Tag Archives: El Palomar

“Dining in” at Santa Cruz County restaurants, June 19, 2020

Bacon & egg croissant from Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticerria
Photo courtesy of Gayle’s

So much has changed since my last article at the end of May, with restaurants now being allowed to open for dine-in service if they follow restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Here are some highlights of places that are open for onsite dining, whether that’s on an outdoor patio, in a dining room with limited seating, or both. Many of them are also still doing food to-go. I will try to publish an update in a few days.

Most of these are “listings only” but first, I wanted to share more details for a few local businesses:

Seabright Social, in the former location of Seabright Brewery (519 Seabright Ave., seabrightsocial.com) opened June 12 and features lots of outdoor seating plus some indoor seating. Hours are 11:30am-11:30pm daily (closed on June 22 for one day only). Reservations are recommended at 831-426-2739. After buying the brewpub and restaurant in 2019, local residents/co-owners Jason and Keiki McKay (who run Aptos-based Cantine Winepub in Aptos) and Jon Bates have done renovations to the building and the menu. Food includes salmon ceviche and a street taco trio with chicken mole, pork carnitas, and beef asada. Drinks include several Seabright Brewery draft beers, local wine, and a full bar.

Scrumptious Fish & Chips recently restarted its popups. Upcoming appearances include Steel Bonnet Brewery in Scotts Valley (5-8 p.m. on several Friday nights), the Scotts Valley (Saturday) and Live Oak (Sunday) farmers markets, and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in Westside SC. Visit https://www.scrumptiousfc.com/find-us for complete schedule.

The Palm Deli has its patio open again, with tables spaced appropriately, at 3000 Valencia Ave. They have returned to regular hours, opening at 7am every day, closing at 6pm weekdays and 5pm Sat-Sun. Visit https://www.thepalmdeli.com.

Hula’s Island Grill at 221 Cathcart St. offers the choice of dining indoors or on the lanai deck out front (takeout is also still available). They open at 2pm every day, and close at 8pm Sun-Thurs and 9pm Fri-Sat. Visit https://www.hulastiki.com/

Gayle’s Bakery at 504 Bay Ave. has newly extended hours of 7am-7pm daily and is now allowing socially distanced sit-down dining. Also, with online orders there is now next-day pick up (shorter wait time—when they first reopened, it was a two-day wait). Visit https://www.gaylesbakery.com.

May’s Sushi closed its 1800 Soquel Ave. location on June 1, and is now operating out of Sesame Korean Grill at 435 Front St. Both cuisines are still available, as the restaurants have the same owners. In addition, the owners announced they will be opening a new restaurant called Crazy Crab, adjacent to Sesame, which will feature seafood boils. Visit https://www.sesame-koreangrill.com/ or call 831-454-8355.

Vim at 2238 Mission St. reopened its dining room and patio on June 17, and it’s open 5-8pm Wednesday-Saturday and 10 am-1pm Sunday (Vim started doing Sunday brunch during shelter in place, and it was popular so they’re continuing now that they’re open for onsite dining). Visit https://www.vimsantacruz.com.

Mentone at 174 Aptos Village Way now offers first-come-first-serve tables outside in the parking lot on the weekend, from 3:30-7pm Fridays and 12-6ish Saturdays and Sundays. There is beer, wine, cocktails, pizzas, salad, and a variety of snacks.  Takeout pizza is available Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visit https://www.mentonerestaurant.com or call 831-708-1174.

Madrone Kitchen, a meal delivery business from chefs Reeny Marquez and Sean Adams, is doing Friday popups at Aldo’s (790 Mariner Park Way) from 5 p.m. to sellout. They sell food items while Aldo’s offers beer, wine and cocktails for sale.  Sample popup menu offerings include Mojo Shrimp Skewers with citrus garlic herb sauce, Cuban-style black beans, rice, and fried plantains. Madrone Kitchen also does weekly Sunday dinner delivery. Visit madronekitchen.com.

Although not yet open for “dining in,” Soif Restaurant and Wine Shop (831-423-2020, http://www.soifwine.com/) now has curbside pickup for food and wine from 4-8 pm  Wednesday-Saturday. They had stopped doing takeout in early April. Also, the May/June issue of California Bountiful, the magazine for the California Farm Bureau Federation, featured an article about Soif’s executive Chef Tom McNary with several recipes. Sister restaurant La Posta (831-457-2782, https://www.lapostarestaurant.com), formerly open Friday-Sunday, is doing pickup 4-8pm Thursday through Sunday. Also, there is a Thursday special: pizza or pasta with salad for one person, for $20.

Colectivo Felix now offers delivery Friday through Sunday to local residents (formerly only Fri-Sat). Empanadas are available by the half dozen or dozen, and they create a rotating variety of salads, soups, and desserts. Also, customers can now order a seasonal Ridge to Reef Organics produce box. Visit https://colectivofelix.square.site/ to order, or email info@colectivofelix.com with questions.

As always, please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, or corrections, for future articles.

Open for “dine-in” service

Alderwood (831-588-3238 or 831-888-6901, https://www.alderwoodsantacruz.com)

Auntie Mame’s Café (831-438-1840, https://auntiemamescafe.co)

Belly Goat Craft Burgers (at Abbott Square Market on Front St., https://www.bellygoatburgers.com)

Bittersweet Bistro (831-662-9799, http://bittersweetbistro.com)

Blaze Pizza (831-607-2030, https://www.blazepizza.com)

Blue Bunny Tacos (at Abbott Square Market, https://www.instagram.com/bluebunnytacos)

Britannia Arms (831-464-2683, https://www.facebook.com/britanniaarmscapitola/)

Café Iveta (Westside and campus locations, iveta.com)

Café Mare (831-458-1212, http://www.cafemare.com)

Café Rio (831-688-8917, https://www.caferioaptos.com)

California Grill (831-722-8052, www.californiagrillrestaurant.com)

Chaminade’s “The View, A Treeside Restaurant” (831-475-5600, www.chaminade.com/santa_cruz_restaurants)

Chocolate (831-427-9900, https://chocolatesantacruz.com)

Coffeetopia (http://www.coffeetopia.com)

The Crepe Place (831-429-6994, https://thecrepeplace.com)

The Crow’s Nest (831-476-4560, https://crowsnest-santacruz.com)

Daisuki Octagon Sushi (831-316-5464, at Octagon by Abbott Square, http://daisukioctagonsushi.com/)

Dharma’s (831-462-1717, www.dharmasrestaurant.com)

East End Gastropub (831-475-8010, http://eastendpub.com/)

El Jardín (831-477-9384, https://www.eljardinrestaurant.net/)

El Palomar (831-425-7575, https://elpalomarsantacruz.com)

The Farm House (831-536-5363, https://www.farmhousewatsonville.com)

Firefish Grill (831-423-5200, http://www.firefishgrill.net/)

Gabriella Café (831-457-1677, http://gabriellacafe.com)

Holy Smokes Country BBQ (831-471-8787, https://www.holysmokescountrybbqandcatering.com)

HOME Soquel (831-431-6131, http://www.homesoquel.com)

Hula’s Island Grill (831-426-4852, https://www.hulastiki.com)

Jalisco’s (https://www.jaliscorestaurant.com)

Jeffery’s Restaurant (831-425-1485, https://www.facebook.com/Jefferys-Restaurant-2348536278713065/)

Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar (831-469-4400, https://www.kiantis.com/)

The Kitchen at Discretion (831-316-0662, https://www.discretionbrewing.com)

Lago di Como (831-454-8257, http://lagodicomoristorante.com/)

Laili Resaturant (831-423-4545, www.lailirestaurant.com)

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen (831-425-2288, https://www.lilliansitaliankitchen.com)

Michael’s on Main (831-479-9777, www.michaelsonmain.com)

Mission Hill Creamery (831-508-0774, http://missionhillcreamery.com)

Mutari Chocolate (http://www.mutarichocolate.com)

Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen (831-621-8040, oasissantacruz.com)

Olive Garden (831-462-0120, https://www.olivegarden.com)

Oswald (831-423-7427, http://www.oswaldrestaurant.com)

Oyunaa’s Mongolian Cuisine (831-469-9900, http://www.oyunaas.com)

Palm Deli (831-688-3354, https://www.thepalmdeli.com)

Pizza My Heart (https://www.pizzamyheart.com)

Pizzeria La Bufala (831-999-0301, at Abbott Square Market, https://www.pizzerialabufala.com)

Pleasure Pizza—East Side Eatery (831-6058, https://www.pleasurepizzasc.com)

Pono Hawaiian Kitchen & Tap (831-476-7458, ponohawaiiangrill.com)

Rosie McCann’s (831-426-9930, https://rosiemccanns.com/santacruz)

Roux Dat (at Octagon by Abbott Square, https://rouxdatcajuncreole.com)

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort (831-662-7120, https://www.sanderlingsrestaurant.com/menus)

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (831-425-4900, https://www.scmbrew.com)

Scopazzi’s (831-338-6441, www.scopazzisrestaurant.com)

Tortilla Flats (831-476-1754, https://www.tortillaflatstogo.com)

Tramonti (831-426-7248, http://tramontisantacruz.com)

Veg on the Edge (831-423-3000, at Abbott Square Market, https://vegontheedge.com)

Vino Locale Wine Bar & Tapas (https://www.vinolocalesantacruz.com)

Vinocruz Winebar & Kitchen (https://vinocruz.com, 831-426-8466)

Woodies Café (https://www.facebook.com/woodiescafeca).

Woodstock’s Pizza (831-427-4444, https://woodstockscruz.com)

Zachary’s (831-427-0646, http://www.zacharyssantacruz.com)

Zelda’s (831-475-4900, http://zeldasonthebeach.com)

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Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Two family-friendly & delicious Santa Cruz benefits this weekend: Mole fest & Oktoberfest

Family-friendly, Santa Cruz, Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

There are many fun food-related activities this weekend in Santa Cruz, including two benefits that are family-friendly: the first annual Mole & Mariachi Festival Sat Oct 5, and Oktoberfest on Sunday, Oct 6. Below you’ll find details on both events.

Mole & Mariachi Festival Saturday Oct 5, 2013
The event is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, and it’s full of fabulous food—and not just mole! In addition to lots of local food, wine, beer, and other beverages, guests can enjoy music and dance performances, kids’ activities (such as tortilla making, giant bubble making, a piñata, and paper flowers) and a silent auction. Eight local restaurants and chefs will prepare 10 different moles. Mole dishes will be judged by festival attendees and by a panel of local celebrity judges. If you want to participate in the judging, you’ll pay a $10 fee to enter a separate, roped-off area, taste samples of the competing moles, and then vote. For non-mole-competition food/drink items, tickets will be sold for $1 each and different vendors will decide how many tickets their respective items cost. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below. If you’re not familiar with mole, it’s a wonderful and hearty traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Executive Director Bonny Hawley is very excited about the festival. “The Mole & Mariachi Festival marks the first time in many years that the Mission has hosted a heritage-themed event,” Hawley shared. “It is especially important to us since this downtown Santa Cruz State Park was slated for closure in 2012, but Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks was determined to save it and that’s what we did. The festival is a celebration of what our community has been able to accomplish saving this wonderful park and making it into a vibrant cultural event venue.”

There are 75 silent auction items including a week at a beachfront vacation home in Mexico, 3 nights in the beautiful artisan-rich city of Guanajuato, Mexico, multiple “staycations” (Costanoa and Hotel Paradox, for example), Disneyland and Boardwalk tickets, and certificates for all kinds of activities (such as golf, pilates, climbing, surfing, sailing, kayaking) plus restaurants and salons.

Event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in support of Mission restoration projects, educational programming for school children and community cultural events at the park.

For more information visit the event Facebook page.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, 144 School Street near downtown Santa Cruz

Mole competitors:
Cafe Carlos Mexican Restaurant (Scotts Valley)
El Chipotle Restaurant (Soquel)
El Jardin Restaurant (Santa Cruz)
El Palomar (Santa Cruz)
La Cabana Taqueria (Soquel)
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant (Aptos)
My Mom’s Mole (Watsonville)
Tortilla Flats (Soquel)

Food & drink for sale:
Ceviche tostadas from H&H Fresh Fish
Garbanzo beans & roasted peanuts from R. Magdalena Produce
Mexican dishes from Café Carlos
Mexican dishes from El Chipotle
Hot dogs from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks’ Snack Shack
Churros from Jesus Lopez (he usually sells churros at places such as “…the Corralitos town center, and Watsonville fruit stands/busy corner markets”)
Fruit cups from Antojitos Pepitos
Pumpkin bread & apple pie from Beckmann’s Old World Bakery
Cookies from Pacific Cookie Company
Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery
Icy fruit drinks from Tejuinos Guadalajara
Wine from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
Beer from Discretion Brewing
30th Annual Oktoberfest Sunday Oct 6, 2013
Family-friendly event raises funds for local hospice programs
This event is Oct. 6 from 12-4 p.m. Proceeds benefit Hospice of Santa Cruz County. Admission is free. Lunch is available for purchase from 12-2:30 p.m. Items include kielbasa, sauerkraut, potato salad, and apple strudel prepared by Five Star Catering. Beverages available will include soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails.

The program includes live accordion music and both silent and live auctions; the silent one is from 12-3:30 p.m. and the live one begins at 2:45 p.m. Also, tickets will be sold for a drawing with cash prizes (and you don’t need to be present to win). Auction items include vacations and weekend getaways to places such as Hawaii, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Palm Desert; a fantastic TiVo package; fine wines, tickets to sports events and area shows; jewelry; artwork; and restaurant and business gift certificates. “This is a wonderful event,” said Lorraine Margon, Friends of Hospice member and volunteer. “The food is really tasty and there are plenty of great items to bid on, many of which are fantastic bargains, and all for a worthy cause.”

If bidding for prizes isn’t your cup of tea, you can peruse the “cash and carry” tables and purchase products including holiday items as well as vintage and re-purposed items, and browse the large assortment of garden items such as flowering plants and ornamentals. For more info call (831) 430-3000.

If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week Oct. 2-9 offers $25 3-course dinners

Food at Severino's in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Food at Severino’s in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Foodie alert: it’s time for the fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week where more than 30 local restaurants – from Aptos, Soquel and Capitola to Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond, and Felton – serve three-course gourmet dinners for only $25. And you can win a free Santa Cruz Restaurant Week dinner through my web site! Read end of article for details.
Special menus are offered Oct. 2-9, 2013,  and typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection from each course.

The 2012 Restaurant Week was very popular and a lot of fun for those of us who participated as customers! Restaurant reservations are recommended but not required.
I will post a few menus and at least one review in the next few days.

Restaurants that are participating, in alphabetical order:
• Aquarius at the Dream Inn
• Booka
• Café Rio
• Center Street Grill
• Chocolate
• The Crow’s Nest
• El Palomar
• Gabriella Café
• Hindquarter Bar & Grill
• Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
• Hula’s Island Grill
• Ideal Bar & Grill
• Johnny’s Harborside
• La Posta
• Laili
• Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
• Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar
• Main Street Garden & Café
• Michael’s on Main
• Oak Tree Ristorante
• Oswald
• Pearl of the Ocean
• Red Restaurant & Bar
• Ristorante Italiano
• Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
• Severino’s Bar & Grill
• Soif
• Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
• Süda
• The Point Chophouse & Lounge
• Tyrolean Inn & Restaurant
• Zelda’s On The Beach
• 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
For more information, visit the event web site.

This contest is open to readers of examiner.com and santacruzfoodie.com, but employees of Examiner.com are not eligible to enter.
PRIZE – One winner receives two $25 gift certificates for dinner at Center Street Grill during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”
Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page and include “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Thurs. Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. I will pull a name from all entries and notify the winner by email.

Center Street Grill’s 2013 Restaurant Week menu includes entrée choices of Grilled Salmon Puttanesca with capers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, mashed potatoes, and green beans, Seafood Fettucine with crab, shrimp, smoked salmon, mushrooms, and lemon cream sauce, and Grilled Pork Loin Chop with blue cheese & peaches, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Recap of recent Dishcrawl Santa Cruz evening at downtown restaurants


Vegan food at Café Gratitude during Dishcrawl Santa Cruz's second outing

Vegan food at Café Gratitude during Dishcrawl Santa Cruz’s second outing

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz has had two events this year, each of them a fun outing to four different restaurants. The debut event was in January (read my recap article) and the second event—held last week, on Feb. 26—was also great fun. Both evenings offered the chance to meet new people, try new foods and/or restaurants, and participate in a unique community event.


The Feb. 26 event had about 15 diners, as opposed to the 40 who attended the first one. I don’t think the number of people made it better or worse, just different. January was a more lively experience and February was a more intimate one.


The basic premise of a Dishcrawl? You visit four restaurants within walking distance of each other, spending about 30-40 minutes in each venue. The company also operates events called “Neighborfood” and the first Santa Cruz one is April 14 (note: this is a change from the March 14 date announced in my last article). Buy tickets online for $40. With Neighborfood, you visit 8 restaurants on a Sunday afternoon. Instead of traveling with a large group, you go at your own pace – it’s a self-guided tour.


Last week, we began at El Palomar at 7pm, where we sat down and were immediately given tasty chips and salsa. A short time later, servers brought each of us a large plate overflowing with food: ceviche, chicken, carne asada, and beans. My favorite elements were the tender carne asada and the flavorful beans with Mexican cheese sprinkled on top.


Next, we visited Café Gratitude. It appeared that besides our host (Dishcrawl Santa Cruz ambassador Wes Katayama), I was the only person in the group who had ever dined at this vegan restaurant. We were quickly served platters of food, and the selections were quite tasty and fresh.   We dined on vegan sushi rolls, organic potatoes with “cashew nacho cheese” sauce (the dish is called “I am grounded” if you look for it on the menu), and polenta topped with mushroom ragout. It was a trio of dishes that worked well as a sampling of Café Gratitude’s offerings, and it seemed like Gratitude gained some new fans!  I’m very happy about that, especially after hearing that Café Gratitude has announced that “in appreciation of…service and safety provided to our community,” it’s offering free meals to all Santa Cruz Police Department officers for the rest of 2013. This business truly deserves our gratitude, for such a wonderful gesture. Feb. 26, the day of the Dishcrawl, was actually the day Santa Cruz lost two police offers and I am glad that I had the opportunity to interact with various folks in the community that evening.


Our third stop was Laili. Again, we received great service and great food, and I always enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of this restaurant. I was already quite full, but once I took the first bite, I had to keep going. We tasted small portions of three dishes: Pumpkin Boranee (a dip), the Silk Road Plate (hummus, babaghanoush, tabbouleh, cucumber yogurt), and Pomegranate Eggplant.


Last but not least, we visited Penny Ice Creamery for dessert. Co-owner Zach Davis presented us with special treats: a chocolate hazelnut napoleon (included cookies and mousse) in a bowl with blood oranges, a scoop of burnt
cinnamon ice cream, and organic whipped cream. Sounds yummy, right? It was even creamier and better than it sounds! In addition to the sweet treat, Davis gave an engaging speech about Penny’s history, practices (using local farms, etc.) and values. Because they have a state-regulated pasteurization facility and are licensed pasteurizers, they make their own ice cream base instead of buying a pre-mixed base (which can be 95-99% of the finished ice cream product).


I followed up with Davis a few days after the event, to get more details: “We uses only organic evaporated cane juice, organic free range eggs, and organic cream and milk, sourcing each ingredient individually,” says Davis. “We craft each complete recipe to optimize the flavor profile. Making our own base also allows us to use less sugar than many other ice creams. We do this because we like our flavors to emerge over the course of eating an entire scoop, and for this to happen the ice cream can’t be overly sweet.”

At the Dishcrawl, Davis briefly but sincerely reflected on the afternoon’s violent tragedy and thanked the attendees for participating in this kind of community event where people are walking the streets, engaging in the community, and connecting with each other. The next day, I noticed on Facebook that Davis had posted a very eloquent and touching piece regarding community. I want to share it here, with his permission. See below if you are interested.


Hope to see you at future Dishcrawl events, and other food- and community-related happenings in Santa Cruz. Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie. Stay in the loop for future Dishcrawl Santa Cruz events by “liking” its Facebook page.


The Penny Ice Creamery’s status update, posted on Facebook Feb. 27:

“Yesterday Kendra and I attended the afternoon Santa Cruz City Council meeting in support of the future of Santa Cruz Open Streets, a wonderful event that builds community around health, art, education, music, and sustainability. Not long after Open Streets Director Saskia Lucas had given her presentation, we heard an unusual amount of sirens around city hall, and I could feel the energy in the room begin to change. Within minutes a recess was called, the council left the room, and then returned, visibly shaken, some in tears.

Later in the evening I was at the Penny to welcome and host a group of folks for the final course of Dishcrawl, a progressive dining event. At 9pm at night they had just walked over from Laili on Cooper Street, and piled into the shop excited and flushed from the cool night air.

As I greeted them I reflected on how much I love Santa Cruz. We are blessed with a beautiful setting yes, but we are also blessed with amazing people. People who put on events like Open Streets that bring thousands of us together to celebrate community. People who bring positive activity to our streets at night; their walking, talking, and breathing life into our downtown makes it so vibrant. And people who keep us safe; who wake up each morning with the mission of keeping Santa Cruz peaceful and secure.

Today I mourn the loss of two of those people. I cannot begin to understand the actions that would take them from us. What I can understand is that, in as much as I have the power, I will not let the actions of those few individuals that would do harm define me or my city. I will try to follow the lead of so many exceptional people around me, and do anything and everything I can to make Santa Cruz a wonderful place. In doing so I hope I can honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who worked so hard towards the same goal.

With respects and prayers to Sgt. Baker, Det. Butler, their families, and the SCPD.

Zachary Davis
Owner, The Penny Ice Creamery”

Cinco de Mayo in Santa Cruz and nearby: Restaurant celebrations & specials plus local event

It’s Cinco de Mayo 2011 and there are many restaurants in Santa Cruz and nearby having celebrations and/or specials, plus there is a festival in Davenport this weekend. Here are some highlights.


Nuevo Southwest Grill

Nuevo, with friendly service and consistently delicious Mexican food, offers a great special on Thursday May 5. It’s serving a margarita and two tacos (with choice of filling) for $7.95 from 11am-9pm.

Location: 21490 E Cliff Drive (at 15th Ave), Santa Cruz (831) 475-2233


The Scotts Valley venue Mint, which features a wine bar, will have nightly specials on Thursday May 5 and Friday May 6: Nachos Every Which Way, Ceviche, Grilled Shrimp w/Orange Chipotle Honey Mustard Sauce, Grilled Lime Marinated Salmon w/Ginger Lime Butter, and Tacos (your choice of Carnitas or Shredded Chicken).

Location: 4652 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley (831) 438-5900

El Palomar

The popular downtown Santa Cruz restaurant and bar El Palomar, which recently won awards including Best Chips & Salsa, Best Mexican Restaurant, Best Tacos (for the taco bar area) and Best Margarita in Good Times’ annual Best of Santa Cruz poll, has lots of Cinco de Mayo activities on Thursday. There will be a shot bar, giveaways, Mariachi music, Hornitos girls, and local DJs.

Location: 1336 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 425-7575


Cilantro’s, the sister restaurant to El Palomar, is also featuring lots of entertainment on Thursday—plus drink specials. Cilantro’s will have music from mariachis and bands such as Red Eye Jedi and Grito Dolores, plus a DJ. Drink specials include $2 Bud & Bud Light drafts from 3-5pm. Cilantro’s also won a Good Times award in 2011: Best Watsonville Restaurant.

Location: 1934 Main St., Watsonville (831) 761-2161

Davenport Festival

The annual Cinco de Mayo festival in Davenport is Saturday, May 7 from 11:30am-4pm. There will be Mexican food, live mariachi music, dancing, a kids’ carnival, and a silent auction and raffle. Proceeds benefit the Davenport Resource Service Center (DRSC). For more information call (831) 425-8115 or email drsc@cabinc.org. DRSC serves as an advocate and resource for the area’s culturally diverse and low-income population.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.