Tag Archives: Laili

“Dining in” at Santa Cruz County restaurants, June 19, 2020

Bacon & egg croissant from Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticerria
Photo courtesy of Gayle’s

So much has changed since my last article at the end of May, with restaurants now being allowed to open for dine-in service if they follow restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Here are some highlights of places that are open for onsite dining, whether that’s on an outdoor patio, in a dining room with limited seating, or both. Many of them are also still doing food to-go. I will try to publish an update in a few days.

Most of these are “listings only” but first, I wanted to share more details for a few local businesses:

Seabright Social, in the former location of Seabright Brewery (519 Seabright Ave., seabrightsocial.com) opened June 12 and features lots of outdoor seating plus some indoor seating. Hours are 11:30am-11:30pm daily (closed on June 22 for one day only). Reservations are recommended at 831-426-2739. After buying the brewpub and restaurant in 2019, local residents/co-owners Jason and Keiki McKay (who run Aptos-based Cantine Winepub in Aptos) and Jon Bates have done renovations to the building and the menu. Food includes salmon ceviche and a street taco trio with chicken mole, pork carnitas, and beef asada. Drinks include several Seabright Brewery draft beers, local wine, and a full bar.

Scrumptious Fish & Chips recently restarted its popups. Upcoming appearances include Steel Bonnet Brewery in Scotts Valley (5-8 p.m. on several Friday nights), the Scotts Valley (Saturday) and Live Oak (Sunday) farmers markets, and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in Westside SC. Visit https://www.scrumptiousfc.com/find-us for complete schedule.

The Palm Deli has its patio open again, with tables spaced appropriately, at 3000 Valencia Ave. They have returned to regular hours, opening at 7am every day, closing at 6pm weekdays and 5pm Sat-Sun. Visit https://www.thepalmdeli.com.

Hula’s Island Grill at 221 Cathcart St. offers the choice of dining indoors or on the lanai deck out front (takeout is also still available). They open at 2pm every day, and close at 8pm Sun-Thurs and 9pm Fri-Sat. Visit https://www.hulastiki.com/

Gayle’s Bakery at 504 Bay Ave. has newly extended hours of 7am-7pm daily and is now allowing socially distanced sit-down dining. Also, with online orders there is now next-day pick up (shorter wait time—when they first reopened, it was a two-day wait). Visit https://www.gaylesbakery.com.

May’s Sushi closed its 1800 Soquel Ave. location on June 1, and is now operating out of Sesame Korean Grill at 435 Front St. Both cuisines are still available, as the restaurants have the same owners. In addition, the owners announced they will be opening a new restaurant called Crazy Crab, adjacent to Sesame, which will feature seafood boils. Visit https://www.sesame-koreangrill.com/ or call 831-454-8355.

Vim at 2238 Mission St. reopened its dining room and patio on June 17, and it’s open 5-8pm Wednesday-Saturday and 10 am-1pm Sunday (Vim started doing Sunday brunch during shelter in place, and it was popular so they’re continuing now that they’re open for onsite dining). Visit https://www.vimsantacruz.com.

Mentone at 174 Aptos Village Way now offers first-come-first-serve tables outside in the parking lot on the weekend, from 3:30-7pm Fridays and 12-6ish Saturdays and Sundays. There is beer, wine, cocktails, pizzas, salad, and a variety of snacks.  Takeout pizza is available Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visit https://www.mentonerestaurant.com or call 831-708-1174.

Madrone Kitchen, a meal delivery business from chefs Reeny Marquez and Sean Adams, is doing Friday popups at Aldo’s (790 Mariner Park Way) from 5 p.m. to sellout. They sell food items while Aldo’s offers beer, wine and cocktails for sale.  Sample popup menu offerings include Mojo Shrimp Skewers with citrus garlic herb sauce, Cuban-style black beans, rice, and fried plantains. Madrone Kitchen also does weekly Sunday dinner delivery. Visit madronekitchen.com.

Although not yet open for “dining in,” Soif Restaurant and Wine Shop (831-423-2020, http://www.soifwine.com/) now has curbside pickup for food and wine from 4-8 pm  Wednesday-Saturday. They had stopped doing takeout in early April. Also, the May/June issue of California Bountiful, the magazine for the California Farm Bureau Federation, featured an article about Soif’s executive Chef Tom McNary with several recipes. Sister restaurant La Posta (831-457-2782, https://www.lapostarestaurant.com), formerly open Friday-Sunday, is doing pickup 4-8pm Thursday through Sunday. Also, there is a Thursday special: pizza or pasta with salad for one person, for $20.

Colectivo Felix now offers delivery Friday through Sunday to local residents (formerly only Fri-Sat). Empanadas are available by the half dozen or dozen, and they create a rotating variety of salads, soups, and desserts. Also, customers can now order a seasonal Ridge to Reef Organics produce box. Visit https://colectivofelix.square.site/ to order, or email info@colectivofelix.com with questions.

As always, please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, or corrections, for future articles.

Open for “dine-in” service

Alderwood (831-588-3238 or 831-888-6901, https://www.alderwoodsantacruz.com)

Auntie Mame’s Café (831-438-1840, https://auntiemamescafe.co)

Belly Goat Craft Burgers (at Abbott Square Market on Front St., https://www.bellygoatburgers.com)

Bittersweet Bistro (831-662-9799, http://bittersweetbistro.com)

Blaze Pizza (831-607-2030, https://www.blazepizza.com)

Blue Bunny Tacos (at Abbott Square Market, https://www.instagram.com/bluebunnytacos)

Britannia Arms (831-464-2683, https://www.facebook.com/britanniaarmscapitola/)

Café Iveta (Westside and campus locations, iveta.com)

Café Mare (831-458-1212, http://www.cafemare.com)

Café Rio (831-688-8917, https://www.caferioaptos.com)

California Grill (831-722-8052, www.californiagrillrestaurant.com)

Chaminade’s “The View, A Treeside Restaurant” (831-475-5600, www.chaminade.com/santa_cruz_restaurants)

Chocolate (831-427-9900, https://chocolatesantacruz.com)

Coffeetopia (http://www.coffeetopia.com)

The Crepe Place (831-429-6994, https://thecrepeplace.com)

The Crow’s Nest (831-476-4560, https://crowsnest-santacruz.com)

Daisuki Octagon Sushi (831-316-5464, at Octagon by Abbott Square, http://daisukioctagonsushi.com/)

Dharma’s (831-462-1717, www.dharmasrestaurant.com)

East End Gastropub (831-475-8010, http://eastendpub.com/)

El Jardín (831-477-9384, https://www.eljardinrestaurant.net/)

El Palomar (831-425-7575, https://elpalomarsantacruz.com)

The Farm House (831-536-5363, https://www.farmhousewatsonville.com)

Firefish Grill (831-423-5200, http://www.firefishgrill.net/)

Gabriella Café (831-457-1677, http://gabriellacafe.com)

Holy Smokes Country BBQ (831-471-8787, https://www.holysmokescountrybbqandcatering.com)

HOME Soquel (831-431-6131, http://www.homesoquel.com)

Hula’s Island Grill (831-426-4852, https://www.hulastiki.com)

Jalisco’s (https://www.jaliscorestaurant.com)

Jeffery’s Restaurant (831-425-1485, https://www.facebook.com/Jefferys-Restaurant-2348536278713065/)

Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar (831-469-4400, https://www.kiantis.com/)

The Kitchen at Discretion (831-316-0662, https://www.discretionbrewing.com)

Lago di Como (831-454-8257, http://lagodicomoristorante.com/)

Laili Resaturant (831-423-4545, www.lailirestaurant.com)

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen (831-425-2288, https://www.lilliansitaliankitchen.com)

Michael’s on Main (831-479-9777, www.michaelsonmain.com)

Mission Hill Creamery (831-508-0774, http://missionhillcreamery.com)

Mutari Chocolate (http://www.mutarichocolate.com)

Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen (831-621-8040, oasissantacruz.com)

Olive Garden (831-462-0120, https://www.olivegarden.com)

Oswald (831-423-7427, http://www.oswaldrestaurant.com)

Oyunaa’s Mongolian Cuisine (831-469-9900, http://www.oyunaas.com)

Palm Deli (831-688-3354, https://www.thepalmdeli.com)

Pizza My Heart (https://www.pizzamyheart.com)

Pizzeria La Bufala (831-999-0301, at Abbott Square Market, https://www.pizzerialabufala.com)

Pleasure Pizza—East Side Eatery (831-6058, https://www.pleasurepizzasc.com)

Pono Hawaiian Kitchen & Tap (831-476-7458, ponohawaiiangrill.com)

Rosie McCann’s (831-426-9930, https://rosiemccanns.com/santacruz)

Roux Dat (at Octagon by Abbott Square, https://rouxdatcajuncreole.com)

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort (831-662-7120, https://www.sanderlingsrestaurant.com/menus)

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (831-425-4900, https://www.scmbrew.com)

Scopazzi’s (831-338-6441, www.scopazzisrestaurant.com)

Tortilla Flats (831-476-1754, https://www.tortillaflatstogo.com)

Tramonti (831-426-7248, http://tramontisantacruz.com)

Veg on the Edge (831-423-3000, at Abbott Square Market, https://vegontheedge.com)

Vino Locale Wine Bar & Tapas (https://www.vinolocalesantacruz.com)

Vinocruz Winebar & Kitchen (https://vinocruz.com, 831-426-8466)

Woodies Café (https://www.facebook.com/woodiescafeca).

Woodstock’s Pizza (831-427-4444, https://woodstockscruz.com)

Zachary’s (831-427-0646, http://www.zacharyssantacruz.com)

Zelda’s (831-475-4900, http://zeldasonthebeach.com)

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Santa Cruz County food/drink closures & changes, as of March 19, 2020

Appetizer at HOME
photo courtesy of HOME web site

Hi everyone – I wanted to help share some information in this unprecedented environment. As this is constantly evolving and I don’t have the time or resources to gather everything at once, I am starting with one list today & including hours where I have them.

I will add a second list soon, with more in each of these categories, and try to do revised and/or additional lists in the days to come. I wish you all continued good health.

Please email me at tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, that I can add to future lists/articles (I have some more ready to share but if I keep typing I will never finish & be able to share these).

Grocery stores

  • New Leaf Community Markets reduced hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, newleaf.com
  • Trader Joe’s reduced hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, traderjoes.com
  • Safeway: reduced hours depending on location, safeway.com/

Farmer’s Marketsthese are currently open:

Downtown Santa Cruz Wednesday

Aptos/Cabrillo College Saturday

Westside SC Saturday

Live Oak Sunday


Alderwood: reopening Tuesday with takeout and delivery menu, alderwoodsantacruz.com

Bad Animal Books: Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday from 4-7 p.m., take-out “family meals” with curbside pick up. Emergency first responders get a 50% discount. Order at badanimalbooks.com.

Blue Bunny Tacos: closed until further notice

Charlie Hong Kong: noon-9 p.m., takeout (curbside pickup). They will cater & deliver to serve first responders, medical/hospital staff & government workers, charliehongkong.com

Dharma’s: closed for the foreseeable future.

East Side Eatery from Pleasure Pizza: 11 a.m.-8 p.m., takeout/delivery only, with curbside pickup for online orders, pleasurepizzasc.com

Home: takeout with curbside pickup, taking phone orders between 1-6pm, 831-431-6131, homesoquel.com

La Posta: takeout with curbside pickup, lapostarestaurant.com

Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria: takeout/delivery including free delivery to limited areas, menu with family-size options through April 7, lagodicomoristorante.com

Laili: takeout/delivery, lailirestaurant.com

Nick the Greek: takeout/delivery, nickthegreeksj.com/locations

Panda Express: takeout and delivery, pandaexpress.com

Pasatiempo Golf Course: MacKenzie Bar & Grill is closed until further notice; Hollins House is doing take-out dinner. thehollinshouse.com/restaurant

Pono Hawaiian Grill: closing downtown location for the foreseeable future

Shadowbrook: closing until at least April 7.

Soif: takeout with curbside pickup, soifwine.com

Surf City Sandwich: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., takeout or delivery, see surfcitysandwich.com.

Tortilla Flats: closed until further notice

Vim Dining & Desserts: closed until further notice

Zameen: all branches will be closed through at least Sunday.

Breweries & wineries

  • Big Basin Vineyards closed the Boulder Creek and Saratoga tasting rooms until further notice.
  • Humble Sea Brewing Co. is to-go only.” Hours are Monday-Thursday 2-7 p.m. and Friday-Sunday noon to 7 p.m.  Visit humblesea.com.
  • Sante Adairius is offering to-go sales, from noon to 6 p.m. daily. Visit rusticales.com.

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Local restaurants cook up soup benefiting Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center

A volunteer preparing dessert at Soupline 2010 – credit to Red Bat Photography via Soupline web site

A volunteer preparing dessert at Soupline 2010 – credit to Red Bat Photography via Soupline web site

Eat a variety of delicious soup from dozens of local restaurants and shops on Thursday April 24—the event benefits Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center.

The 15th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz boardwalk from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For $25 per person or $50 per family (up to 4 individuals), you receive soup, salad bread, and dessert. Purchase tickets.

The event is set up with different tables where chefs serve their homemade soup, with about a dozen available at any one time (selections rotate throughout the evening). Attendees walk around and choose which ones to sample. Public officials and other community leaders serve as “Celebrity Ladlers.” There are lots of tables set up in the dining room where you can relax and enjoy your meal. Buy tickets and read more information online at the special Soupline site.

More than 40 participating restaurants in 2014’s Soupline include Aquarius, The Art Bar & Cafe at the Tannery, The Bagelry, The Buttery,  Café Cruz, Chaminade, Charlie Hong Kong, Crow’s Nest, Gabriella Café, Hula’s, Laili, La Posta, Manuel’s, Sawasdee, Shadowbrook, Soif, The Walnut Ave Café, and Zameen. See full restaurant list.

There is free parking after 4 pm at the Boardwalk lot across from the Cocoanut Grove.

The Homeless Services Center is a community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals that will enable clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrate National Mediterranean Diet Month at Bay Area spots like Dio Deka, Dametra, Laili

An assortment of Greek spreads at Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

An assortment of Greek spreads at Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

As I mentioned in my article on the recent Santa Cruz Greek Food Faire, May is National Mediterranean Diet Month so I wanted to highlight a few Bay Area restaurants that offer great Mediterranean food. Another benefit to eating this type of cuisine, besides the fact that it’s delicious? Many folks believe it is extremely good for your health! A Mediterranean diet can be rich in fish, olive oil, yogurt, fruit, and vegetables. Research studies have shown that a healthy Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

In the Bay Area, Los Gatos-based Dio Deka is a premier spot for Hellenic cuisine. The culmination of the dreams of five Greek restaurateurs, the Michelin-starred venue is led by Executive Chef Jeff Fitzgerald. Dio Deka’s menu fuses Greek and Mediterranean influences. Selections include healthy fare such as fresh fish, top-quality meats, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Examples include Lavraki – Mesquite-grilled Mediterranean branzino with sautéed spring greens, roasted potatoes; Octapothi Scharas- grilled octopus, romesco sauce, lemon vinaigrette, grated hazelnuts; and Mithia ke Kalamari – lightly seared mussels and squid, pickled peppers, crispy olives, barrel-aged feta cheese.

Location: 210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, (408) 354-7700

Other great spots include:

–          Kokkari(San Francisco)

–          Evvia (Palo Alto)

–          Frascati (San Francisco)

–          Vasili’s (Santa Cruz)

–          Dametra Café (Carmel)

–          Laili (Santa Cruz)


On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.



Recap of recent Dishcrawl Santa Cruz evening at downtown restaurants


Vegan food at Café Gratitude during Dishcrawl Santa Cruz's second outing

Vegan food at Café Gratitude during Dishcrawl Santa Cruz’s second outing

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz has had two events this year, each of them a fun outing to four different restaurants. The debut event was in January (read my recap article) and the second event—held last week, on Feb. 26—was also great fun. Both evenings offered the chance to meet new people, try new foods and/or restaurants, and participate in a unique community event.


The Feb. 26 event had about 15 diners, as opposed to the 40 who attended the first one. I don’t think the number of people made it better or worse, just different. January was a more lively experience and February was a more intimate one.


The basic premise of a Dishcrawl? You visit four restaurants within walking distance of each other, spending about 30-40 minutes in each venue. The company also operates events called “Neighborfood” and the first Santa Cruz one is April 14 (note: this is a change from the March 14 date announced in my last article). Buy tickets online for $40. With Neighborfood, you visit 8 restaurants on a Sunday afternoon. Instead of traveling with a large group, you go at your own pace – it’s a self-guided tour.


Last week, we began at El Palomar at 7pm, where we sat down and were immediately given tasty chips and salsa. A short time later, servers brought each of us a large plate overflowing with food: ceviche, chicken, carne asada, and beans. My favorite elements were the tender carne asada and the flavorful beans with Mexican cheese sprinkled on top.


Next, we visited Café Gratitude. It appeared that besides our host (Dishcrawl Santa Cruz ambassador Wes Katayama), I was the only person in the group who had ever dined at this vegan restaurant. We were quickly served platters of food, and the selections were quite tasty and fresh.   We dined on vegan sushi rolls, organic potatoes with “cashew nacho cheese” sauce (the dish is called “I am grounded” if you look for it on the menu), and polenta topped with mushroom ragout. It was a trio of dishes that worked well as a sampling of Café Gratitude’s offerings, and it seemed like Gratitude gained some new fans!  I’m very happy about that, especially after hearing that Café Gratitude has announced that “in appreciation of…service and safety provided to our community,” it’s offering free meals to all Santa Cruz Police Department officers for the rest of 2013. This business truly deserves our gratitude, for such a wonderful gesture. Feb. 26, the day of the Dishcrawl, was actually the day Santa Cruz lost two police offers and I am glad that I had the opportunity to interact with various folks in the community that evening.


Our third stop was Laili. Again, we received great service and great food, and I always enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of this restaurant. I was already quite full, but once I took the first bite, I had to keep going. We tasted small portions of three dishes: Pumpkin Boranee (a dip), the Silk Road Plate (hummus, babaghanoush, tabbouleh, cucumber yogurt), and Pomegranate Eggplant.


Last but not least, we visited Penny Ice Creamery for dessert. Co-owner Zach Davis presented us with special treats: a chocolate hazelnut napoleon (included cookies and mousse) in a bowl with blood oranges, a scoop of burnt
cinnamon ice cream, and organic whipped cream. Sounds yummy, right? It was even creamier and better than it sounds! In addition to the sweet treat, Davis gave an engaging speech about Penny’s history, practices (using local farms, etc.) and values. Because they have a state-regulated pasteurization facility and are licensed pasteurizers, they make their own ice cream base instead of buying a pre-mixed base (which can be 95-99% of the finished ice cream product).


I followed up with Davis a few days after the event, to get more details: “We uses only organic evaporated cane juice, organic free range eggs, and organic cream and milk, sourcing each ingredient individually,” says Davis. “We craft each complete recipe to optimize the flavor profile. Making our own base also allows us to use less sugar than many other ice creams. We do this because we like our flavors to emerge over the course of eating an entire scoop, and for this to happen the ice cream can’t be overly sweet.”

At the Dishcrawl, Davis briefly but sincerely reflected on the afternoon’s violent tragedy and thanked the attendees for participating in this kind of community event where people are walking the streets, engaging in the community, and connecting with each other. The next day, I noticed on Facebook that Davis had posted a very eloquent and touching piece regarding community. I want to share it here, with his permission. See below if you are interested.


Hope to see you at future Dishcrawl events, and other food- and community-related happenings in Santa Cruz. Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie. Stay in the loop for future Dishcrawl Santa Cruz events by “liking” its Facebook page.


The Penny Ice Creamery’s status update, posted on Facebook Feb. 27:

“Yesterday Kendra and I attended the afternoon Santa Cruz City Council meeting in support of the future of Santa Cruz Open Streets, a wonderful event that builds community around health, art, education, music, and sustainability. Not long after Open Streets Director Saskia Lucas had given her presentation, we heard an unusual amount of sirens around city hall, and I could feel the energy in the room begin to change. Within minutes a recess was called, the council left the room, and then returned, visibly shaken, some in tears.

Later in the evening I was at the Penny to welcome and host a group of folks for the final course of Dishcrawl, a progressive dining event. At 9pm at night they had just walked over from Laili on Cooper Street, and piled into the shop excited and flushed from the cool night air.

As I greeted them I reflected on how much I love Santa Cruz. We are blessed with a beautiful setting yes, but we are also blessed with amazing people. People who put on events like Open Streets that bring thousands of us together to celebrate community. People who bring positive activity to our streets at night; their walking, talking, and breathing life into our downtown makes it so vibrant. And people who keep us safe; who wake up each morning with the mission of keeping Santa Cruz peaceful and secure.

Today I mourn the loss of two of those people. I cannot begin to understand the actions that would take them from us. What I can understand is that, in as much as I have the power, I will not let the actions of those few individuals that would do harm define me or my city. I will try to follow the lead of so many exceptional people around me, and do anything and everything I can to make Santa Cruz a wonderful place. In doing so I hope I can honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who worked so hard towards the same goal.

With respects and prayers to Sgt. Baker, Det. Butler, their families, and the SCPD.

Zachary Davis
Owner, The Penny Ice Creamery”

Local restaurants join forces for Soupline to benefit Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center

A few selections at 2010's Soupline

On Thursday, April 26, you can eat lots of great soup from local restaurants and benefit the Homeless Services Center (HSC) in Santa Cruz.

The 13th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, Thursday April 26, 2012 from 5-7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5 and the food starts at 5:30 p.m.). For $25 per person or $50 per family, you receive soup, salad, bread, and dessert. The event is set up with different booths where chefs serve their homemade soup, so you can choose which ones to sample. Buy tickets by phone (831) 458-6020 x2101 or online. If you buy online, click the link “Donate Now!,” then choose $25 or $50 plus “Soup” for program designation.

At 5 p.m., activities including the silent auction, and wine service from Silver Mountain Vineyard, begin. Auction items include restaurant and spa gift certificates, wine, tickets to Kuumbwa Jazz Center and Cabrillo Festival performances, artwork, passes to places like Esalen and Disneyland, and trips to Belize and Lake Tahoe.

Dozens of restaurants are participating in this year’s Soupline including La Posta, Gayle’s, Manuel’s, The Buttery, Soif, Pearl of the Ocean, Charlie Hong Kong, India Joze, Crow’s Nest, Laili, Zoccoli’s, and Au Midi.

The Homeless Services Center is a community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals that will enable clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Award-winning chef Donia Bijan plus free food at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Bay Area chef and author Donia Bijan. Credit: Chronicle/Chris Hardy

Award-winning Iranian chef Donia Bijan is speaking at Bookshop Santa Cruz and the free event features food samples inspired by Bijan’s new book. The samples are being provided by the wonderful downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Laili.

The author talk, book signing, and discussion takes place Monday, October 24 at 7:30pm. Bijan’s new book, “Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen,” was published earlier this month.

Bijan spent her childhood in Tehran, Iran, helping her mother prepare traditional Persian dishes before the Islamic Revolution forced her family to flee Iran and move to the United States in 1978. Her mother was an active women’s rights advocate and former member of Parliament. Later, Bijan graduated from UC Berkeley before going to France to study at, and graduate from, Le Cordon Bleu. After working at many Bay Area restaurants and receiving accolades and awards from prestigious publications such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit, she opened her own French-inspired bistro in Palo Alto (L’Amie Donia was open for ten years before closing in 2004).

Maman’s Homesick Pie is both a memoir and a cookbook. Each chapter ends with recipes, and there are thirty in the collection. Some are inspired by her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), others stem from her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and several hearken back to her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream).

On her web site, Bijan talks about her mother’s influence: “My mother wrote her recipes in prose, linking ingredients together into homespun expressions, putting you at ease, making it seem as effortless as boiling an egg. ‘Just add a handful of sugar to a pot of cherries and cook them until they stop bobbing to the surface.’ These cherries were later folded into saffron rice with slivered almonds and orange peel, but never mind that now, the cherries are tiny and take a while to pit – a task we’ll share over a cup of tea. So that’s how I learned to cook Persian food, by knowing a handful could mean a half a cup or more, that only lazy cooks don’t bother to pit stone fruit before cooking it, and patience is an essential ingredient.” Read more on her site at http://doniabijan.com.

Bijan’s debut as an author has received praise from many publications. National Geographic Traveler says, “…this literary feast accomplishes what only the best meals do, bestowing not only a satisfying culinary experience but also a larger appreciation of life’s precious table.” Publishers Weekly states that “Bijan is known for blending the cultures and cuisines of the places she’s called home: Iran, France, and America. She does the same in her wonderfully written memoir.”

Bijan writes beautifully about the power of food in Iranian culture and in her own family. “In my family food was the language we used to tell stories, to communicate love, share our passions, and our values. I am intrigued by the fact that a country can be ravaged by fundamentalism and war, its citizens scattered like shards of glass over the globe, and yet its food remains intact. Food allows us to hold on to something sensory, providing not only nourishment, but security, dignity, and love.”

Bijan sounds like a wonderful storyteller and chef, and her reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz is bound to be an evening to remember.

The Details

Monday, October 24, 2011, 7:30pm

Chef & Cookbook Author Donia Bijan

Bookshop Santa Cruz

1520 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, 831-423-0900

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Clouds & Laili: $25 for 3 courses

Clouds puff pastry and mixed berry cobbler desserts from a previous Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

Attention those seeking bargain gourmet meals: Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is currently running, with 3-course $25 meals at local restaurants including downtown Santa Cruz’s Clouds www.cloudsdowntown.com — which is serving up New Orleans-themed food — and Laili, which offers scrumptious Middle Eastern food. Menus are below. For more details, read my SC Restaurant Week event preview (includes list of participating restaurants) and my article on Aquarius (with special restaurant week menu).

Click here for SC Restaurant Week web site.


Special $25 three-course menu for Clouds from Oct 5-12, beverage, tax, tip not included:

First course

(Choose one)

Cheddar hushpuppies tomato salad with ricotta salata

Louisiana sunburst salad with dried cranberries, almonds, Stilton

Barbecue shrimp salad

Second course

(Choose one)

New Orleans style gumbo

Blackened red fish

Steak Diane

Dessert course

(Choose one)

Bread pudding with bourbon sauce

Chocolate dipped beignets

Clouds: 110 Church Street, Santa Cruz 95060, make reservations at (831) 429-2000.

Special $25 three-course menu for Laili from Oct 5-12, beverage, tax, tip not included:

First course

(Choose one)

Naan with tabouleh

Organic greens with pomegranate seeds and cardamom dressing

Pumpkin boranee

Second course

(Choose one)

Chicken kabob with saffron basmati rice, roasted vegetables

Pomegranate eggplant with saffron basmati rice, chard, caramelized onion

Beef filet kabob with kabuli rice, roasted vegetables

Dessert course

(Choose one)


Cardamom rice pudding

Chocolate mousse

Laili: 101B Cooper Street, Santa Cruz 95060, make reservations at (831) 423-4545.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Eat soup from local chefs and restaurants & benefit Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center

This Thursday, April 14, you can eat lots of great soup from local chefs and restaurants and benefit the Homeless Services Center (HSC) in Santa Cruz.

The 12th Annual Soupline Supper and Benefit Auction is at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (400 Beach St.), Thursday April 14, 2011 from 5-7pm. For $25 per person or $50 per family, you receive soup, salad, bread, and dessert. The event is set up with different booths where chefs serve their homemade soup, so you can choose which ones to sample. Buy tickets by phone (831) 458-6020 x2101 or online at www.scshelter.org (click on Donate Now! and choose “Soupline” for the designation).

More than 40 restaurants are participating including La Posta, Gayle’s, Sawasdee, Hindquarter, Nuevo, Manuel’s, Zoccoli’s, Cafe Sparrow, Saturn Cafe, Erik’s DeliCafe, The Buttery, Stagnaro Bros, Laili, Pearl of the Ocean, Clubhouse Kitchen, Pacific Cookie Company, and India Joze.

There will be both silent and live auctions, all benefitting HSC. Silent auction items include stays at Esalen Institute and Bayview Inn plus Hearst Castle tours and beautiful products from Annie Glass, Artisans Gallery, and EcoGoods. Live auction items include

  • A week at the beautiful Nihi Kai Villas on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, rated in the Top 10 2010 Vacation Villas by Islands Magazine
  • A three-night stay in a gorgeous cabin in Tahoe Donner
  • A private plane ride from Jeremy Lezin, who will take winners from Watsonville up to the San Francisco Bay, stopping for lunch in Half Moon Bay
  • Dinner and drinks at the Aptos home of Rowland & Pat Rebele, with some of the best wines from Santa Cruz County and after-dinner entertainment
  • Tickets to the sold-out April 16th Santa Cruz Derby Girl bout, including private side-entrance, seat-service from Derby Girls, and limited edition merchandise
  • A gourmet dinner for 8 prepared by Santa Cruz Sentinel food columnist Donna Maurillo at the Scotts Valley home of art collector Dorothy Wise

The Homeless Services Center is a community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals that will enable our clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.