Tag Archives: Hula’s

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open or closed on Christmas, Part 2 of 2

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Yesterday I published highlights for a few restaurants open on Christmas in Santa Cruz and San Jose. Here are several more.

Also, note some Santa Cruz restaurants will be closed just for Christmas (like Hula’s, closed on both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, and Johnny’s Harborside & Crow’s Nest, both closing at 3pm Xmas Eve and closed entire Xmas Day) while some shut down for a few days over the holidays:

  • Charlie Hong Kong (closed evening of 12/23 when the food runs out, through 1/1/14 – reopening 1/2/14)
  • Sabieng (closed 12/23 through 12/26 lunch, reopening 12/26 at dinner)
  • Little Shanghai (closed 12/22 through 1/5, reopening 1/6/14 at 11:30 a.m.)
  • Café Iveta (closed 12/25 through 1/1, reopening 1/2/14)

Santa Cruz, Capitola & Aptos restaurants

Booka Restaurant & Bar
On Christmas Eve Booka is offering a prix fixe dinner menu, and on Christmas Day Booka will feature a prix fixe tapas menu. For reservations and information call (831) 685-9500.
8041 Soquel Drive, Aptos

Café Mare
Café Mare is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (831) 458-1212 for reservations.
740 Front St, #100, Santa Cruz

Gabriella Cafe
Gabriella Café is open on Christmas Eve until 7:30 p.m. Call (831) 457-1677 for reservations.
910 Cedar St, Santa Cruz

Ideal Bar & Grill
Ideal is open Xmas Eve from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. with a regular menu. On Christmas Day, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For dinner, it’s serving selections including slow-roasted prime rib, turkey with yams, stuffing, etc., and live Maine lobster. Call (831) 423-5271 for reservations.
106 Beach St at the Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz

Severino’s Bar & Grill
On Christmas Day the restaurant at Seacliff Inn has a buffet from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  with Black Angus prime rib, Dungeness crab, roasted leg of lamb, and more. The cost is $39 for adults, $17 for kids 5-10, and free for 4 and under. For reservations and information call (831) 688-8987.
7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos

Zelda’s is open on Christmas Day with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and a holiday menu & dinner specials beginning at noon. Specials include traditional turkey or maple baked ham dinner ($16.95 adults, $10.95 kids). Call (831) 475-4900.
203 Esplanade, in the Capitola Village

San Jose

Il Fornaio
The restaurant at the Sainte Claire is open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (408) 271-3366 for reservations.
302 South Market St (at the Sainte Claire), 
San Jose

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Restaurants & bars for Halloween 2013 in Santa Cruz and nearby, Part 1

: Restaurant 1833 is serving a 4-course prix fixe dinner on Halloween

Restaurant 1833 is serving a 4-course prix fixe dinner on Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and there are some spooktacular celebrations occurring—including something for everyone, such as a kid-friendly atmosphere, a fancy prix fixe dinner, or options with dancing and a bar. Here are a few celebrations to consider for Halloween 2013 in Santa Cruz and nearby areas. I’ll be publishing more options in the next day or two.

Santa Cruz & Capitola

Hotel Paradox is hosting a Halloween party from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and include dancing, a DJ, a drink ticket, and access to the snack bar. Buy tickets online.
611 Ocean St., (831) 425-7100

Margaritaville has announced a “costume contest with awesome prizes” for Halloween night, plus drink specials all weekend.
231 Esplanade, Capitola (831) 476-2263

Santa Cruz Wharf Restaurants
Selected Santa Cruz Wharf restaurants are inviting kids dressed in costumes, with their parents, to come trick-or-treating on Halloween. The scheduled time is 4-6 p.m. Read more at the Santa Cruz Wharf site.
Santa Cruz Wharf, (831) 420-5273

Hula’s Santa Cruz invites you to celebrate Halloween with a Spooky Pumpkin Tini, and at Charlie Hong Kong  Halloween means it’s Thai Butternut Squash Soup season. CHK started serving the delicious soup on Oct 26 with local Windmill Farms organic heirloom butternuts; the annual season lasts until January or February depending on the squash harvest.

A few Santa Cruz restaurants are closed on Halloween, including Bittersweet Café and Bistro.

Restaurant 1833, located in the Stokes Adobe House which some say is haunted, is hosting a fabulous party on October 31, 2013. Chef Levi Mezick will be offering a special Halloween four-course prix fixe menu in the dining room featuring Pumpkin Soup with pumpernickel bread crumbs; Beet Salad with hazelnuts, duck prosciutto and bulls blood; Braised Pork Cheek with cranberry puree, mustard greens and banyuls; Pan Roasted Rainbow Trout with haricot vert, fingerling potato and herb butter. Dinner will end early…from there, Restaurant 1833 has partnered with 831 Magazine for an unforgettable night of live music, cocktails on tap, and of course, ghosts and costumes.

Price: The four-course prix fixe menu is $40 per person excluding tax and gratuity. The Halloween party is free before 9:00pm with an escalating cover charge starting at $10.
500 Hartnell St., Monterey, (831) 643-1833.
If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Two nights left for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013

Food and drinks at La Posta, a participant in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013

Food and drinks at La Posta, a participant in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013

The fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week ends on Oct. 9; you have two more nights to dine at more than 30 local restaurants offering three-course dinners for $25. Read details in my event preview and recap of my 2013 Restaurant Week dinner at Hula’s.

Haven’t decided which restaurant(s) to visit? Some highlights: Pearl of the Ocean is participating for the first time, and this Sri Lankan venue is reportedly gaining lots of new fans with its delicious vegan and vegetarian cuisine. The Restaurant Week menu at Red Restaurant and Bar includes food PLUS a 3 oz. glass of wine with each of its three courses. Café Rio’s offerings include appetizer choices such as Rio Prawn Spring Roll featuring carrots, green onion, basil, mint, and hoisin dipping sauce (I enjoyed this tremendously at the recent Gourmet Grazing on the Green) and Caprese Salad. The restaurant Chocolate’s choices include Artichoke Shrimp Salad, Spumante Lemon Swordfish, and Gelato alla Crema with bittersweet chocolate sauce. La Posta is offering entrees such as Corn Tagliatelle with peppers, escarole, capers and parmigiana and Quail al mattone with potato-chard gratinata and green olive salsa.

Check out more menus and information at the Santa Cruz Restaurant Week web site.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Pay $25 for 3 courses during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Hula’s

Scrumptious and whimsical Pot Brownie dessert at Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s

Scrumptious and whimsical Pot Brownie dessert at Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s

Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room is participating in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013, offering many tasty choices in its prix fixe $25 three-course menu. My family and I had a very good meal there earlier this week.

It’s the fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which began Wednesday and lasts until Oct 9. More than 30 local restaurants are offering special menus for eight nights. For more details, read my SC Restaurant Week event preview (includes restaurant list). This is the first year that Hula’s is participating. “We are incredibly excited to be a part of Restaurant Week,” said Hula’s General Manager Rita Price. “We love helping and being a big part of our Santa Cruz community and especially to be amongst such a great group of restaurants.”

My dinner at Hula’s included attentive service from a gracious waitress; it was pleasant to eat in one of the several family-friendly dining areas. There’s also a bar area for those who prefer that type of environment. For the first course I chose Vietnamese Spring Rolls, which I’ve had several times at Hula’s; it’s consistently good with ingredients such as organic tofu, apples, lemongrass, basil and carrots. I had a few bites of my husband’s sweet Tiki Torch Chicken Wings; I don’t always enjoy sweet sauces but this worked well with the meat. For a second course I selected Lemongrass Encrusted Hapu, a Hawaiian seabass. The lime-ginger-cream sauce was absolutely delectable, and those who don’t eat seafood can substitute tofu. It was a hearty serving accompanied by white rice and Hula’s popular and refreshing slaw.

I sampled my husband’s pulled pork entrée and enjoyed that as well. Ingredients included pineapple and soy. Because it had sweet seasonings like the chicken wings, I wouldn’t recommend choosing the wing app and pork entree as a combination unless you’re in a really sweet mood. Or, if you’re like us and you and your dining companions enjoy sharing food, this plan works fine because you get to try lots of different items and flavors!

For dessert we shared Pot Brownie and Hula Pie. I appreciated the whimsical title, and presentation, of the pot brownie, which was served in a terra cotta-looking pot (see photo above). It was a rich treat chock full of brownies, hot fudge, and whipped cream. Onto the pie, where the nutty flavor of macadamia nut ice cream provided balance for the sweet Oreo crust. A small dish of hot fudge plus whipped cream completed the dessert perfectly.

All in all, Hula’s Restaurant Week menu provided a great dinner, and an opportunity to try out some new dishes. Even though everything I chose for Restaurant Week is part of the restaurant’s regular menu, the only selection I’d tried before was the spring rolls. Price said that I am one of many regular customers that have been coming in and trying new things. “I love having a fun showcase of some of our different foods,” she added. “So many people assume we are strictly Hawaiian food, which just isn’t the case.  We offer many varieties of food,  from sustainable fresh seafood to vegetarian options or even to our gluten-friendly menu.” Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the showcase at Hula’s, and at many other restaurants over the next few days!

Visit the SC Restaurant Week web site.

Hula’s: 221 Cathcart Street, Santa Cruz 95060, (831) 426-4852.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Gourmet Grazing with food & wine benefits Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group

Seared ahi tuna from 2011's Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Seared ahi tuna from 2011’s Gourmet Grazing on the Green

The annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green allows attendees to partake in unlimited wine and beer plus lots of delicious gourmet food from local restaurants and food vendors, while raising funds for the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG). The 10th annual Gourmet Grazing is on Sat Sept 21, 2013 from 12-4 p.m. at Aptos Village Park.

The event usually sells out a few days ahead of time, so it’s recommended that you buy tickets immediately. Purchase tickets for $65 at New Leaf Community Market or online. If you have a group of 10, you can get tickets for $50 each. Admission includes food, wine, beer, a souvenir wineglass, and live music.

SCCBG board member Mary Anne Carson explains the festival’s popularity: “We offer the ‘best of Santa Cruz County’ all in one beautiful spot for a great value! Grazing is a delight for all of the senses: smell, sight, sound, touch and best of all, taste! We’ve offered high quality at a great value for the past 10 years which is why this event has a strong loyal following and will sell out!  Every year there is something new and every year the food purveyors, restaurants and chefs have become more creative.”  Some of my favorite dishes from last year’s festival included The Whole Enchilada’s squash blossom and zucchini tamale with avocado green salsa, and Café Cruz’s Southwestern gazpacho with shrimp. For more 2012 highlights, see my recap article.

There are more than 30 participating restaurants and food vendors for 2013 including The Crow’s Nest, Café Cruz, Penny Ice Creamery, The Whole Enchilada, Fresh Prep Kitchens, Solaire Restaurant and Bar, Hula’s, The Fish Lady, New Leaf Community Markets, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Niman Ranch, Redwood Hill Farm, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, Sweet Cheeks Bakeshop, and True Olive Connection. Some highlights: Cafe Rio will serve “Rio Prawn Spring Roll” which includes mung bean noodle & sprouts, carrot, green onion, basil, mint, and house made hoisin sauce. Severino’s will be serving lobster ravioli in a cherry white wine cream sauce paired with a raspberry salad. Together We Eat Catering is serving a Summer Strawberry Panini featuring strawberries from California Giant Berry. East Side Eatery is serving Chicken Pozole with chicken, hominy, spicy tomato broth, and garnish of fresh corn, cilantro, green onions, queso fresco, lime wedges, sour cream, tortilla strips, and diced jalapeños.

More than 25 participating wineries and breweries include Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards,  Burrell School Vineyards, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, Heineken, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Seabright Brewery, Sones Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyards, and Vino Tabi. One highlight: Sante Arcangeli Family Wines will be pouring their 2011 Chardonnay, Split Rail Vineyard & 2011 Corralitos Duet Pinot Noir.

For the full list of participating restaurants, wineries, breweries, and exhibitors, click here.

All funds raised by SCCBG through events stay local. “We’ve raised well over $1 million since our inception in 1995 for the benefit of and distribution to local cancer support groups and cancer research at UCSC,” says Mary Anne Carson. “This is one of the hardest working, most passionate group of individuals I’ve ever encountered. SCCBG is an all volunteer organization.” Proceeds from SCCBG’s events, including this year’s Gourmet Grazing, benefit these local cancer support and research organizations: Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services, The Katz Cancer Resource Center, UCSC Cancer Research, and WomenCARE. Last year the event raised more than $65,000 (up from $56,000 in 2011).

More details: there is free parking and free shuttle service (every 15 minutes) from Cabrillo College Lot E. There will be a raffle, with ticket sales benefiting SCCBG. Prizes include gift baskets and gift certificates contributed by businesses such as Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes, Paradise Grille, and Coke Farms, a wetsuit from O’Neill, wine tastings, and wine.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz February 2013 restaurant news includes second Sawasdee location

Representatives from award-winning Ideal Bar & Grill at the 32nd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival

Representatives from award-winning Ideal Bar & Grill at the 32nd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival

Here are some highlights of recent restaurant news for Santa Cruz and nearby neighborhoods, which includes several changes and a near-future opening: a second location for the owners of Sawasdee Thai Cuisine.

Opening Soon

Sawasdee in Santa Cruz

Soquel restaurant Sawasdee serves excellent Thai cuisine with very fresh ingredients, and I’m thrilled to hear that owners Bill and Dee Hongmanee are going to be opening a second location. They’re taking over the former space of Casablanca (101 Main Street in Santa Cruz), across from the beach near the Boardwalk. Bill hopes to be open by late March. Some of my favorite dishes at Sawasdee are fresh spring rolls, tom kha soup, pumpkin red curry (with succulent scallops plus tender prawns and chicken), and to finish a meal, dessert of sweet rice and mango.

Changes Hula’s – expanded lunch & happy hours

On February 19th, downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room expanded its lunch service. It’s now open for lunch six days a week: Tuesday-Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The restaurant describes its cuisine as “tropical dining…a menu infused with Asian, Latin, and Caribbean touches, all with a Hawaiian inspiration.” Hula’s also just increased the length of its happy hour; it’s now FOUR hours long, on Tues-Sun from 2-6 p.m. Promotions still include $5 pupus (including coconut shrimp rolls) and $5 tiki drinks.

221 Cathcart Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 426-HULA

Vasili’s – now open daily

Greek restaurant Vasili’s in Westside Santa Cruz, formerly open Wed-Sun, is now open daily.

1771 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 458-9808

Pizzeria Avanti – expanded menu

Pizzeria Avanti now has a “pizza slice bar” at its restaurant. Cheese and pepperoni slices are available for $2.50 and $3. In the past, the only pizza option available to customers was whole pizzas (both small and large) with lots of different topping combinations.

1771 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 425-1807


The 32nd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festivalwas held on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. There were more than 70 contestants competing in individual (amateur) and professional categories, for either best Boston style or best Manhattan style chowder. Three local restaurants did very well: Ideal Bar & Grill (chef Jesus Garcia) won the People’s Choice award for Best Professional Boston, while official judges awarded Best Professional Boston to South Beach Pizza (chef Dany Pena) and Best Professional Manhattan to Severino’s Bar & Grill (chef Miguel Perez).

The Super Bowl in Santa Cruz: food and drink specials and recommendations

Tacos at Santa Cruz’s Crow’s Nest, one of several restaurants with Super Bowl specials

This Sunday, several Santa Cruz area restaurants and bars are offering food and drink specials during the Super Bowl — here is a round-up. Super Bowl kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.

Bittersweet Bistro

The bar opens at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday for the Super Bowl. For a $25 price, Bittersweet is offering a special Super Bowl buffet and viewing on its 110” TV in the back room. Buffet includes shaved prime rib, French dip with carmelized onion au jus, Bittersweet chili, Nathan’s hot dogs, sliders, nachos, chips and dipsm fruit salad, buffalo chicken wings, submarine sandwiches, tacos, black beans and Spanish rice, pizzettas, and taquitos. Or you can sit in the bar, watch the game on one of seven HD flatscreen TVs, and purchase food and drink off of the bar menu. There will be drink specials and prizes (chance to win Santa Cruz Warriors tickets, a mini Weber BBQ, and more).

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, (831) 662-9799.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is throwing a Super Bowl party. The microbrewery will set up TVs both inside the bar and on the deck outside, and offer its organic beers on tap plus Wing Ding wings.

402 Ingalls Street, Suite 27, Santa Cruz (831) 425-4900

Crow’s Nest

The oceanfront restaurant’s Super Bowl party kicks off at 3:30 p.m. in the upstairs bar when happy hour prices begin. Crow’s Nest will serve half-price appetizers and well drinks, plus draft beer specials. The happy hour prices last all night – including after the live comedy show starts at 9 p.m.

Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz (831) 476-4560

Woodstock’s Pizza

The pizzeria Woodstock’s is offering happy hour prices on drinks during the Super Bowl. Also, if you buy an extra-large pizza with 1 topping or more, you can purchase 12 wings for $5 (valid all day Feb. 3 for dine-in, take-out, or delivery; mention Super Bowl deal when ordering).

710 Front St, Santa Cruz (831) 427-4444

el Salchichero

It’s not a restaurant – but it’s a great butcher shop and retail store if you are having people over for the Super Bowl and have some last-minute shopping to do (or if you just want to cook for yourself). It’s open Sunday (and every Tues-Sun) from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. el Salchichero recommends any or all of these items for Super Bowl treats: beer bacon, blood orange marinated chicken thighs, grass fed steaks, sausages for sandwiches or appetizers, cured meats for a charcuterie plate, Yucatan flat iron, and Mad Marge’s meatballs. If you’re in Live Oak and need last-minute Super Bowl meats, el Salchicero will be at the Live Oak Farmers Market from from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

402 Ingalls Street, Suite 25, Santa Cruz (831) 423-MEAT


Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room is offering $5 pupus all night on Super Bowl Sunday. Traditionally the $5 pupus are offered 4:30 – 6 p.m. seven days a week. I went to Hula’s the other night and can recommend these tasty pupus: Abalone Style Calamari (pan-fried calamari with lime-ginger-cream sauce and soy glaze), Sweet Potato Fries (addicting!), and Spicy Edamame.

221 Cathcart Street, Santa Cruz (831) 426-HULA


Ideal Bar & Grill

Ideal is showing the Super Bowl on 10 big screen TVs. Game day specials include the following $5 appetizers: chicken wings, nachos, potato skins, garlic fries, calamari, and quesadillas. Happy Hour is from gametime through closing; drink specials include $3 domestic beers and $3 Cuervo margaritas.

106 Beach Street at the Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz (831) 423-5271

Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s benefits Seymour Center on Mondays in January

Poke at Hula’s in downtown Santa Cruz

Go out for dinner or drinks at the downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s on Monday nights in January, and part of your meal will benefit the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab (part of UCSC’s Institute of Marine Sciences).

During the month of January, Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room – a festive place to eat and drink with lots of great selections – is donating 10% of all Monday nights sales to UCSC’s Seymour Center. This promotion is part of the restaurant’s Mahalo Mondays Community Giving program; each month a different non-profit organization receives 10% of Monday evening sales. In 2011, Hula’s donated over $10,000 to local organizations via Mahalo Mondays proceeds.

The menu at Hula’s features Hawaiian fusion dishes and other choices; highlights include slow roasted pulled pork, jungle tofu, seared ahi wontons, shrimp tacos, Hawaiian fish soup, and sweet potato fries. In addition, you can choose between four types of fish (ahi, ono, mahi, and hapu) and pick one of seven preparation types to match it with. For example, pick macadamia-encrusted mahi or blackened ono. Hula’s also offers a tiki bar with tropical drink specialties. Reservations are required for parties of 6 or more; call (831) 426-4852.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans. Hula’s co-owner Ian McRae explains the perfect fit between Seymour Center and the restaurant’s Mahalo Mondays program: “In the spirit of Mahalo (giving thanks), Hula’s wants to give back to the community that’s been so supportive of us. As a restaurant that serves seafood it is part of our obligation to help make sure our oceans are healthy for us and future generations.”

The Details

Hula’s Island Grill and & Tiki Room, 221 Cathcart Street (between Cedar and Pacific), Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 426-4852

Dates: Mahalo Mondays benefit Seymour Center January 7, 14, 21, and 28

Hours: Open for dinner every night beginning at 4:30 p.m.; lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m.

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 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