Tag Archives: Five Star Catering

Santa Cruz Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 7

Goodies from Cheese Shop 831
Photo courtesy of Cheese Shop 831

Welcome to the final installment—part 7—of my holiday foodie gift guide with information for several local businesses if you have some last-minute shopping to do. Contact me at tara@santacruzfoodie.com with questions or comments.

Also see:

Gift guide part 1

Gift guide part 2

Gift guide part 3

Gift guide part 4

Gift guide part 5

Gift guide part 6

Note: some past installments include events that have taken place, but they also mention local businesses you can still support!

I wanted to mention one non-food-related idea: there are so many wonderful artists in our County, and some rely on the annual Open Studios event to bring in a significant part of their income. Due to the pandemic, OS could not take place this year. The sponsoring organization—Arts Council Santa Cruz County—launched a great “curated directory” website to showcase visual artists and provide easy opportunities to support these creative individuals. Visit the Visual Artists Network website at visualartsnetworkscc.com.

My mother, Fereshteh Fatemi, is one of these artists—a talented jeweler—and she’s donating 10% of her sales through Christmas to Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County.

Speaking of Second Harvest Food Bank, another gift idea is to make a donation to them in honor of someone that you care about. This year, more than ever, people are relying on SHFB for food. The organization distributes over eight million pounds of food each year to children, families, vets and seniors in Santa Cruz County.  More than half of the residents they serve are kids. Traditionally, every dollar donated provides four healthy meals to someone in need. Right now, thanks to a challenge grant from the COVID-19 Local Response Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, donations are being matched so your dollars are having a double effect.

Here are a few more gift possibilities:

Captiola’s Brown Ranch Marketplace (the center with Trader Joe’s) recently welcomed the store Cheese Shop 831. Owner Jillian Pirolo was supposed to open her business several months ago but got delayed due to the pandemic. I’ve been told by one friend who shopped there that they have amazing cheese—including local, regional and international varieties—and I’ve seen on Instagram @cheeseshop831 that they have other products like olive oil, handmade cheese boards, truffle hot sauce, towels and oven mitts. Visit cheeseshop831.com.

Aptos gift shop Hammond Glass Engraving & Gifts is open by appointment from Tuesday through Saturday. They carry items like Christmas mugs,  Spode mugs, wine glasses, high-ball glasses and serving dishes. The shop has been around for 30 years, and Jessie & David Campbell bought the business in 2018. I haven’t been there myself, but I hope to check it out post-holiday-season. Visit hammondaptos.com.

Five Star Catering put together a fun Local’s Gift Box; read more and purchase online. It supports eight local Santa Cruz area businesses affected by the pandemic including Mutari Craft Chocolate, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company, Edith Meyer Wedding Cakes, and Magnolia Fine Gifts and Apothecary. They are even offering no-charge, no-contact SC County delivery. Visit fivestarcatering.com/holidayboxes.

Michelle Kneads Dough Monterey County is home to talented pastry chef Michelle Lee. A finalist on Food Network’s recent Halloween Baking Championship and a former staff member at restaurants including The C Restaurant+Bar at Intercontinental the Clement Monterey, Michelle found herself out of work due to the pandemic. She decided to get her cottage food permit and start doing pop-up “QuaranTreats.” I’ve enjoyed her food at The C and at special events, and also bought one of her yummy QuaranTreats and plan to buy more. I don’t know if she does gift cards for future treats, but just telling any “sweets fans” you know about her is a gift in itself! Visit Instagram.com/michelle.kneads.dough.

Lots of wineries and breweries are offering gift cards if you want to give your gift recipient the choice of what exactly they will receive. You can get contact info for many wineries at the Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains website. Visit winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/wineries.

A final list of stores & vendors (without going into too much detail I wanted to make sure and at least share a few more names):

Santa Cruz County

Counter Cultures Kitchen Visit IG @countercultureskitchen

El Salchichero Visit elsalchichero.com

Far West Fungi Visit farwestfungi.com/pages/santa-cruz

Farmer Freed Salts Visit farmerfreed.com

Itso & Notso Hot Sauce Visit makefoodhappy.com

Marini’s Candies Visit mariniscandies.com

Mountain Feed & Farm Supply Visit mountainfeed.com

Sushi Market Sprouts Visit Instagram.com/sushimarketsprouts

Monterey County

Carmel Honey Company Visit carmelhoneycompany.com

The Chef’s Stash (weekly local food boxes curated by chef and restaurateur Gabe Georis and chef Brandon Miller, with omnivore and pescatarian options). Visit thechefsstash.com.

Elroy’s Fine Foods Visit elroysfinefoods.com

Happy Girl Kitchen Visit happygirlkitchen.com

Jerome’s Carmel Valley Market Visit jeromescarmelvalleymarket.com

Other Brother Beer Visit otherbrotherbeer.com

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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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