Tag Archives: Aptos restaurants

More Mother’s Day restaurants for the Santa Cruz area

Aquarius Restaurant – Photo courtesy of Aquarius Facebook page

Did Mother’s Day 2018 sneak up on you? Mother’s Day is Sunday – some restaurants in the Santa Cruz area, including Bargetto Winery, which only has one seating – are fully booked, but others are still available. Below are a few.

Refer to my May 3 article for a few Santa Cruz County restaurant highlights (plus one for Monterey), but I am not sure which of those still have reservations available.

Also, if you want something off the beaten path, Roaring Camp Railroads is hosting a brunch buffet ($39 adults, $29 kids) from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Bret Harte Hall (last seating at 1). There are train rides to go on after brunch (diners receive $2 fare discount); visit this site.

As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, the following restaurants still had selected Mother’s Day brunch reservations available—these are based on a party of 4. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com.

BRUNCH

  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • Ideal Bar & Grill (831) 423-5271
  • Jaguar Restaurant (831) 600-7428
  • Mozaic (831) 600-7428
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545
  • Suda (831) 600-7068
  • Zelda’s on the Beach (831) 475-4900

 

DINNER

  • Aquarius-Dream Inn (831) 740-8138
  • Café Cruz (831) 476-3801
  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • Gabriella Café (831) 457-1677
  • Ideal Bar & Grill (831) 423-5271
  • Jaguar Restaurant (831) 600-7428
  • Mozaic (831) 600-7428
  • Pearl of the Ocean (831) 457-2350
  • Persephone (831) 612-6511
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545
  • Suda (831) 600-7068
  • Zelda’s on the Beach (831) 475-4900

 

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Mother’s Day restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz & Monterey: Shadowbrook, Chaminade, Portola & more

Shadowbrook is open during the day on Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy of Shadowbrook.

Dining out on Mother’s Day is extremely popular, so if you haven’t made reservations yet, better hurry: here are a few restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz County and Monterey. I’ll publish more in the next few days.

Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos

Shadowbrook

It’s very rare for Shadowbrook to be open during the day, but it’s happening on Mother’s Day. The restaurant is serving a dinner menu all day (11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) in its main dining room. Mother’s Day specials are slow-roasted leg of spring lamb (porcini mushroom-crusted with organic baby carrots, wild rice ‘pilaf’ and Cabernet jus, $28.95) and sweet-glazed ham (lightly smoked with Gouda potato gratin, grilled asparagus, apple-mustard and ham hock jus, $24.95). Many other dishes will be available like New England clam chowder; signature salad which includes baby spinach, candied pecans, and bacon-wrapped prawns; and house specialty Angus prime rib. See full menu here.

Many of the large party tables (7 people and up) have been booked, but as of press time there were a couple cancellations for the private room, at 11:15 and 5:15—this holds 12-16 people. For smaller parties (tables of four, for example) they are booked from 11 a.m. to 2:30, but there are reservation openings after that scattered throughout the afternoon and evening. Call 831-475-1511 for reservations. In addition, the Rock Room Bar & Lounge is open beginning at 10:30 a.m. for bar service and 11 for food, and might stay open as late as 10 p.m., but there are no reservations accepted for that area. It’s first-come, first-served. The regular dinner menu will be available at the rooftop heated bar/lounge deck. The regular Rock Room menu will be available in the lounge and on the deck. Because of Shadowbrook’s popularity—especially on Mother’s Day—many people choose to buy restaurant gift cards for Mother’s Day and give these as gifts, to be used at a later date.

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola

 

Chaminade

The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13. Cost is $66.95 for adults, $18.95 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6. Selections include Belgian waffles; an omelet bar; mini quiches; gourmet salads; a seafood bar with teriyaki salmon, Dungeness crab legs and more; roast prime rib with au jus; bourbon glazed honey ham; and ravioli with porcini cream, fried leeks and wild mushrooms. Kids’ dishes are chicken strips and fries; mac & cheese; and mini pancakes. See full menu. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit  opentable.com for reservations.

One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort has a brunch buffet from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $56.95 for adults and $21.95 for kids. This year’s selections include a prime rib carving station; a seafood bar; a salad assortment (includes roasted beet with radicchio, apple, pickled apple; and Cobb; fresh fruit; and freshly baked croissants and muffins. Other highlights include potato cakes; smoked bacon and chicken apple sausage; and a kids’ menu with chicken tenders, hot dogs and more. 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 $75 for adults (includes a glass of champagne). The menu will include made-to-order omelets featuring choices such as smoked salmon and green garlic chives; Yukon gold potato hash; Applewood smoked bacon and breakfast sausage; a carving station with items such as Pitt ham with honey mustard and Hollandaise; artichoke quiche; and a few salads (including Caesar, and build-your-own-Cobb). Other highlights include a croissant and bagel station, cupcakes and bread pudding with salty whiskey caramel. See full menu here. Call (831) 216-5358 or visit opentable.com for reservations.

20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Monterey

Portola Hotel & Spa

Portola Hotel & Spa is hosting Mother’s Day brunch at its De Anza Ballroom. There will be live piano music, and each mother receives a complimentary Mimosa. The buffet is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 831-649-7874 for reservations. Cost is $54.95 for adults, $41.95 for seniors 65 and up, and $24.95 for kids. The menu includes ham-gruyere frittata, sweet & savory crepes, California cheeses & cured meats with crusty bread & crackers, wild King salmon, and prime rib.  The kids’ menu includes macaroni & cheese and grilled chicken fingers with Ranch. See full menu.

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey

 

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Food, wine and beer at 2016 Grazing on the Green benefiting cancer research

logo-thumb-website-1

The 13th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green—Saturday, Sept. 24 at Aptos Village Park, features 70-plus vendors including local restaurants and caterers, other food businesses, and local 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 http://sccbg.org or it will be $70 at the door if it’s not sold out. If you have a group of 10, you can get tickets for $60 each. Adult admission includes food, drinks and a souvenir wineglass. Kids 10 and under are free; kids ages 10-20 are $35.

 

Participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2016 include The Crow’s Nest, Café Cruz, Café Rio, Real Good Fish, Niman Ranch, SunRidge Farms, Ashby Confections, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, Cremer House, Ella’s at the Airport, Surf City Sandwich, Hula’s, Hollins House and Sid’s Smokehouse.

 

Participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Hallcrest Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Sones Cellars, Wargin Wines, Wrights Station Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Discretion Brewing, Seabright Brewery, New Bohemia Brewing Co. and Venus Spirits.

 

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 more information on the event, see www.sccbg.org.

There is free shuttle service every 15 minutes from Cabrillo College; parking is also free.

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

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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

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Visit Pino Alto Restaurant for great meals by cooking students plus Friday farm to table dinner

Lemon buttermilk tart from a late October “New Releases” dinner at Pino Alto Restaurant

Lemon buttermilk tart from a late October “New Releases” dinner at Pino Alto Restaurant

If you are a foodie and haven’t yet discovered Pino Alto Restaurant, it’s a secret worth sharing. I just had the pleasure of dining there for the first time. The Cabrillo College culinary arts department operates Pino Alto, which is located in the historic Sesnon House on campus. It’s open during the fall and spring semesters, Sept.-Dec. and Feb.-May, and the Cabrillo Horticulture department grows a lot of the produce served. Students from the “Advanced Culinary” class are the ones who run the restaurant (with instructors’ supervision, of course). Lunch is served Mon-Thurs and dinner Wed-Fri. See the site for specific hours and menus. There are also special events like a farm to table dinner this Friday, Nov. 6: keep reading for details.

I dined at Pino Alto in late October; the menu I ordered from is available through Thursday, Nov. 5.  Dinner menus change every 3-4 weeks and lunch menus change weekly. A tapas-themed dinner menu will debut on Nov. 11. From the moment we entered the restaurant, everything was wonderful. Staff (culinary students) were very attentive, checking often to see if we needed beverage or bread refills (the bread was warm and fresh, so it was hard to say no, but I wanted to try several food items). The meal began with a complimentary salmon cake starter that they referred to as an amuse bouche, but it was bigger than the traditional one-bite amuse. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the generous sizes of all the courses! The salmon was delicious and moist, and the cake had a nice crunch. Chive masarpone provided a creamy, perfect topping. I had the chance to sample my husband’s crab-stuffed prawns with mango corn salsa, which was very tasty. Beet soup with ginger and coconut, garnished with a beet chip and crème fraiche, followed. It did not disappoint! All dinner entrees are accompanied by your choice of soup or salad.

Before I get to the rest of the meal, let me talk a little more about the way Pino Alto works. As I mentioned, Advanced Culinary students act as restaurant staff each semester. They fill all the typical positions including Manager, Set/Wait, Prep/Wait, Pantry/Wait, Bake, Pastry, Hot Line, and Head Chef. Our waitperson that night was Kimber Styles Ashley, who created—or helped create—quite a few dishes featured on the current menu, which is titled “New Releases.” She explained the menu-designing process that occurs each time: “This New Releases menu, which ends Nov. 5, was very much a collaborative menu. Individually we present a complete menu to our class in a discussion format on BlackBoard,” said Ashley. “Each meal is posted separately and we discuss, comment and vote on everyone’s dishes. We then discuss and vote on the dishes that received the most votes in class and then have a final vote. I was honored with having one of my main dishes and desserts chosen for the New Releases Menu. My main was grilled prime New York strip sirloin served with a lima bean and corn ragout and a nest of crispy string onions on top.”

My husband ordered the sirloin and it was divine; he pronounced it “buttery and tender.” My entrée was probably my favorite dish that night. I chose a wild mushroom cassoulet with artichoke hearts and onion confit. It was earthy and rich; the flavors and textures complemented each other beautifully. For dessert we shared a lemon buttermilk tart topped with vanilla whip cream and candied lemon rind. Let’s just say, it rocked our world and we sort of fought over the last bites. This was Ashley’s creation. She had the opportunity to work at Companion Bakeshop this past summer, and was inspired to create this tart after trying Companion’s Buttermilk Meyer Lemon pie, which she tasted at Pie Ranch up the coast.

Eric Carter, chair of the Culinary Arts program, serves as chef at Pino Alto restaurant and co-instructor for the Advanced Culinary class. He really enjoys these roles. “I love to see the growth in the students’ abilities and skills,” says Carter. “It’s a challenging class, nine units, and they are asked to perform at a very high level.”  It’s sometimes rough at the very beginning of the semester, he says, but things get much smoother very quickly as students become comfortable in both the front and back of the house. “Then I start to see them work independently and carry themselves with confidence.  It’s rewarding.”

Carter likes the fact that he gets to operate a restaurant that is well regarded in the community, and also influence many students’ lives in a positive way. He sometimes hears this from students years after they’ve finished the program.

The farm to table dinner on Nov. 6 will be a four-course menu with wine pairings, featuring lots of ingredients sourced from local purveyors like Jacobs Farm, Live Earth Farm and Stagnaro’s Seafood. The wine will be from Savannah-Channelle, Hunter Hill, Clos La Chance, Mountain Winery and Burrell School. See full menu below. The cost is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. A reception starts at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7. For reservations, call (831) 479-6524.

Ashley is thrilled that several of her dishes were chosen for this event: the olive oil toast hors d’oeuvre, the rock cod fritter appetizer, the main course, and the dessert. She says that locally and seasonally harvested menus are her passion and that she’s been learning and growing in that direction through her Cabrillo culinary arts education. “I am definitely a California Cuisine-type of cook and would like to move towards the Slow-Food Movement as well,” says Ashley. “I think that’s why this Friday’s farm-to-table event was such a successful menu for me. Cooking from what’s at the farm makes me happy, excited and I feel alive.”

Carter hopes to see some new faces as customers in the near future. I can’t wait to go back myself. If you’re interested in getting on the list to keep informed about when Pino Alto is open and viewing current menus, Carter suggests writing to Sue Slater at suslater@cabrillo.edu.

November 6 menu

  • Three passed hors d’oeuvres: Jacobs Farm chive flatbread with garlic and brie; olive oil toasts with kale, feta, pine nuts and raisins; and ceviche on crispy won tons.
  • First course: smoked Pacific rock cod fritter with beet vinaigrette (or Romanesco fritter for vegetarian option)
  • Second course: grilled Monterey Bay calamari salad, mint vinaigrette, assorted Live Earth Farm vegetables
  • Main course: prosciutto wrapped halibut (depending on availability) with sage, served with rosemary apple braised chard and fennel potato gratin
  • Main course vegetarian option: Butterkin pumpkin sage risotto
  • Dessert: Apple pecan bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream

Pino Alto Location: Sesnon House at Cabrillo College: 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos

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Food truck, Homeless Garden Project events in Scotts Valley & Santa Cruz

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

There are many food events occurring this weekend in local cities such as Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley—here are details for a first-time Scotts Valley food truck event Friday and a benefit feast with star chefs at Homeless Garden Project Saturday.

Friday, Sept. 18: Food Trucks a Go Go
Food Trucks A Go Go, a food truck event company, is hosting its first food truck event at Skypark in Scotts Valley Friday night. Attendees can choose from four local trucks, and there are picnic tables at the park. Participating food trucks are Ate3One (Philly cheesesteak, tacos & more), Zameen Mediterranean (falafel, gyros, etc.), The Choke Coach (menu includes artichokes a la carte and as ingredients in other dishes), and Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Café (ice cream and sweets).

Aunt LaLi’s owner, LaLi Kates, has been bringing her treats to the local community for years, and she is the founder of Food Trucks A Go Go.  Kates says that for years, both she and her customers have been wanting food trucks in the area, and that the timing is now right to make this happen. Save the date for the next Go Go Gathering: Friday, Oct. 23, same time and place.

Date/Hours: Friday, Sept. 18, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

Saturday, Sept. 19: Homeless Garden Project benefit dinner
Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is holding an organic benefit dinner at its farm, the latest in its Sustain Farm Dinner series. Sustain is a seasonal gourmet dinner series featuring organic produce from the farm, wine pairings, and guest speakers discussing sustainable topics. The admission fee, $125, benefits HGP; the prices are higher this season because HGP is celebrating its 25th anniversary so the dinners are more extensive and the speakers are nationally known. The dinner held in August featured Greens Restaurant founder Deborah Madison, and Catherine Sneed is Saturday’s keynote speaker. Sneed began the horticulture program at the SF County Jail in 1982. Read more and purchase tickets online.

A different chef will prepare each of the four courses. David Morgan, chef for David Kinch’s soon-to-open The Bywater in Los Gatos (read more in my recent article) will prepare a first course duo: fried green tomatoes, bagna cauda and ricotta cheese; and smoked pork boudin with mustard and pickles. The Food Lounge’s Andrea Mollenauer will prepare a salad for the second course, while Soif’s Mark Denham will create an entrée of tea smoked quail, quinoa & kale “fried rice,” spiced eggplant, blistered padrons, and chimichurri  (vegetarian and vegan options are available if ordered ahead). Renowned Aubergine pastry chef Ron Mendoza is providing dessert: Japanese cheesecake with carrot and cilantro. There will also be live classical music performed by a quartet comprised of musicians from the Santa Cruz Symphony.

Date/Hours: Saturday, Sept. 19, 4-7:30 p.m.
Location: HGP Farm, Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz

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Restaurants for Easter in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel

Santa Cruz's Chaminade is serving an Easter brunch buffet

Santa Cruz’s Chaminade is serving an Easter brunch buffet

Dining out on Easter is a great way to celebrate with friends or family or both, and Santa Cruz and the Monterey/Carmel areas have many restaurants offering special menus this Sunday.

Also see:

Happy Easter!

Santa Cruz
Chaminade

The Chaminade offers its annual Easter Brunch Buffet from 9am-3pm; the price is $55.95 (adults), $18.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. As of press time, it was nearly sold out. Selections include honey ham with Jack Daniels glaze; rosemary and garlic encrusted lamb leg; a seafood bar with teriyaki salmon, peel and eat prawns, and more; omelets made to order; and Belgian waffles with fresh berry compote. Additional highlights: gourmet salads, cheese ravioli, eggs florentine, chocolate fondue, and a sundae bar. There will be a special kids’ menu plus Easter egg hunts at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30 p.m., 1:30pm, and 2:30pm, appearances by the Easter Bunny, and face painting. Egg hunts are for hotel and dining guests only. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings has a brunch buffet from 9 am to 2 pm; the price is $45.95 for adults and $19.95 for kids 2-12. Selections include prime rib; honey ham; Seascape benedict with crab cakes; BBQ pork ribs; whole roasted chicken; and mushroom ravioli. Salads include roasted beet-feta-arugula, spinach with avocado-walnuts, and Indian-spiced chickpea with cucumber, red onion, and more. Other highlights include cracked crab legs and a special kids’ menu.. Call (831) 662-7120 for reservations.
One Seascape Resort Drive (at Seascape Beach Resort), Aptos

Hyatt Carmel Highlands
At the Hyatt Carmel Highlands’ California Market, diners can start Easter brunch with a visit to the Bellini bar where staff will create custom sparkling wine drinks blended with fresh seasonal fruit purees. From there guests will order from the a la carte brunch menu, featuring signature items from the hotel’s new California Market all-day brunch menu. For the finale, guests are invited to the grand dessert buffet with Easter favorites.  Additionally, the hotel’s bunny concierge will be guiding young guests to a bunny petting zoo and Easter egg decorating station. Brunch entrée choices include frittata with cast iron baked egg whites, wild arugula, roasted tomatoes, and Nicasio Valley farmers cheese; brioche French toast with local berry compote and vanilla bean whipped cream; Cioppino with sautéed mussels, clams, local catch, squid ink linguini, spicy tomato broth, and grilled garlic bread; and Cobb salad with grilled chicken, smoked bacon, egg, avocado, blue cheese, tomatoes, and lemon-Dijon dressing. The cost is $49.99 per person, with seatings from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.–call 831- 622-5445.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands, 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel

Fandango
The restaurant is serving a special prix fixe Easter brunch ($38.85 for adults, $18.75 for kids 12 and under, seatings 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). Dishes include roast leg of lamb Provencal; honey glazed baked ham with Hawaiian sauce; grilled fresh salmon with Hollandaise; eggs benedict Florentine; salad with spinach, orange, bleu cheese, and walnuts; berry shortcake; and chocolate profiteroles. Call 831-372-3456.
223 17th St., Pacific Grove

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, plus a special selection of appetizers and savory entrees. For the prix fixe, guests receive a choice of soup or salad, a choice of three entrees including roast leg of Colorado lamb with port sauce, sautéed Salinas Valley spinach, and garlic mashed potatoes; and a choice of two desserts (Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee). Brunch specials include eggs steak benedict with filet mignon; eggs crab benedict; and Maine lobster hash with poached eggs. Call 831-373-3775 for info or reservations.
701 Wave St., Monterey

Tarpy’s Roadhouse
Tarpy’s is bringing back a signature cocktail for Easter: a strawberry hibiscus cooler with house infused strawberry gin, fresh lemon juice, and HUM hibiscus liqueur. Tarpy’s will be serving Easter brunch specials, and these items will become restaurant brunch stapes after Easter. Dishes will include steak & eggs with wood fired prime sirloin steak, crispy fingerling potatoes, bone marrow butter basted eggs and smoked onion jus ($22); Roadhouse French toast (country bread soaked in a whiskey custard with a huckleberry compote and candied pecan butter, $16); and oxtail hash and eggs with braised oxtail, fingerlings and caramelized pearl onions on pimento cheese grits with red eye hollandaise ($19). For kids, Tarpy’s is offering free coloring sheets, stickers and crayons to enjoy during their Easter meal. Call 831-647-1444 for reservations.
2999 Monterey Salinas Highway, Monterey

TusCA Ristorante
The Easter brunch buffet ($40 for adults, $15 for kids over 5, free for kids under 5, seatings from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) will include a cage-free omelet and waffle station; natural smoked bacon; chicken sausage; eggs benedict; sliced fresh fruit; salads such as local watermelon salad with feta and fresh squeezed lemon juice and spring quinoa salad; and a carving station that includes honey and tangerine glazed Easter ham and herb and pepper encrusted carved beef. There will also be entrees including seared salmon with spring tomato and cucumber dill crudo and butternut squash ravioli with toasted hazelnuts and black kale, and a dessert table with cream puffs, chocolate-dipped strawberries, fruit tarts, mini cheesecakes, and more. Call 831-657-6675.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, 1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey

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More Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights – March 2015

A couple weeks ago, I shared a few bits of restaurant news about venues in Santa Cruz and Aptos. There were a couple items that I meant to include, and then another item that I just learned, so I thought I’d do another post.

Meanwhile, if you missed the Feb 26 article, it’s here, and if you missed the recent news about ManresaBread (new Los Gatos location plus products available at Verve Coffee!), you can read that here.

Openings

La Gioconda opened on February 18. This is the former site of Main Street Garden & Café. In an email regarding the new business, the restaurant said that the new name reflects new Italian ownership, as “la Gioconda” means Mona Lisa. The owners also run pizzeria Tramonti in Santa Cruz’s Seabright neighborhood, and at La Gioconda they promise ‘Northern Italian contemporary cuisine, using 100% fresh and organic ingredients selected carefully from outstanding farmers, wineries, and food distributors.’ Dishes by Chef Luca Viara include zucchini soufflé, artichoke ravioli, and braised short rib ravioli. Learn more and see full menu at giocondarestaurant.com.

Location: 3101 N. Main St., Soquel, 831-477-9265

 

Thai Noodle House has closed, and At Thai Recipe took its place. The new restaurant opened February 13, and the chef has more than 20 years of experience. Dishes include seafood red curry with artichokes, spicy basil duck, pineapple fried rice, cashew chicken, grilled beef salad, and many vegetarian and vegan options. Flavored milk teas include taro, strawberry, almond/honey, and red bean, with or without boba. Their current web site is facebook.com/pages/At-Thai-Recipe/320456501485273.

Location: 2106A Mission St., Santa Cruz, 831-457-0238

 

Changes

In January, Cutesy Cupcakes expanded to a larger location in Scotts Valley and added frozen yogurt to its menu. The family-run business offers products including traditional, vegan, and gluten-free cupcakes. The original, smaller SV location had opened in December 2012. ALSO: the Cutesy Cupcakes shop in Capitola Mall, which opened in Spring 2014, has shuttered its doors. The family decided not to renew the lease, which ended Feb. 28. The website is cutesycupcakes.com but as of press time, the site hadn’t been updated to reflect that the Capitola Mall location has closed. An interesting bit of trivia: in 2013, Cutesy Cupcakes appeared on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Location: 245 Mount Herman Road, Scotts Valley, 831-430-9500

 

Special Promotion

Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos is celebrating 50 years of business. The actual anniversary is March 15, 2015; to honor the memory of restaurant founders Manuel and Alice Santana, owners Leonardo and Patricia Santana are giving 50% of proceeds during the week of March 9–15 to local groups dedicated to causes that were close to the founders’ hearts. “We are very excited about achieving this milestone,” said Manuel and Alice’s son Leonardo. “Starting from when I was a young child, I saw how much it meant to my parents to give back to the community that supported them.” Read more at manuelsrestaurant.com. Here are the organizations receiving donations:

  • Monday, March 9: Homeless Services Center of Santa Cruz
  • Tuesday, March 10: Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Wednesday, March 11: Teen Kitchen Project
  • Thursday, March 12: Cabrillo College Visual, Applied and Performing Arts
  • Friday, March 13: Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres
  • Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15:  Proceeds will be divided equally among the 5 groups

Location: 261 Center Ave., Aptos, 831-688-4848

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz area restaurant news highlights through February 2015

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it's usually served with fries)

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it’s usually served with fries)

Some of this is more recent restaurant news for the Santa Cruz area, and some is much older. I recently discovered that quite a few people I know weren’t aware of certain closings, so I am distributing information that might seem out of date to those who keep on top of local restaurant news.

Openings
The Hideout opened in Aptos in January. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’ve been hearing positive comments. It’s open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9p.m. except Tuesdays, when it doesn’t open until 5 p.m. Sandwich/burger selections include Reuben, roasted vegetables with goat cheese, grilled chicken club, and a signature burger with a ground beef/bacon patty and crumbled bleu cheese (see photo above). Dinner entrees served after 5 include Merlot-braised short ribs, pistachio-crusted chicken, New York strip, and Petrale sole piccata. Several pasta dishes, soup, salads, sides, and starters round out the menu.
Location: 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos (most recently the site of restaurant Ma Maison)
Contact Info: 688-5566, thehideoutaptos.com

Opening Soon
Mutari Chocolate House
is opening in early March; co-owner Adam Armstrong says they’re aiming for March 5th. He and his brother Matt will be the first tenants to officially open in the Food Lounge, the new venue from Andrea Mollenauer of Lifestyle Culinary Arts. They create their product Mutari Hot Chocolate on site. This chocolate is “Stone Ground Bean to Bottle” made from cacao that is “always certified organic and ethically traded (and mostly Rainforest Alliance Certified).”  You can enjoy hot chocolate at the Chocolate House or buy your own bottled mix to take home — it’s also sold at retailers like Artisans Gallery so you may have noticed it in the last few months. Learn more at mutarichocolate.com and facebook.com/mutarichocolate. I got to experience a hot chocolate tasting at Mutari last fall when they had their factory at Front St. Kitchen and I really liked the varieties I sampled. The new Chocolate House will serve coffee, hot chocolate, sipping chocolate, mini cupcakes (from Buttercup), and more.

More on the Food Lounge: Mollenauer and partners Cat Hernandez and Sally Kane are launching this unique space that has lots of options including: you can throw a party there, have an event for your business, or attend a pop-up. Other tenants at the Lounge include Fogline Farms, Ocean2table, and Mortal Dumpling. Officially the Food Lounge will be an “innovative community-minded event venue, commercial incubator kitchen, and full-service food hub aimed at fueling, educating, and inspiring Santa Cruz.” Visit scfoodlounge.com to sign up for the email list.
Location: 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz

Verve Coffee is opening a new location at 1010 Fair in Westside Santa Cruz at some point in the future, in the former spot of Chimera Tattoo. This is the same plaza where Bantam Restaurant is located.

Closings
Two venues in downtown Santa Cruz on Pacific shuttered their doors:
Sushi restaurant Benten closed Jan. 31.
Noah’s Bagels closed on Feb. 24.

Santa Cruz restaurant The Greek closed at the end of November. A permit taped to one of the restaurant windows indicates a Korean eatery will be opening in the future. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page mentioned that owner Vasili was retiring (yes, this is the same Vasili that formerly owned Vasili’s in Westside Santa Cruz).

Changes
Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly is now closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays. They used to be closed on Mondays, and beginning January 6 they are only open Wednesday through Sunday. This is continuing “at least through the winter months.”
Location: 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 824-6100, assembleforfood.com

Soif is closing in late March for a few weeks, to do some remodeling.
Location: 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 423-2020, soifwine.com

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area restaurants for Father’s Day Part 2 – includes Santa Cruz & Monterey

An example of the food at Monterey’s Cibo Restaurant: Costoletta di Vitello Ariana (All Natural Veal Chop, Roasted Yukon Potatoes, Wilted Spinach, Red Wine & Pomegranate Reduction)

An example of the food at Monterey’s Cibo Restaurant:
Costoletta di Vitello Ariana (All Natural Veal Chop, Roasted Yukon Potatoes, Wilted Spinach, Red Wine & Pomegranate Reduction)

Here are some Bay Area Father’s Day restaurant highlights — if you missed the roundup that included a couple in San Francisco and Monterey and one in San Jose, click here.

Santa Cruz & Aptos Restaurants

The Buttery
Santa Cruz café and bakery The Buttery is hosting a special brunch. The “Dads & Grads” event will have live music. The menu includes carnitas burritos, potato and zucchini hash, grilled asparagus salad, jalapeno and cheddar cornbread, chocolate bread pudding with salty pretzels, and SCMB Imperial Stout. Brunch is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $20 for adults, $6 for kids 3-12, and free for kids under 3.
702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside
Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside is offering special dishes for brunch. Father’s Day brunch specials include smoked salmon, goat cheese, spinach, and avocado omelet with choice of potato hash, fruit, or polenta ($14), loaded breakfast potato skins ($12), and crab cake or grilled steak medallions benedict ($16). The kids can enjoy several $8 specials such as grilled ham and cheese sandwich with potato hash. Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz

The Chaminade
The Chaminade offers a delicious Father’s Day brunch buffet from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m; the price is $41.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. The menu includes grilled steak with Churassco sauce, bourbon glaze baked ham, a savory seafood bar,  an omelet bar, eggs benedict, bagels, fresh fruit, a cheese display, and a delectable selection of pastries and desserts.  Children’s dishes include chicken strips and curly fries, and a macaroni and cheese bake. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Bittersweet Bistro
Bittersweet Bistro is offering a couple $20 specials in honor of Father’s Day. First, $20 select steaks, and second, Hess Select Treo Red Blend wine for $20/bottle. Both selections are available starting at 5 p.m. for dine-in customers only. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations.
787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos

Nicholson Vineyards
In honor of Father’s Day, Nicholson Vineyards will offer free wine tasting for dads on Sunday, June 15. The day will also feature barrel tasting,  bbq sausages and sweet treats. Call 831-724-7071 for details.
2800 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos

Monterey
Montrio Bistro

Montrio Bistro has two Father’s Day specials. Reservations are highly recommended; call 831-648-8880. From 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, the restaurant will offer a special entrée prepared by chef Tony Baker: grilled New York steak smothered with fresh lobster mornay, grilled asparagus, and bacon poutine. Montrio will also feature half-price wine night that evening. Half-price wine nights occur every Sunday at the venue, except for selected blackout dates. Customers can choose from a wide variety of varietals. Visit montrio.com.
414 Calle Principal, Monterey

Tarpy’s Roadhouse (831-647-1444) has a special four-course bacon-themed Father’s Day menu for $55, available all day (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) in addition to the regular menu. Courses include bacon-wrapped grass-fed beef tenderloin with bourbon black pepper butter, crispy fingerlings, and dino kale.
2999 Salinas Highway, Monterey

Cibo Ristorante Italiano (831-649-8151) is hosting “Grill It for Dad! Father’s Day Special Dinner” from 5 to 10 p.m. The mixed grill special features grilled rib eye, lamb rack, and housemade Italian sausage. Other specials: there will be a complimentary appetizer with dinner, and guests can bring a bottle of wine and pay no corkage fee. Joe Lucido is performing live jazz from 7 to 10 p.m. The regular menu will also be available.
301 Alvarado, Monterey

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (831-646-1700) is offering the celebration “BBQ, Blues & Brews.” The hotel event is 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dolphins Fountain Plaza. See www.montereyplazahotel.com.
400 Cannery Row, Monterey

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.