Tag Archives: Main Street Garden & Cafe

More Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights – March 2015

A couple weeks ago, I shared a few bits of restaurant news about venues in Santa Cruz and Aptos. There were a couple items that I meant to include, and then another item that I just learned, so I thought I’d do another post.

Meanwhile, if you missed the Feb 26 article, it’s here, and if you missed the recent news about ManresaBread (new Los Gatos location plus products available at Verve Coffee!), you can read that here.


La Gioconda opened on February 18. This is the former site of Main Street Garden & Café. In an email regarding the new business, the restaurant said that the new name reflects new Italian ownership, as “la Gioconda” means Mona Lisa. The owners also run pizzeria Tramonti in Santa Cruz’s Seabright neighborhood, and at La Gioconda they promise ‘Northern Italian contemporary cuisine, using 100% fresh and organic ingredients selected carefully from outstanding farmers, wineries, and food distributors.’ Dishes by Chef Luca Viara include zucchini soufflé, artichoke ravioli, and braised short rib ravioli. Learn more and see full menu at giocondarestaurant.com.

Location: 3101 N. Main St., Soquel, 831-477-9265


Thai Noodle House has closed, and At Thai Recipe took its place. The new restaurant opened February 13, and the chef has more than 20 years of experience. Dishes include seafood red curry with artichokes, spicy basil duck, pineapple fried rice, cashew chicken, grilled beef salad, and many vegetarian and vegan options. Flavored milk teas include taro, strawberry, almond/honey, and red bean, with or without boba. Their current web site is facebook.com/pages/At-Thai-Recipe/320456501485273.

Location: 2106A Mission St., Santa Cruz, 831-457-0238



In January, Cutesy Cupcakes expanded to a larger location in Scotts Valley and added frozen yogurt to its menu. The family-run business offers products including traditional, vegan, and gluten-free cupcakes. The original, smaller SV location had opened in December 2012. ALSO: the Cutesy Cupcakes shop in Capitola Mall, which opened in Spring 2014, has shuttered its doors. The family decided not to renew the lease, which ended Feb. 28. The website is cutesycupcakes.com but as of press time, the site hadn’t been updated to reflect that the Capitola Mall location has closed. An interesting bit of trivia: in 2013, Cutesy Cupcakes appeared on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Location: 245 Mount Herman Road, Scotts Valley, 831-430-9500


Special Promotion

Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos is celebrating 50 years of business. The actual anniversary is March 15, 2015; to honor the memory of restaurant founders Manuel and Alice Santana, owners Leonardo and Patricia Santana are giving 50% of proceeds during the week of March 9–15 to local groups dedicated to causes that were close to the founders’ hearts. “We are very excited about achieving this milestone,” said Manuel and Alice’s son Leonardo. “Starting from when I was a young child, I saw how much it meant to my parents to give back to the community that supported them.” Read more at manuelsrestaurant.com. Here are the organizations receiving donations:

  • Monday, March 9: Homeless Services Center of Santa Cruz
  • Tuesday, March 10: Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Wednesday, March 11: Teen Kitchen Project
  • Thursday, March 12: Cabrillo College Visual, Applied and Performing Arts
  • Friday, March 13: Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres
  • Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15:  Proceeds will be divided equally among the 5 groups

Location: 261 Center Ave., Aptos, 831-688-4848

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A Taste of Santa Cruz 2013 features 30 restaurants, wineries and breweries

Offerings from the restaurant Zameen at a previous

Offerings from the restaurant Zameen at a previous “A Taste of Santa Cruz”

The 9th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” at the Cocoanut Grove on Thursday, Nov. 14, features 30 participating restaurants, wineries, and breweries. The event runs from 5:30-9 p.m. and benefits first-time home buyers. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Buy tickets online.

Attendees sample food and drinks from 30 restaurants, food vendors, breweries and wineries. Proceeds from the event benefit the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS Housing Foundation grant program that provides closing costs for first time, low-income home-buyers in Santa Cruz County.

Participating food providers include Aquarius, Cowboy Diner, Johnny’s Harborside, Michael’s on Main, Barbara & Company Catering, Süda, Main Street Garden & Café, and Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine. Wineries and breweries include Trout Gulch Vineyards, Joyce Vineyards, Seabright Brewery, and Uncommon Brewers.

Other highlights at the event: live music from West Coast Soul and Depot Dogs,  an appearance by the Derby Girls, and a silent auction with over 100 items. Items up for bid include jewelry, crafts, and vacation lodging in New Orleans. There will also be a raffle; the prize valued at $1,300 is a three-night stay at an artisan home in Lake Tahoe.

Several hundred people attend this event each year; purchasing your tickets in advance is recommended.

Event location: Cocoanut Grove Grand Ballroom, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family-friendly A Taste of Soquel: Restaurants, wineries benefit Second Harvest Food Bank

Attendees enjoying a previous Taste of Soquel

Attendees enjoying a previous Taste of Soquel

The fifth annual “A Taste of Soquel,” with delicious food from local restaurants plus local beer and wine, will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.

The event is Saturday September 28 from 11a.m.-4p.m. at the Congregational Church of Soquel (the Church and the Capitola/Soquel Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsors). Local restaurants, wineries, breweries and musicians come together to throw a party for a very worthy cause. With a $25 admission, adults receive a souvenir glass as well as food and wine tastings at festival booths. Buy tickets online or at the event. Attendees ages 12-20 pay $10 and receive food booth tastings. Kids under 12 are free.

There will also be live music all day emceed by KPIG DJ Ralph Anybody—see schedule below—and a raffle with prizes from more than 60 local businesses. For more information see event web site.

Participating Soquel restaurants and food businesses are Aldo’s Bakery, Café Cruz, Carpo’s, Cherryvale Farms, D’Anna’s Deli, The Fish Lady, Fogline Farm, Jeff Wall’s Family Honey, Main Street Garden & Café, and Sawasdee. Participating local breweries and wineries are Discretion Brewing, Bargetto Winery, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, and Poetic Cellars.

There will be children’s activities such as miniature golf, other games, crafts, and dancing. A hospitality table is serving up complimentary coffee from Ugly Mug, tea, lemonade, ice water, and food from the Bagelry and Donut Station.

11a.m. Farmers Market String Band
12:25p.m. Bryn Loosley and the Back Pages
1:40p.m. McCoy Tyler Band
3p.m. Flor de Caña

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The Details
A Taste of Soquel
Sat September 28, 2013 — 11am-4pm
Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr, Soquel, 95073 (in the courtyard – and there’s free parking)
$25 Adults, $10 Kids 12-20, under 12 free

Mother’s Day in Santa Cruz & nearby including Los Gatos and San Francisco: Restaurants part 2

Dessert at Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka, one of many Bay Area restaurants with special Mother’s Day menus

Dessert at Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka, one of many Bay Area restaurants with special Mother’s Day menus

Dining out on Mother’s Day is a great way to honor the mom in your life, and Santa Cruz and the Bay Area have many restaurants offering special menus this Sunday. See Part 1 for more restaurants in the Santa Cruz area plus one in Monterey, and see below for the second and final group of restaurants I am highlighting. Happy Mother’s Day!
Santa Cruz & Soquel

For Mother’s Day, downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Chocolate is offering all-day brunch specials such as Crab Cream Puffs, Roast Duck Crepes, & Creme Brulee French Toast. Call (831) 427-9900 for reservations.
1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Main Street Garden & Café
Soquel restaurant Main Street Garden & Cafe is doing a prix fixe lunch for Mother’s Day from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The cost is $40 and includes a mimosa which you can enjoy on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Call (831) 477-9265 for reservations.
3101 N. Main St., Soquel

Tortilla Flats
Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats is serving a special menu all weekend, including Mother’s Day. Savory selections include Aji Limo Crepes with lobster and prawns, Jalapeno honey ribs, and Crab Enchiladas, and desserts include Strawberry Mango Mousse and Raspberry Tarts. On Mother’s Day Tortilla Flats opens at 11:30 a.m. Contact the restaurant at (831) 476-1754.
4615 Soquel Dr., Soquel

Los Gatos

Dio Deka
Michelin-starred Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka offers “a Mother’s Day filled with traditional Greek favorites seasoned with California technique.” The patio will be open with limited seating outside and a complimentary rose will be presented to all mothers. The a la carte menu will feature dishes such as 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; Zambonopita – a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with Virginia smoked ham, green onion, feta, Kasseri and ricotta cheeses; Plevrakia – slow-cooked pork ribs rubbed with Greek spices, Attiki honey and lemon glaze, and sour cherries with ouzo; and Cinnamon “Greek” Toast with whipped vanilla butter and maple syrup. Brunch will be available from 10:30am – 2:30pm and entrees range from $8-$46. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (408) 354-7700. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.
210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos

San Francisco Restaurants (see restaurant web sites for individual addresses)

Located in San Francisco’s Marina District, A16 focuses on Southern Italian cuisine from regions including Campania and Naples. Known for its wood-fired pizza, A16 boasts a certified pizzaiolo, Chef Christopher Thompson who has made a mark on crafting this specialty from Naples. A16 will celebrate Mother’s Day with extended dinner hours from 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. and Executive Chef Christopher Thompson will prepare a special dinner menu featuring dishes such as Zuppa di zucca with spring squash, house made ricotta and herbs, Olive oil poached local halibut with mussels, baby octopus, tomato, peppercress, white wine and bread crumbs and Limoncello Tiramisu with blueberries and genoise. A16 will also offer a special Mother’s Day beverage of Sgroppino alla fragola, Prosecco with homemade strawberry sorbetto and each mother will be sent home with a bag of A16 cookies. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (415) 771-2216.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
At Absinthe in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, Executive Chef Adam Keough will be offering a new Mother’s Day Special in addition to the regular menu. The intriguing Baked Salmon Wellington will be served with peas and favas, wild mushrooms, and a caramelized potato speck ham broth. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations for Mother’s Day can be made by calling (415) 551-1590.

Chambers Eat + Drink
Chambers Eat + Drink boasts that it has San Francisco’s only poolside patio. Executive Chef Trevor Ogden offers innovative California cuisine and guests can choose from dishes such as Japanese Omelet “Tamago” with house-smoked chorizo, sweet potato, cana de oveja, and scallions; Eggs Royale with two sous vide eggs, crispy hash browns, cold smoked salmon, mandarin hollandaise, caviar, chive, and dill; Tofu Hash with Brussels sprouts, oyster mushrooms, red onions, garlic confit, farro, and almond; or the classic Egg in a Hole with two eggs in brioche toast, house smoked bacon, seasonal greens, champagne vinaigrette. The restaurant is also known for its Bloody Marys mixed with housemade sambal. Reservations can be made by calling (415) 829-2316.

CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco

CHAYA Brasserie is known for its beautiful views as well as cuisine that blends European and Asian flavors. CHAYA celebrates Mother’s Day with a special brunch menu created by Executive Chef Yuko Kajino. The three-course Chef’s Menu will include dishes such as Crispy Goat Cheese & Pickled Beets with red watercress, marcona almonds and cabernet vinaigrette; Buttermilk Fried Organic Chicken Breast with jalapeno bacon cornbread, maple syrup and Sriracha ketchup; and a Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich rolled in oatmeal and currants. Brunch will be served from 11 am – 2 pm for $42; bottomless mimosas will also be available. There will be a young adult menu for $15. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (415) 777-8688. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.

At Michelin-starred Luce in the InterContinental San Francisco, mothers will receive complimentary roses for their special day. Dish highlights include Niman Ranch Short Ribs Hash with organic poached egg, root vegetable, and Weiser Farm fingerling potatoes; and Smoked Salmon Benedict with spinach, hollandaise sauce, and cucumber fennel salad with Weiser Farm fingerling potatoes. For reservations, call (415) 616-6560.

One Market Restaurant
One Market Restaurant has received a 3 ½ star review from Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, and has consistently been on the Chronicle’s “Top 100” list. Acclaimed chef Mark Dommen’s menu of farm-fresh American cuisine changes daily, depending on the best available ingredients and highlighting the best of local purveyors. His Mother’s Day a la carte brunch menu served from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. will be no exception. Dishes will include Bay Shrimp Tacos with jalapeno and shiso; Savory Cheese Doughnuts with bacon aioli; Grass Fed Steak Tartare with quail egg yolk, parsley, and country bread; and Spit Roasted Prime Rib with horseradish, spinach, and potato puree. For reservations, call (415) 777-5577.

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Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open on New Year’s Eve 2012, Part 2 of 2

Left Bank Brasserie in San Jose

Yesterday I published details on many Santa Cruz area restaurants— plus a couple in San Jose — offering dinner on New Year’s Eve 2012. Here are a few more.

Santa Cruz Area

Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room

Hula’s is closed on New Year’s Day and open on New Year’s Eve serving its regular menu. Plus, there are two drink specials that night: $3 champagne and $3 mimosas. Reservations are available for parties of six or more and are recommended; call (831) 426-HULA.

221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz


Bittersweet Bistro

The Aptos restaurant will be open on New Year’s Eve for dinner starting at 5:00pm; the last seating is at 10pm. The regular menu plus specials will be available. The café is open from on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant is open with regular hours and menu, and the café is open from 8 a.m. – 2: 30 p.m. Call (831) 662-9799 for reservations.

787 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos

Michael’s on Main

The Soquel restaurant is serving a fixed-price four-course dinner with seatings at 5:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. At 5:30, the price is $45. At 7 and 9:30 it’s $55 and includes party favors and a glass of champagne. Live music begins at 9:30. 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

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort

The Aptos restaurant will offer a special New Year’s Eve buffet dinner for $99 per person plus tax (tip included). For the special event, doors open at 6:30 p.m., dinner is from 7 – 9 p.m., and dancing occurs from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. with live music by Mike Hadley and the Groove and a midnight champagne toast. Call (831) 662-7141 for event reservations. The menu includes a lavish dessert buffet. On New Year’s Day, Sanderlings is serving a brunch buffet (includes coffee or tea) for $19.95 (adults) or $10.95 (kids 2-12). Brunch entrees include eggs benedict, ham and cheese omelet, sauteed beef tenderloin with mushrooms on garlic mashed potatoes and red wine sauce/ Salads include Caesar with sundried tomatoes, anchovies, and Parmesan cheese.

One Seascape Resort, Aptos


Chaminade is offering a celebration from 6 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. that includes a unique “strolling dinner experience” with themed, interactive chef stations and an open bar from 7 p.m. – midnight. DJ service will be provided by Music Now. The cost is $100 per person. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations. On New Year’s Day, the Sunset Restaurant at Chaminade is open from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. for breakfast.

1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Other Santa Cruz area restaurants serving dinner on New Year’s Eve include:

  • Hoffman’s
  • Tortilla Flats (including special tapas selections plus the regular menu)
  • Main Street Garden & Café ($60 per person, 5 courses, 5:30 or 8:30 p.m. seating)
  • Zelda’s
  • Paradise Beach Grille
  • Soif ($75 prix fixe menu and $35 optional wine pairings; choices include Maine lobster soup and Peking duck breast with baby turnips)
  • Margaritaville
  • Ideal Bar & Grill

San Jose

Left Bank Brasserie

The Parisian-style restaurant is offering service on New Year’s Eve from 11:30 a.m. onward; the last seating is at 11 p.m. For dinner, there will be a la carte options in addition to a four-course prix fixe $64.50 menu. Entrée choices include Butter Poached Lobster Tail with vanilla and honey roasted butternut squash ravioli, Swiss chard and pomegranate red wine emulsion. Call (408) 984-3500 for reservations.

377 Santana Row #1100, San Jose

Also open on New Year’s Eve:

  • Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row – call (408) 244-1244 for reservations. 378 Santana Row #1100, San Jose
  • Bella Mia – Choose a 4-course prix fixe $45 menu or order a la carte. Call (408) 280-1993 for reservations. 58 South 1st Street, San Jose

It’s the last night of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week; here are some recommendations

Goodies at Laili during last year’s Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

The fourth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week ends on Oct. 10; read more details in my event preview (includes list of participating restaurants). A quick overview: for eight nights, diners have the opportunity to pay only $25 for a gourmet, prix fixe three-course dinner.

Two “late joiners” to Santa Cruz Restaurant Week were Oswald and Main Street Garden & Café, but rest assured—their hesitation means nothing as far as delivering a great meal. In fact, looks like they tried extra hard as newcomers!

One of my acquaintances and her friends greatly enjoyed dinner the other night at Main Street, proclaiming the butternut squash and apple soup delicious and highly recommending two entrees in particular: the heirloom and burrata pizza, and the ricotta gnocchi. Apparently, the wild honey panna cotta with almonds and sea salt was a divine dessert (what is with all the great panna cotta this week? Remember, I had a similarly wonderful one, but it was vanilla bean panna cotta at Gabriella Café, which I mentioned – and included a photo of – in my recap of that Restaurant Week visit). Oswald’s menu sounds positively delightful, with appetizers such as mushroom soup with crème fraiche and entrees like skirt steak with fries and blue cheese butter or corn and tomato pudding with sauteed spinach.

A friend of mine dined at Casablanca Friday night, and raved about the meal–especially certain parts. She “loved, loved, loved” the brussels sprouts (Crispy Brussels Sprouts, smoked chevre, apple gastrique) and her companion really liked his entrée of Organic Roasted Chicken with squash, olive, arugula, panisse, and piri piri sauce. She wasn’t crazy about the fish tagine entrée, but they both loved the Crème Catalan dessert. And the ocean view from the restaurant is absolutely beautiful.

Can’t decide where to dine or want to see some specific menus? Read more at the Santa Cruz Restaurant Week web site.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

A Taste of Soquel: Restaurants and wineries benefit Second Harvest Food Bank

Food booths from A Taste of Soquel in 2009. Photo credit: Hillary Nicholson

The third annual “A Taste of Soquel,” with plenty of food from local restaurants plus wine and music, will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year’s Taste of Soquel raised enough money to provide meals for over 20,000 children in Santa Cruz County.

The event is Saturday, September 24 from 11am-4pm at the Congregational Church of Soquel. Local restaurants, wineries, and musicians are joining together for a very worthy cause. Adults pay $20 and receive a souvenir glass as well as food and wine tastings at all festival booths. Attendees ages 12-20 pay $10 and receive food booth tastings (there will be complimentary kids’ beverages). Kids under 12 are free. There will also be live music all day. For more information see event web site.

You can buy tickets at the door or in advance via the church (4951 Soquel Drive, Soquel, (831) 475-2867). There will be a raffle with more than 50 prizes from local businesses– these tickets will only be sold at the event. Prizes include gift certificates to Safeway, Little People’s Store, Aldo’s Bakery, and Home Depot and items from businesses such as Starbucks and Everett Family Farms.

Participating Soquel restaurants are Aldo’s, Carpo’s, El Chipotle, D’Anna’s Deli, The Fish Lady, Main Street Garden & Café, Sawasdee, Michael’s on Main and Tortilla Flats. Soquel’s Fogline Farm will also provide food. Participating local wineries are Bargetto Winery, Hunter Hill, Poetic Cellars, and Soquel Vineyards.

KPIG DJ Ralph Anybody is emceeing the live musicians: Celina and the C Monkeys, Farmer’s Market String Band, Brian Quinn Group, and Bryn Loosley & the Back Pages.

There will be children’s activities such as supervised games and crafts, face painting, and music. You’ll also want to stop by the hospitality table – it offers complimentary coffee, tea, lemonade, ice water, and food from the Bagelry and Donut Station.

The Details

A Taste of Soquel

Saturday September 24, 11am-4pm

Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr, Soquel, 95073 (in the courtyard – and there’s free parking)

$20 Adults, $10 Kids 12-20, under 12 free

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Restaurant Profile: The delightful Main Street Garden & Cafe in Soquel

Pizza at Main Street with broccoli, kale, currants, pine nuts, chili, pecorino, and cauliflower puree

Main Street Garden & Café is located in Soquel and serves top-notch food created by talented chef Brad Briske, who joined the restaurant in June 2010.

The restaurant offers an innovative, rotating menu (see current menu) and a dining experience that’s simultaneously sophisticated and down-to-earth. The atmosphere is comfortable with an open kitchen; you can choose to sit at tables where you can catch glimpses of your food being prepared. Other highlights of Main Street Garden & Café are an on-site organic garden and an outdoor pizza oven.

Chef Briske always has many creative wood-fired pizzas available, including at least one vegetarian choice such as a Spring blend of broccoli, kale, currants, pine nuts, chili, and pecorino with a cauliflower puree as a base. This combination of ingredients is absolutely delectable. Other selections have included house-made pork sausage with fennel puree and fontina.

Main Street butchers its meats and cures salamis on site;  customers can even buy selected salamis to go. For the entrees, which change frequently, Briske brines his meats. This can take up to three days and makes the meat incredibly tender. Of particular note are the restaurant’s pork dishes such as Devil’s Gulch Pork Shoulder with Route 1 Farms English peas, Live Earth Farm peppers, house-cured pork jowl, and Lindencroft Farms frisee. Briske works closely with many local farms, and creates exquisite pairings with meat and fresh, seasonal produce. Note that there are always vegetarian selections available including a homemade pasta dish.

Another dish worth mentioning: creamy Burrata cheese accompanied by warm olives, roasted garlic, and flatbread. The Castelvetrano and San Remo olives are served in oil with orange zest and the citrus provide the perfect flavor infusion.

Weekend lunch choices include pizzas as well as egg and other traditional brunch dishes. The menu does change, but past offerings have included frittatas (vegetarian featuring beets and chard, meat with goat sausage and potatoes) and French Toast.

Main Street’s beer and wine selection includes many excellent local beverages from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Location: 3101 N. Main Street, Soquel, (831) 477-9265) http://mainstreetgardencafe.com/

Hours: Lunch served Sat & Sun beginning at noon; Dinner served Tues-Sun starting at 5:30pm

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Organic Italian buffet from top chef, silent auction, and several summer food events benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Enjoy a sumptuous organic Italian restaurant buffet in Soquel from a top chef, and have the opportunity to bid on great auction prizes: it all benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Also see end of article for a list of future dining opportunities to benefit LLS.

On Sunday July 18 from 6-9pm, Main Street Garden & Café is hosting a “Midsummer Night Garden Party.” The Soquel restaurant recently brought on talented chef Brad Briske (formerly of Gabriella Café) and Briske is hand selecting fresh, local ingredients to create a wonderful feast. For your $35 ticket ($40 at the door – reservations strongly encouraged), you receive a full dinner buffet and non-alcoholic beverages. Live music by a classical group is also included. For more information and reservations, contact Amy Doherty at amydoherty@gmail.com or call Main St. Garden & Café at (831) 477-9265.

Garden Party attendees can bid on an array of silent auction items including wine; certificates for fitness and martial arts classes, acupuncture, and massages; clothing; ceramics; beauty products; a variety of services, and jewelry. The silent auction will close at 8pm. All auction proceeds benefit LLS and are tax-deductible. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. This event is being produced by the LLS Team in Training Santa Cruz Summer Marathon Team.

The Santa Cruz Summer Marathon Team is also busy with other restaurant fundraisers this summer; at certain times it receives 15-30% of sales. A list of the team’s “Dining for Dollars” events is below – but the team only gets credit if you present a coupon to the restaurant. Email amydoherty@gmail.com for coupons, and dine out for a worthy cause. I know I plan to!

7/29 Thurs – Erik’s Deli Capitola 10am-9pm

8/5 Thurs – Panda Express Capitola 4-9pm

8/11-8/12 Wed-Thurs – Woodstock’s Pizza Downtown 5-9 pm

8/19 Thurs – Pizza My Heart, Capitola Esplanade 4-9 pm

9/2 Thurs – Erik’s Deli Capitola 10am-9pm

9/9 Thurs – Fresh Choice Capitola 4-9pm

9/16 Thurs – Panda Express Capitola 4-9pm

9/30 Thurs – Pizza My Heart, Capitola Esplanade 4-9pm

The Details:

Sunday July 18, 2010


Main St. Garden & Cafe, 3101 N. Main Street, Soquel 95073

More Info at (831) 477-9265