Tag Archives: Homeless Garden Project

Homeless Garden Project food events in Santa Cruz

Tomato, Thai basil & mozzarella bites will be available at HGP’s Pop Up Store Sept. 1. Photo credit- HGP Facebook page

Homeless Garden Project has two Santa Cruz events coming up that sound positively delicious.

 

Friday, Sept. 1, 5:30-8 p.m.: Tomato & Friends HoeDown

Homeless Garden Project invites the community to its Pop Up Store for a “taste of the Farm.” Attendees can taste—fresh from the vine—goodies like tomatoes, tomatillos and padron peppers. There will also be special treats created by HGP’s Enterprise Manager, Angie Smith, including tomato, Thai basil & mozzarella bites and blistered padrons with avocado crema. Plus, enjoy live music by Anthony Reyes. In addition to being HGP’s Farm Manager, Reyes is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who plays traditional roots/ Americana inspired music while incorporating elements of classical, jazz, and blues. Read more on HGP’s Facebook page.
Location: 30 W Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

 

Saturday, Sept. 16, 3:30-7 p.m.: Homeless Garden Project benefit dinner

HGP is holding an organic benefit dinner at its farm, the latest in its Sustain Farm Dinner series. Sustain is a seasonal gourmet dinner series featuring organic produce from the farm, wine pairings, and guest speakers discussing sustainable topics. This time the keynote speaker is Tom Steyer, founder & president of NextGen America. The admission fee, $150, benefits HGP. Read more and purchase tickets online.

A different chef will prepare each of the dinner’s four courses. Derek Rupp, Owner and Chef at East Side Eatery, will prepare flatbread pizza appetizers. Sara LaCasse, Chef Consultant for Earthbound Farms, is preparing Farm lettuces and herbs with pickled farm vegetables in ginger vinaigrette, while Passionfish owner/chef Ted Walter will create an entrée of chili-lime chicken served with grilled corn, Early Girl tomatoes and Cotija cheese. Aubergine pastry chef Yulanda Santos is providing dessert: zucchini cake with roasted strawberries and lavender-lemon cremeux.

In 2007, Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, founded Beneficial State Bank, an Oakland-based nonprofit bank that invests any profits back into the community. They are committed to sustainable farming practices through Pescadero’s TomKat Ranch, an 1800-acre cattle ranch that produces grass-fed and finished, pasture-raised beef. “Programs like the Homeless Garden Project are crucial to combating homelessness and ensuring all Californians have access to educational opportunities, job training and stable housing,” says Steyer. “In California, we have a responsibility to care for our most vulnerable communities, and that’s why we must continue to fight for progressive policy solutions.”

Location: HGP Farm, Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz

 

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Lots of popups this weekend in Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley

Mole nachos from My Mom’s Mole.
Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

There are many pop-up dining opportunities this weekend, May 26-27, 2017, in the Santa Cruz area–here are details for a few including two at local breweries.

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

My Mom’s Mole is hosting dinner at POPUP from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday (or earlier if the food sells out). There will be mole nachos (chicken and veggie options) made with My Mom’s Mole homemade tortilla chips plus their signature cactus and kale salad.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Friday night: La Sofrita at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co.

La Sofrita is doing dinner at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co. from 4-9 p.m. Friday. Dishes available will include empanadas; Puerto Rican achiote rice and pink beans, stewed with ham and sweet potatoes; mango-cucumber salad; and yuca fries served with garlic-mojo dipping sauce. Buck N The Odds will play live music.

Steel Bonnet Brewing Co., 20 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Saturday night: Homeless Garden Project at POPUP

Homeless Garden Project is holding its first “farm to table pop-up” at Assembly’s POPUP, from 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday. Angie Smith is preparing the food. Menu selections will be beet sliders with pickled radishes and creamy green goddess dressing; Southern style barbecue chicken sliders; grilled potato salad with arugula and lemon mustard vinaigrette; summer chopped salad; and strawberries, angel food cake waffles and honeyed whipped cream.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Saturday night: Hanloh at East Cliff Brewing Co.

Hanloh Thai Food will be at East Cliff Brewing Co. from 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Their menu will include vegan and gluten-free options. There will be live music by Take One from 7-9 p.m.

East Cliff Brewing Co., 21517 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz

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San Francisco & Napa restaurant highlights for New Year’s Eve 2016

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. Photo credit: Top of the Mark

It’s almost New Year’s Eve 2016-2017! If you’re planning to dine in San Francisco or Napa, here are a few restaurant highlights for New Year’s Eve and a couple for New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve:

San Francisco

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Ring in the New Year with family, friends, and an unforgettable view at Top of the Mark! From 7:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m., enjoy a special reception, entertainment, dinner, dancing, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Start your evening with champagne and hors d’oeuvres including assorted caviar, Tomales Bay & Rockefeller oysters, Spanish Serrano ham carving station, raw seafood selections, and more. Following the reception, guests will enjoy a seated five-course dinner with bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial before dancing the night away and toasting the New Year with a glass of Moet & Chandon Rose. Rounding out the festivities is live entertainment by Mirage, whose exciting style ranges from Jazz to rock. Formal dress is required. Regular reservations are $400 per person; premium seating is $450 per person. Reservations required at 415-616-6941.

 

Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco

Chef Daniel Corey of the Michelin-star Luce rings in the New Year with a five-course menu and optional wine pairing. Guests will enjoy live entertainment from 6pm – 8pm featuring Ricardo Scales and a jazz band will toast the New Year starting at 8pm. Dinner is $159 per person/$234 with wine pairing, excluding tax and gratuity. First seating is at 6pm and last seating is at 11:30pm. For reservations, visit OpenTable.

Presidio Social Club
On New Year’s Eve, Presidio Social Club will have a special a la carte dinner menu available, including specials like Foie Gras with Pineapple-Quince Marmalade and Quatre épices; Cannelloni with Crawfish Etouffee and Grilled Andouille Sausage; Black Bass with Potato-Celery Root Puree, Leek Confit with Bacon, and Black Truffle Sauce; and Filet Minon with Bone Marrow, Winter Hash, and Sauce Bordelaise. Presidio Social Club will be pouring from magnums of Charles Heidsieck all night long and a live band will be playing throughout the evening! Call 415-885-1888 or make a reservation through OpenTable.

Roka Akor 

Count down to the New Year at Roka Akor (801 Montgomery St.) while enjoying Japanese robata cuisine and prime-cut steaks, seafood and sashimi. This year, Executive Chef Roman Petry has put together a special dinner tasting menu that will highlight signature menu items prepared on the open-charcoal robata grill. Priced at $138 per person, the tasting menu will feature dishes such as King Crab Legs with chili lime butter; Robata Grilled Wagyu Fillet with grilled bone marrow and spicy sweet garlic soy; and a Sweet Corn with butter and soy. For dessert, a Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake with almond caramel and vanilla ice cream will conclude the tasting menu. Known for their high quality steaks, Roka Akor will offer an optional $50 Japanese Wagyu upgrade (requires a minimum of two people to order). Additionally, an optional wine pairing with the tasting menu is available for $68 per person as well as a limited a la carte menu. Roka Akor’s New Year’s Eve dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Please note that Roka Akor will be closed for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online, in-person, or by calling 415-362-8887.

La Mar
Ring in 2017 on the waterfront at La Mar Cebichería Peruana! With views of the Bay’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, the restaurant will offer the below three seatings throughout the night with colorful multi-course Peruvian feasts from Chef Victoriano Lopez. Reservations can be made on OpenTable or by calling 415-397-8880.

First Seating: 4:45-5:30pm, $89 3-course menu with signature Pisco greeting

Second Seating: 6:45-7:30pm, $89 3-course menu with signature Pisco greeting

Third Seating: 8:45-9:30pm, $129 4-course menu with signature Pisco greeting and midnight sparkling wine toast!

 

Nico
Critically acclaimed, Michelin-starred French/Californian restaurant Nico will be offering a festive six-course prix-fixe menu for $90 on New Year’s Eve, with special truffle supplements offered with certain courses for $15/each. Beverage Director Maz Naba has also created special standard ($65) and premium ($85) beverage pairings options for those looking to indulge in the last hours of 2016. Visit nicosf.com or call 415-359-1000 for reservations.

Foreign Cinema 

Join Foreign Cinema as they say farewell to 2016 with a nod to Old Hollywood. Ring in 2017 in true Foreign Cinema style with our celebratory prix fixe three course menu, with choice of options in each course, and a touch of vintage Hollywood glitz and glamour. $125.00 per person. Seatings from 5:30pm to 10:30pm

Napa

FARM at Carneros

Featuring jazz tunes by the Dan Daniels Trio, FARM at Carneros invites guests to celebrate New Year’s Eve and choose from one of two seatings (5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.). Designed by Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, two indulgent tasting menus will highlight the end of the year’s best ingredients. The first seating will offer a 5-course menu ($195) with courses such as a Big-Eyed Tuna with seared foie gras and kumquats; and Free-Range Venison from Broken Arrow Ranch with rosemary and bay laurel sourced from the 28-acre property, among others. For an extravagant bite, guests can add two courses that include white truffles and caviar. The second seating, priced at $225, will highlight seven courses, including Hand Cut Pasta with carbonara and Italian white truffles; a lobster course, and more. A special caviar course can also be added to top off the last supper of 2016. Finally, wine pairings for each course are available as well as a special curated bottle list for New Year’s Eve. On December 31, FARM at Carneros will be open from 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 707-299-4880 or visiting farmatcarneros.com.

New Year’s Day:

San Francisco

Presidio Social Club

Presidio Social Club will be open for brunch on New Year’s Day from 10 am—3 pm. Sleep off the previous night’s festivities before joining PSC for comfort foods like Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls, Challah French Toast, burgers, Macaroni & Cheese, and Brioche Beignets. Call 415-885-1888 or make a reservation through OpenTable.

Top of the Mark

Start off the New Year in style with a special brunch at Top of the Mark. From 10:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Chef Michael Wong presents a delicious feast offering something for everyone’s taste. Brunch features an omelet and waffle station, along with Rock Shrimp Eggs Benedict with choron sauce. Also available are small plates and antipastos featuring Smoked Salmon, Grilled Winter Vegetables with spiced buttermilk dressing and roasted pepper sauce, local and international artisanal cheeses, homemade soups, and a selection of salads. Mouthwatering entrees and roasts include Kurobuta Pork Loin with caramelized granny smith apple and calvados cream along with Bone-In Leg of Lamb with rosemary jus. Pianist Michael Athens will provide the musical entertainment for New Year’s Day guests. Top of the Mark’s New Year’s Day brunch is $109 per adult and $59 per child (ages 4 – 12). Reservations are required at 415-616-6941.

Napa

FARM at Carneros

On New Year’s Day, FARM at Carneros is serving a decadent brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Guests can celebrate with bubbly, oysters, caviar, and generous family-style courses. Priced at $45 per person, dishes to indulge in include Sweet Corn Johnny Cake with 72-hour short rib, braised collard greens, and sunny-side egg; and Apple Crumble Coffee Cake with harvest apple compote and cinnamon cream, among others. FARM’s bar also serves a variety of bubbles, fresh juices, and handcrafted cocktails, such as the Basil Gin Fizz with Nolet’s Gin, basil, green chartreuse, and cream; or the Garden Cooler with Rain vodka, fresh fruit, cucumber and lime juice, among others.  Regular dinner service is from 5:30– 9:30 p.m.  Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 707-299-4880 or visiting farmatcarneros.com.

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Santa Cruz First Friday food highlights for March 4

For First Friday, HGP’s Angie Smith is making sweet potato and kale boxty with gingered applesauce

For First Friday, HGP’s Angie Smith is making sweet potato and kale boxty with gingered applesauce

Friday, March 4 is the next “First Friday Art Tour” in Santa Cruz; that night there are lots of related events with good food plus a couple unrelated events with delicious food that happen to be the same day. Here are a few highlights. FYI, the free First Friday tour happens every month, rain or shine, at different venues including restaurants, cafes, wineries and galleries.

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is hosting an event at its downtown shop to coincide with First Friday. Retail store and product manager Angie Smith will be cooking up tasty treats for attendees: sweet potato and kale boxty (latkes) with gingered applesauce (vegan and gluten-free), and vegan chocolate Stout cupcakes (plus some non-alcoholic chocolate cupcakes). There will also be “Sasquatch Red” wine (a blend from Humboldt County). There will be a special exhibit by Jessie Case, “Volunteers Giving While Getting Back,” which is a photo essay. Jessie photographed and interviewed some of Homeless Garden Project’s volunteers. The theme of the night is “Celebrating our Growing Community.” In 2015, nearly 2,500 people volunteered their time at HGP. “It’s also National Social Work Month so we are celebrating the Social Work interns that work with our trainees,” says Smith. “Since it’s March, we are having an Irish band and Irish themed appetizers.”

The HGP store stocks items including culinary products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at its organic farm. Income from sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.
Location: 110 Cooper St.

The Art Bar at the Tannery Art Center is having a grand opening celebration during First Friday with paella and more. Chef Antonette Wood is cooking up Spanish seafood paella for 100 (!) in the Art Bar’s patio using a traditional paellara. Read more about The Art Bar and its current offerings in my Feb. 27 restaurant news article. Ian McRae of Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room has taken over as sole proprietor of The Art Bar. On First Friday, The Great Morgani will perform from 7-8 p.m., and Kirby Scudder will be creating a 6 x 8 ft. live action painting of “a prominent politician… he won’t say who,” says McRae. “I think it will be Trump.” As usual, there will be lots of Tannery artists participating in First Friday; people are encouraged to visit the surrounding studios at 1050 and 1060 River St.
Location of The Art Bar: 1060 River St. #112 in the Tannery Arts Center

My Mom’s Mole will be at POPUP for dinner on Friday, March 4. The menu, which will include items from $3-10, will feature their signature mole sauce AND a new mole verde (green mole) served with chicken, pork and veggie tostadas paired with a locally sourced cactus and kale salad. I have tasted the signature mole several times—including at last week’s wonderful Event Watsonville night at the Commercial Kitchen Incubator—and can vouch that it’s delectable!

Here is a description of the food from Cesario Ruiz, who created the My Mom’s Mole recipe after watching his mother make mole and seeing all of the different ingredients she used: “My Mom’s Mole was named Best Mole, People’s Choice at the 2015 Mole & Mariachi Festival at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. The signature recipe is in the Guanajuato style and is more savory with a bit of heat at the back of the palate…our mole verde, also known as pipián, has a subtle, yet rich & fresh flavor to it. We are excited to share it with you; it may be our next product in stores so we can’t wait for you to try it!” There will be vegetarian/vegan (Guanajuato style) and gluten-free (verde) options available.
Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.

LionFish SupperClub is having its grand opening celebration and Santa Cruz Chamber ribbon cutting at the MOTIV upstairs bar/kitchen starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The menu that night will include chili-carmel brussels sprouts, rosemary-parmesan fries, French onion soup, smoked duck carnitas tacos, foraged mushroom ragout, candy cap souffle cheesecake, and caramel creme brulee. Read more about LionFish in my March 2 restaurant news article.
Location: 1209 Pacific Ave.

Mutari Chocolate is hosting a First Friday popup café and shop at Front Street Kitchen from 5 to 9 p.m. accompanied by the art of Randy Cardona. Mutari will be serving up a full menu of hot chocolates and sipping chocolates. Bean-to-bar, single origin chocolate bars will also be available. During First Friday, customers will receive 10% off any in-store retail purchases. For more news on Mutari changes, see March 2 restaurant news article.
Location: 504A Front St.

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Food truck, Homeless Garden Project events in Scotts Valley & Santa Cruz

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

There are many food events occurring this weekend in local cities such as Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley—here are details for a first-time Scotts Valley food truck event Friday and a benefit feast with star chefs at Homeless Garden Project Saturday.

Friday, Sept. 18: Food Trucks a Go Go
Food Trucks A Go Go, a food truck event company, is hosting its first food truck event at Skypark in Scotts Valley Friday night. Attendees can choose from four local trucks, and there are picnic tables at the park. Participating food trucks are Ate3One (Philly cheesesteak, tacos & more), Zameen Mediterranean (falafel, gyros, etc.), The Choke Coach (menu includes artichokes a la carte and as ingredients in other dishes), and Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Café (ice cream and sweets).

Aunt LaLi’s owner, LaLi Kates, has been bringing her treats to the local community for years, and she is the founder of Food Trucks A Go Go.  Kates says that for years, both she and her customers have been wanting food trucks in the area, and that the timing is now right to make this happen. Save the date for the next Go Go Gathering: Friday, Oct. 23, same time and place.

Date/Hours: Friday, Sept. 18, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

Saturday, Sept. 19: Homeless Garden Project benefit dinner
Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is holding an organic benefit dinner at its farm, the latest in its Sustain Farm Dinner series. Sustain is a seasonal gourmet dinner series featuring organic produce from the farm, wine pairings, and guest speakers discussing sustainable topics. The admission fee, $125, benefits HGP; the prices are higher this season because HGP is celebrating its 25th anniversary so the dinners are more extensive and the speakers are nationally known. The dinner held in August featured Greens Restaurant founder Deborah Madison, and Catherine Sneed is Saturday’s keynote speaker. Sneed began the horticulture program at the SF County Jail in 1982. Read more and purchase tickets online.

A different chef will prepare each of the four courses. David Morgan, chef for David Kinch’s soon-to-open The Bywater in Los Gatos (read more in my recent article) will prepare a first course duo: fried green tomatoes, bagna cauda and ricotta cheese; and smoked pork boudin with mustard and pickles. The Food Lounge’s Andrea Mollenauer will prepare a salad for the second course, while Soif’s Mark Denham will create an entrée of tea smoked quail, quinoa & kale “fried rice,” spiced eggplant, blistered padrons, and chimichurri  (vegetarian and vegan options are available if ordered ahead). Renowned Aubergine pastry chef Ron Mendoza is providing dessert: Japanese cheesecake with carrot and cilantro. There will also be live classical music performed by a quartet comprised of musicians from the Santa Cruz Symphony.

Date/Hours: Saturday, Sept. 19, 4-7:30 p.m.
Location: HGP Farm, Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz

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A couple Santa Cruz food-related events this weekend

Paella will be available at Santa Cruz’s POPUP on Friday, Dec. 5

Paella will be available at Santa Cruz’s POPUP on Friday, Dec. 5

There are many fun food-related events in Santa Cruz this weekend; here are a couple highlights.

POPUP has two events: one today and one tomorrow. On Friday night, Dec. 5, it’s hosting “Paella with Panache” with guest chefs Jehan Hakiman of The Spanish Table, and Katie Pearce and Alexa Newman of Contigo. Two kinds of paella will be featured: Paella de Marisco with shrimp, mussels and calamari; and Paella Cazadora. A selection of traditional sides and accompaniments will also be available.
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends when the food sells out.

Hakiman grew up in Argentina watching his father help friends process and bottle their grapes in various wine regions. Eventually, he learned to make paella there, amongst other dishes in the heavily Spanish influenced landscape of his youth. Once he moved to the Bay Area, he took at a job at The Spanish Table. POPUP organizers say, “What sets Jehan’s cooking apart from others is both his incorporation of his Persian culinary techniques influenced from his own nationality, and also his unwavering beliefs in the symbiotic relationship between food and wine, adding what he calls ‘the third dimensions of flavor.’ Through the years of selling wines to some of the Bay’s most recognized restaurants, Jehan speaks poetically about the wine and food he is most passionate about, and is rarely seen without a glass in hand or a great story to tell.”

Saturday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon, POPUP will be selling hot cocoa and sticky buns, a perfect treat before doing your holiday shopping and/or for a warming snack while watching the downtown Holiday Parade on Pacific,  which starts at 10 a.m. Unfamiliar with POPUP? Chef Kendra Baker and partner Zachary Davis—the team behind Assembly, The Picnic Basket, and The Penny Ice Creamery—host rotating food vendors in this space.

Location: 1108 Pacific Ave. near Cathcart

On Friday night, Dec. 5 from 5:30-8 p.m., Homeless Garden Project is hosting its annual Holiday Store Open House and Celebration with food and drink including cupcakes from Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting. The event coincides with First Friday, and there will be work by a few artists and a dance performance in collaboration with MAH. There will be music by Rick Zeek and Rhan Wilson. At 6 p.m. a special presentation will include comments from HGP program trainee Angela, as well as Mayor Lynn Robinson and Council member Don Lane. The holiday boutique offers items including culinary products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at the HGP organic farm. I’ve bought their wonderful lavender shortbread mix as a holiday gift in the past.  Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.

Location: 110 Cooper St.

For more info on POPUP, see heypopup.com.
For more info on HGP, see www.homelessgardenproject.org.
To follow me on Twitter, see twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz and Monterey County food & wine events this weekend

Dolmas are one of the delicious foods at Eat Like A Greek! this weekend

Dolmas are one of the delicious foods at Eat Like A Greek! this weekend

There are many food and wine events occurring this weekend in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, from May 16-18, 2014. Here are a few highlights.

Greek food fair in Santa Cruz May 16-18
The 8th annual Eat Like A Greek! Food Faire is in the downtown area next to the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church. The free festival features live Greek music plus a food including moussaka, dolmas, spanakopita, grilled marinated lamb souvlaki and handmade pastries like kataifi (shredded wheat pastries saturated with honey and spices).

New foods this year include gluten-free options plus two Greek yogurt parfaits: one is made with a sour cherry mixture that comes from Greece, another has organic blueberries, walnuts and local honey. In addition, organizers have added “a bevy of premium Greek white and red wines to the Taverna.” Athena Wolfe, who does marketing for the fair, says that Greece’s agro tourism business–and in particular the wine business–is booming.  “Many of them are winning medals in wine competitions, so we thought we’d offer a sampling to the public at the Food Fair,” shares Wolfe. Other beverages available will include American and Greek beer, traditional Greek spirits, and coffee.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, & noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Location: 223 Church St. at the corner of Center.
Call 334-4400 or visit https://www.facebook.com/EatLikeAGreek.

Sustainable seafood festival in Monterey May 16-18
The 13th annual “Cooking For Solutions” is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium May 16-18. There will be “sustainable and organic food from land and sea” plus public presentations and cooking demos by chefs including Alton Brown, all included with aquarium admission. Many additional “food and wine adventures” and culinary salons can be purchased online; some events are sold out. The three-day celebration features more than 90 chefs and 70 wineries and breweries.
Location: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row.
For details go to at cookingforsolutions.org or call 648-4800.

Dare to Pair Food & Wine Challenge May 18

Surf City Vintners is hosting the 5th annual “Dare to Pair” food & wine challenge. Cabrillo College is joining with Surf City Vintners to hold the event, as the competition is a benefit for Cabrillo College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program. Teams of Cabrillo culinary students prepare appetizers, and these are paired with wine from each Surf City Vintners winery. Attendees walk from winery to winery (all located within a couple blocks of each other) to taste the food and wine. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their skills, and for the public to enjoy their culinary creations paired with our great local wines,” said Eric Carter, director of the Cabrillo Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program.

The event takes place Sunday from 12-3:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 in advance (buy from any Surf City winery — see web site  — or at Pino Alto Restaurant on the Cabrillo campus. Call (831) 435-3000 for more information. If tickets do not sell out, they will be available the day of the event for $70.

Participants vote on their favorite pairings for the People’s Choice awards, and a panel of chefs and restaurateurs also judge the competition including Kirsten Ponza (Executive Chef of The Chaminade) and Sheri Moise (owner of Johnny’s Harborside), and Ted Burke (owner of Shadowbrook). There is an after-party at Equinox Champagne Cellar from 3-5 p.m., and the awards ceremony takes place at 4:30 p.m.
Location: Surf City Vintners wineries, Swift Street Courtyard, Swift & Ingalls Streets in Westside
 Santa Cruz

Staff of Life Anniversary Party May 17
The local grocery store is having a 45th anniversary party from noon-4 p.m. Saturday. There will be live music, dancing, BBQ, wine tastings, raffle prizes, product demos, and free samples.
Visit www.staffoflifemarket.com or call 831-423-8632.
Location: 1266 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

Homeless Garden Project Farm Fest May 18
HGP is hosting Farmfest 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It’s free and there will be kids’ activities (games, face painting, and more), food, live music, and a beer garden operated by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Company. Local radio station KUSP is co-sponsoring the festival, which aims to highlight the tangible benefits of community involvement at HGP to encourage those taking a new direction in their lives. “Many people who are homeless and come to participate in our programs tell me that the community at the farm makes a difference in their outlook on the world and in building self-confidence and self-esteem,” says Darrie Ganzhorn, HGP Executive Director. “Farmfest is an invitation to the wider community to join in.”

There will be cooking demos by local chef volunteers including Oai Phan, who is preparing an Asian dumpling with kale. Phan moved to Santa Cruz from Vietnam about 30 years ago, and has volunteered at the farm almost every week for the last five years. Phan says, “Food always brings people closer and nothing makes me happier than to see a big smile on people’s faces when they eat my ‘rabbit food.’
Visit www.homelessgardenproject.org or call 831-423-1020.
Location: Shaffer Road and Delaware Ave. in Westside Santa Cruz

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Homeless Garden Project’s 2nd annual Santa Cruz Kalefest, a child-friendly event

Chef Jozseph Schultz from restaurant India Joze appeared at HGP’s debut Kalefest in 2012

Chef Jozseph Schultz from restaurant India Joze appeared at HGP’s debut Kalefest in 2012

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project is hosting the 2nd annual “Kalefest” on Saturday May 18 at its Natural Bridges Farm, located at the intersection of Shaffer Road and Delaware in Westside Santa Cruz.

At the 12-4p.m. Homeless Garden Project (HGP) festival, guests will enjoy hourly farm tours, gardening workshops, a raffle, and cooking demos. In addition, there will be live music, a “kale kingdom” for kids (with activities for all ages), and lots of food and drinks.

There will also be a kale recipe contest; view details here.

For more information including directions to the event, click here.

Founded in 1990, HGP offers many programs – some of which take place in a 2.5-acre organic farm. The organization also operates an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) from May-October. Get more details on the CSA (it’s wonderful!) at the HGP web site.

Homeless Garden Project Valentine Party & Whole Foods Market Singles Night

hgp lav cookiesHere are details for two parties that offer chocolate and other treats on Friday Feb. 8, 2013: one is being hosted by Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project, the other by Whole Foods Capitola.

Homeless Garden Project is hosting “Sweets and Treats,” a Valentine event at its Garden Shop, where you can sample delicious local foods and wine and buy your Valentine a thoughtful gift. At the free 5-8 p.m. Homeless Garden Project (HGP) party, guests will enjoy live music including an appearance by The Great Morgani from 5-6 p.m. Chef Erik Soderholm from Davenport Roadhouse is creating appetizers for the event, and there will be tasting samples of many HGP’s products such as cookies made from its infamous lavender shortbread mix. New products made in HGP’s training program especially for Valentine’s Day include handmade chocolates, soap, and lip balm. Other items available include candles, floral arrangements, birch hearts, baking mixes, and other culinary products.

HGP’s Garden Shop, located at 30 West Cliff Drive next to Depot Park and open year-round, is offering extended hours due to Valentine’s Day. From Thurs. Feb. 7 – Wed. Feb. 13 it’s open 11 a.m. -6 p.m., and on Valentine’s Day itself the shop is open until 7 for last-minute shoppers. As always, all income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.

Whole Foods Market in Capitola is hosting its first Singles Night on Friday from 7–8:30 p.m. There will be wine tasting, chocolate tasting, cheese tasting, and live jazz. Plus, you can win prizes in a raffle. Whole Foods Capitola is located at 1710 41st Avenue (across from Capitola Mall). Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

 

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day Five: Homeless Garden Project wreath & many gift ideas

Treats at Homeless Garden Project’s holiday boutique include tea, jam, and wreaths

It’s Day 5 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a beautiful wreath from Homeless Garden Project’s holiday store. See end of article for how to enter, and keep reading for gift ideas from HGP and others.

You only have a few shopping days left ‘til Christmas – so I’m going to share a bunch of ideas in this article. How about buying some “gifts with a cause?” You can find lots of these at Homeless Garden Project’s holiday store (more details below) in article. Another idea is to make a donation to a non-profit in your gift recipient’s honor. If you do this via Homeless Garden Project, HGP provides a beautiful gift card for notifying your recipient that a donation has been made in their name. Many non-profits do similar things. Or purchase a CSA for a friend of family member; here is one directory of local CSAs.

Another alternative for a fun gift or stocking stuffer: buy Downtown Dollars at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Pacific Cookie Company or Old School Shoes. These dollars are like cash and accepted at dozens of downtown Santa Cruz shops, cafes, and restaurants. See full list and learn more here. Of course, there are always gift cards. Some places are even doing holiday deals: Pacific Thai is offering 10% off gift cards (minimum $25 purchase) through December, and at Hoffman’s you get a free $10 gift card for every $50 you purchase in gift cards (the $50 can be divided up among one or more cards). Johnny’s Harborside has a similar promotion; with the free $10 you can either add it to the gift card you’re buying for someone else, or keep it for yourself.

If you are going to be shopping in downtown Santa Cruz, you get 2 hours of free parking at parking meters from now until Dec. 26 (just look for the bagged meters, and make sure you don’t stay longer than 2 hours).

Have you tried Serendipity Saucy Spreads? This mother-daughter Santa Cruz company makes jams and more; their products can be found at several local venues for your holiday shopping needs. Co-owner Kristen Cederquist shared on Dec. 16 that “Stripe, DIG Gardens, Mountain Feed & Farm Supply, and The Garden Company were restocked with jam in the last two days. They are also all carrying my new Honey & Sea Salt Caramels and Whiskey & Honey Caramels that are made without corn syrup.”

The Homeless Garden Project (HGP) holiday gift boutique, open seasonally in downtown Santa Cruz, offers a variety of affordable gifts — such as tea — including products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at the HGP organic farm. Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.

A few selections from HGP’s food gifts:
Lavender Shortbread Mix (Organic ingredients, including lavender hand-picked from HGP’s farm) and lavender sugar
Herb biscuit mix and herb salts
Herb-infused vinegar
Strawberry Jam

Non-food gifts available at the boutique include ornaments, bath salts, wreaths, jewelry, soap, hand-dipped beeswax candles, a variety of soy candles, lavender sachets, an HGP calendar, potted succulents, t-shirts, hand-knitted scarves, hats, a selection of Alice Waters’ cookbooks, and handmade cards. HGP is also offering granola (supports Food What?!) and coffee (supports Project Homeless Connect).

The shop is located in the Cooper House Breezeway on Pacific Avenue between O’Neill’s and Verizon.

  • Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. through Dec. 24
  • Phone: (831) 426-1774 (store), (831) 426-3609 (office and workshop, open Mon-Fri)

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THE CONTEST:

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

DAY FIVE PRIZEThe winner receives a beautiful wreath (retail value: $50) from the HGP Holiday Store’s beautiful wreath selection; each is one of a kind made from flowers and herbs grown, harvested and dried by HGP staff and trainees at the organization’s 3-acre organic farm.

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

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page.

Either way, the entry deadline is Mon. Dec. 17 at 5 p.m.

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