Tag Archives: Ice cream

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah at Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz & Capitola

Whole Foods Market’s favorite local wine and cheese pairings for the holidays. Courtesy of WFM.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and after that Hanukkah is right around the corner! Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola (1710 41st Ave.) and Santa Cruz (911 Soquel Ave.) have many Thanksgiving selections and several Hanukkah items, and they graciously gave me a gift card so that I could try a few out.

You can place orders in person or online. Thanksgiving pick up dates are through Nov. 23; Hanukkah pick up is Nov. 30-Dec. 9 and selections include wine-braised brisket dinner for eight, and potato latkes with applesauce. Thanksgiving choices at WFM (see a holiday showcase here) include a classic roast turkey dinner for eight (with optional organic turkey upgrade) with a fully-cooked bird, herb stuffing and mashed potatoes turkey gravy, cranberry orange sauce, and green beans with crispy garlic and parsley; spiral-sliced ham; vegan entrees and sides; traditional holiday sides; and desserts. Prime members get a special deal: through Nov. 22, they get organic whole turkeys for $2.99/lb. and whole turkeys for $1.99/lb.


Something new and intriguing is a vegan holiday meal WFM has created in partnership with award-winning chef Jeremy Fox, author of the “On Vegetables” cookbook. The meal includes Romanesco Cauliflower Roast with Miso Bagna Cauda, Cremini Mushroom Stuffing with Kimchi, and Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple and Hazelnut Dukkah. You can also order these selections a la carte.


WFM is also offering a special seasonal pie from Lisa Ludwinski, founder of Detroit’s Sister Pie and author of “Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit.” The Cranberry Crumble Pie, Ludwinski’s personal favorite for the season, features an all-butter crust, a sweet cranberry compote filling with juicy whole cranberries, grated pear and warm spices, and an oat crumble topping.

Other Santa Cruz and Capitola store highlights that are perfect for the holidays:

  • Seafood: Fresh, Whole Dungeness Crab
    • Crab season is a Bay Area holiday tradition. Pick up at least three sweet and rich whole crab, and save $1 per pound. WFM’s team of local fishmongers will crack and clean free of charge.
  • Specialty Wine and Cheese: Favorite local wine and cheese pairings this season selected by WFM
    • Bay Blue cheese, a mellow blue made in Point Reyes, paired with Sean Thackery Pleides red blend, a “red berry, tangy crowd pleaser”
    • Carmody cheese paired with Jay Vineyards J California Pinot Noir, a “highly drinkable, soft rich wine”
    • Crisp Roederer Estates Anderson Valley Brut paired with Mt. Tam organic cheese, because the wine “goes lovely with soft, ripened cheeses”
  • Local, Organic Eggnog including:
    • Straus Family Creamery, an organic eggnog finished with nutmeg
    • Clover Sonoma Organic Maple Bourbon Eggnog, a non-alcoholic classic
  • Special holiday dishes by Chef Trent of WFM
    • Creations include Ginger Cinnamon Spice Duck or Turkey breast, and Spiced Prime Rib
    • “Pick up your cut at the meat counter, pop into the oven and you are ready to serve your guests,” shared a WFM spokesperson.
  • Humphry Slocombe’s Coconut Shoyu Ice Creamnew and available for a limited time
    • Top your favorite seasonal pie with a scoop of this ice cream, the fourth exclusive collaboration available exclusively at Whole Foods Market
    • Created by San Francisco-based Humphry Slocombe and Chef Melissa King in partnership with WFM—they made their first collaborative flavor, Hong Kong Milk Tea, in 2017
  • Northern California’s Tsar Nicolai caviar
    • Tsar Nicolai sustainably raises and produces top of the line caviar in Wilton, CA.
    • This year, WFM is partnering with the brand for an exclusive trio bundle deal, available in the Seafood dept.

Local Store Details

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

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


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

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Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer


National Ice Cream Month in Santa Cruz includes Mission Hill Creamery’s birthday

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery, used with permission

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery (photo used with permission)

July is National Ice Cream Month, and here in Santa Cruz this coincides with Mission Hill Creamery’s 5th birthday plus a contest where you can win free ice cream for a year.

First, the Mission Hill Creamery news: Dave Kumec founded this wonderful artisan ice cream company in July 2010. To celebrate Mission Hill’s fifth birthday, the downtown shop is offering $1 ice cream scoops from noon to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21. There will also be live music and drawings for Santa Cruz Warriors merchandise. Kumec loves giving back to the community. I asked him to reflect on the last five years. “I feel like the business has become a grown-up,” Kumec shared. “We had some challenges early on, but now we are finding a great groove. It’s all about the team you surround yourself with and our team is fantastic. It’s a fantastic career knowing you make people happy all day long.”

Kumec and Mission Hill started out in the former Front Street Culinary Center, and moved to the current Pacific Avenue site in 2012. They serve a variety of ice creams, desserts, milkshakes, and floats—with local and organic ingredients like Straus organic cream and Santa Cruz County strawberries—plus coffee and espresso, and packed pints. Mission Hill Creamery products are also sold at many Northern California stores and other venues including Whole Foods Market and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Next, here are details for the ice cream contest Downtown Santa Cruz is sponsoring. It’s a coloring contest, and the Ice Cream for a Year prize will be comprised of 50 gift certificates: 10 gift certificates for a scoop, from each of the 5 participating locations. The idea is you get one scoop of ice cream per week, for all but two weeks of the year.

How to play: pick up a coloring sheet at one of Downtown Santa Cruz’s five participating stores: Cold Stone Creamery, Marini’s Candies, Mission Hill Creamery, Pacific Cookie Company and the Penny Ice Creamery. Return your completed coloring sheet to the Info Kiosk in front of New Leaf Market on Pacific Ave. by July 31 and you will be entered in the contest. The winner will be notified by email during the the first week of August.

People are encouraged to follow Downtown Santa Cruz on Facebook and check out the front windows of Palace Art on Pacific Ave. to see featured coloring sheets, and participants are encouraged to post photos of both ice cream treats and coloring sheets on Instagram with the hashtags #downtownsantacruzicecream and #downtownsantacruz.

Location details:
Mission Hill Creamery, 1101B Pacific Ave. near Cathcart
The Penny Ice Creamery, several locations including original downtown branch, 913 Cedar St.
Pacific Cookie Company, two locations including downtown, 1203 Pacific Ave.
Marini’s Candies, two locations including downtown, 1308 Pacific Ave.
Cold Stone Creamery, 1129 Pacific Ave.
New Leaf Market, 1134 Pacific Ave.
Palace Art, 1407 Pacific Ave.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz chocolate festival with restaurants and vendors benefits UCSC scholarships

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 8th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday January 18, with lots of food and wine, benefits UCSC scholarships. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings together about two dozen vendors. See complete list at womensclub.ucsc.edu/fundraising/chocolate-festival/vendors-list-page.html.

Participants include local confectioners and bakers like Ashby Confections, Marich Confectionary, and Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting, plus restaurants and cafes like Zizzo’s Coffeehouse and India Joze. Other local companies who will be present include Mission Hill Creamery, Lifestyle Culinary Arts, Mutari Hot Chocolate, and wineries Sones Cellars and Bonny Doon Vineyard.

Each food vendor will have treats such as truffles, cupcakes, or ice cream available in exchange for a tasting ticket. Buy tasting tickets at the event (admission is free) or online. Each $15 purchase gets you six tickets. Wine prices are $5 for a souvenir glass plus one tasting.

There will be live music by Jazz by Five, and a silent auction with prizes including Giants tickets, chocolate baskets, and a magnum of wine. Attendees can enjoy activities like cupcake decorating and face painting ($4 each), and have the opportunity to buy chocolate products like Valentine-themed boxes at select booths.

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans). The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 30-some years the club has awarded over 330 scholarships totaling more than $230,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 1-4pm

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Family-friendly Santa Cruz events: Mission Hill birthday, Mole & Mariachi festival

Mariachi Gilroy, a performer at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival

Mariachi Gilroy, a performer at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival

Here are a couple upcoming family-friendly events in Santa Cruz.

Mission Hill Creamery’s 2nd birthday celebration: Monday, Sept. 15, 2014
Owner Dave Kumec invites the community to visit Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Café on Monday, Sept. 15 – all day and until they close – for a $1 birthday scoop of ice cream. This special discount is his way of saying thanks for all your support.

A bit of history, as told by Dave:
Mission Hill Creamery started 4 1/2 years ago in the Culinary Center of Santa Cruz on Front Street. From those humble beginnings, we have grown to our current location and now offer a variety of ice creams, desserts, novelties, milkshakes, floats, as well as a full coffee and tea menu, and packed pints. Our products are distributed in nine counties and growing. Come help us celebrate as we happily grow into our third year in our Pacific Avenue Creamery store.”

Location: 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s
Hours for 9/15 celebration: Noon to 11 pm

Mole & Mariachi Festival: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
The 2nd annual event is from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, and it offers lots of fabulous food—and not just mole! In addition to local food, wine, beer, and other beverages, guests can enjoy music and dance performances, kids’ crafts and a piñata, and a raffle. I attended last year, and it was great fun for the whole family. There is free admission.

This year, nine local restaurants and chefs will prepare moles. Festival attendees and a panel of local celebrity judges will select their favorites. Santa Cruz restaurant El Jardin won “People’s Choice” last year. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below.

All event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Want to avoid the trouble of parking your car? There will be bike valet service at the park, as well a free trolley to the festival from downtown Santa Cruz.

For more info, visit www.thatsmypark.org. Watch a 30-second Mole & Mariachi PSA video here.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, 144 School Street near downtown Santa Cruz

Mole competitors:

  • El Chipotle Restaurant in Soquel (preparing “rojo Oaxaqueño mole”)
  • El Jardin Restaurant in Santa Cruz (preparing “Jorge’s Traditional Mole”)
  • My Mom’s Mole from Watsonville (with a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz)
  • Lidia’s Taqueria in Watsonville (traditional Oaxacan dark mole with nopales [cactus paddles])
  • El Chino Restaurant in Santa Cruz (mole with poblano chiles)
  • The Kitchen at Discretion Brewing (Soquel brewery)
  • Vivas Restaurant in Santa Cruz (serves organic food)
  • Maya Mexican Restaurant in Scotts Valley (Michoacán mole)
  • Plaza Lane Optometry (a newcomer to the event, will prepare a staff member’s personal recipe featuring chocolate, peanuts and pumpkin seeds)

Vendors selling a variety of food/drinks:

  • El Jardin Restaurant
  • Garcia’s Fish Tacos
  • Mission Hill Creamery
  • Chocolate Restaurant
  • Sazon Mexicano
  • Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
  • Discretion Brewing
  • Lagunitas Brewery

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

National Ice Cream Month — win ice cream for a year in Santa Cruz

mission hill july 2014

Ice cream and espresso at Mission Hill Creamery

To celebrate National Ice Cream Month, there is a delicious Downtown Santa Cruz-sponsored contest with a grand prize of free ice cream for a year!

One winner receives 50 gift certificates for free ice cream – so the idea is to use one per week. To be exact, the prize is “approximately” one year of free dessert.

How you play: visit one of the five participating venues and pick up an Ice Cream Month punch card. The venues are the Penny Ice Creamery, Pacific Cookie Company, Mission Hill Creamery, Marini’s Candies and Cold Stone Creamery. Through July 27, have your card punched every time you order a treat from one of these sweet places.

Then, on July 27, visit Mission Hill Creamery at 3 p.m. for a special event. Vice Mayor Don Lane (the “Vice Cream Mayor,” he even has an ice cream tattoo!) will present a special Vice Mayoral Proclamation. Anyone who has a completed Ice Cream Month punch card (ten punches) will be entered in a raffle for free ice cream. You must be present to win. If you have eaten enough ice cream by July 27 that you have more than one punch card filled out, each one of these counts as a separate raffle entry.

Follow the Downtown Santa Cruz Facebook page to learn about featured ice cream flavors every day. You don’t have to eat that particular flavor to get a punch; it’s just another highlight of ice cream month in Santa Cruz. Not to whet your appetite or anything, but Sunday’s featured flavor was Macapuno (baby coconut) at Pacific Cookie, Saturday’s was Oreo Overload at Coldstone, Friday’s was Ricotta Fig at Mission Hill, and the 4th of July highlighted the flavor The Great Morgani at Marini’s.

Today’s featured flavor? Blackberry Sweet Corn at The Penny Ice Creamery. Mmmm, I can taste it already…

Remember — since National Ice Cream Month is July, we are halfway through already. You better get eating!
Mission Hill Creamery, 1101B Pacific Ave.
The Penny Ice Creamery, several locations including original downtown branch, 913 Cedar St.
Pacific Cookie Company, two locations including downtown, 1203 Pacific Ave.
Marini’s Candies, two locations including downtown, 1308 Pacific Ave.
Cold Stone Creamery, 1129 Pacific Ave.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Organic ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery benefits Santa Cruz schools

Eat ice cream to benefit Santa Cruz City Schools

Eat ice cream to benefit Santa Cruz City Schools

Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Café invites the community to eat ice cream on Tuesdays to benefit Santa Cruz schools. There are eight Tuesday benefits over the next couple months; the first one was this week (on Feb. 25, 2014 to be exact).

This is the 2nd annual “Scoops for Schools” event, and it’s a fundraising partnership between Mission Hill Creamery (MHC) and the Santa Cruz Education Foundation. On select Tuesdays through April 29, MHC owner Dave Kumec will donate 10% of all sales towards supporting an individual Santa Cruz City School. Feb. 25 sales benefited Gault Elementary School.

The yummy ice cream that Kumec creates includes flavors such as Salted Caramel, Maple Candied Bacon, Mint Chocolate Confetti, Dulce de Leche, Turkish Coffee, Orange Creamsicle, and Mango. Rotating flavors are often posted on the MHC Facebook page.

MHC ice cream can also be found around town at many grocery stores, and the restaurant Chocolate on Pacific recently added a Salted Caramel Sundae with MHC ice cream to its menu.

Beneficiary schools & dates:

  • March 4 Branciforte Middle School
  • March 11 Santa Cruz High School
  • March 18 Branciforte Small Schools
  • April 8 Harbor High School
  • April 15 Bayview Elementary School
  • April 22 Westlake Elementary School
  • April 29 Mission Hill Middle School

Location: 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s.
Hours: 12-10pm Sun-Thurs, 12-11 pm Fri-Sat

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Celebrate Mission Hill Creamery Santa Cruz shop’s 1st birthday with $1 scoops

Mission Hill Creamery's salted caramel ice cream

Mission Hill Creamery’s salted caramel ice cream

If you visit Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Café on Sunday, Sept. 15 you can get a $1 scoop of delicious, organic salted caramel ice cream! Owner Dave Kumec wants to show his gratitude to all the MHC fans who have frequented his shop since he opened it one year ago, so he’s offering bargain ice cream from 1-5 p.m—in the most popular flavor, salted caramel—plus live music from bands D’ohbros and Bad With People.

“It’s been a tremendous year for us, and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with our friends and fans,” said chef and owner Kumec. “In our first year on Pacific Avenue we’ve seen business grow each month as word spreads about the amazing small batch ice cream we’re making from scratch, here on site. And I love shopping for our organic ingredients at the Farmer’s Market right outside our back door.”

Kumec is a generous supporter of the local community. During the last year, MHC has donated over $15,000 to a wide variety of groups and schools.
If you haven’t yet visited the shop/cafe, Sunday would be a perfect time to visit. The venue serves a menu of ice cream desserts including cups and cones, sundaes, floats featuring artisan sodas, and a full espresso bar. You can buy pre-packed pints of the award-winning ice cream to take home; pints are also sold at local shops including New Leaf, Shopper’s Corner, and Whole Foods Market plus other stores in town and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Scoops are also sold at the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

More Details
Location: 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s, 831-239-4812
Hours: Noon-10 p.m. Sun-Thurs, Noon-11 p.m. Fri-Sat
Stay up to date with MHC and read about its 16 daily rotating flavors on the MHC Facebook page

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz outdoor movie series: Mission Hill Creamery ice cream & more

One scoop of mango & one of pistachio ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery

One scoop of mango & one of pistachio ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery

A free movie with good snacks, including delicious Mission Hill Creamery ice cream? Sounds like a winning summer combination! Those of us that live in Santa Cruz are lucky to have unique and fun activities to partake in, including lots for families, and this is the latest one to catch my eye.

Saturday, June 22 is the second event in the “2013 Mission Adobe Summer Series” and it’s the debut of “Movies @ the Mission Adobe,” a family-friendly series. On Saturday, an outdoor screening of East of Eden will be held at the Santa Cruz Mission (also known as the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park). This classic 1955 film, starring James Dean, was filmed in part at Mendocino Headlands State Park.

Movies @ The Mission features movies that were filmed in part at California State Parks. You’re invited to bring blankets and low back chairs, and enjoy concessions including locally produced Mission Hill Creamery ice cream, popcorn, cookies and hot and cold beverages (all non-alcoholic). Admission is FREE but donations are welcome; all proceeds benefit California State Parks.

Location: 144 School Street, Santa Cruz

Time/Date: 8pm movie (come early to reserve a space) Sat June 22, 2013


Food & drink highlights for St. Patrick’s Day in Santa Cruz includes special flavors at The Penny Ice Creamery

Two ingredients in The Penny Ice Creamery's St. Patrick's Day Irish Coffee ice cream

Two ingredients in The Penny Ice Creamery’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Coffee ice cream

Lots of local restaurants are offering St. Patrick’s Day specials and The Penny Ice Creamery is offering limited edition flavors for the holiday.

See my March 14 article for information on additional St. Patrick’s Day special dishes and highlights.


The Penny Ice Creamery is creating four small batches of special ice cream on Saturday, to serve on Sunday at its two main locations (Cedar St. and 41st Ave.). Co-owner Zach Davis shares that “repeat favorite Irish Coffee features a heady dose of Jameson Whiskey and ‘Buena Vista beans’ from Verve.” Shamrock is made with foraged wood sorrel; Pot of Gold has flecks of real gold; and Brown Bread is a traditional Irish ice cream recipe “bequeathed by a Penny regular.” Flavors will be available for a limited time. On Sunday The Penny will offer these four plus Tahitian Vanilla Bean, two other ice cream flavors, a seasonal fruit sorbet, and Dark Chocolate Sorbet.
913 Cedar St., Santa Cruz and 820 41st Ave. Capitola, (831) 204-2523


Capitola-based The Quail & Thistle Tea Room is serving an Irish tea and lunch from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The $28 cost includes items such as Stout beef stew mini-pies and corned beef reuben finger sandwiches.

911 Capitola Ave., Capitola, (831) 477-1798


Paradise Beach Grille has a Reuben with french fries or cole slaw at lunch ($14) and corned beef with cabbage, baby carrots, and fingerlings at dinner ($20). Drinks include Guinness ($3) and Jameson ($6).

215 Esplanade, Capitola, (831) 476-4900


Zelda’s is serving corned beef and cabbage for $12.95 from 12 p.m. onward. Drinks include $6 Bushmills and $5 Guinness pints.

203 Esplanade, Capitola, (831) 475-4900


New Leaf Community Markets has a special Green Plate: corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots for $9.99.

Locations include 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-1306

The Hindquarter is offering corned beef and cabbage all day plus Guinness and Irish coffee specials.

303 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-7770


Eat organic ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery and benefit Santa Cruz schools

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery

Visit Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Cafe—which serves tasty, organic ice cream and other treats—on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to benefit Santa Cruz schools.

This “Scoops for Schools” event is a fundraising partnership between Mission Hill Creamery and the Santa Cruz Education Foundation. Each Tuesday for the past six weeks, Mission Hill Creamery (MHC) has donated 10% of sales towards supporting an individual Santa Cruz City School. The Feb. 26 benefit, with proceeds going to Branciforte Small Schools, is the last fundraiser in this particular round of Scoops for Schools. Other schools in the last few weeks have included West Lake Elementary. MHC and its head chef/owner Dave Kumec are strong community supporters, donating regularly to various worthy causes.

Details: it’s 10% of sales on Tues Feb. 26 between 2 p.m. and closing (which is 10p.m. on weekdays, and 11p.m. on weekends). The ice cream shop is at 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s. It opens at noon daily.

The very delicious artisan ice cream that Kumec creates includes popular flavors such as Salted Caramel, Maple Candied Bacon, El Bracho (Vanilla, Roasted Almonds, Dark Chocolate Chunk), Turkish Coffee, Orange Creamsicle, and Mango. Rotating flavors are posted daily on the MHC Facebook page.

The ice cream shop also features Lulu Carpenter coffee.