Tag Archives: foodie gifts

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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Santa Cruz Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 6

Aptos Apiary honey, one of many gift options at local farmers markets
Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets

Here is part 6 of my holiday foodie gift guide—with some ideas for bakeries, Italian groceries, farmers markets and more. Let’s shop local and support small businesses as much as we can this season (and beyond)!

Also see:

Gift guide part 1

Gift guide part 2

Gift guide part 3

Gift guide part 4

Gift guide part 5

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

Bakery Gift Cards

Your favorite local bakery can use your support right now. One idea: visit in-person and buy a gift card and one bakery item & put them together for a nice gift! Or if you prefer to shop from home, buy a gift card online. Our wonderful local bakeries include Gayle’s, The Buttery, The Farm, and Companion Bakeshop. Going to Gayle’s? You might combine it with a stop to neighboring Lyons and Melrose, which offers floral arrangements plus a variety of gifts like unique ornaments, European candles, soap, home décor, and packaged sweets. Visiting The Buttery? Its Soquel Avenue location is just four blocks down from the shop Home/Work, which features gift ideas like mugs and bowls, bamboo lunch boxes, beeswax wrap, aprons, homemade hot sauce kits, and seed ball kits like “Pizza Garden” (grow your toppings).  The Farm Bakery, Café & Gifts has its own chock-full-of-fun-items gift shop. You can pick up one of their signature fruit tarts plus things like housewares, linens, whimsical water bottles, cookbooks, candles, toys, and more. Companion Bakeshop has two locations; the Aptos one is in the same center as Outside-In, a shop that has enticing items like botanical candles, travel mugs, Talavera dishes, fleece jackets, puzzles, and ornaments.  

Farmers Markets

Your local farmers market is a wonderful place to shop for gifts. Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets runs these markets: Wednesday downtown Santa Cruz (DT), Saturday westside Santa Cruz (WS), Sunday Live Oak (LO), and Felton and Scotts Valley (both closed for the season). Below is information on several vendors and products, and their corresponding markets. A fun gift idea to either put with these products or use on its own? Each market sells gift certificates in any amount at the information table at. These funds can be spent over time at any stand at any of the markets. For exact market locations, hours, and more info, visit santacruzfarmersmarket.org.

Listed alphabetically:

  • Apricot King – preserves and dried fruit – DT
  • Aptos Apiary – honey – DT
  • Ashby Confections – DT, WS
  • Bella Vista – olive oil – WS
  • Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm – DT, WS, LO
  • Blue House – dry beans and popcorn – WS
  • Copper Moon Apothecary – soaps, lotions and salves – WS, LO
  • Dirty Girl – tomato preserves – DT, LO
  • Fruition Brewing – DT weekly, LO & WS rotation
  • Good Faith Farm – olives and olive oil – DT
  • Hakouya Miso – DT, WS, LO
  • Hidden Fortress – coffee beans – DT, LO
  • Home Away – fresh pastas, sauces, charcuterie, olives – DT, WS, LO
  • Il Biscotto – traditional Italian cookies – DT weekly, WS and LO rotation
  • Pottery – DT, WS, LO
  • Prevedelli – preserves – DT
  • R & K Honey – WS, LO
  • Santa Cruz Cider – DT
  • Stocking stuffers – things like persimmons, pomegranates, kiwis – DT, WS, LO

Italian goodies

Some Italian restaurants—like Seabright’s Tramonti and midtown Santa Cruz’s Sugo—have created “miniature markets” inside their dining rooms in order to sell holiday gifts. Both are posting pics on Instagram of select offerings, so it might be a good idea to browse online before shopping. Also, Aptos-based Italian restaurant Mentone has a few items that would make good gifts. Visit Tramonti (IG @tramonti_santacruz) for pre-assembled gift baskets with artisan Italian selections or a la carte items like a package of Italian chocolates or fancy balsamic vinegar. If you can manage perishable items with your gift they have a refrigerated grab and go section with things like housemade marinated artichokes, jarred housemade Italian sauce, and packaged gnocchi. Visit Sugo (IG @sugoitalianpastabar) – for packaged pasta, sauce, and Panettone, an Italian type of sweet bread that’s traditional around Christmas. Visit Mentone (IG @MentoneCA) for tee- and sweat-shirts, beanies, wine, and cocktail kits. They are also taking pre-orders for Xmas Eve dinner with add-ons like a holiday wine pack and ManresaBread cookies and granola. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention downtown Santa Cruz’s Zoccoli’s Deli, which has been in business since 1948 and is fully stocked all year long with Italian groceries including sweets. All four of these places have gift cards that you can purchase as well, either for the entire gift or to combine with other items to make your own special gift.

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Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 3

Santa Cruz-themed gift assortment from The Local Box Shop. Photo courtesy of The Local Box Shop

Here is part three of my local foodie holiday gift guide – hope you’ll join me in supporting small businesses. I am mostly highlighting food-related gifts, but also mentioning a few non-food items. If you have something you’d like to suggest for a future installment of this guide, please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com.

Also see:

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

This Sunday is the second installment of the Westside Marketplace: Dec. 6, 11am-4pm.

The collaboration between Food Trucks A Go Go and the Santa Cruz Mountains Makers Market is an outdoor market at the Old Wrigley Building Parking Lot, 2801 Mission Street. There is free admission and more than 35 Santa Cruz County-based vendors plus a range of food vendors. All vendors and attendees are required to wear face masks. Artisans selling products include Ashby Confections, Anuenue Juice California, Arose Teas, Bee Happy Today, and Freedom Touch Studios. See event page for full list of vendors. Food trucks will be Drunk Monkeys, Pana, Taquizas Gabriel, and Aunt LaLi’s ice cream. Beginning in February, there will be outdoor markets at this location the 1st Sunday of every month.

Bee Happy Today, one of Sunday’s vendors, also offers products through “goods4goodmarket,” an online marketplace that local resident Jill Potts recently launched to showcase “gifts that give back.” She features sustainable and socially impactful businesses like Maggie’s Organics, which is donating 10 percent of sales to The Center for Biological Diversity to help protect endangered species; and Bee Happy Today, which is donating a portion of proceeds to benefit Santa Cruz Bee Company. Visit goods4goodmarket.com.

The Local Box Shop offers hand-curated, locally sourced gift boxes including ones featuring items from women-owned Santa Cruz County food businesses like Ashby Confections and Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. Each also has soap from nonprofit Homeless Garden Project. Normally there are two sizes, small and large, but the small SC-themed box has sold out for the season. You can buy the large one here. The Local Box Shop also offer a variety of gift boxes sourced from artisans around the greater Bay Area. Company founder Molly Shane started the business earlier this year, partly to help support many “small businesses, artists and makers struggling to stay afloat in our Bay Area community.” She supports more than 25 small businesses, many of which are women-owned, black-owned, immigrant-owned, and POC-owned. thelocalboxshop.com

Speaking of Homeless Garden Project (HGP), their downtown boutique is open for your holiday shopping at 1338 Pacific Ave. As always, the shop has lots of appealing gifts handmade by trainees in HGP’s program. Food products include Lavender Shortbread Cookie Mix (organic ingredients, including lavender hand-picked from HGP’s farm), herb salts and other seasonings, strawberry lemonade pancake mix, and jam.  You can shop online too. Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice. HGP’s job training program delivers an annual average of 90% success for graduates securing stable housing and employment.

Another gift idea: if you want to give someone a Hanukkah gift or early Xmas present: Dec. 12 is HGP’s next virtual “Sustain in Place: A Series of At-Home Tastings” event. Cultivating Growth with Seedfolks will feature readings from Paul Fleishman’s award-winning book Seedfolks, a story of “personal transformation and growth at a community garden.” Readers will include local renowned author Jonathan Franzen, our current and incoming Santa Cruz Mayors (Justin Cummings and Donna Meyers, respectively), and Santa Cruz Shakespeare Artistic Director Mike Ryan. There are a range of ticket packages including one that includes a gift bag with HGP’s cookie mix and jam plus a loaf of La Posta bread. Visit website for more info & tickets.

Mission Hill Creamery is holding its annual gift card sale. Through Dec. 24, the artisan ice cream shop is offering 20% off gift card purchases if you spend at least $25. Go to the shop’s gift card site to order. During checkout, you need to click “add a coupon code” and enter the code “20%OFF” to receive the discount. If you don’t want to order online, you can also order by phone and they can also ship the cards. 1101B Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, 831-508-0774, missionhillcreamery.com

Johnny’s Harborside is also running a gift card promotion. Buy a gift card for $50 or more and receive 20% back on a separate card. For example, buy a $50 card as a gift and get a free $10 card for yourself, spend $100, get a $20 card, etc. Call ahead for curbside pickup during business hours. 493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz, 831-479-3430, johnnysharborside.com.


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Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 2

British-style “Scrumptious Fish & Chips” will be at the West Cliff Outdoor Market this weekend. Photo courtesy of Scrumptious Fish & Chips

Here is part two of my local foodie holiday gift guide, including several Santa Cruz County businesses (here is part 1). Happy shopping; let’s support small businesses & buy some gifts for friends and family at the same time.

Can’t decide what to buy but want to support downtown Santa Cruz businesses? Purchase some Downtown Dollars (they come in $10 increments—I’ve been using them as fun gifts for years!) online or in person at Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Downtown Information Kiosk (1130-K2 Pacific Ave.) or Pacific Cookie Company. Your gift recipient can spend the dollars at places including restaurants and grocery-and-other-retailers; see full list on the site. Visit downtownsantacruz.com/discover/downtown-dollars.

Speaking of Pacific Cookie Company this sweet vendor has options like Surf City Sweets Cookie Gift Tower ($19.95) with a dozen two-oz. cookies, The Santa Cruz Cookie Gift Tin ($31.95) with 36 one-oz. cookies, or Sleigh All Day Cookie Basket ($32.95) with 15 cookies on a birch sleigh. They even have a Quarantine Cookie Care Package ($21.95) that includes a dozen cookies plus toilet paper (!). They are offering a 15% discount if you shop online by Sunday, Nov. 29 at 11:59pm PST (enter code EARLY2020 at checkout). You can choose a future ship date if you prefer. UPDATE DEC. 2: I realize that promotion ended; I just heard of a new one that is valid until 12/6 – use HOLIDAY5 at checkout to save $5.

Toque Blanche recently started its Black Friday specials, which last through Monday 11/30. The downtown Santa Cruz kitchenware retailer is featuring discounts on items such as Le Creuset (stock pot, roaster, whistling kettle) and Wusthof knives. Don’t forget they also carry a selection of packaged food including Carmel Honey Company and Rancho Gordo. 1527 Pacific Ave., 831-426-1351, mytoque.com.

Small Business Saturday is this Saturday, Nov. 28. Some retailers are having specials. Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta is offering this bonus: For every $25 you spend on gift cards you get $5 off. Customers must purchase in person at the restaurant. 1100 Pacific Ave., 831-469-4400, kiantis.com

This weekend is the West Cliff Outdoor Market 2020: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 27-28, 10am-4pm.

The socially distanced holiday outdoor market features unique artisans, and food trucks will be there with items for purchase. The market will be held in two parking lots along West Cliff Drive, overlooking Steamers Lane. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced; all vendors and attendees are required to wear face masks. Artisans selling products include Davenport-based Ancient Hands Tile Art and Santa Cruz’s Be Heart Now. See event page for full list of vendors. Food trucks will include Scrumptious Fish & Chips (British-style fish and chips made by England natives who live locally) and Santa Cruz County’s Taquizas Gabriel. Admission is free.

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Santa Cruz Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 1

Baker’s Bacon offers holiday gift options including this subscription box.
Photo courtesy of Baker’s Bacon.

It is holiday shopping season: with lots of local businesses struggling during the pandemic, I wanted to spread the word about as many as I can, especially for food-related gifts for foodies in your life. Let’s all shop local this year!

I’m going to publish a few articles as the weeks go on. I will be publishing about Santa Cruz County and nearby, including a few Monterey County businesses.

Rocky Road from Mamma Camps Creative Confections earned first place awards at the 2019 Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County Fairs. You can order this treat plus other confections like chocolate-covered cherry mice and family-sized chocolate peanut butter cups—all handmade by Jen Campagnolo—at her Etsy store @mammacamps or via her FB group (author’s note: when this was first published Jen was going to be at this weekend’s Holiday Sip & Shop Market at the Chaminademore details below – but she is now unable to attend). The treats were first made by Jen’s grandmother; recipes were passed from her to Jen’s aunt and then to Jen, who has made slight adjustments to a few ingredients. Jen is a Live Oak local. I haven’t met Jen in person, but we are both elementary school parent volunteers and participated in the same Zoom call recently. One of the other attendees ordered some Rocky Road and gushed about how great it was last holiday season—that’s how I first learned that Jen is a talented candy-maker. Follow her on IG @mammacampschocolates.

Holiday Sip & Shop Market at the Chaminade: Saturday, Nov. 28, 1-5 p.m.

This open-air holiday market features local artisans with both food-related (like honey from Santa Cruz Bee Company) and non-food-related gifts (candles, jewelry, prints, and more, including skin care from Spa at Chaminade). Admission is complimentary for browsing and shopping, and there will be wine, cookies and small bites available for purchase. There are also two 90-minute fee-based classes if you’d like to learn to make a holiday wreath or centerpiece for yourself or to give as a gift. Tickets are limited in order to enforce social distancing; advance purchase is required through event site. Cost is $50 per class or both for $85 and $10 from each ticket benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. Chaminade Resort & Spa, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, (831) 475-5600.

Also this weekend is the 7th Annual Santa Cruz Mountains Holiday Makers Market: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 27-28, 10am-4pm.

This year organizers are spreading the market out over two days to accommodate for social distancing. Masks are required for entry and a limited number of shoppers will be allowed in the building at one time. Admission is free. There are different artists and craftspeople featured each day, and it’s at Felton Community Hall (6191 Highway 9). Vendors will include Ashby Confections, Bee Happy Today, Big Paw Olive Oil, California Jam Queen, and Coastside Homegoods. Visit scmmakersmarket.com/scm-holiday-makers-market for full list (including who is there on each day) and more details.

Finally, if you have any bacon lovers you’re shopping for, here is some great news. Baker’s Bacon is a scrumptious, artisan product made by Monterey County chef Tony Baker. I have been a Tony Baker fan for a long time, having dined at Monterey’s Montrio Bistro back when he was executive chef. The England native launched his bacon company in 2011, and for many years he only sold to high-end restaurant chefs across the county. Now, he is selling bacon to consumers through his website bakersbacon.com and through his retail shop in Marina. There are subscription options and gift boxes perfect for the holidays.

Baker’s Bacon is offered in two styles, British-style Uncured Back Bacon and Dry-Cured Double-Smoked Bacon. It’s made in small batches at a California smokehouse with sustainably raised heritage breed pork (the pigs are from family-owned Iowa farms). I had the pleasure of receiving complimentary samples, and I can say with confidence this is high-quality, delicious bacon.

Gift boxes, with three bacon packages, are $42 plus shipping (anywhere in the country). Subscription boxes, with eight bacon packages, are $95 including shipping (for these, states are limited). If you decide to shop at the Marina retail location (445 Reservation Rd. Suite G, 831-250-0606, weekdays only), note that they also carry products like Santa Cruz County’s Rogue Pyes (frozen) and packaged dinner kits like “everything you need to make pasta Alfredo with bacon.”

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

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Valentine’s Day gifts & activities from Santa Cruz chocolatiers, Gilroy Premium Outlets

Mutari Craft Chocolate House on Pacific Ave.
Photo credit: Mutari Facebook page

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching—here are some shopping ideas if you’re a chocolate lover in Santa Cruz or you’re considering a trip to Gilroy Premium Outlets.

 

Santa Cruz Chocolatiers

Santa Cruz County residents are very lucky; we have a variety of talented local chocolatiers. Some highlights, in alphabetical order:

 

Ashby Confections, 16 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Donnelly Fine Chocolates, 1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz

 

Mackenzies Chocolate, 1492 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz

 

Mutari Chocolate (specializes in single origin craft drinking chocolate, it’s featuring housemade bon bons for Valentine’s shopping) – two locations: 1108 Pacific Ave., next door to Assembly, and 504A Front St. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Front St. location — usually open weekends only — is going to be open Wednesday 2/14 from noon to 9 p.m.

Gilroy Outlets

 

If you haven’t made restaurant reservations yet, there aren’t many left—how about staying home with your significant other or gathering a group of friends for some Valentine’s Day fun? Host a stay at home date or girls’ night with goods from Le Creuset or Kitchen Collection for accessories and tools to whip up a festive dinner party. Both have shops at the Gilroy Outlets.

 

Want to buy a sweet Valentine’s gift, either for yourself or someone else (whether it be a romantic partner, a co-worker, family member or friend)? You can find raspberry hearts, “conversation beans,” sour “smoochi” lips, Valentine’s Day gift boxes and more at the Jelly Belly store.

 

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Dads & Grads gifts: Gilroy Premium Outlets, Santa Cruz restaurants & cookies

Selections from Le Creuset at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Photo credit: Le Creuset

Waited ‘til the last minute to buy the dad or grad in your life a gift for this weekend? If they like to cook or are a candy fan, see below for a few gift ideas at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Remember that the outlets feature nearly 150 stores, incorporating a range of tastes. For the dad not particularly interested in food, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th has a great selection of clothing and ties, plus designer sunglasses and wallets. And Bose is a good option for the dad that loves music or television.

Outlet hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

 

Also, if you are shopping for a Santa Cruz foodie or are interested in purchasing a gift with a Santa Cruz theme, see end of article for more ideas.

Gilroy Outlets Food and Cooking Gift Ideas

    • Gift possibilities include grilling skillets, tongs, basting brushes and panini sets for Dad
    • Personalized gift boxes for dads and grads
    • Unique flavors including draft beer
    • Kitchen gadgets, cutlery, small appliances, BBQ accessories

 

Gilroy Outlets restaurants or cafes to purchase gift cards

  • Erik’s Deli Café
  • Starbucks

 

For refreshments while shopping, in addition to the aforementioned Starbucks and Erik’s Deli (the Sandwiches with Character at the latter are always popular), three options are:

  • All Natural Carts  (fresh fruit parfaits you can eat on the go)
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Gilroy Market Place (specialty coffees, pizza, garlic fries, sandwiches and more)

 

Santa Cruz Gifts/Gift Cards

Lots of folks appreciate restaurant gift cards; one idea is a card from The Glass Jar, which owns Assembly, The Picnic Basket and The Penny Ice Creamery. Purchase a card at any of these three, and your recipient can choose which venue to redeem it at. Same with Soif and La Posta, you can purchase gift cards at either restaurant, and they are good at both.

 

Last but not least, Pacific Cookie Company has options if you want to mail a gift. These include what they refer to as “dad-inspired cookie gifts” like Executive Sweet Pack (15 cookies, currently on sale for $23.50 from $26.50). Graduation-themed gifts include Congratulations Cookie Gift Tower (a dozen cookies, $21.95).

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Last minute foodie holiday gifts in Santa Cruz

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co. Photo credit: PCC web site

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co.
Photo credit: PCC web site

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping and have some foodies on your list? Want to shop local? There are lots of choices in the Santa Cruz area including some discounts; here are some highlights including a gift fair tomorrow that has plenty of options–whether you want to buy something food/drink-related or something else that’s made locally.

First, the gift fair:

2nd Annual Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market — Saturday 12/17 at Food Lounge

I went to this fabulous event last year and bought gift items for several friends/family members, not to mention a few things for myself! The market will feature locally made packaged foods including jams, olive oil and hot sauce that are currently available in the Food Lounge Pantry, which opened in September. The holiday market will also offer beautiful jewelry, textiles, glass art, print art and kitchen antiques. Additionally, a few small-batch food producers will offer tamales, empanadas, meat pies and other items that would work well for holiday entertaining or for a delicious dinner with your family. Plus they will sell ready to eat food that customers can enjoy while shopping like empanadas (from La Sofrita Puerto Rican pop-up), tamales (Yoli’s Adobo) and savory pies (Artisan Hand Pies).

“We offer this market as close to the holidays as possible so that all of our vendors’ food-based products are fresh for gift-giving and entertaining,” said Andrea Conklin Mollenauer, one of the three partners in the Food Lounge, an incubator kitchen and event venue that will celebrate its second birthday in January. “We are excited to offer market space to 25 local vendors who don’t have their own brick-and- mortar places to sell products.”

Vendors with food gifts will include Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Notso Hot Sauce, My Mom’s Mole, Ashby Confections, and Farmer Freed Salts. Non-food vendors will include True Blue Indigo (textiles), Love Light Vintage Candles, Verdant California (body products) and  Fereshteh Fatemi (artisan jewelry and greeting cards – disclaimer, this is the author’s mother).

In addition to the holiday market, the Food Lounge Pantry is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to

7 p.m. as a hub for local artisan food products – a perfect stop for holiday shopping, including next week when you realize which folks you forgot to buy for!

Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz

Date/Time: Sat Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Next, some gift card discount highlights:

Until Christmas, Hula’s Santa Cruz (221 Cathcart St.) is offering a special: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get a free $10 certificate for yourself; purchase $100 and get a free $20 gift card to treat yourself.

Mission Hill Creamery (1101 Pacific Ave.) has these discounts until Christmas: Buy a $25 gift card for $20 OR buy four $10 gift cards and receive the fifth free OR re-Charge your existing gift card with at least $20 and get 20% off your gift card purchase.

Through Dec. 24, Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake) is offering a bonus: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get $10 free; spend $100 and get $20 free, etc.

Other gift ideas

Last but not least, other foodie gift options include certificates from local restaurants. The Glass Jar announced they’re offering a card that’s good at any of their three restaurants—that’s Assembly, The Picnic Basket AND The Penny Ice Creamery. If you know people who are fans of Soif and/or La Posta, you can also purchase gift cards that are good at both. And Crow’s Nest gift cards are redeemable at the restaurant or its neighboring Crow’s Nest Beach Market.

Want to send a sweet Santa Cruz-themed food gift to someone? Pacific Cookie Company has lots of options. These include Top Tier Cookies & Chocolate Box ($49.95), with 36 two-ounce cookies and 32 white and milk chocolate flower medallions made by local chocolatier Mackenzies Chocolate; Sweet Elegance Cookie Gift Box ($37.95) with 24 two-oz. cookies, Season’s Eatings Christmas Tin ($26.95) with 36 one-oz. cookies, and Classic Cookies and Milk ($24.95) with a dozen two-ounce cookies and two 8-oz cartons of organic milk (it’s shelf-stable low-fat Horizon milk which doesn’t require refrigeration). Also, Los Gatos-based Manresa Bread now ships its scrumptious artisan bread anywhere in the continental U.S.; see my November article and/or the Manresa site for details.

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Christmas 2016 at Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market Credit: Whole Foods Market

Assorted cheese from Whole Foods Market
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Whether you need to shop for a holiday feast or check some folks off your gift list, Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey have lots to choose from—including the always-dependable gift card idea (ones for the market itself or for other retailers).

Customers need to place orders for holiday dinners two days ahead of their desired pick up date. Food is available for pickup Dec. 18-24, and then again on Dec. 26 (WFM is closed on Christmas Day). Order in person or online.

For gifts, WFM has several selections where part of your purchase goes to a worthy cause. For example, they partnered with PBS Kids to carry the company’s toys and help raise money. I’ve seen some of the Aurora Plush Animals in the store (pandas, penguins, foxes and more) and they definitely look cuddle-able! Some of the animals are endangered species. There are also some colorful and fun PBS Kids toys made with a composite featuring rubber wood from mature trees that no longer produce latex. All net proceeds benefit PBS Kids’ mission of “building knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity to empower children for success.”

Other “gifts with a cause” include ones where part of proceeds goes to Whole Planet Foundation to help alleviate poverty worldwide. These include Alaffia trios (coconut oil triple-milled bar soap or whipped body butter); one percent benefits WPF. Or if you buy west elm kitchen products made from upcycled denim—such as potholders—a dollar from each purchase goes to WPF. In addition, they have gift cards for sale where one percent benefits the Whole Kids Foundation (which aims to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness). These include Chipotle and Best Buy physical gift cards, and Starbucks digital cards.

There are room sprays and handmade soy wax candles from Thistle Farms; scents include lavender & lemon (Gratitude) and Geranium & Citrus (Hope). Thistle Farms is a community, sanctuary and social enterprise led by women survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution. It provides housing, recovery support and education. Each spray or candle purchase directly benefits the women who made it.

WFM wine experts have compiled a list of “10 favorite wines for the holiday season.” Available online, each wine has several suggested food pairings plus a recipe for an additional food pairing. Two examples: Andover Estate Pinot Noir goes well with items like Sartori Herbs des Provence BellaVitano cheese or roasted winter vegetables, or with the dish “Easy Porchetta Pork Tenderloin” (recipe included). Autoritas Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Vermont Creamery Coupole cheese, poached white-fleshed fish, or “Bay Scallop Linguine with White Wine and Parsley” (recipe included).

There are lots of other enticing articles on the WFM blog, including ones with recipes like “holiday cakes worth celebrating” (includes mini chocolate ricotta cakes and cinnamon-almond olive oil cake) and “holiday appetizers” (how about sweet potato bacon bites, spinach bites with honey mustard, or pigs in a blanket with cranberry-mustard dipping sauce? Ok now I’m hungry!).

For holiday appetizers, if you’re a cheese fan, WFM just announced a big “12 Days of Cheese” sale. From Dec. 13-24, a different artisan cheese is on sale for FIFTY PERCENT OFF each day! Some highlights with notes from the market’s cheese experts:

Vermont Creamery, Bonne Bouche (Dec. 15)

  • This mild ash-ripened goat cheese with earthy notes and a subtle hazelnut flavor is a visually stunning addition to any cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company, Pheasant Ridge Reserve (Dec. 17)

  • The only three-time winner of the American Cheese Society Best of Show, this cheese has a sweet, broth-like flavor with notes of butterscotch and fruit.

Cypress Grove Chevre, Truffle Tremor (Dec. 19)

  • A silky, creamy soft-ripened goat cheese packed with truffles. Deep floral, herb and mushroom flavors. An American original!

Rapin, Le Maréchal (Dec. 20)

  • This creamy, raw-milk Alpine cheese is infused with flavor from herbs added by hand during the ripening process.

Papillon, Roquefort (Dec. 21)

  • This classic cave-aged sheep’s milk blue cheese shows rich spiciness, complex layers of flavor and a smooth texture.

Vermont Creamery, St. Albans (Dec. 23)

  • An American take on a traditional French cheese, sourced from milk from one farm. Delicate and smooth with rich creamy flavors and nutty notes.  Non-GMO Project verified.

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving article, WFM’s 2016 holiday food shopping guide  features selections such as traditional turkey dinner for eight ($99.99). This comes with a fully cooked 10-lb. oven-roasted Diestel turkey, four pounds each of herb stuffing and mashed potatoes, a quart of turkey gravy, a pint of cranberry relish, 16 dinner rolls, and a nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie. You can also order turkeys (cooked or uncooked) and ready-to-eat sides a la carte.

Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Monterey is at 800 Del Monte Center, (831) 333-1600.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 10: Win $50 gift certificate to Abalonetti in Monterey

Abalonetti offers gift cards, good for holiday gifts or anytime

Abalonetti offers gift cards, good for holiday gifts or anytime

It’s Day 10 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $50 gift certificate for Abalonetti in Monterey. See end of article for how to enter.

Abalonetti Bar & Grill will be closed on Christmas Day but open on Christmas Eve during traditional business hours (11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.). They will be serving the full regular menu. For more information or reservations, call 831-373-1851. The restaurant is located at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

Abalonetti has been open since 1951. They specialize in Monterey Bay calamari, offering several varieties. Since 1999, Monterey County Weekly readers have voted them as having “Best Calamari” 14 times! Other menu highlights include delicious antipasto, wood-roasted oysters with garlic-pesto butter, clam chowder (choice of cup, bowl, or sourdough bread bowl), sandwiches at lunchtime (like crab or a fresh abalone BLT), pasta, cioppino, fish & chips, and grilled seafood (salmon, swordfish, etc.). The antipasto is a treat: it features marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts, roasted whole garlic bulbs, marinated tender Monterey calamari, grilled eggplant, feta cheese, roasted bell peppers, garlic spinach, and olives. You can get a full ($17.95) or half ($12.95) order.

If you’re in need of a holiday gift idea, Abalonetti offers gift cards you can purchase in person, as well as from the web site. When you purchase online you can instantly email, text or tweet the certificate to your gift recipient. These can be anywhere from $5-$250.
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CONTEST:
One person will win a $50 gift certificate to Abalonetti Bar & Grill.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by 9 pm. Wed, Dec. 23 and include the word “Abalonetti.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.