Tag Archives: Johnny’s Harborside

Valentine’s Day dining in Santa Cruz & Monterey Counties, Part 2 of 2

Valentine's dessert trio at Michael's on Main: passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon & French vanilla bean macaroon. Photo credit: Michael's on Main

Valentine’s dessert trio at Michael’s on Main: passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon & French vanilla bean macaroon. Photo credit: Michael’s on Main

Valentine’s Day is two days away; have you made your plans? Here are details on a few options in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. If you missed yesterday’s post, here is a link.

Santa Cruz County

Food Lounge

The Santa Cruz Food Lounge (1001 Center St., Santa Cruz) has a couple options on Valentine’s Day. People can sit at the bar and have a chocolate tasting accompanied by a drink or two, or they can pick a spot in the dining room or lounge and order food from Tanglewood. Chef Rachel of Tanglewood will be creating selections including carrot ginger soup topped with crema and cilantro oil; and dinners with choice of pork tenderloin or grilled portabella mushroom plus lemon white wine sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Roasted veggies accompany the tenderloin, and arugula in balsamic vinaigrette accompanies the portabella. No reservations are required (or allowed); and everyone is welcome including families, singles, etc. Hours are 4 to 8 p.m.

 

Johnny’s Harborside

Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz) is offering a four-course Valentine’s prix menu. Cost is $60 per person. Starter choices include raw abalone nigiri with honey miso glaze and seaweed salad; second courses include Dungeness crab bisque and salad with strawberries, candied walnuts, Gorgonzola and balsamic. Four entrée selections include prosciutto-wrapped halibut or Surf and Turf with 4 oz. filet mignon and half lobster tail. Desserts include strawberry shortcake or lemon tart. Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.

 

Michael’s on Main

Michael’s on Main (2591 Main St., Soquel) began offering its Valentine’s prix menu Friday, Feb. 10 and it lasts until Tuesday. Cost is $35 for three courses. Appetizers include ahi tuna poke cups with wasabi cream; four entrée selections include cold water lobster tail with forbidden black rice, veggies and pink peppercorn beurre blanc or petit NY steak (8 oz.) with garlic mashed potatoes, Béarnaise and veggies. Everyone receives a dessert trio (see photo above) with passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon and French vanilla bean macaroon. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations.

 

Assembly

Assembly (1108 Pacific, Santa Cruz) is offering a three-course Valentine’s prix menu for $55 per person; a few optional supplements are extra such as Kusshi oysters ($3/$15/$24 single/1/2 dozen/dozen). Starter choices include roasted quail with wild mushrooms, pinot soaked figs and herbed couscous. Four entrée selections include grass-fed Manhattan filet with creamed nettles and truffled Yukons and arugula almond pesto or sand dab Meuniere with caper brown butter sauce and roasted cauliflower rice. Desserts include sorbet trio from Penny Ice Creamery or dark chocolate pave with candied kumquats and salted butter ice cream. Call (831) 824-6100 for reservations.

 

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

Hindquarter Bar & Grille (303 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz) will have Valentine’s specials like Rack of Lamb, Prime Rib and seasonal seafood from 5-9:30 p.m. The restaurant will also serve its regular menu. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

 

Ideal Bar & Grill (106 Beach St. at the Santa Cruz Wharf), The Point Chophouse & Lounge (3326 Portola Dr., Santa Cruz), Café Cruz (2621 41st Ave., Soquel) and Severino’s Bar & Grill (7500 Old Dominion Ct., Aptos) are all serving Valentine’s Day specials.

 

MONTEREY COUNTY

 

California Market at Pacific’s Edge

California Market at Pacific’s Edge at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands (120 Highlands Drive, Carmel) is serving a Valentine’s prix fixe dinner. The four-course Valentine’s dinner is $125 per person and reservations are required at 831-622-5445. First course choices include ahi tuna tiradito with fennel-cucumber salsa. Entrees include Colorado rack of lamb with piquillo peppers and chimichurri or wild mushroom risotto with winter truffle and Parmesan cheese crisps.

 

Steinbeck House

The historic Steinbeck House (132 Central Ave., Salinas) is serving a Valentine’s Day dinner. The meal includes one glass of wine, cheese tortellini soup, Caesar salad, entrée (choice of Porterhouse steak or filo-baked salmon) and dessert. Call 831-424-2735 for reservations; seatings are available from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Cost is $60 per person inclusive.

 

Jacks Restaurant at Portola Hotel and Spa

Jacks Restaurant (Two Portola Plaza, Monterey) is serving a prix fixe menu 5 to 10 p.m. on Valentines Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14. The four-course meal is $64.95 plus tax and gratuity; call 831-649-7874 for reservations. The meal starts with an amuse bouche of Hog Island oysters and caviar. First course options include lobster bisque with brioche croutons, Pernod and orange oil. Entrée choices include filet mignon and sweet breads with potato puree, local porcinis and Périgord truffles or wild King salmon with Dungeness crab gratin, haricot verts and Meyer lemon sauce. Dessert is passion fruit soufflé for two with macadamia nut and crème anglaise, plus a box of chocolate strawberries to go. Also, the hotel is offering a romance package until March 31. This includes accommodations, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot delivered to your room, breakfast for two at Jacks and more.

 

TusCA Ristorante at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa

TusCA (1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey) is serving a special menu designed for two, from 5:30-9 p.m. Cost is $80 for two people. For reservations call 831-657-6675. Customers can choose an appetizer and dessert to share, and each person receives an entrée and a glass of sparkling wine.

 

Tarpy’s Roadhouse

Tarpy’s (2999 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey) is doing a couple promotions for Valentine’s Day. Customers will receive fifty percent off all “bubbles by the glass” plus full and half bottles. Also, the restaurant will feature a special appetizer of seared diver scallops with lobster-parsnip puree and artichoke-corn succotash. Call 831-647-1444 for reservations.

 

Gordon’s Café and Catering

Gordon’s (343 Main St., Salinas) is doing a take-out promotion. If you order dinner to go for two people, the restaurant will include a special complimentary appetizer created just for Valentine’s Day. Call 831-422-4133 for more information.

 

Sardine Factory

Sardine Factory (701 Wave St., Monterey) is serving a prix fixe menu from 5 to 10 p.m. The four-course meal is $75 per person. A limited a la carte menu and Valentine’s drink specials will also be available. The meal begins with Dungeness crab bisque with sherry, cognac and crème fraiche, followed by a salad with greens, roasted strawberries, toasted pecans, feta cheese and cocoa balsamic dressing. Entrée choices include filet mignon and foie gras or King salmon with truffled gnocchi and artichokes. Dessert choices include chocolate pot au crème with spun sugar, Chantilly crème and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Reservations are required at 831-373-3775.

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Last minute foodie holiday gifts in Santa Cruz

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

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

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

First, the gift fair:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz

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

Next, some gift card discount highlights:

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

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

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

Other gift ideas

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

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

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A Taste of Santa Cruz 2014 features 30 restaurants, wineries

Food from 2013’s

Food from 2013’s “A Taste of Santa Cruz”

The 10th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” at the Cocoanut Grove on Thursday, Nov. 13, features approximately 30 participating restaurants, wineries, and breweries. The event runs from 5:30-9 p.m. and benefits first-time home buyers. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Buy tickets online. For more information, visit the site www.atosc.com or call 831-464-2000.

Attendees sample food and drinks, and all proceeds from the event benefit the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS Housing Foundation grant program that provides closing costs for first time, low-income home-buyers in Santa Cruz County.

Participating food providers include Aldo’s, Assembly, Chaminade, Paradise Beach Grille, Pleasure Pizza’s East Side Eatery, Crow’s Nest, Hula’s, Johnny’s Harborside, Mission Hill Creamery, Shadowbrook, The Point, The Kitchen at Discretion Brewery, Stagnaro Bros. Seafood, and Woodstock’s Pizza. Wineries and breweries include Trout Gulch Vineyards, Storrs Winery, MJA Vineyards, and Uncommon Brewers.

Other highlights at the event: more than 100 raffle prize packages from local businesses and artisans. Prizes include a Las Vegas penthouse stay, four floor seats to a Santa Cruz Warriors game, and four club seats plus VIP parking to a SF Giants game.

Several hundred people attend this event, raising approximately $30,000 annually. Purchasing your tickets in advance is recommended.

Event location: Cocoanut Grove Grand Ballroom, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz

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Don’t miss Gourmet Grazing cancer research benefit with a wide array of food & wine

Attendees at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Attendees at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

It’s time for the 11th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green, where you can enjoy a large amount of first-rate food (from local restaurants and caterers)—plus beverages from local wineries, breweries, and distilleries—in a friendly and festive atmosphere. And you will be helping support the very worthwhile Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).

Gourmet Grazing is Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 from noon to 4 p.m. at Aptos Village Park.

The event usually sells out a few days ahead of time, so I recommend you buy tickets soon. This year organizers are allowing 1,200 tickets to be sold instead of 800, so it is possible that tickets won’t sell out as fast—but you never know! SCCBG Board member Mary Anne Carson commented: “Due to its popularity, we’ve expanded our space in order to bring in more food purveyors, restaurants and vintners, as well as more Grazers, this year. We look forward to another stellar event and raising even more funds for the benefit of our beneficiaries.”

Purchase $65 tickets at New Leaf Community Markets (downtown, Westside or Capitola locations) 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. The event is outdoors; last year it actually rained for a short while, but everyone just ran under the few sheltered spots and it stopped as quickly as it started.

New this year is a “big bottle silent auction,” courtesy of new festival partner Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association (SCMWA). There will also be a bottle booth operated by SCMWA, an alliance of more than 60 wineries promoting wine produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation.

Some of the food creations that participants will taste have been created with products generously donated by event sponsors Coke Farm, Watsonville Coast Produce, and presenting sponsor New Leaf Community Markets.

Some of my favorite dishes from last year’s festival included Café Rio’s Rio Prawn Spring Roll (included mung bean noodles, sprouts, carrots, green onion, basil, and mint) and Johnny’s Harborside’s Gazpacho Seafood Cocktail (calamari, scallops, shrimp, garnished with baby romaine and a watermelon radish). For more 2013 highlights, see my recap article.

There are more than 25 participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2014 including The Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook, Café Cruz, Café Rio, The Whole Enchilada, Solaire Restaurant and Bar, Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz Fish Co., Everett Family Farm, MacKenzie Bar & Grill, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Redwood Hill Farms, The Penny Ice Creamery, and The True Olive Connection.

More than 25 participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Venus Spirits, Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards,  Burrell School Vineyards, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Seabright Brewery, Sones Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyards, and Kathryn Kennedy Winery.

This year, Kathryn Kennedy Winery will pour wine including 2011 Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, which sources say is “amazing.”

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 Association, Katz Cancer Resource Center, UCSC Cancer Research, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy. Over the last decade, SCCBG has distributed more than $1.5 million to directly support the Santa Cruz community.

There will be a raffle, with ticket sales benefiting SCCBG. Prizes include jewelry, restaurant gift certificates, a wetsuit from O’Neill, and SCMWA Wine Passports.

More details:
There is free parking and free shuttle service from Cabrillo College Lot E.
For more information on the event, see www.sccbg.org or call (831) 465-1989

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

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Bay Area restaurants for Father’s Day Part 2 – includes Santa Cruz & Monterey

An example of the food at Monterey’s Cibo Restaurant: Costoletta di Vitello Ariana (All Natural Veal Chop, Roasted Yukon Potatoes, Wilted Spinach, Red Wine & Pomegranate Reduction)

An example of the food at Monterey’s Cibo Restaurant:
Costoletta di Vitello Ariana (All Natural Veal Chop, Roasted Yukon Potatoes, Wilted Spinach, Red Wine & Pomegranate Reduction)

Here are some Bay Area Father’s Day restaurant highlights — if you missed the roundup that included a couple in San Francisco and Monterey and one in San Jose, click here.

Santa Cruz & Aptos Restaurants

The Buttery
Santa Cruz café and bakery The Buttery is hosting a special brunch. The “Dads & Grads” event will have live music. The menu includes carnitas burritos, potato and zucchini hash, grilled asparagus salad, jalapeno and cheddar cornbread, chocolate bread pudding with salty pretzels, and SCMB Imperial Stout. Brunch is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $20 for adults, $6 for kids 3-12, and free for kids under 3.
702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside
Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside is offering special dishes for brunch. Father’s Day brunch specials include smoked salmon, goat cheese, spinach, and avocado omelet with choice of potato hash, fruit, or polenta ($14), loaded breakfast potato skins ($12), and crab cake or grilled steak medallions benedict ($16). The kids can enjoy several $8 specials such as grilled ham and cheese sandwich with potato hash. Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz

The Chaminade
The Chaminade offers a delicious Father’s Day brunch buffet from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m; the price is $41.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. The menu includes grilled steak with Churassco sauce, bourbon glaze baked ham, a savory seafood bar,  an omelet bar, eggs benedict, bagels, fresh fruit, a cheese display, and a delectable selection of pastries and desserts.  Children’s dishes include chicken strips and curly fries, and a macaroni and cheese bake. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Bittersweet Bistro
Bittersweet Bistro is offering a couple $20 specials in honor of Father’s Day. First, $20 select steaks, and second, Hess Select Treo Red Blend wine for $20/bottle. Both selections are available starting at 5 p.m. for dine-in customers only. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations.
787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos

Nicholson Vineyards
In honor of Father’s Day, Nicholson Vineyards will offer free wine tasting for dads on Sunday, June 15. The day will also feature barrel tasting,  bbq sausages and sweet treats. Call 831-724-7071 for details.
2800 Pleasant Valley Road, Aptos

Monterey
Montrio Bistro

Montrio Bistro has two Father’s Day specials. Reservations are highly recommended; call 831-648-8880. From 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, the restaurant will offer a special entrée prepared by chef Tony Baker: grilled New York steak smothered with fresh lobster mornay, grilled asparagus, and bacon poutine. Montrio will also feature half-price wine night that evening. Half-price wine nights occur every Sunday at the venue, except for selected blackout dates. Customers can choose from a wide variety of varietals. Visit montrio.com.
414 Calle Principal, Monterey

Tarpy’s Roadhouse (831-647-1444) has a special four-course bacon-themed Father’s Day menu for $55, available all day (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) in addition to the regular menu. Courses include bacon-wrapped grass-fed beef tenderloin with bourbon black pepper butter, crispy fingerlings, and dino kale.
2999 Salinas Highway, Monterey

Cibo Ristorante Italiano (831-649-8151) is hosting “Grill It for Dad! Father’s Day Special Dinner” from 5 to 10 p.m. The mixed grill special features grilled rib eye, lamb rack, and housemade Italian sausage. Other specials: there will be a complimentary appetizer with dinner, and guests can bring a bottle of wine and pay no corkage fee. Joe Lucido is performing live jazz from 7 to 10 p.m. The regular menu will also be available.
301 Alvarado, Monterey

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (831-646-1700) is offering the celebration “BBQ, Blues & Brews.” The hotel event is 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dolphins Fountain Plaza. See www.montereyplazahotel.com.
400 Cannery Row, Monterey

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Mother’s Day Bay Area restaurants Part 2 — Santa Cruz, San Jose & Monterey

Pastry elements for Cupcake Garden of Sweet Finale course at Restaurant 1833 for Mother's Day, courtesy of restaurant's Facebook page

Pastry elements for Cupcake Garden of Sweet Finale course at Restaurant 1833 for Mother’s Day, courtesy of restaurant’s Facebook page

Here are some more Bay Area Mother’s Day restaurant highlights — if you missed the roundup for San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto, and Napa, click here.

Santa Cruz & Soquel Restaurants

Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria
Santa Cruz restaurant Lago di Como is serving brunch and dinner on Mother’s Day. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. Call (831) 454-8257 for reservations.
2-1490 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside
Santa Cruz restaurant Johnny’s Harborside is offering special dishes for both brunch (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (4-8:30 p.m.) in addition to its regular menu. Mother’s Day brunch specials include rock shrimp, asparagus, and prosciutto omelet with choice of potato hash, fruit, or polenta ($14), quiche lorraine ($13), and crab cake benedict ($16). Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz

Tortilla Flats
Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats is serving a few specials during Mother’s Day weekend. On Mother’s Day the restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. Call 476-1754. Selections include Relleno Poblano (Roasted poblano chile filled with chorizo, goat cheese and green onions), Wild Caught Halibut served with Santa Fe Green Sauce, and Crepas Del Mar (Aji Limo crepes filled with lobster and prawns).
4616 Soquel Drive, Soquel

The Chaminade
The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 9 a.m.-3 p.m; the price is $50.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. The menu includes a savory seafood bar, roast prime rib of beef, honey glazed ham and roast turkey breast, omelet bar, an array of traditional brunch favorites, fresh fruit and vegetable medleys, and a delectable selection of pastries and desserts.  Children’s favorites include chicken strips and fries, miniature pancakes and macaroni and cheese. There will also be face painting and balloon figures for kids. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations. Also related to Mother’s Day, there’s a special May promotion: Book overnight accommodations for two in the month of May and receive a $50 resort credit to be used toward the spa, breakfast, brunch or dinner, in addition to a scented spa candle and signature body lotion just for Mom!  Call 800-283-6569 for reservations or visit www.chaminade.com for further information.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Hollins House
The Pasatiempo Golf Club’s Hollins House is serving a brunch buffet from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The price is $55 (adults) and $20 for kids. Selections include Beet and goat cheese salad with fresh strawberries, Omlette bar with Bacon, Ham, Pasilla Chiles, Tomatoes, Cheese, Scallion, Italian Sausage, Spinach, Egg Whites and Mushrooms, Glazed Pit Ham with Orange Anise Sauce, Carved NY Steak, Horseradish Cream, Au Jus, and Mushroom Ravioli with Basil Pesto and Feta. Call (831) 459-9177 for reservations.
20 Clubhouse Rd, Santa Cruz

San Jose
Fogo de Chao

On May 11, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in San Jose will offer lively dining that will satisfy the whole family. Plus, moms who dine on Mother’s Day (May 11), will receive a special card — while supplies last — good for a complimentary lunch or dinner on their next visit. The Mother’s Day menu will feature the restaurant’s extensive variety of fire-roasted meats that are specially carved to each guest’s preference. Diners can enjoy selections such as the house specialty picanha sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye, lamb chops, chicken wrapped in bacon, and pork ribs, to name a few, or try the newly-introduced lighter seafood selection. Additionally, Fogo offers a colorful gourmet salad and sides bar with an abundance of fresh and seasonal choices, and Southern Brazilian side dishes such as pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, and caramelized bananas are served family style. A tempting dessert menu, creative and classic cocktails, and an award-winning wine list complement the dining experience. Pricing is $51.50 per person and Mother’s Day is being celebrated from 11:30am – 9:00pm. Special pricing is available for children 12 and under. Call 408-244-7001.
The Fairmont San Jose

The Fairmont is serving a special Mother’s Day Buffet from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The cost is $59 per adult and $29 per child 5-12, plus tax and  gratuity. Kids under 5 are free. Buffet highlights: a selection of salads such as shaved fennel, artichoke, arugula, citrus with saffron vinaigrette; hot options such as honey baked ham, herb-roasted leg of lamb, and dill-roasted salmon with tomato-olive fondue, and an omelet station with farm fresh eggs.
170 South Market St, San Jose, (408) 998-3960
Monterey
Restaurant 1833

On Sunday, May 11, Restaurant 1833 will open early and host a special Mother’s Day Brunch with a three-course menu for $55. Located in the historic California landmark, the Stokes Adobe house, guests can enjoy dishes from New Executive Chef Abby Burk with selections such as Asparagus and Leek Quiche with gruyere, goat cheese and chives; Booker’s Bourbon and Vanilla French Toast topped with marinated white peaches, whipped crème fraiche, and toasted almonds; The Fried Chicken served with cornbread and rosemary waffles, chicories and roasted grape jus, and a Stroll Through the Cupcake Garden for a sweet ending with an assortment of cupcake flavors including carrot cake, vanilla bean, strawberry & chocolate cream, and lemon meringue . As always, available for a $6 add on are sides such as 1833’s signature Bacon Biscuits served with a sausage gravy. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 831-643-1833.
TusCA Ristorante at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa (1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, 657-6675) is serving a buffet: $56 adults, $25 kids 6-12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entrees include lavender-glazed pork loin with Point Reyes studded blue cheese.

Tarpy’s Roadhouse (2999 Salinas Highway, Monterey, 647-1444) is serving a la carte brunch dishes ranging from $4.95-$48 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entrees include Maine lobster and avocado benedict on griddled brioche with citrus-chive hollandaise, herb salad, and potatoes.

Jack’s Restaurant at the Portola Hotel & Spa (2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, 649-2698) has a buffet: $39.95 adults, $34.95 seniors, $19.95 kids 6-12. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Restaurants for Easter in Santa Cruz, SF and the Greater Bay Area

Fogo de Chao on Santana Row is serving Easter Brunch

Fogo de Chao on Santana Row is serving Easter Brunch

Dining out for Easter 2014? It’s this coming Sunday; here are some restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the Bay Area.

Santa Cruz Restaurants

Chaminade
The Chaminade offers its annual Easter Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; the price is $50.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. Selections include prime rib, honey baked ham with Jack Daniels glaze, rosemary and garlic encrusted lamb leg, a seafood bar with teriyaki salmon, peel and eat prawns, fried calamari and more, omelets made to order, and Belgian waffles. Additional highlights: several salads, fresh berries, chocolate fondue, and a chocolate fountain. There will be Easter egg hunts for the kids at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, www.chaminade.com

Johnny’s Harborside
Johnny’s Harborside is offering a special Easter brunch menu from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (last seating at 2:15 p.m.). Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. with a few specials in addition to the regular menu. Easter brunch specials include a variety of Eggs Benedicts (such as a crab cake variation for $16, traditional for $12), a smoked salmon and goat cheese quiche ($14), and a proscuitto omelet with asparagus, hearts of palm, spinach, and housemade dou latte cheese ($14). Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz, www.johnnysharborside.com

Hoffman’s is serving brunch until 2:30; dinner is served from 3-9:30. Make reservations via OpenTable or at (831) 420-0135.
1102 Pacific Ave., hoffmanssantacruz.com

San Francisco Restaurants
A16

A16 will host a festive Easter brunch and dinner featuring an a la carte menu with creations from Chef Chris Thompson and Pastry Chef Candace Rowan. For brunch, A16 will offer dishes such as Ceci Fettucine with braised sugo, fava, and pecorino and Pastiera Napoletana, an Italian cake made of ricotta cheese that hails from Naples. For dinner, guests can choose from menu items like Roasted Leg of Lamb with senise peppers, English peas, and tendrils and Cassata Siciliana, a traditional round sponge cake from Palermo with fruit juice and ricotta cheese. The special brunch offerings will be available in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu. A16 will be open from 11 am to 2:30 pm for lunch and 5-10 pm for dinner.  For more information on A16 San Francisco or to make reservations, visit www.a16sf.com or call 415.771.2216.

CHAYA Brasserie
This Easter, celebrate the holiday on the water at the Embarcadero gem, CHAYA Brasserie. Offering a special menus like the young adults’ menu for $15 and the 3-course menu for $42, CHAYA will feature dishes such as  Smoked Trout and Crispy Potato with crème fraiche, ikura, and shiso salsa verde; Castelle French Toast with caramelized banana, almonds, and fresh fruits; and Five Spiced Duck Confit Hash with piquillo peppers, red onions, and fried duck egg. For an additional $12, guests can enjoy bottomless champagne or mimosas. Reservations can be made by calling 415.777.8688 or visiting thechaya.com/SanFrancisco.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Top of the Mark Executive Chef Nenad Stefanovic presents the annual Easter buffet on Sunday, April 20. In additional to the views to be had from the legendary sky lounge, guests will enjoy a selection of raw bar items, antipasto, salad, and small plates including Almond cucumber gazpacho and Roasted Wild Mushroom with crostini and basil oil. Entrée selections include Alaskan Halibut with caramelized fennel, fire roasted peppers and citrus beurre blanc; Kurabota Pork Loin with Brussels sprouts and whole grain mustard sauce; and Saffron Couscous with spring vegetables and parmesan broth. Brunch favorites can be had at the omelet station and a build-your-own buttermilk waffle station. Guests of Top of the Mark’s Easter brunch will enjoy limitless mimosas, entertainment by pianist Michael Athens, and a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Reservations can be made by calling InterContinental Mark Hopkins: 415.392.3434.  Easter brunch is served from 10am – 2pm; Adults are $109 and children between the ages of four and 12 are $59. Visit www.topofthemark.com.

Napa
Join Silverado Resort & Spa for their spectacular Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet from 10:30 am-2:30 pm with a menu designed and prepared by acclaimed Executive Chef Jeffrey Jake and his team. Traditional brunch selections include hand-carved gently roasted meats, lavish hot & cold displays and an array of decadent desserts for $60 per adult and $25 per child (ages 4-9).

Los Gatos
Visit award-winning Dio Deka for an Easter filled with traditional Greek favorites seasoned with California technique from Chef Jeff Fitzgerald. Weather permitting, seating will be available in the restaurant’s beautiful outdoor patio as well as in the dining room. The à la carte brunch menu will feature dishes such as Keftethakia, lamb meatballs with blistered grapes, kalamansi yogurt and a light herb-broth ($13); Zambonopita, a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with smoked ham, green onion, feta, kasseri and ricotta cheeses ($16); Plevrakia, slow-cooked pork ribs rubbed with Greek spices, Attiki honey and lemon glaze, and sour cherries with ouzo ($15); and Cinnamon “Greek” Toast with whipped vanilla butter and maple syrup ($14). Brunch will be available from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 408-354-7700. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.

San Jose
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in San Jose will offer a lively and elegant dining alternative – a Brazilian twist on Easter brunch. The Easter Sunday menu will feature the restaurant’s extensive variety of fire-roasted meats that are specially carved to each guest’s preference. Diners can enjoy selections such as the house specialty picanha sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye, lamb chops, chicken wrapped in bacon, and pork ribs, to name a few, or try the newly-introduced lighter seafood selection. Additionally, Fogo offers a gourmet salad and sides bar with an abundance of choices, and Southern Brazilian side dishes such as pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, and caramelized bananas are served family style. A tempting dessert menu, creative and classic cocktails, and an award-winning wine list complement the dining experience. Lunch is served from 11:30am – 3:00pm and dinner is served 4:00pm – 9:00pm on Easter Sunday. Price: $51.50 (salad bar only – $26.50); kids 6 and under are complimentary. Children 7 to 12 are half price.

Palo Alto
The Sea by Alexander Steakhouse located in Palo Alto offers a special three-course pix fixe brunch menu for Easter Sunday. Tuna tartare, lobster scrambled eggs, scallops and New York steak are just a few of the selections on this lavish menu prepared by Executive Chef Yu Min Lin. Three courses for $45, and other items a la carte. From 10:30am – 1:30pm. Reservations: (650) 213-1111.
Monterey
On Sunday, April 20, 2014 Restaurant 1833 will open early and host a special Easter Brunch from 10:30-2:30 with a three-course menu for $50. Located in the historic California landmark, the Stokes Adobe house, guests can enjoy dishes from New Executive Chef Abby Burk with selections such as Smoked White Sturgeon Tartine with pumpernickel bread, pickled red onions, capers, and cream cheese; Lemon and Ricotta Waffles topped with marinated berries and whipped cream; Slow Roasted Spring Lamb Rachetta with feta, black olives, tomato confit, bread salad, and rosemary jus; and Mignardise Board of marshmallow peeps, raspberry jellies, chocolate mendiants, and pistachio financier. As always, available for a $6 add on are 1833’s infamous Bacon Biscuits served with a sausage gravy. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made with a credit card through Open Table or by calling (831) 643-1833.

East Bay
A16 Rockridge

Celebrating its first Easter in Oakland, A16 Rockridge will offer special brunch and dinner offerings by Chef Rocky Maselli. For brunch, guests can choose from an a la carte menu with dishes such as Crespelle with rhubarb compote and whipped cream fraiche and candied almonds and Capunti with lamb heart sugo, gava beans, and pecorino reserva. For dinner, the a la carte menu will feature savory dishes such as Verdetto, Easter Lamb with egg, snap peas, pea greens, and grana padano and a special dessert of Pastiera Napoletana with cinnamon, gelato, and orange caramel. An Easter-inspired libation will be available for the holiday as well. The Carrot Top features Boyd + Blair vodka, carrot, grapefruit, and lemon juice with ginger syrup and garnished with festive carrot fronds.  A16 Rockridge will be open from 11 am to 9 pm and switch from its dinner menu at 4 pm.  For more information or to make reservations, visit www.a16rockridge.com or call 510.768.8003.

Bocanova
This Easter Sunday, join Bocanova for two special dishes: A 7-hour leg of lamb Oaxacan-style with beans and tomatillo salsa and a Dungeness Crab Benedict for brunch. Visit www.bocanova.com.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Last-minute Valentine’s Day restaurants in Santa Cruz area and Monterey

Pasta at Lago di Como in Santa Cruz

Pasta at Lago di Como in Santa Cruz

Valentine’s Day is Friday – many restaurants in the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas are fully booked– but others are still available. I’ve listed a few that still have available reservations via OpenTable.com.

Here are my Valentine’s guides for other cities, with menu highlights:

Also, Chaminade in Santa Cruz doesn’t have online reservations — you need to call for availability — but it does have two large dining areas, plus a few other Valentine’s-and-beyond specials worth reading about.

Chaminade (831-475-5600) is serving Friday dinner from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Executive Chef Kirsten Ponza has created a palate pleasing, heart pounding, three course prix fixe menu to be enjoyed at Linwood’s Bar & Grill or the Sunset Dining Room.  Guests will enjoy a choice of salad, entrees that include filet mignon, duck confit, double cut pork chop, petrale sole or a roasted wild mushroom lasagna, and a delectable dessert.  Price is $65 per person not including tax or gratuity.

Here are Chaminade’s wine, spa, and hotel specials:

Sip & Savor Sparkling Wines of the World
On Saturday, February 15th, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Chaminade Resort & Spa is hosting a sparkling wines of the world tasting event.  The package includes a sampling of four different types of sparkling wines including prosecco, cava, brut and blanc de blanc paired with savory menu items, a guest speaker who will share the nuances of champagnes and sparkling wines from grape to bottle and “how to” tips and demonstrations.  Package price is $50 per person or $90 per couple plus tax and gratuity.   For reservations and information, call 831-475-5600.

Spaaatacular Valentine’s Day Treatments
The Spa at Chaminade has created two exclusive treatments featuring aphrodisiac ingredients guaranteed to heighten the senses of the most discerning spa goer – including Aphrodite herself!  Be My Valentine package includes an antioxidant cocoa body wrap, a seasonal rosemary and peppermint facial, a glass of Gloria Ferrer champagne, and chocolate covered strawberries.  Package price is $352 and includes a 20% savings and includes gratuity.  Serenity for Two includes two 80-minute simply Zen massages in The Spa’s couples room, followed by a relaxing reprise in a heated whirlpool on The Spa’s private patio and topped off with a glass of Gloria Ferrer champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for two.  Price is $376 and includes a 20% savings and includes gratuity.  For reservations and information call The Spa at Chaminade at 831-465-3465.  Both treatments will be offered February 1-28, 2014.

An Affair to Remember
Spend Valentine’s weekend at Chaminade Resort & Spa overlooking Monterey Bay and enjoy luxurious accommodations for two, a bottle of sparkling wine or cider, chocolate covered strawberries, a $75 resort credit in Linwood’s Bar & Grill and 20% off select spa services and spa products.  Package prices start at $259, not including tax or resort fee.  For reservations or information call 1-800-283-6569 or visit www.chaminade.com. This deal might be available later in February, as well.

VALENTINE’S DINNER VIA OPENTABLE – SANTA CRUZ AREA
As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the following restaurants (listed alphabetically) still had selected Valentine’s Day dinner reservations available. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

  • Café Mare  (831) 458-1212
  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • Hoffman’s Bistro (831) 420-0135
  • Johnny’s Harborside (831) 479-3430
  • Lago Di Como (831) 454-8257
  • Pearl of the Ocean (831) 457-2350
  • Rosie McCann’s (831) 426-9930

VALENTINE’S DINNER VIA OPENTABLE – MONTEREY AREA
As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the following restaurants (listed alphabetically) still had selected Valentine’s Day dinner reservations available. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

    • Domenico’s on the Wharf (831) 372-3655
    • the C restaurant & bar (831) 375-4800
    • Fish Hopper (831) 372-8543
    • Jacks-Portola Hotel & Spa (831) 649-2698
    • Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar (831) 372-2628
    • Tarpy’s Roadhouse (831) 647-1444

TusCA Ristorante (831) 372-1234

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

Innovative cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos

Innovative cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos

Planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2013 at a restaurant in Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, or another nearby South Bay city? Here are details and menu highlights for a variety of venues; I’ll publish a few more tomorrow.

Santa Cruz Area

Aquarius
Located at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn overlooking the Wharf, Aquarius is hosting two seatings for dinner on New Year’s Eve: 5-6:30 p.m (three courses, $65) and 9 p.m. (five courses, $85). The second seating includes a DJ and live music, dancing, hats/noisemakers, and a midnight toast. Call 460-5012 for reservations or more information.
175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside
On New Year’s Eve, Johnny’s is serving a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $48 that includes a glass of champagne. Call 479-3430 for reservations; the first seating is 5 p.m. and the last is 9:30 p.m. Customers choose one selection from each course. Appetizer options include fresh local crab and citrus bisque. Second course choices include half steamed fresh local dungeness crab with pan-seared crab cake, herb-roasted potatoes, and green bean almondine, and grilled New York strip loin with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, provencal stuffed crimini mushrooms, and roasted garlic butter. Dessert selections include Meyer lemon & cranberry bundt cake.
493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz

Michael’s on Main
The Soquel restaurant is serving a fixed-price $55 four-course dinner with seatings from 5:30 – 9  p.m. Dinner includes a glass of champagne and New Year’s party favors. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. 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

Hindquarter
The Santa Cruz restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. onward. It’s serving the regular dinner menu plus holiday specials. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.
303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

The Cocoanut Grove
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the oceanfront Cocoanut Grove from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. Tickets for dinner and the dance are $84; the dance only is $41 in advance and $46 at the door. Entertainment will be provided by The Alison Sharino Band, The Surfing Magician, and Innisfree Celtic Music. The dinner buffet is from Crown Café Catering and includes a glass of sparkling cider or champagne. A no-host full bar will be available.  Call (831) 423-2053 for information or buy tickets at brownpapertickets.com.

Los Gatos Restaurants

The Lexington House
The Lexington House just opened in September 2013, and it’s already gained many fans. The restaurant’s menu features products from local, organic, and sustainable sources skillfully prepared by Chef Philippe Breneman (formerly of Dio Deka and Moana Restaurant and Hotel Group, as well as a stint at Manresa).  For its first New Year’s Eve celebration, The Lexington House is offering a five-course $85 menu featuring “the best of the season.” Beginning with a Cauliflower Veloute and a Caviar Cracker, guests will have options including Diver Scallops with parsnips and brown butter; Fettuccine with uni butter and Dungeness crab; Mills Farro with wild mushroom and a slow cooked egg; Rendered Lamb Tenderloin with golden turnips and hedgehog mushrooms, and Textures of Chocolate and Maple Truffles. Call (408) 354-1600 for reservations.
40 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos

Dio Deka
Award-winning restaurant Dio Deka is offering its annual New Year’s Eve party with two seatings: the first from 6-8:30 p.m. ($95) and the second from 8:30 p.m. to past midnight ($125).  Each features a four-course menu with Greek specialties from Chef Jeff Fitzgerald such as Keftethakia lamb meatballs (I highly recommend these!), Octapothi Scharas – mesquite-grilled octopus, Avgolemono – classic egg-lemon soup with orzo; Lavraki – mesquite-grilled Mediterranean Branzino; Paithakia – Mesquite-grilled double-cut lamb chops; and Brizola – mesquite-grilled prime bone in rib eye. Guests that attend the second seating will receive party favors, a midnight complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and encouragement to ‘dance the night away when the bar opens up onto a dance floor with a live DJ.’ Call (408) 354-7700 for reservations.
210 E. Main St., Los Gatos

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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
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

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