Tag Archives: local

Santa Cruz celebrates Food Day: events at farmers market and Charlie Hong Kong

Pledge to “eat real” for Food Day 2012

Wednesday, Oct. 24 is Food Day in Santa Cruz, and there are a couple local events occurring.

Food Day is simultaneously an annual nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. People are urged to “eat real;” the goal is to build a movement of Americans who want “healthy, affordable, and delicious food produced in a sustainable and humane way. Last year was the inaugural Food Day, and included more than 2,300 events in all 50 states. Read more at the Food Day website and the Food Day Facebook page.

At 5 p.m. at the Wednesday Downtown Farmers Market (Cedar and Lincoln Streets), Mayor Don Lane is reading a proclamation declaring Oct. 24, 2012 as “Food Day Santa Cruz.” Right before his reading there will be a press conference about Proposition 37 (regarding the labeling of GMOs) with several farmers from the market. The conference was organized by Pesticide Watch. The proclamation’s highlights include mentions of the town’s natural food grocery stores (and the fact that they accept SNAP/food stamps), our many handcrafted artisan food purveyors committed to using local products from organic farms, UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and CASFS’ farm apprentice program, and many restaurants being awarded “The Golden Carrot” for serving healthy options.

At the Santa Cruz restaurant Charlie Hong Kong (1141 Soquel Ave at Seabright), on Oct. 24 at lunchtime customers can get their photos taken holding a flyer that says “I EAT REAL” (after signing the flyer). Owner Carolyn Rudolph is sending these photos to folks who will attach them to the petition that the Real Food Movement will present to Congress.  Also, CHK is handing out free samples of coconut rice pudding all day (until they run out), as a gift to customers for eating healthy, sustainable, affordable, fair food.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Organic farm dinner benefits Watsonville’s Live Earth Farm’s education program

Food from a previous Dig! dinner at Live Earth Farm

Live Earth Farm is hosting its fourth annual Dig! farm dinner in the fields to benefit LEFDP (Live Earth Farm Discovery Programs). The event features local chefs including Jonathan Miller (a popular chef at local school Let’s Cook! as well as a private chef and caterer), plus several farmers and artisans. The program is from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, September 22. Tickets are $150 and include food and wine. Purchase tickets online or make a donation of any amount to LEFDP, even if you can’t make the event.

The evening starts with appetizers and a tour of Live Earth Farm given by Tom Broz, the head of the family that operates the farm. Then there will be a four-course dinner — which includes wine from Storrs Winery, Birichino, Pleasant Valley Vineyards, Zayante Winery, and Cima Collina –followed by dessert which takes place in a renovated redwood barn. Another fun component of the event is a silent auction with lots of locally themed prizes such as a gift certificate for a workshop by fabulous food preservationists Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

The nonprofit education organization LEFDP teaches local youth about sustainability, organic agriculture, community, and the environment through farm visits, summer programs, workshops, and other hands-on activities. Over the course of 2012, LEFDP will support a diverse group of approximately 1,500 students, including low-income individuals from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey counties.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Spots available for Friday’s Farm to Table Beer Dinner at Chaminade in Santa Cruz

A previous Farm To Table Dinner at Chaminade in Santa Cruz

As of Thursday evening, there were still a few spots available for the September 14 Farm to Table Beer Dinner at Santa Cruz’s Chaminade Resort & Spa; see menu below. For reservations, call (831) 475-5600 – but act fast, these events are usually sell-outs.

The September 14 event is part of the 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner Series. The Friday evening series began on June 1 and lasts until October. Usually the dinners highlight ingredients from local farms and wine from the Monterey Bay region but this particular evening’s beverage specialty is beer from local Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. For the September 14 menu, Executive Chef Beverlie Terra is incorporating fresh products from Route 1 Farms, Corralitos Honey, Seven Cats Farm, and Rebecca King’s Garden Variety Cheese.

The cost is $80 per person plus tax and gratuity, and this includes a five-course gourmet meal plus endless beer. A 6 p.m. reception features beer and appetizers. Dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to ask questions about the food and drinks; usually a few farmers and local vintners (or brewers, in this case) will be in attendance.


Reception appetizers
Lamb sausage bites
Heirloom tomato soup sips
Bison mini burgers
Cheese and honey spoons
Heirloom tomato pizzette
English pea crostini

Crisp pork belly with fig agrodolce
Creamy polenta

1st Course
Dandelion greens, kale, roast beets, heirloom tomato
Concasse, feta and roast pear salad

2nd Course
Beer can chicken
Roast vegetables and potatoes

Vanilla bean yogurt panna cotta
Golden raspberries and honeycomb candy

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

The Details
Farm to Table Dinner (sixth in series of seven)
September 14, 2012
6 p.m. reception, 6:30 p.m. dinner
Terrace Patio at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz 95065
(831) 475-5600
$80 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

Taste of the Harbor: Santa Cruz restaurants benefit O’Neill Sea Odyssey

Fresh fish featured in a delightful dish at Johnny’s Harborside, one of many restaurants participating in Taste of the Harbor 2012

The fifth annual “Taste of the Harbor” on Tuesday September 11 offers food and wine from Santa Cruz restaurants and benefits O’Neill Sea Odyssey through the Intero Foundation.

The event, hosted by Intero Real Estate Services at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, is from 4:30 p.m. to sunset and includes a raffle and live auction plus live music by The Original Substitutes. Advance reservations are $49 per person, or pay $55 at the door.

Participating restaurants include several at the harbor – Café El Palomar, The Kind Grind, Aldo’s, Johnny’s Harborside, and The Crow’s Nest – plus others such as Aquarius and Hula’s. For more information visit event web site.

O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) was founded in 1996 by surfer Jack O’Neill, who created a unique, hands-on program aboard a boat in the Monterey Bay (follow-up programs are held in an education center that’s on land). Central California kids in the 4th-6th grades participate and learn about topics including marine science and conservation. OSO has served more than 60,000 students so far with this free community program.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Seasonal, tasty Santa Cruz food is the star at benefit for FleaHab

A September 1 fundraiser benefiting the nonprofit organization FleaHab will feature a diverse selection of tasty and seasonal food from various Santa Cruz businesses. See end of article for details on food.

Catering company DeVine Pairings is donating its time to the FleaHab fundraiser on September 1

The mission of FleaHab is to integrate exercise and a healthy lifestyle into the recovery process for those afflicted with drug or alcohol addiction. Money raised will support the next phase in FleaHab’s approach to recovery, which is a sober living facility in Santa Cruz County. As founder Darryl “Flea” Virostko states, “FleaHab is a place where people who are recovering from addiction can live and get back to the healthy activities they enjoy. Activities include surfing, skateboarding, tennis, golf, biking, hiking, and camping. For those unfamiliar with Virostko, the world-famous surfer is a three-time Mavericks Champion who struggled with addiction in the past; he is now sober and giving back to his community.

The September 1 event is from 3-8 p.m. at a Santa Cruz residence (you must buy tickets ahead of time online). Tickets are $35 per person (or $50 with an autographed FleaHab t-shirt); children under 13 are free. Donations and ticket purchases are tax-deductible. The food at the party is being prepared by DeVine Pairings using seasonal ingredients donated by local businesses including Shopper’s Corner and Beckmann’s Bakery. Mobo Sushi has also donated some sushi that will be served at the fundraiser. The ticket price includes food plus wine.

Music will be performed by Singing Wood and the Vista Roots Band. Other highlights include a pool, kids’ activities, and a silent auction. Auction items include restaurant gift certificates, wine (including some donated by Santa Cruz Mountain Winery and Armida), art, box seats for the SF Giants, spa treatments, kayak rentals, and autographed Mavericks photos of Flea.


FleaBites (3-6 p.m.)
Shrimp Ceviche with avocado
Veggie Ragout with seasonal vegetables, herbs and feta finished with balsamic/ olive oil dressing, feta cheese and roasted seasoned pecans
Samosas filled with spiced potatoes, peas and onions.
Tomato Bruschetta with capers, basil, mozzarella and white truffle oil
Grilled Chicken Lettuce cups with sweet chili sauce, mushrooms and ginger
Assorted Sushi
Antipasto and Cheese

FleaBites (4-5:30 p.m.)
Mini Braised Meatball Subs with Ricotta Cheese
California Chicken Sliders with chipotle aioli
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sliders with fresh herbs and vinaigrette dressing
Antipasto and Cheese

FleaBites (6:30-8 p.m.)
Chocolate Fountain with seasonal fruit, marshmallows, pound cake
Coffee Bar
Cheese and fruit plate

Heart of Technology is hosting the event. The San Jose-based non-profit organization advocates fundraising to improve local communities. Heart of Technology founder Jim Hogan says, “At the heart of technology are people with passion for innovation and positive change. Our support of FleaHab and its sober living environment is about harnessing that innovative spirit to beyond code and silicon, and affect change that not only betters individual lives, but the overall community to help it remain strong and continue to thrive.”

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

H&H Fresh Fish provides sustainable seafood to Santa Cruz and Greater Bay Area

Dish with H&H Fresh Fish

Seabass from H&H Fresh Fish cooked by the author with spinach, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, bacon, and more

Santa Cruz-based H&H Fresh Fish offers sustainable seafood to customers in Santa Cruz and the Greater Bay Area. Folks can choose to get their extremely fresh fish via many methods; the main two are by making a weekly commitment and signing up for a subscription or by visiting a farmers’ market when the sustainable-seafood-craving strikes.

First, the weekly subscriptions:

These are similar to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The way H&H’s CSS (Community Supported Seafood) works?
Each week, members receive a cooler bag of sustainable fish by either 1) picking up the cooler at a designated drop-site or 2) having it delivered to their home or office. Members can choose between one or two meals per weekly delivery and can customize portions for exactly the number of servings they need.

I myself am a “one meal per week” subscriber and I receive a one-pound portion; the smallest size available is a single share for $10/week; this is approximately a half-pound. Recent fish I have savored include local halibut, local snapper, and local wild King Salmon. For the halibut, all I did was add olive oil and lemon and it was absolutely delectable. The week that I received the snapper, I made an easy and wonderful snapper taco recipe that H&H co-owner Heidi Rhodes had provided (the CSS started in June 2011 and at first members received hard copies of recipes each week; this process has now been streamlined into an online blog with recipes). In fact, I also used one of these online recipes with the salmon, creating a delicious cherry tomato salsa that complemented the fish perfectly. And just today (Tuesday, Aug. 21), I received local white seabass and used it to make a dish featuring ingredients like spinach, red onion, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and more (see photo above).

The CSS is available in many cities including Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Altos, and Los Gatos. To sign up, click here or go to http://csa.farmigo.com/join/hhfreshfish/css. If H&H’s CSS is not yet available in your city, click here to be put on a waiting list. The waiting list includes San Francisco.

If you pay ahead for a whole year instead of only paying for a month or half/full season (8 deliveries/16 deliveries), you receive a credit good at H&H’s online store. The amount of the credit depends on the portion size that you are reserving.

Next, the farmers’ markets:

H&H sells its sustainable, tasty fish at EIGHTEEN farmers’ markets each week (!). These include several in the Santa Cruz area, the Ferry Plaza and Stonestown in San Francisco, several in Oakland, plus Monterey, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto. Here is the full market schedule.

At the markets you’ll find both raw fish and ready-to-eat fish – the latter including smoked fish, Hawaiian-style poke, ceviche, oysters, and cooked Dungeness crab meat when in season.

Other information:

H&H seafood is now available as part of Westside bakery & café Companion Bakeshop’s menu on Thursday evenings. In July, Companion started “Taco Thursdays” from 5-8 p.m. by partnering with The Yam & Bean, a new personal chef and catering service. The Yam & Bean offers yam tacos and fresh fish tacos (featuring H&H fish), all made with handmade organic corn tortillas. You can eat your tacos inside the bakery, on the bakery patio outside, or next door at Odonata Wines. Learn about the experienced Y&B chef, David Stockhausen, here.

H&H would like to start doing weekly deliveries to offices in the South Bay. If you are interested and have an office with at least 10 people, email css@hhfreshfish.com or call (831) 461-1576.

As mentioned above, Heidi Rhodes is the co-owner of H&H. The other “H” is her life-and-business-partner Hans Haveman. Hans is a fisherman with decades of experience, and both Hans and Heidi are truly dedicated to providing local, sustainable and healthy seafood to all who desire it. They participate in many community events; just in the last few months they have brought their oyster bar to several beer and wine festivals and to an Edible Monterey Writers’ Dinner (the bar is also available for private catering events).

For more on the history of H&H, read my October 2011 overview article (note that the online form is out of date in that article; this article has current link).

Also visit H&H’s Facebook page for more info and photos.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Santa Cruz Restaurant Openings and Closings including Café Gratitude opening


Fresh fruit parfait from Cafe Gratitude

In Santa Cruz restaurant news, there have been a number of recent openings and closings, including the opening of vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude. Here are a couple highlights:

Closings: Asana Teahouse and Coldwater Grill (formerly Hawg’s) are no longer open.

Although the physical venue isn’t open anymore, Asana does still have tea and teaware available for purchase. Email asanateas@gmail.com to request the company’s current inventory and price list.

Openings: Organic, vegan Café Gratitude is now open in the former downtown Santa Cruz Asana site at 103 Lincoln (near Pacific). Look for a review in the coming weeks after I try their food, but for now I can tell you several details about the restaurant. It’s part of an eight-restaurant chain that includes two locations inside Whole Foods Markets. I look forward to tasting the food from Café Gratitude; I saw owners Terces and Matthew Engelhart speak three or four years ago at the now-closed bookstore Gateways. Even then, they spoke of wanting to open a Santa Cruz location of Café Gratitude and mentioned they have family here (Matthew Manzo, who serves as general manager of the new branch).

Santa Cruz’s Café Gratitude is open daily from 10am-10pm. There are other locations in San Francisco (the first branch, it opened in 2004), Oakland, Healdsburg, San Rafael, Cupertino, and Los Angeles (the most recent branch before Santa Cruz). The organic, vegan food it serves is free of refined sugar, flour, and additives.  View the restaurant’s menu; not all selections are available at every location. As you’ll notice when perusing the menu, items have unusual names that are affirmations. To receive a dish with almond hummus, olive tapenade, live falafels and more, you have to say “I am complete.” If you want Gratitude’s version of Macaroni and Cheese (zucchini noodles and sun-dried tomatoes in a cashew cheese sauce), say “I am comforted.”

Café Gratitude has long been known for a raw (or “live”) foods menu and has expanded to offer cooked foods in some locations.  Over 45% of Café Gratitude’s produce comes from its Be Love Farm. To learn more, visit the restaurant at 103 Lincoln Street, call (831) 427-9583, or visit cafegratitude.com.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie..




The Picnic Basket: New Santa Cruz restaurant from owners of Penny Ice Creamery

Earlier this summer, the folks behind organic Santa Cruz ice cream shop The Penny Ice Creamery opened The Picnic Basket, a restaurant that serves savory food from local providers as well as the infamous Penny ice cream that has countless fans.

As owners Kendra Baker and Zach Davis have promised, The Picnic Basket offers a seasonal menu from “local farmers, foragers, and artisans.” Menu items include breakfast selections such as egg frittata pressed sandwich ($8), Santa Cruz-based Companion Bakers’ scones ($2.50) or Companion toast served with local Plumline jam ($3).

Lunch/dinner selections at The Picnic Basket include the El Salchichero hot dog with Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut ($6), which I can personally recommend, Ricotta and beet panini with lemon, toasted walnut spread and greens ($7.50), and Rib King pulled pork sandwich with roasted tomatillos and house slaw ($10). There are a variety of sandwiches and salads and ingredients change depending on local and seasonal availability; for example, the ricotta and beet panini has appeared as the ricotta and asparagus panini. I recently enjoyed the Picnic Salad ($7.50) with Fogline Farms lemon roasted chicken, very thinly sliced summer squash, shaved Parmesan cheese, toasted croutons, and mixed greens. The flavor and texture combinations worked perfectly in this refreshing dish. Read more on Santa Cruz’s El Salchichero.

Side dishes include corn on the cob ($2) and spiced nuts ($3), and beverages include sparkling fruit sodas made on-site ($3), Verve coffee ($2.75), and – coming soon – a variety of local beer plus wine from Birichino (co-founder John Locke is the wine director at Soif). Desserts include ice cream, sorbet, popsicles, shakes, and ice cream sandwiches. Don’t miss ice cream happy hour: double scoop for the price of a single on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm (also good at original Penny Ice Creamery on Cedar Street).

If you want more background on the original Penny Ice Creamery — including its owners who just a year after opening Penny now run two popular Santa Cruz spots — read this article (since that article was published, the hours have changed: Penny is now open 7 days a week).

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

Picnic Basket Hours & Info

Hours: Daily 7am-midnight

125 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060

(831) 427-9946


el Salchichero butcher shop opens in Santa Cruz with local handmade charcuterie

The long-awaited el Salchichero butcher shop, operated by Chris LaVeque, opened Saturday in Santa Cruz at Swift Street Courtyard.

LaVeque’s mission is to provide “the best meat products using locally sourced, humanely raised animals.” Selections on opening weekend included pork, beef, rabbit, goat, lamb, and sausage (such as sweet Italian, breakfast links, and merguez), and prices on average were $10-20/pound. el Salchichero uses pasture-raised animals from N-A Ranch, Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Gleason Ranch, Claravale Farm, and Ratay Ranch. You can find out what’s fresh each week at the el Salchichero web site.

LaVeque has spent the last eight months working on his butcher shop, making sure everything met his high standards before he opened. Before that, you could find LaVeque selling his handcrafted charcuterie and traditionally butchered meats to loyal fans at several Santa Cruz area Farmers Markets, and participating in local events like the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Company’s Sausagefest. Now that the Westside Santa Cruz shop is open, el Salchichero is returning to the markets and will be selling products including sausages and bacon. Find el Salchichero at the Scotts Valley Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm (beginning February 19) and at the Live Oak Market on Sundays from 9am-1pm (beginning February 20).

What can you expect from el Salchichero in the future? The company plans to provide both food and education regarding locally and sustainably raised animals, and will utilize recipes that rotate depending on seasonal availability (LaVeque only uses local farm ingredients). Current ingredients include fire-roasted and dried chilies and produce from organic Lindencroft Farm in Ben Lomond.

LaVeque’s background includes a degree from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, an apprenticeship with Severino’s Community Butcher, an internship at renowned Los Gatos restaurant Manresa, and positions at local restaurants Cellar Door and Gabriella Cafe.

The Details

(831) 423-MEAT (6328)

402 Ingalls, Suite 5 (Swift Street Courtyard in Westside Santa Cruz)

Open 10am-7pm Tuesday-Sunday

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.