Tag Archives: holidays 2012

Last-minute Santa Cruz food-related New Year’s information — plus contest

Seafood ravioli at Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria

 

 

Here are some details on Santa Cruz restaurants and food-related venues, plus a contest where you can win a food-related prize (see end of article for details).

 

 

Refer to my articles on selected Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s:

A few more restaurants open for New Year’s:

  • Bantam
  • Crow’s Nest
  • Gabriella Café
  • Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria
  • Shadowbrook

 

Closed for New Year’s (Eve and/or Day):

  • Casablanca (re-opening Jan 4)
  • Charlie Hong Kong (re-opening Jan 2)
  • Mission Hill Creamery (open until 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve until early morning New Year’s Day; closed the rest of New Year’s Day)
  • Kelly’s French Bakery (Open New Year’s Eve regular hours; closed New Year’s Day)
  • Tramonti (closed both NYE and NY Day)

Adjusted Hours:

New Leaf Community Markets – all locations are open both New Year’s Eve and Day, with shortened hours. See web site for exact hours (varies by location).

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THE CONTEST

RULES:

1) If you are one of the 12 people who won a prize during my recent “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, you are ineligible for this contest.

2) Pick contest A or B to enter – you can only enter one!

Contest AMichael’s on Main has graciously donated a certificate for two people to enjoy its Tuesday night food, wine & beer pairing series. The normal price is $25/person, so this certificate is worth $50. These events include live music and occur throughout the year on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The next series starts Jan. 8 and lasts through March 26. Here is the January line-up:

  • 1-8 We love Pork! In all it’s goodness….bring a bib for juicy pork spareribs, pork sliders, wedge salad with Corralitos bacon and more. Soquel Vineyards will be pouring and Ken Constable will be playing. Don’t miss it!
  • 1-15 Crab Feed with Guest Chefs Paul and Terry Gregory Quick! Before the season ends…Who can be satisfied with just one crab dinner? Not us. Reservations are required to be sure we have enough crab for everyone. Wines will come up from Monterey County’s Scheid Vineyards and music from Jay Alvarez.
  • 1-22 Cioppino – Soquel’s own Pinky Gilmore is known for her famous Cioppino. You usually have to wangle an invitation to her house for some but tonight she will make it at Michael’s. If you haven’t tried the Renwood Zin, now’s your chance. Also pouring the Lee Family Farms Verdelho. And they both go great with cioppino. Kevin McDowell will play guitar.
  • 1-29 Grandma’s House Come on down for some meatloaf, mashed potatoes and all the cozy comfort foods from Grandma’s kitchen. An old-time Soquel favorite, Bargetto Winery will be pouring and David O’Connor will play.

Contest BKelly’s French Bakery has generously donated a $25 gift certificate. Choose sweets, savories, or anything in between!

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Contest A” or “Contest B.”

Entry deadline is Sun. Dec. 30 at 6 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s Eve 2012, Part 2 of 2

Left Bank Brasserie in San Jose

Yesterday I published details on many Santa Cruz area restaurants— plus a couple in San Jose — offering dinner on New Year’s Eve 2012. Here are a few more.

Santa Cruz Area

Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room

Hula’s is closed on New Year’s Day and open on New Year’s Eve serving its regular menu. Plus, there are two drink specials that night: $3 champagne and $3 mimosas. Reservations are available for parties of six or more and are recommended; call (831) 426-HULA.

221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz

 

Bittersweet Bistro

The Aptos restaurant will be open on New Year’s Eve for dinner starting at 5:00pm; the last seating is at 10pm. The regular menu plus specials will be available. The café is open from on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant is open with regular hours and menu, and the café is open from 8 a.m. – 2: 30 p.m. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations.

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos

Michael’s on Main

The Soquel restaurant is serving a fixed-price four-course dinner with seatings at 5:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. At 5:30, the price is $45. At 7 and 9:30 it’s $55 and includes party favors and a glass of champagne. Live music begins at 9:30. Appetizer choices include Corralitos sausage and blue cheese stuffed mushrooms; second course choices include lobster bisque. Entrees include salmon wellington and desserts include cheesecake infused with late harvest moscato.

2591 Main St., Soquel

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort

The Aptos restaurant will offer a special New Year’s Eve buffet dinner for $99 per person plus tax (tip included). For the special event, doors open at 6:30 p.m., dinner is from 7 – 9 p.m., and dancing occurs from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. with live music by Mike Hadley and the Groove and a midnight champagne toast. Call (831) 662-7141 for event reservations. The menu includes a lavish dessert buffet. On New Year’s Day, Sanderlings is serving a brunch buffet (includes coffee or tea) for $19.95 (adults) or $10.95 (kids 2-12). Brunch entrees include eggs benedict, ham and cheese omelet, sauteed beef tenderloin with mushrooms on garlic mashed potatoes and red wine sauce/ Salads include Caesar with sundried tomatoes, anchovies, and Parmesan cheese.

One Seascape Resort, Aptos

Chaminade

Chaminade is offering a celebration from 6 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. that includes a unique “strolling dinner experience” with themed, interactive chef stations and an open bar from 7 p.m. – midnight. DJ service will be provided by Music Now. The cost is $100 per person. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations. On New Year’s Day, the Sunset Restaurant at Chaminade is open from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. for breakfast.

1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Other Santa Cruz area restaurants serving dinner on New Year’s Eve include:

  • Hoffman’s
  • Tortilla Flats (including special tapas selections plus the regular menu)
  • Main Street Garden & Café ($60 per person, 5 courses, 5:30 or 8:30 p.m. seating)
  • Zelda’s
  • Paradise Beach Grille
  • Soif ($75 prix fixe menu and $35 optional wine pairings; choices include Maine lobster soup and Peking duck breast with baby turnips)
  • Margaritaville
  • Ideal Bar & Grill

San Jose

Left Bank Brasserie

The Parisian-style restaurant is offering service on New Year’s Eve from 11:30 a.m. onward; the last seating is at 11 p.m. For dinner, there will be a la carte options in addition to a four-course prix fixe $64.50 menu. Entrée choices include Butter Poached Lobster Tail with vanilla and honey roasted butternut squash ravioli, Swiss chard and pomegranate red wine emulsion. Call (408) 984-3500 for reservations.

377 Santana Row #1100, San Jose

Also open on New Year’s Eve:

  • Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row – call (408) 244-1244 for reservations. 378 Santana Row #1100, San Jose
  • Bella Mia – Choose a 4-course prix fixe $45 menu or order a la carte. Call (408) 280-1993 for reservations. 58 South 1st Street, San Jose

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s Eve, Part 1 of 2

Chef Ross McKee creates delicious food at Solaire in Santa Cruz

It’s the countdown to 2013 and the countdown to New Year’s Eve; do you have your restaurant reservations yet for Santa Cruz or San Jose? Here are details and menu highlights for a variety of venues; I’ll publish a few more tomorrow.

Santa Cruz Restaurants

Aquarius

Located at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn overlooking the Wharf, Aquarius is serving two meals on New Year’s Eve: brunch (7am-3pm) and dinner (5:30-10 p.m.). Also, a bar menu will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and the lounge is open for cocktails until 12:30 a.m. Aquarius has two dinner seatings for New Year’s Eve, one starting at 5 – 6 :30 p.m. and one starting at 9 p.m. First seating is $65 for three courses; second is $85 for four courses. The second seating includes a live DJ and vocalist Tammi Brown. Food selections include two mushroom veloute, slow poached lobster, grilled Colorado lamb loin, and chocolate cake with toasted pistachios, caramel sauce, and raspberries. Call 460-5012 for reservations or more information.

175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

Oswald

This restaurant is offering a special three-course prixe fixe menu for New Year’s Eve; the cost is $55. Appetizer choices include mushroom tart with arugula and balsamic reduction, and Dungeness crab with avocado and greens. Entrée choices include seafood stew with fennel, croutons and aioli, and roasted chicken with gnocchi and broccolini. Dessert selections include persimmon pudding with whipped cream, and chocolate souffle. Call (831) 423-7427 for reservations.

121 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

 

Johnny’s Harborside

On New Year’s Eve, Johnny’s is serving a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $38 that includes a glass of champagne. Call 479-3430 for reservations; the first seating is 5 p.m. and the last is 9:30 p.m. Customers choose one selection from each course. Appetizer options include fresh local crab bisque and baby spinach & goat cheese salad with medjool dates and roasted beets. Entrée choices include crab-stuffed petrale sole and pepper-crusted flatiron steak. Dessert selections include a trio of mousse parfaits. You can also order a la carte items if you sit at the bar. On New Year’s Eve during the day, the restaurant is offering its regular menu from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. On New Year’s Day, Johnny’s opens at 10 a.m. for brunch which is served until 2, followed by regular dinner service which ends at 9 p.m.

493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz

Hindquarter

The restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 12/31: Hindquarter is open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch, and from 5 p.m. onward for dinner serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. 1/1: Closed at lunch. The dining room is open at 5:30 p.m. serving the regular menu. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

Solaire at Hotel Paradox

On New Year’s Eve Solaire is open from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. A four-course tasting menu ($75) is available for dinner; reservations start at 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and the table is then yours for the evening. The $75 per person includes party favors, live entertainment, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. On New Year’s Day Solaire is serving brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The restaurant will have an appetizer, salad, and dessert buffet with a la carte entrée selections plus unlimited sparkling wine or mimosas. Appetizers include fruit, cheese, antipasto, and vegetable crudite. Entrée choices include eggs benedict made with Glaum eggs (vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions are available), the Paradox burger (includes brioche bun and house ground beef), mussels with pernod, white wine, leeks, fennel, butter and herbs. Brunch is $28 for adults and $14 for kids ages 3-12. For reservations call (831) 600-4545.

611 Ocean St, Santa Cruz

San Jose Restaurants

 

LB Steak

The Santana Row restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve. It’s offering limited a la carte choices from its regular menu, plus a special $71.50 prix fixe four-course dinner (the prix fixe selections are also available a la carte). First course choices include trio of seafood crudo (yuzu and kampachi tartare, scallop ceviche, redfish escabeche) and prime beef tenderloin tartare. Second course choices include black truffle gnocchi, and third course choices include chicory-crusted loin of venison. Dessert selections include eggnog crème brulee with butter rum cookies. The last seating is at 11 p.m. Call (408) 244-1180 for reservations.

334 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose

 

Amber India

Interested in Indian food to ring in the New Year? Amber India on Santana Row is providing a live band to accompany its always-delectable Indian cuisine. Dinner will include live cooking stations and wonderful tandoori kebabs. Call (408) 248-5400 for reservations.

377 Santana Row, Suite 1140, San Jose

12 Days of Xmas Giveaway Day 12: Win passport from Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, a participant in SCMWA’s Passport program

It’s the final day — day 12 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is very valuable: the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) has generously donated TWO passports (a $90 value)! See end of article for how to enter today’s contest.

If you’re unfamiliar with SCMWA’s Passport program, here are the details: SCMWA hosts this event four times a year — the third Saturday of January, April, July, and November. About 50 wineries participate, and most wineries are open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The next Passport Day is January 19, 2013.

Passport is an opportunity to meet the winemakers of the area, from Half Moon Bay to Gilroy and in between. You can see where and how wine is produced, and — at selected wineries — try new releases and special barrel samples. Passports cost $45 and that includes one visit (with waived tasting fee) to each of the participating wineries. When you visit a winery, the passport gets stamped. It doesn’t expire on a certain date, so you can take your time to visit all of them over the course of a few months, a year, or longer. You can choose to do this during Passport weekends, or any other time. For example, instead of a Passport day, you can just visit a winery on another day it’s open, and have the Passport stamped in exchange for a waived tasting fee.

If you want to buy a passport as a holiday gift or a gift to yourself, you can do so online. Passports are also available to purchase at any participating winery on Passport Day, while supplies last.

The 50-plus wineries range from Ahlgren to Zayante, and each is unique. “The trail is half the experience! There are many attributes to the wide variety of this Premier Mountain appellation,” says SCMWA Operations Manager Shannon Flynn. “The intimate feel you get from these wineries is unlike other regions.” Wine historian Charles Sullivan says, “Grape for grape, bottle for bottle, the Santa Cruz Mountains district is the finest winegrowing area in the Western hemisphere.”

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY 12 PRIZE – The winner will receive two Passports from SCMWA.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Santa Cruz wine.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, and include the phrase “Santa Cruz wine.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Mon. Dec. 24 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 11: Hula’s in Santa Cruz, open on Xmas

Poke at Hula’s in downtown Santa Cruz

It’s Day 11 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize has been donated by Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room in downtown Santa Cruz – it’s a gift certificate for lunch or dinner for two! See below for how to enter.

Hula’s is closing for some of the upcoming holiday season. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. However, it will be open on New Year’s Eve serving its regular menu. Plus, there are two drink specials that night: $3 champagne and $3 mimosas.

Selections at Hula’s include Hawaiian fusion dishes and other choices such as spicy edamame, fish tacos, slow roasted pulled pork, jungle tofu, wasabi ahi, macadamia-encrusted mahi mahi, a variety of burgers (including vegetarian) and sweet potato fries. Hula’s also offers a tiki bar with tropical drink specialties. Also of note: Hula’s participates in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

Hula’s, 221 Cathcart Street (between Cedar and Pacific), Santa Cruz (831) 426-4852

For a few restaurants open on Christmas in the Santa Cruz area, see this article. Feel like traveling to San Francisco for a special Xmas meal? Try one of these top-rated places:

Open Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day:

Cliff House

Campton Place

Open Christmas Eve:

Lark Creek Steak

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize. If you’ve entered for Day 10, and you don’t know yet if you’ve won – feel free to go ahead and enter for Day 11 (if you win Day 10, I just won’t add your name to the Day 11 drawing)

DAY 11 PRIZE – Hula’s gift certificate for lunch or dinner for two. To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the word “Hula’s.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page and include “Hula’s.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Sun. Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

Santa Cruz restaurants open on Christmas, and 12 Days of Xmas Giveaway Day 10: Hindquarter

Seared salmon with roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, yellow tomato purée at Aquarius, which is open both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day

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 card from the Hindquarter Bar & Grille. See end of article for how to enter.

Hindquarter and many other restaurants in the area are serving special holiday meals on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, while some restaurants are closed. Here are some highlights.

Hindquarter: Open on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. 12/24: Dining room closed at lunch, but bar is open at 11:30 a.m. for lunches, appetizers, etc. The dining room is open from 5 – 9:30 p.m. serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. 12/25: Closed at lunch. The dining room is open from 2 – 8 p.m. serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

Aquarius is open on Christmas Eve (regular menu) and Christmas Day. On 12/25, there is a $55 4-course menu from 12:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. See web site for menu details. There is also a special kids’ menu available. Call (831) 460-5012 for reservations.

Michael’s on Main: Open on Christmas Eve. The bar opens at 2 p.m., and the dining room is open from 3 – 8 p.m. with a special set menu. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. Closed on Christmas Day.

Hoffman’s: Open on Christmas Eve, serving the regular menu plus an optional 3-course prix fixe menu for $38. See web site for menu; call (831) 420-0135 for reservations. Closed on Christmas Day. Hoffman’s is running a pie promotion until 12/31 (apple, marionberry, pumpkin, and pecan): buy one pie, get half off the second one. Normal price is $14; special price is $21 for 2.

Bittersweet Bistro: Restaurant open on Christmas Eve featuring regular menu plus nightly specials with first seating at 4 p.m. and last seating at 8 p.m. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations. Café open 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Both café and restaurant closed on Christmas Day.

 

Closed for the holidays:

 

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY TEN PRIZE – The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from Hindquarter in Santa Cruz.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the word “Hindquarter.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, and include the word “Hindquarter.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Sat. Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

 

Christmas gift ideas for Santa Cruz foodies during holiday season 2012

South Indian Lemon Rice prepared at Indian Cuisine 101 at Let’s Cook! cooking school

It’s four days ‘til Christmas, time to keep shopping…below are a couple gift possibilities. And if you’ve missed some of my other ideas in the last several days, here are a few links:

Know someone who likes to cook? Try a Let’s Cook! gift certificate for a fun gift. The cooking school has lots of great classes, and they’re for cooks of all levels. Most classes cost $65, so that’s what the standard gift certificate costs – if your gift recipient chooses a higher or lower-priced class, details can be worked out when they call the school to register. Order online.

A pound of coffee or a tin of tea, or a coffee/tea-related gift, is often a good bet for friends or family. I recently tried a few holiday offerings from Peet’s and enjoyed them greatly. The 2012 Holiday blend coffee ($16.95/lb.) is robust and flavorful. Each year, Peet’s uses “the best of the best” crops from that particular year. This year’s blend highlights coffee from Kenya. Special holiday teas include Holiday Breakfast Blend ($11.95/tea tin, $9.95 tea bags), a strong black tea that features Darjeeling and other varieties, and Good Hope Spice Blend ($6.95/tea bags) Peet’s first new herbal blend in more than 12 years (and only available during the holidays). I find Good Hope to be sweet in a balanced way; it includes South African honeybush, orange peel, and allspice. Other choices in Santa Cruz and nearby include Verve, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co., and Starbucks.

Kelly’s French Bakery in Westside Santa Cruz has a few selections that are good for either gifts or for adding to your holiday meal. These include Buche de Noel ($22), strawberry rhubarb pie ($21), Stollen ($16), gingerbread or chocolate loaves ($8), and cookies (sable, gingerbread, prices vary). To guarantee availability, call (831) 423-9059 by Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. to place an order. Or you can walk in and hope for the best – just be sure to visit before 2 p.m. on Dec. 24, that’s when Kelly’s closes on Christmas Eve (and it’s closed Christmas Day).

Lastly, Fresh Prep Kitchens is having a holiday gift certificate sale: Buy two, get one free. They are available in $35, $50 or $100 denominations through the web site, or call (831) 435-9260. The venue provides fresh, easy-to-prepare meals and you can pick them up in Capitola, or have them delivered (for no additional fee) to your door.

12 Days of Xmas Giveaway Day 9: Chaminade restaurants, open on Christmas

Wonderful farm-fresh food from Beverlie Terra at a Chaminade Farm to Table dinner

It’s Day Nine of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a gift certificate good for brunch for 2 at the Chaminade Resort & Spa (for regular brunch, not Christmas brunch). See end of article for how to enter.

If you’re going out to eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it’s time to make your reservations if you haven’t already. I’ll have more information on restaurant offerings in the next couple days; below is information for the Chaminade’s two restaurants. I attended a Farm to Table dinner at Chaminade earlier this year, and greatly enjoyed Chef Beverlie Terra’s delicious creations, which utilized ingredients from local farms.

On Christmas Eve, the Sunset Restaurant is open for breakfast (7 a.m. – 11 a.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.). Dinner features the Chaminade’s famous buffet, with highlights such as cheese, fresh fruit and seafood displays, plus items like Castroville artichokes, prime rib, pancetta-wrapped pork loin, and roast turkey breast. The price is $45.95 for adults, $17.95 for children 6-12 years old, and free for children under the age of 6. Linwood’s Restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.).

On Christmas Day, the Sunset Restaurant is open for a special holiday dinner (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.) with a fabulous buffet. It’s $47.95 for adults, $16.95 for children 6-12 years old, and free for children under the age of 6. The menu is similar to Christmas Eve; one of the many entrees is lasagna with pumpkin ricotta béchamel. Also, Linwood’s Restaurant is open for dinner (7 – 11 p.m.).

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY NINE PRIZE – The winner will receive a gift certificate from Chaminade, good for brunch for 2.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the word “Chaminade.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, and include the word “Chaminade.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Fri. Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 8: Johnny’s Harborside & Solaire at Hotel Paradox

Gnocchi with foraged mushrooms, shallots, fines herbes and cream at Solaire in Santa Cruz’s Hotel Paradox

It’s Day Eight of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is two gift certificates: one from Johnny’s Harborside (good for brunch for 2) and one for Solaire at Hotel Paradox (good for dinner for 2 up to $50). See end of article for how to enter, and keep reading for more on Johnny’s and Solaire including their holiday meals.

The always-enjoyable Johnny’s Harborside has a few holiday offerings, including discounted gift certificates and special meals. For every $50 you purchase in gift cards, you earn $10 in free gift card credits. This $10 can be added to the gift card you’re buying for someone else, or you can keep the extra $10 card for yourself. They are also doing a “Secret Envelope” promotion. Every time you dine on a Mon-Thurs through 12/27 and your party spends at least $20, you receive a sealed envelope. Inside each envelope is a special gift (could be a free entree, 50% off, 20% off, etc.). If you bring in your sealed envelope between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, 2013, you can redeem the gift (as long as it’s unopened).

On Christmas Eve, Johnny’s closes at 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day. For New Year’s Eve, happy hour is from 2 – 5 p.m. (it’s usually 3-6).  Dinner reservations start at 5:30 p.m.; the last seating is at 9:30 p.m. For reservations call (831) 479-3430. There is a three-course prix fixe menu with complimentary champagne for $38. Appetizer choices include fresh local crab bisque, entrée choices include pepper-crusted flat iron steak, and dessert choices include meyer lemon cake. Or customers can sit at the bar and order a la carte selections. On New Year’s Day Johnny’s opens for brunch at 10 a.m.

Solaire is a great restaurant at the new Hotel Paradox. I enjoyed a wonderful meal there last month including a perfect plate of homemade gnocchi with “foraged mushrooms” plus shallots, fines herbes and cream. I appreciate that Chef Ross McKee (formerly of Aquarius) is focused on local ingredients from purveyors such as Glaum Egg Ranch, Happy Boy Farms, Dirty Girl Produce, and Coke Farms. The hotel is offering a special $125 room rate until Dec. 31. For Christmas Eve, Solaire is serving a limited a la carte menu with special holiday food offerings from 5 – 10 p.m. Christmas Day features a four-course tasting menu from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. ($38 adults, $19 kids 3-12). On New Year’s Eve Solaire is open from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. A four-course tasting menu ($75) is available for dinner; reservations start at 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and the table is then yours for the evening. The $75 per person includes party favors, live entertainment, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. For reservations call (831) 600-4545.

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY EIGHT PRIZE – The winner will receive a gift certificate from Johnny’s Harborside (good for brunch for 2) and a certificate for Solaire at Hotel Paradox (good for dinner for 2 up to $50).

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Johnny’s & Solaire.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, and include the phrase ““Johnny’s & Solaire.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Thurs. Dec. 20 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day Seven: Aptos Farmers Market & Whole Foods Capitola

Pre-cracked and cleaned Dungeness crab platter for the holidays from Whole Foods Market

It’s Day Seven of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $20 gift card from Whole Foods Market Capitola and $20 in Farmers Market bucks from the Aptos Farmers Market. See end of article for how to enter, and keep reading for holiday selections from Whole Foods, and details on a Dec. 22 holiday gift fair at the Aptos Farmers Market.

If you want to order food from Whole Foods Market for the holidays, the deadline for Christmas orders is Sat. Dec. 22 and the deadline for New Year’s orders is Sun. Dec. 30. Order in person or online. Items include full dinners and a la carte items. A Health Starts Here dinner ($79.99) includes Butternut Collard Pozole, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Baked Apples, and more. A traditional roasted turkey dinner ($99.99) includes a 10-12 lb. Diestel turkey, 4 lbs. of savory herb stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more. A la carte items include turkeys, tamales, cracked Dungeness crab platters, shrimp platters, potsticker platters, mushroom empanada platters, deviled eggs, and brussels sprouts with shallots & pecans (I have tried – and highly recommend – these brussels sprouts!). Both of the following stores are open 8am-9pm daily. Whole Foods in Santa Cruz: 911 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 426-9901, and Whole Foods in Capitola: 1710 41st Ave, Capitola (831) 464-2900.

The Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Voted “America’s Favorite Farmers Market in California,” it’s a great market with an incredible variety of offerings. As stated on its web site, “…eighty vendors, most of whom are certified organic or use sustainable farming methods, offer pastured grass-fed meats and poultry, sustainable fish…fresh pasta and gourmet sauces…handmade sauerkraut…artisan breads and baked goods, organic honey…farm fresh eggs, flowers, potted plants, seedlings, herbs, and an unsurpassed selection of certified California grown fruits, vegetables and nuts.” During the holiday season, it’s home to a special home and hearth holiday fair featuring a rotating selection of handcrafted gifts each Saturday from mid-November through the last Saturday before Christmas (which is Dec. 22 this year). Gifts include Christmas ornaments, framed art, succulent art, jewelry, decorative metal signs and holiday cards.

 

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY SEVEN PRIZE – The winner will receive a $20 Whole Foods Market Capitola gift card PLUS $20 in Farmers Market bucks (good for merchandise at the Sat. Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo or the Fri. Monterey Farmers Market at Monterey Peninsula College).

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Market money.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, also including the phrase “Market money.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Wed. Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.