted something on the tasting menu that represents our regular menu, so I asked our mushroom guys if they could grow some big king trumpet mushrooms for us so I could cut the stems in scallop shapes,” said Castellon. “Then I smoked them with hickory, compressed them with kombu, and seared them like a regular scallop.” Castellon says that some couples have ordered both the vegan ones and the regular ones and it’s actually kind of hard to notice the difference in the plated dish.

 

The tuna dish was served with beer-battered avocado (so fun and tasty!), jicama cucumber salad, pistachio vinaigrette and piquillo pepper emulsion. The flavors and textures worked together beautifully.

 

Finally, for dessert, we devoured a heavenly chocolate hazelnut tart (I emphasize “devoured” because we thought we were quite full, but it was too good not to finish). Available on both the regular and tasting menus, it was served with burnt marshmallow, wild huckleberry granite (with berries from Far West Fungi) and whipped coconut cream. One day Castellon was at home reading some cookbooks, brainstorming ideas for a new menu. His wife Kika, who he describes as a “hardcore vegan,” came out of the kitchen with S’mores that she made using vegan “nutella” and dandies (vegan marshmallows). “I was up all night trying to figure out how to make it happen on the tasting menu. The next day I met with our pastry cook Kasala and started working on the recipe—and it’s vegan, gluten-free and almost sugar free.”

 

I highly recommend you have a meal as soon as possible at California Market at Pacific’s Edge. Since the hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, there are a few opportunities for trying the food at special events as well. One is the “Forks.Corks.Action!” Winemaker series in the Wine Room, where attendees will meet the winemakers and enjoy a four-course dinner with wine paired with each course. During the series, winemakers will discuss the history, culture and qualities of the featured wines from Monterey and Santa Cruz County that will accompany chef Minton’s seasonal, locally sourced and plant-based menus.

 

There will be three Winemakers Dinners in 2017:

 

  • Thursday, April 27 — In honor of Earth Day held annually April 22, this will be a plant based four course winemaker’s dinner with Pierce Ranch Vineyards, which will be showcasing their sustainable wines  ($120 inclusive per person). The menu includes a second course of caramelized morel risotto featuring asparagus and macadamia nuts.

 

  • Thursday, Sept. 28 — In honor of California Wine Month, California Market at Pacific’s Edge is teaming up with DeTierra Wines and the National Steinbeck Center for a benefit dinner.  Learn about DeTierra wines and their connection to John Steinbeck.  Listen to Steinbeck Scholar Susan Shillinglaw talk about John Steinbeck while enjoying a four-course wine pairing meal  ($140 inclusive per person/$20 from each ticket benefits the National Steinbeck Center)

 

  • Thursday, November 9 – Details to be announced

 

Curious about the restaurant’s name? The hotel used to have two restaurants, casual bistro California Market and fine dining Pacific’s Edge, but they merged them into a new and improved venue in January. The restaurant underwent welcome renovations including an 870-square-foot deck with a louvered roof and glass-panel walls.

 

Details:

Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Overlooking Big Sur Coast

120 Highland Drive, Carmel

highlandsinn.hyatt.com or 831-620-1234

 

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Dine at Hula’s on Mondays and support Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County

April Mahalo Mondays benefit Boys and Girls Club

April Mahalo Mondays benefit Boys and Girls Club

If you go out for dinner or drinks at the downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s on Monday nights in April, part of your meal will benefit the Boys and Girls Club.

 

During the month of April, Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room – a wonderful place to eat and drink with selections to accommodate many different tastes – is donating 10% of all Monday night sales to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County.

 

This promotion is part of the restaurant’s Mahalo Mondays community giving program; on selected months throughout the year, a different non-profit organization receives 10% of Monday evening sales. Between 2008 and 2016, Hula’s donated more than $143,000 to 56 local nonprofit organizations via Mahalo Mondays proceeds.

 

If you haven’t been to Hula’s lately, there’s a great lanai in front providing outdoor seating; it opened in May 2016. The restaurant’s menu features Hawaiian fusion dishes and other choices. Lunch highlights include delicious burgers with beef and veggie options that come with choice of sweet potato fries (warning: addictive), regular fries, slaw or arugula or Caesar salad; rice bowls with black beans, cabbage mix, and choice of “jungle” tofu, wasabi ahi or spicy Thai chicken; and a variety of tacos. At dinnertime, all of these dishes are still available, and there are many more such as Hawaiian fish soup, slow-roasted pork plate, and fresh fish. For seafood, you can choose between six types of fish and select one of six preparation types to match it with. For example, pick lemongrass-encrusted halibut with lime-ginger-cream sauce or pan-fried ono with shiitakes. Hula’s also offers a tiki bar that features 40 different rums, tropical drink specialties and more.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County promotes youth guidance through educational, vocational, recreational, social and character development of girls and boys ages 6 to 18. The Club is the only youth service organization in the greater Santa Cruz area providing daily afterschool drop-in programs five days a week. There is a downtown Santa Cruz location, and a new Live Oak location that opened one year ago. Boys & Girls Clubs also offer a summer day camp program five days a week from mid-June through mid-August, and Winter and Spring break day camps.

 

Details

Hula’s Island Grill and & Tiki Room, 221 Cathcart Street (between Cedar and Pacific), Santa Cruz (831) 426-4852

Dates: April 10, 17, and 24

Hours: Dinner nightly 4:00 p.m.–close, lunch Tuesday- Sunday 11:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m., happy hour with daily specials (Tuesday–Sunday 2-6 p.m., Monday 4:30–6).

 

 

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St. Patrick’s Day food and drink highlights for Santa Cruz County & nearby

My Mom’s Mole, Elkhorn Slough Brewing & The Green Waffle are collaborating for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

My Mom’s Mole, Elkhorn Slough Brewing & The Green Waffle are collaborating for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

There are many enticing foods and events for St. Patrick’s Day 2017 in Santa Cruz and nearby areas. Here are a few highlights.

My Mom’s Mole is hosting an event at Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. in Watsonville on Friday, March 17, from 4-8 p.m. There will be taco and green waffle options with shredded chicken and/or roasted root vegetables and mole sauce (My Mom’s Mole signature sauce and/or mole verde). A side of My Mom’s Mole signature cactus & kale salad accompanies each dish. The waffles are courtesy of The Green Waffle LLC and El Nopalito Produce is providing the nopales (cactus).

My Mom’s Mole, The Green Waffle, and El Nopalito Produce are three of the 30-plus locally owned businesses that operate out of Watsonville’s El Pájaro CDC Commercial Kitchen Incubator. Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. opened in 2016 and focuses on wild ales made with locally harvested yeast and other locally sourced ingredients.

Elkhorn Slough co-founder Julie Rienhardt said,“When locals come together to make great food and drink from the ingredients all around us, it takes delicious to a whole new level. We are proud to be serving our beer with My Mom’s Mole to the wonderful Watsonville community for a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration.”

Location: 65 Hangar Way, Watsonville

La Sofrita is doing a “We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” popup from 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, at POPUP next to Assembly. Chef Anna says “while staying true to Puerto Rican classics and flavors, we will pay homage to the Irish.” The menu will include rellenos de papa, a classic Puerto Rican dish of mashed potatoes stuffed with savory beef picadillo, then gently fried; corned beef empanadas (plus a few of La Sofrita’s other empanada varieties) served with curtido, a lightly pickled cabbage slaw; and Puerto Rican chicken stew flavored with sofrito and adobo, served with Puerto Rican rice. Beer will also be available.

 

Location: 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

 

Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria is offering corned beef and cabbage dinner for $15.95. This includes potatoes, carrots, onions, horseradish cream and a slice of Irish soda bread. Dinners will be available Thursday and Friday, March 16-17, starting at 9 a.m. (cold) and noon (hot) for take-out service. Cost is $15.95. The restaurant has also created Guinness stout chocolate cake, Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake and iced shamrock cookies. Gayle’s is at Learn more:

Location: 504 Bay Ave., Capitola

 

Ella’s at the Airport  is serving corned beef and cabbage for lunch and dinner. There will also be Irish-inspired drinks.

Location: 100 Aviation Way, Watsonville

 

Malone’s is offering what it calls “traditional St. Patrick’s Day food specials” plus Irish style beers and special cocktails, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday. There will be live music in the evening.

Location: 4402 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley

 

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