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Get tickets soon for A Taste of Santa Cruz on Oct. 18

Treats from Aldo’s Italian Bakery at the 2017 “A Taste of Santa Cruz” – Photo credit: ATOSC

The 14th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” at the MAH from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, features about 20 participating restaurants and food vendors plus several wineries and one brewery. This year, organizers switched the celebration from November to October and moved the time earlier, to take advantage of warmer weather. The event benefits first-time home buyers. Tickets are $50 in advance or $55 at the door if it’s not sold out.

The cost includes a commemorative glass plus tastings from all vendors. Participants will have the opportunity to sample lots of food and drinks including a new raw oyster bar on the third floor (the refreshments are spread across all three floors, and there’s a wine bar at the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden where attendees can purchase extra glasses of wine). Buy tickets online, and visit atosc.com or call 831-464-2000 for more information.

Food vendors include Splash!, Five Star Catering, Aldo’s, Rosie McCann’s, Gordo Gustavo’s, Casa Nostra, East Side Eatery, The Jerk House, Hula’s Island Grill, Percy’s Pies, burger, Woodstock Pizza, H&H Fresh Fish Co., Shucked Raw Oyster Bar, Vinocruz, The Turkey Boat, Buttercup Cakes, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Marini’s Candies, and Back Nine Bar & Grill.

At the 2017 event, Splash! offered a tasty bite with house-smoked trout and tomato confit; Hula’s served up a delicious Hawaiian Ceviche (fresh whitefish cooked in citrus with coconut milk, chili, cilantro, and garlic), and Buttercup handed out their always-fantastic cupcakes.

Wineries include Alfaro Family Vineyard, Kissed by an Angel, Stockwell Cellars, Bargetto, Roudon Smith, 37th Parallel, DeVincenzi Cellars, McHenry Vineyard, and Loma Prieta. East Cliff Brewing Co. will be providing beer.

This year’s event is at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for the second consecutive year, and Habit for Humanity Monterey Bay is a presenting partner for the second year in a row. There will be live and silent auctions. Live auction items include an eight-day unique Hawaii vacation that includes three different places to stay, a Jeep rental, restaurants, beach adventures and a massage. Silent auction items include wine tasting, and excellent tickets to the first 2019 pre-season game for the San Francisco 49ers.

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. In 2017, the event sold out—for the first time ever!—and raised nearly $25,000. The Taste of Santa Cruz has raised almost $400,000 since its inception in 2004. 

Location: MAH, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz

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A Taste of Santa Cruz 2016 with 30 restaurants, wineries and breweries

A Taste of Santa Cruz includes lots of bites from local restaurants

A Taste of Santa Cruz includes lots of bites from local restaurants

The 12th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk’s Cocoanut Grove Thursday, Nov. 10, features 30 restaurants, wineries, and breweries. The event runs from 5:30-9 p.m. and benefits first-time home buyers. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Buy tickets online or at the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS (2525 Main St., Soquel). For more information, visit the site atosc.com or call 831-464-2000.


Attendees sample food and drinks, and all proceeds from the event benefit the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS Housing Foundation grant program that provides closing costs for first time, low-income home-buyers in Santa Cruz County. Several hundred people attend this event, raising approximately $30,000 annually. Over the years, more than $430,000 has been awarded to 200 families and individuals. Purchasing your tickets in advance is recommended.


Participating food providers include Home (the new restaurant from chef Brad Briske, in the former Main St. Garden location), The Hideout, Aldo’s, Café Hanna, Paradise Beach Grille, Hula’s, Burger, The Point, Little Owl Italian Kitchen, Ristorante Italiano, and Woodstock’s Pizza. Breweries include Santa Cruz Ale Works.


Other highlights include more than 100 silent and live auction items from local businesses and artisans. Prizes include a San Jose Giants package (10 general admission tickets plus a family pass for two adults & two kids); tickets to places like Gilroy Gardens and Winchester Mystery House; wine including bottles from Beauregard; and handcrafted wood pieces by artist Andy Orsini. There is also live music with the Jazz Birds & Friends.

Event location: Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz


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The 2016 California Beer Festival: Santa Cruz Beer Week finale

Last year’s California Beer Festival at Aptos Village Park Photo courtesy of California Beer Festival

Last year’s California Beer Festival at Aptos Village Park
Photo credit: California Beer Festival

The 2016 California Beer Festival (CBF), at Aptos Village Park from Friday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 14, is the final celebration to cap off Santa Cruz Beer Week (Aug. 7-14). See the Santa Cruz Waves Beer Week site for details on lots of activities including a collaboration between burger and Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. at burger’s Aptos location on Thursday.

California Beer Festival details

Tickets range from $10 on Sunday to $99 for a three-day VIP pass that includes lots of benefits. Live music includes Sambada (Friday night) and Prince tribute band The Purple Ones (Sunday).

Location: Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek

More info or advance tickets: (805) 628-9588 or californiabeerfestival.com/santacruz

  • Friday, Aug. 12: “Food & Beer Pairing” (5:30-8:30 p.m.) plus live music. Several Brew Masters are pairing up with gourmet chefs. Each is competing for attendees to vote for them for “best food and beer pairing.” A $50 a la carte ticket includes food samples, beer, live music and one CBF souvenir pint glass. Must be 21 years of age or older to attend.  Pairings:
  1. The Jerk House & Brews of Santa Cruz
  2. Pour Tap Room & 101 North
  3. Hollins House & Seabright
  4. Ulterior & Leopold 7
  5. Peter B’s & Peter B’s
  6. Burt’s & Burt’s
  • Saturday, Aug. 13: “Craft Beer Heaven” (Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and beer sampling is 1-4:30 p.m.). There will be more than 85 craft beers available plus live music, food, and bocce ball. You must be 21 years of age or older to attend. General admission is $50 and VIP tickets are $75. Designated driver tickets are $25.
  • Sunday, Aug. 14: “Sunday Funday in the Park” (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) There is no beer sampling on Sunday but there is beer and food for sale. That day, kids 12 and under are free. Anyone over 12 pays $10. Families are encouraged to attend and people can bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Festival profits benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to student athletes in Santa Cruz County.

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Santa Cruz January 2013 restaurant news includes new Penny Ice Creamery

New macaroni and cheese dish at The Picnic Basket in Santa Cruz

Recent restaurant news for Santa Cruz and nearby neighborhoods features a closing, several changes, and openings including a couple new locations for already-existing restaurants (Burger in Aptos, Penny Ice Creamery in Pleasure Point).

Recently Opened

Burger in Aptos

The restaurant Burger, which has been drawing crowds to its Mission Street location since 2010, opened a second location in Aptos. Like the original Westside venue, the Aptos branch specializes in burgers and beer. You can find the new Burger across the street from the Safeway center, in the former location of the Aptos Club. It’s open daily “11 a.m. to late.”

7941 Soquel Dr, Aptos, (831) 662-2811

Westside Bistro

A new café has opened on Mission Street near Bay, at the former site of Filling Station, which closed in August 2012 after being open for one year. Westside Bistro opened on January 1, and its hours are Sun-Thurs 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Fri-Sat 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Menu selections include soup, salad, panini, empanadas, coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. The venue also sells gifts; its web site proclaims these include laser engraved art, art from showcased local creators, and movie merchandise from Westside Video.

1500 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 818-1736

Opening Soon

Penny Ice Creamery in Capitola

Popular Penny Ice Creamery, which started with a main location on Cedar Street in August 2010 and expanded with a Pacific Ave. kiosk in November 2011, is opening a Pleasure Point location at the end of January or in early February. It’s at the site of Verve Coffee’s original roastery (now located in Seabright), between Verve’s cafe and Pink Godzilla. Co-owner Zach Davis shares that Penny is looking forward to serving even more of the community. “We’re very excited to join the tremendous vitality of the Pleasure Point neighborhood,” says Davis. “There’s so much energy here, and we’re having a lot of fun building a whimsical and welcoming scoop shop that will fit right in.”

820 41st Ave, Capitola. Santa Cruz scoop shop phone #, for any info or questions on new location, is (831) 204-2523


India Joze

India Joze is re-opening today, January 21, at 3 p.m. after being closed since January 13 for a remodel. This is the restaurant’s first big remodel since its Summer 2010 opening. It includes a re-done kitchen, new floors and paint, and India Joze promises an improved dining room that features two window booths and more comfortable seating. The restaurant also just announced its first-ever Coconut Festival, which will be held Feb 1-2. Stay in touch with India Joze via its Facebook page.

418 Front Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 325-3633

The Picnic Basket

The oceanfront café, owned and operated by the folks behind Penny Ice Creamery, re-opened January 18 after a two-and-a-half week closure. The Picnic Basket boasts added outdoor seating plus new menu items including “Anna’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese,” several entrée salads, and a bacon/celery root/truffle oil/goat cheese panini. One salad featured on Jan. 19: the Daily Grain with wheat berries, blood oranges, sweet baby carrots, and toasted almond and chicory root. Longtime fans can be assured that certain staples are still available such as desserts with Penny Ice Cream, jelly donuts, the tasty Rib King pulled pork sandwich, and local beer and wine.

125 Beach Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 427-9946

Casablanca Restaurant and Bistro

The restaurant and bistro at Casablanca Inn (near the Boardwalk and Wharf) are temporarily closed. A re-opening date has not been announced at this time.

101 Main Street, Santa Cruz, Inn phone number is (831) 423-1570

Closing Soon


The café Deli-Licious, located in the shopping center on E. Cliff Drive near 15th, is closing its doors on Jan. 31. For now, it has reduced its hours. Co-owner Karla Oliveira will continue her catering business, which is called Karla’s Kitchen. Through this business, she provides lunches to local schools and also caters private events and parties.

2-1505 East Cliff Dr, (831) 462-3019


Dave’s Gourmet Albacore

Dave’s Gourmet Albacore, located in the Harvey West neighborhood, shut its doors in early January. The venue had first opened as a retailer 13 years ago, and later added a café. Owner Dave Greenberger has said that he might re-open in the future in another city.

310 Coral, Santa Cruz

Betty’s Eat Inn serving up great food on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz

Betty's Eat Inn

Betty's Eat Inn on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz

Betty’s Eat Inn, the newest venue from popular Santa Cruz restaurant Betty Burgers, is serving up some great food after opening on Pacific Avenue in April 2011. In contrast to the two Betty Burgers locations in the Capitola and Seabright areas, this location has a full bar and an expanded menu.

I’ve eaten at this downtown Santa Cruz restaurant three times now, and the food has been delicious each time. The service was good two out of three times; when I sat on the Pacific Avenue patio the last time I was there, the waiter was slow to take our order and to bring the food.

The other times I sat in the main room, and in the back room (I was with a large group and we’d reserved a special area). Betty’s Eat Inn has a festive atmosphere. The main dining room is open and airy, and features flat-screen TVs. With the big group I was seated next to an Airstream trailer and that was fun. It’s worth noting that the restaurant is open late, until 1:30a.m. on weekends and 10pm on weekdays.

Here are some tips on food, including comments from me and my dining companions:

  • Texas Two Step, $8.49, 1/2 lb. burger with onion rings, bacon, cheddar and homemade BBQ sauce – very satisfying and decadent
  • Point Grinder, $7.95, 1/2 lb. burger with bacon, blue cheese, and sautéed mushrooms) – one friend ate this “bareback style” (lettuce wrapped as opposed to a bun; you can order any burger this way) and said it was “fabulous, 4 stars.”
  • Fish in the Sea, $8.95 (Tuna Melt) – generous portion, and tasty. A nitpicky comment: the menu says “open-faced” but it was not served that way
  • Best Ever Oven-Roasted Turkey Sandwich, $7.95 – two of my friends ordered this, and both enjoyed; the restaurant roasts its own turkey. One said “very good, but very big” (two people could easily share this)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup, $3.49/cup, $4.95/bowl – homemade and “delicious”
  • Sweet Potato Fries, $3.25/reg, $4.95/basket – yummy and well-cooked, and the aioli served with it goes perfectly
  • Rough & Ready Salad, $3.49/side, $5.49/full – side salad was “plentiful but dull”
  • Pork in the Hay, $8.95 – I definitely recommend this unusual entrée salad which includes a huge portion of savory slow-roasted pork atop apple and red onion coleslaw
  • Veggie Mash, $3.49 – this side order alternative to mashed potatoes didn’t meet my expectations. It was okay in flavor and texture, but tasted very rich as opposed to being a vegetable dish and I personally wouldn’t order it again.

I’m excited to return to Betty’s Eat Inn, as well as the two original Betty Burgers which serve consistently great burgers, fries, and milkshakes.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

American Craft Beer Week at burger, Red, 99 Bottles of Beer in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is hosting many events for American Craft Beer Week

It’s American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) May 16-22, 2011, and Santa Cruz venues including the restaurant burger are hosting a range of activities. See details for burger below. ACBW began six years ago, and 2011 is the first time there will be events in all 50 states.

On Wednesday May 18, downtown Santa Cruz bar and restaurant Red (1003 Cedar St.) is pairing dishes with beers from participating breweries; call 425-1913 for more info.

On Friday May 20, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (110 Walnut Ave.) will offer beer from each of the participating breweries. Call 459-9999 for more info.

The restaurant burger (1520 Mission St.) is offering 7 days of special beer and food menus. There will be menu items cooked with and paired with one of each participating brewery’s ACBW featured brews; call 2SC-BRGR for more info. Also see this article for more on burger including its promotion for National Hamburger Day later this month.

Special food items at burger this week will include “jalapeno popper s’mac” and smoked porter bbq back ribs with a side of creamy garlic mashed potatoes (or you can substitute a spinach blue cheese salad).

burger schedule

Monday May 16

Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover & Bike to burger

There will be over 10 draft selections.  Also featuring “bike to burger” promotion: if you bicycle to burger, you can keep the beer glass and refills are only $3

Tuesday May 17

Night Of The Belgians

burger will be serving Belgian ales from magnums and jeroboams including Chimay Grande Reserve and Duvel Limited Edition 2010

Wednesday May 18

New Belgium Tap Takeover & Bike To burger

Over ten draft selections from New Belgium including La Folie, Vrienden and Le Terroir

Food items include pulled pork sliders slow-cooked in Fat Tire, pecorino beet salad with wilted spinach, baby spinach salad with cranberry vinaigrette, Cara Cara orange, and toasted almonds, and arugula/chevre salad with cranberry vinaigrette.

Also featuring “bike to burger” promotion: if you bicycle to burger, you can keep the beer glass and refills are only $3

Thursday May 19

Beer Can Chicken Dinner

Wood-fire-oven-roasted chicken, cole slaw, shoestring fries, and can of beer for $7.75

Friday May 20

Santa Cruz Aleworks Tap Takeover

No other details available

Saturday May 21

Uncommon Brewers Tap Takeover

Food items include pulled pork sliders slow-cooked in Uncommon Brew Golden State Ale

Sunday May 22

Farmer Beer Geek Brunch Buffet

Farmers Market brunch buffet featuring farm fresh eggs, southern fried chicken, wood-fire-oven-made waffles, southern gravy, home fries, bacon, fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits, and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (price starts at $9.95). Drinks include mimosas, champagne cocktails, bloody marys, and beer.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Celebrate National Hamburger Month: free food at The Counter including Santana Row

May's Burger of the Month, Carne Asada, at The Counter

National Hamburger Month is May 2011 and popular burger spot The Counter is having a special promotion.

Every Monday in May, customers get a free premium topping (normally $1.00) with any burger purchase. These include house-made guacamole and chili. This promotion is good at all US locations.

The remaining Mondays in May: May 16, May 23, and May 30.

Also of note for May: the “burger of the month” at all Northern California Counter locations, including the one at San Jose’s Santana Row, is Carne Asada. The Counter at Santana Row has a full bar, plus beer and wine including local selections.

If you’re not familiar with The Counter, it’s a great place with many options including more than 25 toppings for burgers. You choose your main burger (100% hormone- and antibiotic-free angus beef, turkey, veggie, or grilled chicken), your size (1/3 or 2/3 lb. or 1 lb.), your cheese (from classic American or cheddar to Danish blue or jalapeno jack), up to 4 free included toppings (such as roasted corn and black bean salsa), one sauce (such as roasted garlic aioli or honey mustard), and your bun (English muffin, hamburger bun, or honey wheat bun – or none if you want “burger in a bowl” (then you pick a bed of lettuce blend or mixed baby greens). With all the choices that The Counter carries, there are more than 312,000 sandwich combinations.

The Details

The Counter “Custom Built Burgers”

Locations include San Jose’s Santana Row at 3055 Olin Avenue Suite 1035

(408) 423-9200

Open Monday-Thursday11am-10pm

Friday-Saturday 11am-Midnight

Sunday 11:30am-9pm

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Celebrate National Hamburger Month with specials at Santa Cruz restaurant burger

The Santa Cruz restaurant burger is offering specials to celebrate National Hamburger Week (May 8-15, 2011) and National Hamburger Month (May). The Westside restaurant first opened a year ago and features more than two dozen options including burgers with choice of Humboldt grass-fed beef, Diestel turkey patty or homemade veggie patty. Varieties include the Chuck Norris (it “kicks”) with  jalapeno jack cheese, the Dolly Parton (double burger), and the Don Ho  (sliders with fresh pineapple and bacon aioli on Hawaiian sweet rolls).

Coming soon: details on burger’s “Craft Beer Week” from May 16-22, 2011.


  • May 9-15, 2011: It’s the 24th Annual Santa Cruz County Bike Week, so if you bike to burger you get a free soda with any burger purchase. Actually, this promotion will go on indefinitely (not just for Bike Week!) to encourage people to be ecological.
  • May 27, 2011: On National Hamburger Day burger will be offering “wimpy sliders” for $1.25 (minimum purchase of three required) or guests can order a “Walter Sack Lunch” with three wimpy sliders and a can of Olympia beer for $5.

National Hamburger Month was reportedly created by Ohio burger company White Castle in 1992.

Details on burger:

1520 Mission St, Santa Cruz 95060, (831) 425-5300

Hours:  Daily 11am-10pm

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Restaurant Opening: burger features lots of sandwiches plus pizza, 100 beers, and more

The Santa Cruz restaurant scene is constantly changing, with new places opening, others closing, and chefs coming or going all over town-so you may have missed the opening of a popular new spot: burger.

The restaurant “burger” (yes, that’s lower case with a “b”) first opened in May with a limited menu, and it’s been increasing its offerings ever since, with more expansion plans in the works.

A large variety of burgers are available, and each comes with french fries – your choice of plain or sweet potato (I’ve enjoyed the sweet potato ones twice in the last month – yum!). You can get beef or vegetarian patties with your burgers. The beef is organic, hormone-free, and grass-fed; it’s from Humboldt Grassfed Beef.

The restaurant’s jalapeno burger is called the Chuck Norris (because it ‘kicks’). For those who prefer dessert as part of their burger, there is the Luther-a burger with two glazed Ferrell’s donuts as the bun! burger has daily specials; so far these have included Kobe beef sliders served on Hawaiian sweet rolls, lobster roll sliders, and Sloppy Joes.

Other food items available include salads (such as The Wedge with iceberg, blue cheese and bacon) and pizza. Hand-tossed pizzas are currently offered on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Pizza ingredients are bought weekly from local farmers markets, so selections rotate.

burger takes pride in its beer selection, focusing on craft beer, local and regional breweries as well as a large Belgium selection and seasonal favorites. It currently offers 37 beers on tap as well as 75 different bottle choices. By Fall 2010 the restaurant plans to offer 50 tap beers. Other yummy beverages include milkshakes made with Marianne’s ice cream.

The restaurant has an unusual numbering system – when you order, instead of getting a number to put on your table so the server knows how to find you, you get a celebrity mug shot (like Axl Rose, O.J. Simpson, or Mel Gibson).

burger is located at the corner of Mission & Bay, in a building that has seen its share of short-term restaurant tenants (the last two were sushi bars whose names escape me, and seemed to escape many in Santa Cruz…). But burger seems destined to last: the crowds have been coming, enjoying, and returning.

Location: 1520 Mission St, Santa Cruz 95060, (831) 425-5300

Hours:  Mon-Sun 11am-10pm