Tag Archives: Casa Nostra

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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Tequila & taco festival & wine bottling lunch event this weekend

Mushroom polenta for Casa Nostra’s Aug. 22 event

Mushroom polenta for Casa Nostra’s Aug. 22 event

Foodies and drink lovers: here are details on two events this weekend taking place in Santa Cruz and Ben Lomond.

Saturday, Aug. 22-Sunday, Aug. 23: Tequila & Taco Music Festival
At the 2nd annual Tequila & Taco Music Festival, there will be gourmet street tacos, craft beer, and margaritas for sale, plus special tequila sampling Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food vendors include El Chipotle Taqueria, Garcia’s Fish Tacos, Tacos Moreno, Conscious Creations, Hula Huts, and La Olla. There will also be art vendors and music from bands such as Extra Large, Kalyde, and SambaDá. Proceeds benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Adult prices are $10 for general admission, $35 for Saturday tequila tasting, $40 for a two-day pass, and free for kids 12 and under. The event location is San Lorenzo Park at 137 Dakota St. in Santa Cruz.

Saturday, Aug. 22: Wine bottling party and 5-course lunch
Ristorante Casa Nostra is hosting a bottling party with Caligra Wines and a five-course lunch with wine pairings. The event is 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Each food course is a small plate, and the cost is $45 per person. At the end of the event, attendees can purchase wine by the bottle and case that they have helped bottle. Caligra Wines is a very small Scotts Valley winery making Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet and Zinfandel, all from local grapes. RSVPs are required; contact Juan at (831) 609-6132. Ristorante Casa Nostra is at 9217 Highway 9 in Ben Lomond.


2013 Pinot Noir – Santa Cruz Mtns: Aromas of dark cherries, exotic spices, hints of vanilla and sandalwood, coco and sweet tobacco. Paired with San Daniele Panini: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, and tomatoes.

2013 Ancient Vine Zinfandel: Densely packed, vibrant intense dark fruit flavors are balanced by lingering peppery spiciness. Paired with Polpette Di Carne: homemade beef and pork meatballs baked with marinara and mozzarella.

2013 Merlot – Los Altos foothills: Red current flavors of Merlot with floral aromatics and balanced from Cabernet Franc, wild berry and tobacco from Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon added to bring weight, tannins, flavors of blackberry and cassis. Paired with Polenta Al Funghi: polenta with sautéed button mushrooms.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend – Santa Clara Valley: Rich aromas, cherries, plums, cassis, chocolate and berries. Wonderful fruit flavors with a hint of French oak. Paired with Bruschetta Nostra: Fresh tomato, capers, oregano, garlic, basil, and Italian herbs.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – Los Altos Hills: Deep dark aromas of plums, bittersweet chocolate, sweet herbs, subtle vanilla and tobacco. Flavors are full, richly textured and loaded with cedar and cassis. Paired with Dark Chocolate Cannoli: classic Cannoli stuffed with dark chocolate and coco nibs.

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Ben Lomond’s Casa Nostra offers monthly wine dinner

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe), one of the featured dishes at Casa Nostra’s July wine dinner

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe), one of the featured dishes at Casa Nostra’s July wine dinner

Italian restaurant Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond is hosting a wine dinner on Tuesday, July 28, from 6-9 p.m. See end of article for menu.

This is part of the restaurant’s wine dinner series. Events are held the last Tuesday of each month. For $65 (excluding tax/gratuity), attendees receive a prix fixe meal with five small plate courses prepared by chef Mario Ibarra, plus wine pairings. Every month, a different local winery and winemakers are featured. This time it’s Santa Cruz-based Rexford Winery. Owners/winemakers Joe and Sam Miller will be present at the dinner. Jazz duo Joe & Paul will be performing.

Contact (831) 609-6132 or juan.garay74@gmail.com for reservations.

After July 28, the next dinner is August 25 with Beauregard Vineyards.

July 28 Menu, featuring Rexford Winery

Creamy Artichoke Croquettes on a bed of mixed greens, with homemade ranch dressing

2013 Rexford Pinot Gris, Santa Cruz Mountains


Orchiette Pollo, with chicken, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccolini, pecorino cheese

2010 Rexford Pinot Noir, Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe

2013 Rexford Zinfandel, Lodi


Boneless slow-braised short ribs, red wine reduction with carrots, celery, onions & herbs

2012 Rexford Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley


Tiramisu with cocoa nibs & chocolate drizzle

2012 Rexford Zinfandel port-style dessert wine

Casa Nostra is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and also serves weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday.

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The Details

Wine Dinner Series, 6-9 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month: next dinner July 28
$65 per person
Ristorante Casa Nostra, 9217 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, (831) 609-6132