Tag Archives: Los Gatos

Manresa Bread in Los Gatos now ships nationwide

Manresa Bread now ships across the U.S. Photo credit: Manresa Bread

Manresa Bread now ships across the U.S.
Photo credit: Manresa Bread

Fans of Los Gatos-based Manresa Bread who live outside the Bay Area are now in luck: starting Nov. 22—just in time for Thanksgiving—the bakery will ship its artisan bread anywhere in the Continental U.S. The web site manresabread.com is already accepting orders.

In addition to bread, customers can order items like coffee from Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters  (served at both retail locations, Los Gatos and Los Altos) plus granola and limited edition Manresa Bread coffee mugs. Orders are baked fresh, packed, and shipped on Tuesday of each week to arrive at people’s homes via 2-day, or less, shipping. Deliveries include information on how to store and rewarm the bread so guests can enjoy the product as if they picked it up that day from the bakery.

Manresa Bread was conceived by Head Baker and Partner Avery Ruzicka in the kitchen of Chef David Kinch’s three Michelin-star Manresa restaurant. Using high quality, artisanal products, a carefully selected variety of produce and dairy are mixed with house-milled grains, salt, and water to create an assortment of naturally fermented sourdough breads.

“We started with a small stand at our local farmer’s market and as we’ve continued to evolve we’ve realized there’s a demand for our breads on a national level,” says Ruzicka. “We tested a lot of options and this shipment method is the best way for us to ensure that the quality is preserved while it’s en route to our customers who can’t visit in-person.”
All orders ship on Tuesday of each week and include the customer’s choice of four loaves of bread ($40, not including shipping). Here are some bread highlights:

Manresa Levain
Organic white and edison flour. 90% hydration. 3% salt. Naturally fermented

Pumpernickel Buckwheat Rye
House-milled pumpernickel meal, fermented rye berries, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted buckwheat. Naturally fermented

Fruit & Nut Loaf
Organic bread / hard red spring / edison / durum flours. Dates, pumpkin seeds, walnuts.
Naturally fermented

Whole Wheat
House-milled einkorn, hard red spring, edison wheats. Pinch of organic white flour.
Naturally fermented

Pullman Loaf
Organic White Flour. Fresh Yeast.

See manresabread.com for more information.

Retail shops:

Flagship Los Gatos location: 276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, 408-402-5372

Second location, Palo Alto: 271 State Street, Palo Alto, 650-946-2293

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Manresa Bread in Los Gatos adds espresso bar and more bakery space

Manresa Bread recently added 200 square feet of bakery space and an espresso bar Photo credit: Stephanie McKinnie

Manresa Bread recently added 200 square feet of bakery space and an espresso bar
Photo credit: Stephanie McKinnie

Manresa Bread in Los Gatos has expanded its bakery space and added a full beverage program including an espresso bar, which is open as of Oct. 1. The new offerings feature Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters, and include espresso drinks, fresh brewed coffee, and cold brew. Guests can also enjoy hot chocolate, Chico Chai Tea (out of Chico, California), and kefir on tap.

“Our guests have been asking for these changes for quite some time. We are excited we’re in a position now where we can expand into the adjacent space and offer an experience that’s more than just grab-and-go,” says Avery Ruzicka, Partner/Head Baker at Manresa Bread.

Inspired by the delicious success of the bread program at the three-Michelin-star restaurant Manresa, Manresa Bread opened its first retail storefront last year in Los Gatos and offers hand-crafted, small batch breads and pastries.

The retail shop stocks a rotating selection of breads and sweet and savory pastries. Weekly staples include Manresa Levain, Sourdough Baguette, Edison Whole Wheat Flax, Brioche, Monkey Bread and Croissant (Plain, Almond, Pain au Chocolat). Seasonal items include Pumpernickel Buckwheat Rye, Fruit and Nut Loaf, Polenta Cake, Tea Cakes, Quiche and Tartines.

Hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily (or earlier if they sell out). A second retail space, located in downtown Los Altos, opened in June and has the same hours.

Manresa Bread is also available at the Campbell and Palo Alto farmers’ markets on Sundays and the Portola Valley market on Thursdays. Manresa Bread pastries are featured at Verve Coffee Roasters  locations in Santa Cruz.

With the expansion, Aevan Balan joins the Manresa Bread team as Lead Barista. A Bay Area native, Aevan first learned about coffee when he started working at Yahoo!, as a Lead Barista and Mentor as a way to make ends meet while going to college. He later became a Coffee Specialist at Yahoo!, working exclusively with Verve Coffee Roasters, training directly with the Verve team.

Flagship Los Gatos location, opened 2015:

276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, 408-402-5372

 

Second location, Palo Alto, opened June 2016:

271 State Street, Palo Alto, 650-946-2293

 

See manresabread.com for more information.

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Pre-order Thanksgiving food in Santa Cruz county and Los Gatos

Pumpkin pie from ManresaBread, available for pick up in Los Gatos or Santa Cruz Photo credit: ManresaBread

Pumpkin pie from ManresaBread, available for pick up in Los Gatos or Santa Cruz
Photo credit: ManresaBread

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and there are many stores, bakeries and caterers that can help you with prepared food options. These include New Leaf Community Market; see comprehensive article on their offerings  or visit store web site.

ManresaBread is offering advance orders for select items through their website available for pickup. Orders are required 48 hours in advance, and can be placed until November 23 for Thanksgiving (pick up November 25, the day before Thanksgiving). Pre-order a selection of breads, pies, sweet/savory pastries and more for pick up at the 276 N. Santa Cruz Avenue location in Los Gatos. Santa Cruz area residents can also pick up at PopUp (1108 Pacific Avenue) the day before Thanksgiving. Seasonal selections include pumpkin loaf, apple galette, pain d’Epices, and pumpkin pie.

The last day for Thanksgiving orders at Companion Bakeshop is Saturday, Nov. 21. Seasonal items available for pre-order include biscotti, pies such as pecan bourbon, Meyer lemon buttermilk pie, apple, pumpkin, and walnut (the latter two have gluten-free options), chocolate tartlets, maple bacon biscuits, and squash/herb galettes. Call (831) 252-2253 for more information.

The meat and seafood department at Staff of Life has lots of Thanksgiving offerings including pre-orders of organic turkey from Heidi’s Hens, pork crown roast, loin roast, grass-fed and finished prime rib, lamb crown roast. Other selections include Dungeness crab from Washington, seafood platters, and take-and-bake entrees.

Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola has pre-ordering available for a la carte items or packages. However, orders for complete dinners with a Diestel whole or half turkey are now closed (they sold out of pre-orders). They are still offering these dinners but with sliced turkey breast. Vegetarian options such as kale and wild rice stuffed acorn squash (with apricots, cranberries, and more) and butternut squash & carrot ginger soup are also available. Plus, they of course feature their famous bread plus a huge range of desserts such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake or shimmering pumpkin princess (chocolate cake, raspberry jam, pastry cream, chocolate whipped cream, with a pumpkin-shaped shell and a dusting of gold).

For the catering company Lifestyle Culinary Arts, orders must be in by 8 p.m. Nov. 21 and they can be picked up at the Food Lounge at 1001 Center St.; email chef Andrea Mollenauer at andrea@lifestyleculinary.com or call (831) 588-4515 to place order. See menu at Lifestyle’s Facebook page. Selections include whole cider-brined turkeys (stuffed with apples, onions, citrus, herbs), stuffed boneless turkey breast (white meat, ready to roast), and signature cranberry chutney (tart & sweet with a hint of ginger). For sides that will complement Lifestyle’s offerings, chef Andrea recommends Local Harvest Catering. Selections include sweet potato mash, green beans with caramelized onions and toasted pecans, and butternut squash/persimmon soup. See full menu at their Facebook page. Customers need to email orders to chef@localharvestcatering.com by Friday, Nov. 20, and Local Harvest orders can be picked up on Wed. Nov. 25th at Front Street Kitchen. For questions, call chef Denna at (831) 818-8482.

Emily’s Bakery offers items like stuffing, dinner rolls, cakes, and pies (the latter come in flavors like chocolate pecan, pumpkin, and apple). Customers need to place orders by Friday, Nov. 20. Call (831) 429-9866 for more information.

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

Second Los Gatos restaurant coming soon from Manresa’s David Kinch

Chef David Kinch is opening a new restaurant this fall Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos

Chef David Kinch is opening a new restaurant this fall
Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos

Fans of David Kinch’s cooking have a reason to celebrate: the owner/chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Manresa is opening New Orleans-inspired The Bywater this fall.

This is the first casual bar and eatery for Kinch, who is opening The Bywater with partner Andrew Burnham. Located minutes from Manresa, the space is named for The Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, the city where Kinch grew up and got his start in the culinary industry. Chef David Morgan, formerly of August in New Orleans and Cyrus in Healdsburg, will serve as Chef de Cuisine. Burnham worked with Morgan at Cyrus.

The Bywater will pay tribute to the city where Kinch fell in love with cooking. “The Bywater is the kind of place where I would want to go after work or hang out on my day off,” said Kinch. “It’s casual, eclectic, and brings a bit of the food, drink, and atmosphere of New Orleans to this part of Northern California– music and all.”

The menu will showcases classic French and New Orleans-inspired dishes as well as Southern staples including fried green tomatoes. Kinch promises “Louisiana classics prepared with Manresa and California sensibilities.” Also, there will be a centerpiece raw bar offering a rotating selection of oysters, clams, and crabs.

Kinch visited New Orleans this summer to tape his appearance on PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef”(which debuts in a few days, incidentally). While there, he spent some time with his friend and fellow chef John Besh—I noticed he Tweeted about learning about gumbos with Besh, so I asked Kinch if the visit included any specific menu planning. “Having grown up in New Orleans, a lot of the dishes on the menu are inspired from my time there,” replied Kinch. “However, when I was in New Orleans recently filming, I met up with John. We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but John and I did cook some dishes that may end up on The Bywater menu.”

Members of The Bywater’s cocktail team have experience from venues including Trick Dog, Kin Khao, Rickhouse and ABV. The drink menu will include New Orleans cocktails such as the Sazerac, Gin Fizz, and Milk Punch.  There will be a full menu of spirits with a special emphasis on American whiskey, bourbon, and rye with some French brandies in the mix.  There will also be a frozen daiquiri machine and a selection of cocktails on tap. In addition, beer and wine will be served.

Visitors to The Bywater can choose from a variety of seating options including a 10-seat bar, a 30-seat dining room, and an outdoor patio in the rear. The atmosphere will feature New Orleans design accents such as shutters and vintage neon signs.

The Bywater’s future details:
532 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, open daily for lunch and dinner & open on Sat-Sun for brunch

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Manresa inspires Los Gatos bread venue: products also available at Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz

Handcrafted, small batch products from ManresaBread  Photo credit: Joyce Oudkerk Pool

Handcrafted, small batch products from ManresaBread
Photo credit: Joyce Oudkerk Pool

ManresaBread opened its first retail storefront a couple weeks ago; inspired by the bread program at the two-Michelin-star restaurant Manresa, ManresaBread in Los Gatos offers hand-crafted, small batch breads and pastries by Manresa head baker Avery Ruzicka.

The hours are currently Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (or earlier if they sell out). The venue will eventually be open daily.

On March 1, Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters began providing customers with the opportunity to purchase ManresaBread pastries and breads at their three retail Santa Cruz/Capitola locations. As you may recall, ManresaBread was available in Santa Cruz via POPUP last fall.  ManresaBread continues to be available at the Campbell and Palo Alto farmers markets on Sundays.

Co-founded by Ruzicka, partner and Manresa chef/owner David Kinch and partner Andrew Burnham, the company will look to expand to other retail locations in the South Bay and eventually online sales. “Avery took the bread program at Manresa to the next level and being able to share that outside of the restaurant happened naturally for us,” says Partner David Kinch. “We grew from one to two farmers’ markets to the Santa Cruz popup and a brick and mortar was the next step. We’re excited to start out with a smaller scale retail space in Los Gatos and see where we go from there.”

ManresaBread focuses on hands-on techniques and high-quality ingredients. The retail shop stocks a rotating selection of breads and sweet and savory pastries including Manresa Levain, Sour Baguette, Pumpernickel Rye, Fruit and Nut Loaf, Polenta Whole Wheat, Red Fife Whole Wheat, Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake, Caramelized Apple Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Chocolate Brioche, Kale and Parmesan Scones, and more.

Ruzicka has a degree from the French Culinary Institute and experience working with Master Baker Ben Hershberger of Per Se Restaurant and Bouchon Bakery. “I love the whole process  of working with bread – cultivating the starter, tweaking a recipe, working with the dough, and using all of my senses to gauge if it’s time to bake,” he says.

Location: 276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., downtown Los Gatos, 408-402-5372

To follow ManresaBread on Twitter, see twitter.com/ManresaBread.
To follow me, see twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.

Michelin-star-winning-Manresa at weekly Santa Cruz pop-up with bread, pastries

An assortment of creations from Manresa Bread Project. Photo credit: ManresaBread on Twitter

An assortment of creations from Manresa Bread Project.
Photo credit: ManresaBread on Twitter

Breaking news: Manresa Bread, which had its first appearance at POPUP in Santa Cruz this summer, will be at POPUP every Wednesday through the end of 2014, starting today, Oct. 22. A diverse and delectable selection of breads and pastries will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until products sell out.
Highlights may include Manresa levain, polenta sour dough, monkey bread, curry squash streusel muffins, cinnamon raisin loaf, hazelnut brown butter cake, onion gruyere tarts, sesame flax sourdough, and pecan sticky buns.

These POPUP appearances supply bread- and pastry-loving Santa Cruzans with some unique offerings, while simultaneously enabling Manresa Pastry Chef Stephanie Prida and baker Avery Ruzicka (consulting for Manresa Bread) to create an abundance of sweet and savory treats.

Manresa Bread is also currently available at the Campbell and Palo Alto farmers markets on Sundays.  The Manresa Bread Project began in 2013, led by Prida and Ruzicka, who was head baker at Manresa Restaurant at that time.

As you may know, back in July there was a major fire at the Michelin-star-winning Los Gatos restaurant Manresa, causing it to close for a few months. So this is actually the only way to get anything “Manresa-related” at the moment. If you’re missing David Kinch, you can see him at Bookshop Santa Cruz next Monday at 7 p.m. at a free event, in conversation with renowned New York pastry chef Brooks Headley (of Del Posto, New York City’s only four-star Italian restaurant) to celebrate Headley’s new cookbook “Fancy Desserts.”

Unfamiliar with POPUP? It’s a small downtown Santa Cruz storefront right next door to restaurant Assembly, on 1108 Pacific Ave. near Cathcart. Chef Kendra Baker and partner Zachary Davis—the team behind Assembly, The Picnic Basket, and The Penny Ice Creamery—host rotating food vendors in this space.

Baker is the former executive pastry chef at Manresa, where she worked for executive chef/owner David Kinch. Now Kinch’s Manresa Bread is being hosted by Baker and POPUP. It all comes full circle!

Baker and Davis launched their pop-up spot in April. Although most vendors appear only on occasion, not on a weekly basis, chef Noah Kopito and his Mortal Dumpling business have proven so popular that they are regulars. On Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can select from steamed buns and honey glazed baked BBQ buns, and they usually offer one entrée with rice.

  • For more info on POPUP, see heypopup.com.
  • For more info on Mortal Dumpling, see mortaldumpling.com
  • To follow Manresa Bread Project on Twitter, see twitter.com/ManresaBread.
  • To follow me on Twitter, see twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.
  • For more on the Kinch/Headley event, see bookshopsantacruz.com.

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week Oct. 15-22: discount prix fixe 3-course dinners

 

Heirloom tomato salad from Village California Bistro & Wine Bar this summer; a similar salad is available during Silicon Valley Restaurant Week 2014. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page.

Heirloom tomato salad from Village California Bistro & Wine Bar this summer; a similar salad is available during Silicon Valley Restaurant Week 2014. Photo from the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week is Oct. 15-22, 2014. During this time more than 45 local restaurants – from Los Gatos, Downtown San Jose and San Jose’s Santana Row to Mountain View, Saratoga, and Palo Alto – are serving three-course gourmet dinners for $35-68 per person.

Special menus typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection for each course. Some way wonder why the prix fixe menu prices vary so greatly; event organizers explain this is because selected restaurants choose to serve larger portions, use more expensive ingredients, and/or want to showcase signature dishes.

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week began in 2009 as an annual event. It’s now held twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Restaurant reservations are recommended but not required.

For more information, and to see menus and prices for selected restaurants, visit the event web site at www.siliconvalleyrestaurantweek.com. The site is also searchable by cuisine and city, if you’re craving a particular kind of food or only want to travel a certain distance.

A few highlights:
At Saratoga’s Sent Sovi, Executive Chef/Owner Josiah Slone has designed a $35 menu with three choices each for the first two courses, and two choices for dessert. First-course choices include Lonely Mountain Farms fall squash soup. Entrée choices include Parisian-style gnocchi with fall vegetables and savory heirloom apples, and roasted trout stuffed with “herbs, alliums and lemons from Josiah’s backyard.” Dessert choices include red wine poached pears with Icelandic stout ganache.

LB Steak is offering different menus at its Santana Row and Menlo Park locations. Menlo Park costs $45, and Santana Row costs $65. The Santana Row menu has ahi tuna tartare (with fuyu persimmon, harissa, tahini lavash) and Wagyu beef carpaccio (olive, caper, and rosemary relish, plus Parmigiano Reggiano) included in the appetizer choices. Entrée selections such as porcini-crusted filet mignon or honey chipotle glazed beef shortribs or lemon/herb-crusted local swordfish, and desserts such as pumpkin parfait and apple tart round out the special menu.

More tidbits to whet your appetite:

• The Restaurant Week menu is $35 at Scott’s Seafood in San Jose. Dessert choices are pumpkin cheesecake and molten chocolate cake; entrée choices include pumpkin and prawn risotto.
Hult’s in Los Gatos has an intriguing $65 menu that’s divided into water, land, air, and earth. Selected dishes include oxtail wonton, 36-hour chicken breast (creamy potato puree, black truffle puree, pinenut-apricot-cranberry chutney), and octopus carpaccio.
Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Jose is serving a $45 menu. Entrée choices include filet mignon and honey-chili glazed salmon filet. Desserts include double chocolate mousse.
Village California Bistro & Wine Bar on Santana Row offers a $40 menu for Restaurant Week. Its four entrée choices are 38 North ‘Two-Way’ duck (seared breast and confit leg), wild Coho salmon (accompaniments include butternut squash risotto and bacon gastrique), braised all-natural lamb shank, and Creekstone Beef Wellington. Appetizer selections include late harvest heirloom tomato salad featuring shaved cucumber, green beans, and burrata (see photo above).

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On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

May 2 Santa Cruz dumpling pop-up plus Silicon Valley Restaurant Week

Food from LB Steak on Santana Row, a Silicon Valley Restaurant Week participant

Food from LB Steak on Santana Row, a Silicon Valley Restaurant Week participant

Here are details for two local culinary events:

First, a one-night dumpling pop-up in Santa Cruz Friday, May 2,  beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.
in downtown Santa Cruz next door to Assembly, from the folks who brought you The Penny Ice Creamery and The Picnic Basket.
Tonight’s event showcases food from “Mortal Dumpling.” The talented man behind this business is Chef Noah Kopito, who also cooks for Hidden Peak Teahouse. I have tasted his dim sum once before—including BBQ pork buns and sesame balls—and I highly recommend it! He also sells his food each Monday from 5:30-7:30  p.m. at Front St. Kitchen (504A Front). Visit Mortal Dumpling’s site for more info and see its regular Monday  menu.

If you haven’t heard of it, POPUP is a space that has rotating “curated food concepts and events” as stated on its web site heypopup.com. Since launching in April, POPUP has had 3 events: two food ones and one with nonprofit Walnut Ave Women’s Center.

Next, Silicon Valley Restaurant Week
The event started Wednesday, April 30 and lasts until May 7. More than 50 local restaurants – from Los Gatos, Downtown San Jose and San Jose’s Santana Row to Mountain View, Saratoga, and Palo Alto – are serving discounted three-course gourmet dinners.

Special menus are offered and typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection for each course. The SVRW menu prices do tend to vary; last fall, restaurants generally priced their meals between $35 and $65. This is because some choose to serve larger portions, use more expensive ingredients, and/or want to showcase signature dishes.

Silicon Valley Restaurant Week is held twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Restaurant reservations are recommended.  For more information, and to see menus and prices for selected restaurants, visit the event web site at siliconvalleyrestaurantweek.com.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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.

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Bay Area Valentine’s Day dining Part 3: San Jose area & Los Gatos restaurants

King crab, heart of Palm, uni mousse, passion fruit, bok choy at Alexander’s Steakhouse SV in November 2013. Credit: Alexander’s Steakhouse SV Facebook page

King crab, heart of palm, uni mousse, passion fruit, bok choy at Alexander’s Steakhouse SV in November 2013. Credit: Alexander’s Steakhouse SV Facebook page

It’s less than a week to Valentine’s Day 2014—here are some menu highlights for restaurants in San Jose and Los Gatos; soon I’ll publish a bit of info on Monterey & Santa Cruz.

If you are interested in other cities, see my menu highlights for San Francisco and the North Bay & East Bay.

San Jose Area

The Loft Bar and Bistro (Downtown San Jose) & Capers (Campbell)

Sister restaurants The Loft and Capers are offering special Valentine’s Day menus. Make reservations and get more information by calling 408.291.0677 (The Loft) or 408.374.5777 (Capers).

Alexander’s Steakhouse Silicon Valley (Cupertino)

Cozy up in Cupertino for a sumptuous 6-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings at Michelin-starred Alexander’s Steakhouse. The restaurant will offer dishes such as Butter Poached Maine Lobster with golden beets, vanilla, and fennel and Certified Angus Beef Prime Filet Mignon with parsnip, black trumpet duxelle, and bordelaise sauce. The dinner is $175 per person with optional wine pairings for an additional cost.

A Bellagio (Campbell)

Italian restaurant A Bellagio is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Dishes include Ravioli d’Argosta allo Champagne e Gamberetti (Ravioli stuffed w/ lobster, served w/ creamy Champagne sauce & bay shrimp) and Costolette D’Agnello (Roasted Rack of Lamb served over polenta w/ fresh green beans, finished in a black truffle & cognac demi-glace). Dinner is $75 per person and reservations can be made via OpenTable.com or by calling 408.370.7705.

Los Gatos

Dio Deka

Mediterranean restaurant Dio Deka is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner for Valentine’s Day. There will also be live music, memento photos, and long-stemmed roses at each table. Dinner is $95 per person and reservations can be made via OpenTable.com or by calling 408.354.7700.

The Lexington House

The Lexington House is the newest addition to the Los Gatos’ dining scene. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Philippe Breneman will offer dishes from the regular menu such as Diver Scallops basted in brown butter with winter squash, furikake and dashi, Chicken Liver Mousse with seasonal pickles on Watsonville sourdough and Llano Seco Pork Sugo Gnocchi with crispy artichoke served with a Gremolata egg. The Lexington House presents an ever-changing menu featuring unique Northern California food, classic, inspired cocktails, small batch spirits, craft beer, and limited production wine. For guests looking for something new and unique this Valentine’s Day, The Lexington House is a perfect way to celebrate in style. The Lexington House is a walk-in only restaurant but does consider reservations for larger groups of 6 or more by calling 408.354.1600.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.