Tag Archives: La Sofrita

Santa Cruz weekend highlights including Church Street Fair

Food from G’s Tacos, one of the vendors at Church Street Fair this weekend. Photo credit: G’s Tacos Facebook page

The summertime bounty of events in Santa Cruz continues; here are a few highlights for the weekend of Aug. 5-6, 2017, including refreshment options at the annual Church Street Fair.

 

Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 5-6: Church Street Fair

The Church Street Fair is part of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which lasts until Aug. 12. As usual, there will be music, dance, art, food, and wine. Participating breweries and wineries include Corralitos Brewing (noon-3:30 p.m. Saturday), New Bohemia Brewing Co. (4-7 p.m. Saturday), Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (noon-3:30 p.m. Sunday), Uncommon Brewers (4-7 p.m. Saturday), Storrs Winery, Odonata Wines, Soquel Vineyards, Rexford Winery, Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery and Birichino WinesVinocruz—which is opening in Soquel soon—will be pouring the wine both days. Falafel of Santa Cruz, the chefs from Prophet Elias Orthodox Church who put on the annual Greek festivals, food truck G’s Tacos, and Efi’s Dutch-Indo will sell food on both fair days. Food truck Ate3One will participate on Sunday.

Event organizers promise that “non-stop performances from global traditions will keep your spirits high as you select from a variety of local food purveyors, vintners and brewers, and explore the work of dozens of regional artists and craftspeople” (see site for entire performance schedule, which includes Flor de Cana and Broken English Saturday & Watsonville Taiko Sunday).

Location: Church Street between Chestnut & Cedar

 

Other highlights:

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Lots of popups this weekend in Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley

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

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

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

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

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

 

Friday night: La Sofrita at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co.

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

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

 

Saturday night: Homeless Garden Project at POPUP

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

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

 

Saturday night: Hanloh at East Cliff Brewing Co.

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

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

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NEXTies honor Santa Cruz businesses and individuals

The 2017 NEXTies will be awarded March 24

The 2017 NEXTies will be awarded March 24. Photo credit: Event Santa Cruz

The 2017 NEXTies event will include people from Santa Cruz’s food, coffee, art and music communities. The NEXTies, which celebrate “the area’s brightest doers,” are in their eighth year. For the annual awards ceremony, held this Friday, March 24, event organizer Matthew Swinnerton invites the public to “pull out the pearls and cufflinks and join us for an evening in honor of those in Santa Cruz County who inspire us to reach further and higher and inspire the community.” Danielle Crook and DNA are hosting the program.

 

New award categories this year include “Best Writer.” The inaugural recipient is Good Times food writer Lily Stoicheff, who is honored to receive this accolade.

 

“As a journalist who writes about food culture in Santa Cruz County, I’m drawn to the stories of people who are fearlessly passionate about enriching our community through what we eat, be it a chef, farmer, small business owner or brewer,” says Stoicheff. “I gravitate towards writing about food because it’s something we all share, and as such it holds the possibility of creating a path to understanding and connection with each other and our environment. Plus, eating is an opportunity to bring joy into our lives daily.” Being acknowledged by the NEXTies, she says, shows that the Santa Cruz community values this type of storytelling.

 

Cat & Cloud Coffee is receiving the 2017 NEXTie for “New Business of the Year.” Owners Chris Baca, Jared Truby, and Charles Jack were thrilled to hear the news.

 

“We opened this business because we love community, and we wanted Cat & Cloud to be a hub for the community. We live in the neighborhood, and its awesome to see the community recognize us and really participate in the vision we have for Cat & Cloud.”

 

Vendors from the Santa Cruz Food Lounge’s monthly “Night Market” (held the second Friday of each month) will be selling food at the NEXTies. Vendors include My Mom’s Mole (mole nachos in chicken, veggie, and combination options), TanglewoodArtisan Hand Food (with hand pies including meat and veggie options), Hanloh, and La Sofrita (empanadas and mango-cucumber salad). I personally recommend every single one of these fabulous food businesses! Andrea Mollenauer, Cat Hernandez and Sally Kane operate the Santa Cruz Food Lounge, located at 1001 Center St. in downtown Santa Cruz. Mollenauer actually won a NEXTie in 2015.

 

At the event, there will be music from 2017 NEXTie award winners The Coffis Brothers and Taylor Rae. McCoy Tyler will also perform. Beer from New Bohemia Brewing Co will be available for purchase.

 

The full 2017 NEXTies winners list:

Entrepreneur of the year: Sindy Hernandez de Cornejo
Musician of the year: Taylor Rae
Band of the year: The Coffis Brothers
Artist of the year: Irene O’Connell
Writer of the year: Lily Stoicheff
Give Back person of the year: Mariah Tanner & Natalie Anne Oliver
Foodie of the year: Elizabeth Birnbaum
New Business of the year: Cat & Cloud Coffee
Athlete of the year: Ryan Navaroli
Under 18 person of the year: Ashley Solis-Pavon: Community Agroecology Network
Non-Profit of the year: Warming Project
Mentor of the year: Keisha Frost
Innovative Business of the Year: Inboard
Innovator of the year: Nick Halmos from Cityblooms
TECHie of the year: Gabriel Jesse Medina (From Digital NEST)
Green Business of the year: Khordz Handmade Mugs
Wildcard: Happily Ever Laughter

 

Buy tickets for $30 online.

 

The NEXTies were first awarded in 2010. Four years later, Santa Cruz Next asked Matthew Swinnerton of Event Santa Cruz to take over the NEXTies. Swinnerton launched the organization Event Santa Cruz in 2013 to help tell the stories of local businesses and the people that make these businesses run. The organization presents monthly happenings around town.

 

In an effort to reduce waste, Event Santa Cruz has partnered with ReCRUZ for the NEXTies. Guests are encouraged to bring their own mug or “rent” one from ReCRUZ for free during the event.

 

Details:

Friday March 24, 2017, 6:30-9 p.m.

Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

eventsantacruz.com/2017nexties

 

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St. Patrick’s Day food and drink highlights for Santa Cruz County & nearby

My Mom’s Mole, Elkhorn Slough Brewing & The Green Waffle are collaborating for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

My Mom’s Mole, Elkhorn Slough Brewing & The Green Waffle are collaborating for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

There are many enticing foods and events for St. Patrick’s Day 2017 in Santa Cruz and nearby areas. Here are a few highlights.

My Mom’s Mole is hosting an event at Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. in Watsonville on Friday, March 17, from 4-8 p.m. There will be taco and green waffle options with shredded chicken and/or roasted root vegetables and mole sauce (My Mom’s Mole signature sauce and/or mole verde). A side of My Mom’s Mole signature cactus & kale salad accompanies each dish. The waffles are courtesy of The Green Waffle LLC and El Nopalito Produce is providing the nopales (cactus).

My Mom’s Mole, The Green Waffle, and El Nopalito Produce are three of the 30-plus locally owned businesses that operate out of Watsonville’s El Pájaro CDC Commercial Kitchen Incubator. Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. opened in 2016 and focuses on wild ales made with locally harvested yeast and other locally sourced ingredients.

Elkhorn Slough co-founder Julie Rienhardt said,“When locals come together to make great food and drink from the ingredients all around us, it takes delicious to a whole new level. We are proud to be serving our beer with My Mom’s Mole to the wonderful Watsonville community for a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration.”

Location: 65 Hangar Way, Watsonville

La Sofrita is doing a “We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” popup from 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, at POPUP next to Assembly. Chef Anna says “while staying true to Puerto Rican classics and flavors, we will pay homage to the Irish.” The menu will include rellenos de papa, a classic Puerto Rican dish of mashed potatoes stuffed with savory beef picadillo, then gently fried; corned beef empanadas (plus a few of La Sofrita’s other empanada varieties) served with curtido, a lightly pickled cabbage slaw; and Puerto Rican chicken stew flavored with sofrito and adobo, served with Puerto Rican rice. Beer will also be available.

 

Location: 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

 

Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria is offering corned beef and cabbage dinner for $15.95. This includes potatoes, carrots, onions, horseradish cream and a slice of Irish soda bread. Dinners will be available Thursday and Friday, March 16-17, starting at 9 a.m. (cold) and noon (hot) for take-out service. Cost is $15.95. The restaurant has also created Guinness stout chocolate cake, Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake and iced shamrock cookies. Gayle’s is at Learn more:

Location: 504 Bay Ave., Capitola

 

Ella’s at the Airport  is serving corned beef and cabbage for lunch and dinner. There will also be Irish-inspired drinks.

Location: 100 Aviation Way, Watsonville

 

Malone’s is offering what it calls “traditional St. Patrick’s Day food specials” plus Irish style beers and special cocktails, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday. There will be live music in the evening.

Location: 4402 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley

 

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Trio of events at Santa Cruz’s Assembly and POPUP this weekend

Puerto Rican food by La Sofrita, Photo credit: La Sofrita Facebook page

Puerto Rican food by La Sofrita. Photo credit: La Sofrita Facebook page

There are many events, including some food-related ones, occurring this weekend in the Santa Cruz area. Here are details for three events in Santa Cruz at POPUP and Assembly (all at 1108 Pacific Ave.).

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

To celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day, My Mom’s Mole is hosting dinner at POPUP from 5:30-9:30 p.m. (or earlier if the food sells out). There will be mole nachos (chicken and veggie options) made with My Mom’s Mole homemade tortilla chips and a new mole queso sauce.

 

Saturday: La Sofrita at POPUP

La Sofrita will be at POPUP beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Puerto Rican Pop Up menu will feature dishes including empanadas with vegetarian options, Puerto Rican achiote rice and stewed pink beans, and garlic mojo chicken (made with organic thighs). “And, back by popular demand, shrimp a la criolla,” said chef Anna. The shrimp is simmered in a tomato-white wine broth, with sofrito and manzanilla-stuffed olives, and served atop Puerto Rican rice. “We’ll also have yuca fries served with garlic-olive oil dip,” she added. “You think you like French fries? Wait til you try these!” This pop-up doubles as the pre-party for the Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Windy City Bulls game at Kaiser Permanente Arena, but everyone is welcome, whether or not they are attending that game. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the development of the Scotts Valley Sports Complex.

 

Sunday: Oscars Viewing Party at Assembly

Event Santa Cruz is hosting its second annual gala event—complete with red carpet—to celebrate the Oscars beginning at 5 p.m. at Assembly. People are encouraged to dress in black tie. Tickets are $35 and include several savory and sweet bites throughout the evening and a glass of champagne upon arrival (additional drinks can be purchased at the new Assembly cocktail bar). There will be a large screen to watch the Oscars, and a separate, “no-talking room” for serious fans. All attendees will be entered in a drawing for Santa Cruz Warriors tickets. Purchase tickets or get more information online at eventsantacruz.com.

All events are at POPUP and/or Assembly, 1108 Pacific Ave.

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Two Santa Cruz food popups on Friday, Jan 6

A curry dish by HANLOH Thai Food (served at an event in December)

A curry dish by HANLOH Thai Food (photo is from an event in December)

Santa Cruz’s popup food scene is deliciously thriving; here are two events occurring this Friday, Jan. 6.

HANLOH will be at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing from 6:45-10 p.m. The menu for “Ultimate Thai Beer Snack” will include Moo bing (charcoal grilled pork), Pla mug yang (charcoal grilled Monterey squid), and Khao rad geng (rice and spicy red curry bowl with two options–vegan or with chicken). The curry will be made from homemade curry paste; some of the ingredients are lemongrass, galangal, bird eye chili, dried shrimp, shallot, and garlic.  Owner/chef Lalita Kaewsawang, a Santa Cruz resident, recently started her Thai popup/catering business. As she proclaims on her web site (hanloh.com), her mission is to “bring justice back to Thai food by staying away from canned curry paste and super sweet stir-fry. We focus on the comfort and vibrancy of Thai street food.”

Location: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, 402 Ingalls St.

 

La Sofrita is doing a “Dia de los Reyes Puerto Rican Popup” from 5:30-9 p.m., at POPUP next to Assembly. Chef Anna says she will be serving traditional Puerto Rican holiday fare like “mouth-watering pernil, or Puerto Rican succulent, skin-on, bone-in, roasted pork shoulder stuffed with garlic mojo. The pernil, made with pasture-raised pork from local Fogline Farm, will be accompanied by avocado-tomato salad over mixed greens plus arroz con gandules (Anna says the latter is “the quintessential rice dish that is served on every Puerto Rican table on Christmas Day and on Dia de los Reyes”). A selection of La Sofrita empanadas will also be available; I tasted one of these for the first time a few weeks back and it was absolutely delectable! The variety I had was veggie (kabocha squash, spinach, and leeks with goat cheese) but I’ve heard that the beef picadillo, chicken and shrimp ones are fantastic too.

Here’s a bit of background on Dia de los Reyes from La Sofrita’s Facebook event page: “in Puerto Rico, January 6th is Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day. It marks the culmination of the Christmas season. In Puerto Rico, this is a bigger celebration than Christmas Day itself; gifts are traditionally exchanged on this day rather than Christmas. The night before, children put shoeboxes of hay under their beds for the camels to eat after their long journey, and are rewarded with a gift left under their bed. The day is filled with festivities that include traditional foods and drinks.

Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.

 

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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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