Tag Archives: Los Gatos restaurants

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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Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: Santa Cruz area and Los Gatos

A dish from a past Sunday brunch at Hult’s (not part of their Mother’s Day brunch): pulled pork eggs Benedict with cheddar, slaw & bbq sauce

A dish from a past Sunday brunch at Hult’s (not part of their Mother’s Day brunch): pulled pork eggs Benedict with cheddar, slaw & bbq sauce

Dining out on Mother’s Day is a popular plan, so if you haven’t made reservations yet, better hurry: here are a few restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas and Los Gatos, plus a Manresa Bread box (pre-order for breakfast at home).

Also see:

Santa Cruz Area

Shadowbrook
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the usually-dinner-only Shadowbrook will open its doors at 11:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day. Reservations are available until 8:30 p.m. and customers must call 831-475-1511 (no online reservations accepted). The dinner menu will be served all day, and Mother’s Day specials will include spinach/gruyere quiche,  chicken Marsala, and 14 oz. Angus ribeye with lobster Bernaise.
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola

Chaminade
The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 9am-3pm; the price is $64.95 (adults), $18.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. Mother’s Day is the restaurant’s busiest day of the year; it always sells out. New executive chef Nicholas Church has created an extravagant menu including a savory seafood bar (including Dungeness crab legs), bourbon glazed honey ham with Jack Daniels glaze, prime rib, omelets made to order, and Belgian waffles with apple compote and fresh berries. Additional highlights: fresh fruit and vegetable medleys, chocolate fondue, and a sundae bar. The kids’ buffet features chicken strips and fries, mini pancakes, and mac and cheese. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings
Sanderlings at Seascape Resort has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $47.95 for adults (with a mimosa or a glass of champagne or sparkling cider) and $21.95 for kids 12 and under. Selections include a prime rib carving station; a fresh seafood bar; a salad assortment; fresh fruit; and baked breads. There will be special entrees for kids. Call (831) 662-7120 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos

Hollins House
Hollins House at Pasatiempo has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; the price is $65 (includes a glass of champagne). The menu will include made-to-order omelets; Applewood smoked bacon; a carving station with prime rib; Skuna Bay salmon; French toast bread pudding; a meat and chees board; and several gourmet salads. Desserts include crème brulee and carrot cake. Their more casual restaurant next door, MacKenzie Bar & Grill, will be serving an a la carte menu with brunch selections for adults (corned beef hash, eggs benedict, burgers, etc.) and kids (including eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches).
Call (831) 459-9177 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Los Gatos

Manresa Bread Mother’s Day Box
Pre-order breakfast for mom this Mother’s Day at Manresa Bread. The Mother’s Day Box includes two kale parmesan scones, two monkey breads, one bag of Manresa Bread almond granola, a 4 oz. jar of Big Sur marmalade, and an optional bag of Verve Street Level coffee. The Mother’s Day Box is available for pre-order on the Manresa Bread web site to pick up at Manresa Bread in Los Gatos. Pricing is $27 without coffee, $40 with coffee. The last day to pre-order is May 5.
276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos

Campo di Bocce
Campo di Bocce will offer a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; due to the popularity of the restaurant’s brunches, table reservations are limited to one hour. Food selections will include made-to-order omelets, a prime rib carving station, waffles and pancakes, sausage and bacon, fruit, pasta, salads, and strawberry crepes pastries. There are two prices: one for brunch only, and one for brunch and playing an hour of bocce. Adults are $34.95 without bocce and $47.45 with bocce; kids under 12 are $17.95 without bocce and $30.45 with bocce. Call (408) 395-7650 for reservations.
565 University Ave., Los Gatos

Dio Deka
Mediterranean/Greek restaurant Dio Deka will offer a special a la carte brunch menu. Selections will include Eggs Benedict, Strapatsada (baked eggs with tomato sauce, greens, chickpeas and Greek spices), Paithakia (mesquite-grilled boneless lamb-loin chops), and caramelized “Greek” toast with citrus-marinated strawberries. Call (408) 354-7700 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
210 E. Main St., Los Gatos

Hult’s Restaurant
Hult’s is serving a prix fixe brunch for $49, with reservations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers can select from two to five selections for each course. First course options include Swedish pancakes; main courses include chicken and waffles (sous vide fried chicken and cinnamon waffles plus bacon hash) and Eggs Benedict. Desserts include raspberry sorbet. Call (408) 354-3434 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
165 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd., Los Gatos

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz and nearby restaurant news highlights, Part 1 of 2

Dinner at Santa Cruz's Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant

Dinner at Santa Cruz’s Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant

Here is some restaurant news for Santa Cruz and other local areas. I haven’t published a roundup of restaurant news since June, so there’s a lot of information to share. I’ll be publishing part two in the next few days. I also wanted to remind my readers: if you have any food/restaurant/wine/culinary event news to share, please email me at tfatemi@gmail.com.

Openings
Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened a Capitola location in November, in the old Carl’s Jr. spot at Capitola Mall (1855 41st Ave.). Hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and you can reach the restaurant at (831) 475-1948. There are hundreds of Five Guys locations in the U.S., including approximately 100 in California. A Santa Cruz location is opening soon at 1101 Pacific Ave. in the old Taqueria Vallarta spot next to Mission Hill Creamery.

Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant opened in downtown Santa Cruz in August. I went the second day it opened; read my recap. I’ve been back many times since then and enjoyed more dishes such as the fun and tasty flaming cheese appetizer. Last time I split the grilled octopus appetizer with my sister and it was heavenly (a colleague of mine had recommended it, saying she has extremely high octopus standards and it’s the best she’s had in a long, long time). It’s very rich so I advise splitting it with at least one other person. Mozaic is at 110 Church St. off Pacific in the former Louie’s Cajun Grill location, (831) 454-8663. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun-Thurs and 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat.

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company opened in Scotts Valley in October. The family-owned-and-operated brewery produces small batches of craft beer in various styles such as stout and IPA. They usually have about seven beers on tap. Steel Bonnet is at 20 Victor Square, (831) 454-8429. They’re open from 4-8 p.m. Mon-Fri and 1-8 p.m. Sat-Sun.

Café Hanna opened in Scotts Valley in June. Husband-and-wife owners Adbeen and Jamie Karam serve what they call Greek fusion; selections include falafel sandwiches and spanakopita. According to the restaurant’s web site, all sauces and dressings are made in-house, including an olive oil-based hot pepper sauce. Falafel fritters are made from scratch with ground garbanzo beans and several dishes use the restaurant’s housemade yogurt. Café Hanna is at 5272 Scotts Valley Dr., (831) 708-8845. It’s open from 11 a.m. -7 p.m. Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun).

Sushi Garden opened its third location in Scotts Valley in August. The other restaurants are in Capitola and Watsonville.  The newest location is at 5600 Scotts Valley Dr. where Yamamori used to be. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. daily. You can contact them at (831) 438-9260.

Mandarin Gourmet opened in downtown Santa Cruz in October, in the old Little Shanghai location at 1010 Cedar St., (831) 458-2460. It’s open from 11 a.m. -9:30 p.m. Mon-Sat and 5-9 p.m. Sun.

Starbucks opened a new Santa Cruz location in October. It’s located at 21620 E Cliff Dr. Hours are 5 a.m. -10 p.m. Sun-Thurs and 5 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Fri-Sat.

Opening in the Future
The Bywater, from Santa Cruz resident David Kinch (owner/chef at Michelin-starred Manresa), will open in Los Gatos in January. Read my preview article.

Closings
Taqueria Vallarta at 1101 Pacific Ave. closed in October; the restaurant still has four locations (three in Santa Cruz and one in Felton).

Yamamori Sushi & Grill in Scotts Valley closed during the summer.

Little Shanghai closed at the end of June.

Changes

Lúpulo Craft Beer House expanded in October. Their new space includes a second dining room, which the existing bar wraps into, as well as a “pub” room in the back equipped with two large screen TVs, shuffleboard, and a stand up-piano for “Pianoman” nights. These rooms added extra seating for Lúpulo, plus there are now spaces available for private parties and meetings. Lúpulo’s menu remains the same: the food is a seasonal rotation of tapas and other selections designed for sharing, while the beer is 16 constantly rotating taps.

Santa Cruz Food Lounge: some pop-up tenants have changed schedules, or plan to in the near future. See below.
Ty’s Eatery: although they no longer offer pop-up dinner Wednesdays, they serve pop-up brunch every Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
LionFish SupperClub: they now serve pop-up dinner every Tuesday from 5-9p.m. (they used to only serve it every 2 weeks)
Mortal Dumpling: the Monday night pop-up dinner (5:30-9p.m.) will stop at the end of December

Follow me on Twitter @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.

Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, San Jose

A dish from earlier this year at Hollins House, as posted on their Facebook page February 24, 2015

A dish from earlier this year at Hollins House, as posted on their Facebook page February 24, 2015

Dining out on Mother’s Day is a popular plan, so if you haven’t made reservations yet, better hurry: here are a few restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, and San Jose.

Also see:
Mother’s Day menus for Monterey, Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove

Santa Cruz Area
Hollins House

Hollins House at Pasatiempo has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $75 for adults (includes champagne or mimosa) and $25 for kids 6-12 and under, inclusive of tax and gratuity. The menu will include made-to-order omelets featuring Glaum Ranch eggs and egg whites; duck fat hash browns; Applewood smoked bacon and Corralitos sausage; a carving station with items such as spice-rubbed NY Strip Steak with horseradish cream, veal demiglace, and cilantro pesto; seared Morro Bay swordfish with herb crust and lemon-ginger emulsion; asparagus with lemon and pancetta; and several gourmet salads (including red quinoa/padron/feta and roasted gold & red beets with goat cheese mousse). Other highlights include chocolate dipped strawberries, cupcakes and bourbon bread pudding.
Call (831) 459-9177 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Chaminade
The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day brunch buffet at Linwood’s Bar & Grill from 9am-3pm; the price is $55.95 (adults), $18.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. Mother’s Day is the restaurant’s busiest day of the year; it always sells out. Selections include bourbon glazed honey ham with Jack Daniels glaze; prime rib; a seafood bar with whole poached salmon, Dungeness crab legs, and smoked salmon; omelets made to order; and Belgian waffles with apple compote and fresh berries. Additional highlights: miniature sundried tomato/olive quiches, cheese ravioli (with porcini crème, fried leek, sauteed mushrooms), chocolate fondue, and a sundae bar. The kids’ buffet features chicken strips and fries, mini pancakes, and mac and cheese. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit chaminade.com or opentable.com for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings
Sanderlings at Seascape Resort has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $47.95 for adults and $21.95 for kids 12 and under. I dined there last year with my family and it was quite good, plus we sat outside and had a beautiful view. This year’s selections include a prime rib carving station; a fresh seafood bar; a salad assortment (last year’s included roasted beet-feta-arugula, spinach with avocado-walnuts, and Indian-spiced chickpea with cucumber and red onion); fresh fruit; and baked breads. Other highlights include desserts and a special kids’ menu. Call (831) 662-7120 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
One Seascape Resort Drive (at Seascape Beach Resort), Aptos

Los Gatos
Campo di Bocce

Campo di Bocce will offer a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; due to the popularity of the restaurant’s brunches, table reservations are limited to one hour. Food selections will include made-to-order omelets, a meat carving station, waffles and biscuits, sausage and bacon, fruit, pasta, salads, and homemade pastries. Campo di Bocce will also be serving $10 bottomless mimosas. There are two prices: one for brunch only, and one for brunch and an hour of bocce. Adults are $34.95 without bocce and $42.95 with bocce; kids 5-15 are $14.95 without bocce and $25.95 with bocce. Kids under 5 eat free. Visit campodibocce.com for details. Call (408) 395-7650 for reservations.
565 University Ave., Los Gatos

Dio Deka
The popular Mediterranean/Greek restaurant will offer a special a la carte brunch menu. Selections will include Eggs Benedict (traditional, or with smoked salmon or crab cakes), Strapatsada (eggs with tomato, feta, and Greek oregano), Paithakia (mesquite-grilled lamb chops), sirloin burger, and cinnamon “Greek” toast. Visit diodeka.com for details. Call (408) 354-7700 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
210 E. Main St., Los Gatos

Hult’s Restaurant
Hult’s is serving a prix fixe brunch for $39. Customers can select from two to three selections for each course. Three first course options include Swedish pancakes and Caprese salad; three main courses include North 38 Farm’s duck confit hash and Eggs Benedict. The two dessert choices are rum raisin bread pudding and fruit with sorbet. Visit hultsrestaurant.com for details. Call (408) 354-3434 or visit opentable.com for reservations.
165 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd., Los Gatos

San Jose
Fairmont San Jose

The Fairmont is serving a special Mother’s Day Buffet in its Fountain Restaurant from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The cost is $62 per adult and $31 per child 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. The buffet will include entrees such as Petaluma chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto and topped with mushrooms and saltimbocca sauce, and grilled Pacific salmon with strawberry-red onion salsa. Other highlights include starters such as sushi and a grilled baby octopus/cannellini bean/pancetta dish, an omelet station with organic eggs, a carving station, and Caesar salad with a 2-year-aged Parmesan wheel. See fairmont.com/san-jose for full menu or call (408) 998-3960 for reservations. There is also a more expensive brunch buffet at the hotel’s Imperial Ballroom.
170 South Market St, San Jose

Il Fornaio
Il Fornaio, located at The Saint Claire Hotel, is serving a Mother’s Day brunch buffet with complimentary champagne. The cost is $50 for adults and $20 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. Call (408) 271-3366 for reservations.
302 South Market St, San Jose
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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

Innovative cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos

Innovative cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos

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

Santa Cruz Area

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

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

Michael’s on Main
The Soquel restaurant is serving a fixed-price $55 four-course dinner with seatings from 5:30 – 9  p.m. Dinner includes a glass of champagne and New Year’s party favors. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. Appetizer choices include Corralitos sausage and blue cheese stuffed mushrooms; second course choices include lobster bisque. Entrees include salmon wellington and desserts include cheesecake infused with late harvest moscato.
2591 Main St., Soquel

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

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

Los Gatos Restaurants

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

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

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

New family-friendly Los Gatos restaurant Top This Pizza with personalized pies

Custom pizza at Top This Pizza in Los Gatos

Custom pizza at Top This Pizza in Los Gatos

I had the opportunity to dine at the recently opened Los Gatos restaurant Top This Pizza a few days ago. I recommend it for a casual, fast, and inexpensive lunch or dinner.

It was definitely delicious and I plan to return. While it wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life, it was a nice-sized meal and extremely affordable. What a fun concept: design your own 10-inch pizza with unlimited toppings, and it’s only $8! Unless you choose gluten-free crust, in which case it’s $2 more.

After finding the unassuming storefront in the middle of a strip mall, I entered the small restaurant and walked up to the counter. Eager, friendly young staff instantly greeted me and explained how the process worked. I could choose from a few pre-designed combinations, or I could create my own. Reviewing the menu, I was intrigued by creations like “Brandon’s BBQ” with BBQ sauce, cheese, grilled garlic chicken, bacon, red onion, and cilantro. I decided on Leo’s Chickenlicious with pesto, buffalo mozzarella, garlic chicken, roasted red peppers, fresh garlic, and shaved parmesan. Then I added sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts for a twist. The price was still $8, even if I’d wanted to add several more toppings. I chose to sit inside (there are also a few outdoor tables), and my pizza was ready about 3 minutes later due to their 800-degree “Big Bertha” pizza oven. I greatly enjoyed it; for folks wondering about crust style, it had a “flatbread”-type quality. I also got to taste a few other combinations that my family ordered. Alejandra’s Hot Mess, which includes jalapenos, gorgonzola, and a buffalo wing sauce drizzle, was very good. I also really loved the spicy red sauce that my husband chose for his pizza.

There is a huge range of choices in terms of cheeses (from traditional types to pepper jack), sauces (alfredo, pesto, red/tomato, spicy red), meats, veggies, and what they call “drizzles” (ranch and more) and “finishers” (that’s where my sundried tomatoes were listed). Salads and soft drinks are also available. All in all, it’s a clever idea that allows many choices within a fast-food-type context.

Another note: they have a great online method to take care of those “group lunches” in your office where there’s always that one person that doesn’t chip in enough. You go to the web site, and each person designs their own pizza & pays with their own debit or credit card. When everyone has ordered, someone hits “send” and the whole order will be ready for one person to pick up. Genius!

Husband and wife Jerry and Yovette Raymond opened Top This in October. “Our family loves coming together for pizza night,” says Yovette. “But we always had the same problem. Everyone wanted different toppings and crusts and sauces and such.” That’s no longer a problem, for the Raymonds or other nearby families. They plan to open two more locations in the next few months, starting with San Jose.

Two of the Raymonds’ sons, Brandon and Tyler, work at the restaurant. They also have a son Michael, daughter-in-law Alejandra, and dog Leo (who’s considered one of their kids), all with namesake pizzas at Top This. Even Leo’s dog-friend Minnie has her own pizza!

Top This Pizza is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Stay in touch with the new restaurant via its Facebook page.

Location: 15466 Los Gatos Blvd. #110 (in the same plaza as Trader Joe’s), Los Gatos (408) 884-8253

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Last-minute Father’s Day restaurants in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos

Lamb meatballs at Dio Deka in Los Gatos

Lamb meatballs at Dio Deka in Los Gatos

Father’s Day is Sunday – some restaurants in the Santa Cruz and Los Gatos areas are fully booked, especially since it’s also graduation weekend at UCSC – but others are still available. Below are a few that offer reservations via OpenTable.com.

A couple places worth mentioning that don’t take online reservations (you need to call for availability) are Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos and Dio Deka in Los Gatos. Bittersweet (831-662-9799) is serving Father’s Day dinner specials including several $15 steaks such as Top Sirloin with gorgonzola cabernet demi-glace, crispy onion rings, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus, or New York Steak with cabernet demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, and sauteed garlic spinach. Dio Deka (408-354-7700) is serving special Father’s Day brunch items including Dio Deka Steak & Eggs with grilled prime filet mignon, poached eggs and sauce béarnaise; Keftethakia lamb meatballs, blistered grapes, Kalamansi yogurt and a light herb-broth; and Zambonopita – a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with Virginia smoked ham, green onion, feta, Kasseri and ricotta cheeses. Dio Deka is also open for regular dinner service that evening.

BRUNCH

As of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14, the following restaurants (listed alphabetically) still had selected Father’s Day brunch reservations available. Call or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

  • Aquarius (831) 460-5012
  • Café Mare (831) 458-1212
  • Chocolate the Restaurant (831) 427-9900
  • El Palomar (831) 425-7575
  • Hoffman’s Bistro (831) 420-0135
  • Lago Di Como (831) 454-8257
  • Laili (831) 423-4545
  • Main St. Garden & Café (831) 477-9265
  • Oak Tree Ristorante (831) 335-5551
  • Solaire Restaurant & Bar (831) 600-4545

DINNER

As of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14, the following restaurants still had selected Father’s Day dinner reservations available.

Eight out of the 10 restaurants listed above in “Brunch” are ALSO available for selected dinner reservations (El Palomar and Main St. are not). In addition, the four below are available for dinner. Please call restaurant directly or make reservations through OpenTable.com:

  • Johnny’s Harborside (831) 479-3430
  • la Posta (831) 457-2782
  • Michael’s on Main (831) 479-9777
  • Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant (831) 423-2020

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

 

 

Three Mediterranean food recipes from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Lamb chops from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Lamb chops from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Looking for another way to celebrate National Mediterranean Diet Month? How about cooking your own Mediterranean food? Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka has graciously shared 3 recipes. If you missed my article on Dio Deka and a few other Mediterranean Bay Area dining spots, including ones in Santa Cruz, Carmel, and San Francisco, you can read it here. That article features a photo of Dio Deka’s Greek spreads including tzatziki, which you can make with the easy recipe below.

Unfamiliar with Dio Deka? It was awarded its first Michelin star in 2010, one year after Jeff Fitzgerald became chef de cuisine. The chef greatly enjoys creating dishes that blend fresh ingredients with Greek flavors. “California and Greece have very similar climates, so it’s easy to work with our amazing local farmers and purveyors to create our interpretation of Greek cuisine,” Chef Jeff says of marrying the two cultures. “It’s all about respecting the traditions of Greece while at the same time using the most seasonal ingredients from close to home.” And now you can create a few Dio Deka selections at your own home! If you want to visit the restaurant itself, it’s at 210 E. Main Street in Los Gatos, (408) 354-7700.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

 

RECIPES

 

Dio Deka Lamb Chops

Ingredients

¼ cup minced shallot

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp garlic powder

¼ cup salt

2 Tbsp black pepper

3 Tbsp chopped rosemary

3 Tbsp chopped thyme

2-3 racks of lamb chops

Directions

  1. Combine first eight ingredients in a bowl
  2. Add lamb chops and let sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator
  3. Grill until they reach desired doneness – for medium, cook to an internal temperature of 135˚F

 

Dio Deka Tzatziki

Ingredients

2 quarts of drained Greek yogurt

1 bunch of chopped dill

3 tbsp of minced garlic
3 tbsp of lemon juice

3 tbsp of red wine vinegar

2 cups of finely diced cucumber

1 tbsp of ground black pepper

Salt to taste

 

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a rubber spatula
  2. Enjoy!

 

Dio Deka Tirosalata Dip

 

Ingredients

1 jalapeno – use half raw and half grilled (seeds and all)

4 cups of feta cheese

1 Tbsp of distilled white vinegar

3 Tbsp of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 Tbsp of Greek yogurt

 

Directions

  1. Add jalapeno and cheese into a food processor and blend until smooth and incorporated
  2. Slowly add in EVOO, incorporate yogurt and vinegar until smooth
  3. Serves best when chilled slightly

 

Fun pairing: Serve with lamb sweetbreads