Tag Archives: Mexican cuisine

Lots of pop-ups in Santa Cruz this weekend

Lemon rice is one of the dishes Monsoon Kitchen will be preparing at Midtown Friday, May 20. Credit: Midtown Facebook page

Lemon rice is one of the dishes Monsoon Kitchen will be preparing at Midtown Friday, May 20. Credit: Midtown Facebook page

These days, Santa Cruz is often buzzing with popup energy—and this weekend, May 20-21, there are quite a few food popups. Here are some highlights.

Friday: My Mom’s Mole at Popup
On Friday, My Mom’s Mole is featuring “enmoladas” (enchiladas with mole) for dinner at POPUP from 5 to 9:30 p.m. — or earlier if the food sells out. They are also offering mole tacos, and cactus/kale salad. Taco/enmolada filling choices are roasted chicken, slow-cooked pork, or roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes, green beans, and pasilla peppers with cilantro). Sauce choices are traditional My Mom’s Mole, vegan My Mom’s mole, or gluten-free mole verde.
Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.

Friday: Monsoon Kitchen at Midtown
On Friday, Monsoon Kitchen will be in residence at Midtown Cafe from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Menu items will include egg curry, lemon rice, naan, kabobs, and mango pie, and they recommend pairing these with Discretion Brewing beer (on tap at Midtown) or a glass of wine (also available at Midtown).
Location: Midtown Cafe, 1121 Soquel Ave.

Friday: Cider & Sliders at Food Lounge
The Food Lounge is hosting “Cider & Sliders: Take 2” from 5 to 9 p.m. Chef Andrea and her partners held the first “Cider/Sliders” night a few weeks back, and were surprised by the extremely large crowd that showed up, so they sold out before everyone had a chance to partake. This time, they are ready! They promise “cider flights, food made and paired with cider, and mouth-watering sliders.”
Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St.

Saturday: Indian pop-up benefiting animals at Food Lounge
Karma Khana will be cooking at an Indian cuisine dinner pop-up at the Food Lounge from 5 to 9 p.m. A percentage of proceeds will benefit the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Dishes available will include several vegan options like chundal (chickpeas, coconut and turmeric), vegetable biriyani, and Gobi Manchurian (fire-roasted cauliflower breaded in chickpea flour, served with tangy garlic-ginger-soy sauce). Non-vegan options include kofta curry meatballs made with a choice of locally sourced turkey or grass-fed lamb.
Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St.

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Chipotle Mexican Grill offers new tofu filling and free San Francisco festival


Salad with sofritas filling, bell peppers, and fresh corn salsa from Santa Cruz restaurant Chipotle

Salad with sofritas filling, bell peppers, and fresh corn salsa from Santa Cruz restaurant Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill has a couple pieces of news: it recently added sofritas, a tofu filling, as a choice for its burritos, tacos and salads in its Northern California locations, and it’s hosting a San Francisco festival this weekend.


First, let’s discuss the sofritas, which you can see in the image at the top of this article (in that case it was used as a salad topping with Chipotle’s fresh corn salsa). Sofritas has been available at Chipotle’s Northern California locations since mid-April and is made from shredded tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. Chipotle uses organic, non-GMO tofu from Oakland’s Hodo Soy. As Chipotle has announced, sofritas is available in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads, and can be combined with other signature ingredients including white or brown cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans or vegetarian black beans, house-made salsas and guacamole, and cheese or sour cream. I have enjoyed the sofritas a couple times now, and highly recommend it for your next Chipotle visit.


Next, the festival: on Saturday, June 8, Chipotle is hosting the free festival “Cultivate San Francisco.” It’s from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Golden Gate Park at Hellman Hollow and includes cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, live music, local food artisans, regional beer and wines, a special Chipotle festival menu, and other activities emphasizing fresh and affordable food made with sustainable ingredients. Chipotle’s menu for the festival, with items ranging between $5 and $7, will include a grilled flatbread gordita; chicken and sofritas tacos; charred esquites (corn) salad; and a jasmine rice bowl with pork and chicken meatballs or organic tofu from ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, Chipotle’s Asian concept. Other offerings include an Artisan Hall with lots of Bay Area food vendors selling items (a full list is below) plus a special “Cultivate Farmhouse Ale” created in partnership with SF’s Speakesasy Ales and Lagers.


Chipotle created the Cultivate Festival in 2011 as a way to raise awareness of the impact food has on society. The festival is intended to get people thinking and talking about food and food issues. The first one was in Chicago; in 2012 there were events in Chicago and Denver; this year there are Chicago & Denver events plus SF.


Chefs scheduled to speak and cook at Cultivate San Francisco include Richard Blais (The Spence, HD1, and Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta); Michael Chiarello (Bottega in Napa Valley and Coqueta in San Francisco); Amanda Freitag (Food Network’s “Chopped” and “The Next Iron Chef”); Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table in San Francisco); Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun in Los Angeles) with Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec in Los Angeles); Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen (San Francisco); and Nate Appleman and Joel Holland (Chipotle Culinary Team). The musical lineup includes Mayer Hawthorne, The Walkmen, Walk the Moon, LP, and Matt Costa.

Artisan Hall line-up


4505 Meats

·         Smoked Brisket, $10

·         Cheddar Bratwurst, $7

·         Chicharrones, $4


El Porteño Empanadas

·         Carne: Prather Ranch Organic Dry-Aged Grass Fed Beef, Pimiento Stuffed Olives, Raisins, $5

·         Pollo: Mary’s All Natural Chicken, Raisins, Olives, $5

·         Champiñones: Fresh Seasonal Local Organic Mushrooms by Far West Fungi, Shallots, Crème Fraiche, $5

·         Alfajor de Dulce de Leche: Argentine cookies joined together with dulce de leche (Argentine caramel made with organic milk), $2


Handsome Coffee Roasters

·         Espresso, $4

·         Espresso + Milk (3oz & 5oz cups), $5

·         Iced Coffee, $5


Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

·         Pickle On a Stick, $2

·         Mixed Pickle Plate, $5

·         Quinoa Veggie Salad, $6

·         Lavender Lemonade, $4


Hodo Soy

·         Hodo Yuba Fresh Spring Rolls, $6

·         Soy Thai Tea (hot or cold), $3

·         Hodo Silken Tofu with Ginger Syrup, $3

·         Miso Soup with Hodo Tofu, $4


Pop Nation

·         Strawberry Cream, $4

·         Sea Salted Dark Chocolate, $4

·         Bangkok Night Market, $4

·         Strawberry Lemonade, $4


Llano Seco Organic Meats

·         Llano Seco Organic Hot Dog, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Argentine Sausage, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Italian Sausage, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Breakfast Sausage, $7


Marin Gourmet

·         Falafel, 6 for $5 or 12 for $10

·         Tabouli Salad Lunch Pack, $8

·         Hummus, Small: $4  Med. : $6  Lg. :$8

·         Dip, Small: $6  Med. :$10  Lg. :$12


Nana Joes

·         Tony’s Trail Mix (Gluten-Free), $5

·         Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten-Free), six-pack for $5 or one for $1

·         Orange Spiced Mixed Nuts (Gluten-Free), $8


Sunbud Bakery Buckwheat Cookies

·         Buckwheat Cookie with Apricots, $1

·         Buckwheat Cookie with Chocolate and Currants, $1

·         Package of $5 Cookies


Cafe Fanny Granola

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Original (12oz Box), $8

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Flaxseeds w/ No Raisins (12oz Box), $8

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Cran-Coconut w/ Quinoa (12oz Box), $8

·         Parfait with Yogurt and Your Choice of Granola, $4

·         Coffee Almond Butter Granola, $4


CC Made

·         Classic Artisanal Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         Pistachio Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         Spiced Almond Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         3-Flavor Caramel Popcorn Cone, $2



·         Chasewater Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pesto on Sour Dough Bread with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese, $6

·         Favolosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20

·         Tuscan Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20

·         Mission Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18

·         Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18



On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.


Yucatan specials at Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats through Sunday

A savory Mexican dish at Tortilla Flats in Soquel

Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats started serving a special Yucatan menu today — Thursday, August 16 — and it’s available through Sunday August 19. Tortilla Flats offers a variety of annual events with special menus; during these times the regular restaurant menu is also available with savory dishes like Green Corn Tamales, Tilapia Poblano, and Chile Relleno.

Here is the menu for August 16-19, 2012; not all selections are available each day.

Tikin xic Tacos
Yucatan-style mahi mahi tacos spiced with achiote and orange

Nac cum de mere
Spiced baked fish served in banana leaf with azteca sauce — served with rice and tsi anchek bi bu’uc (black beans)

Camarones Yucatecos

Gulf Prawns marinated in seville orange and served with an achiote sauce of honey and lime

Crepas de Jaiba

Delicious handmade crepes filled with lightly seasoned fresh wild caught crab claw meat, served with spicy ahi limo sauce

Pollo Pibil

Chicken thighs marinated in achiote seasonings and baked, served with black beans and fried plantains

Cochita Pibil
Tender pork baked with annatto seed sauce, steamed in a banana leaf. Served with black beans, butternut squash and fried plantains

Costillas Yucateca

Pork spareribs slow baked in adobo–honey sauce served with black beans, plantains and ton luc (butternut squash and corn)

If you’re a party of six or more, make reservations at (831) 476-1754.

Hours are 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mon-Fri and 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sat-Sun.
Location: 4616 Soquel Drive, Soquel

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Green Chile Chicken Cactus Crepes & more at Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats this weekend

Quesadilla Suprema at Tortilla Flats

From Thursday, March 24 through Sunday, March 27 Soquel restaurant Tortilla Flats features a special Cactus menu with dishes including delightful crepes with green chile, chicken and nopalitos. I dined at the restaurant last night; if you go this weekend, prepare to wait a little bit for a table (unless you’re a party of 6 or more, in which case you can make a reservation). I couldn’t believe how many people were there on a Thursday night — looks like the special menus definitely attract crowds!

The talented and creative Cheryl Marquez has developed recipes using both the paddles and the fruit of the cactus. The paddles are known as nopales or nopalitos when cut into strips, and in Mexico they are often mixed with everything from eggs to steak. My favorite dish from this special menu is Green Chile Crepes (see menu below for description). I could have devoured a couple orders; the crepes themselves were filled with great textures and seasonings, and I wanted to lick the plate clean to get every drop of the accompanying delectable, flavor-packed sauce. Also highly recommended: Raspberry Prickly Pear Tart which my server told me Marquez only makes a couple times a year. RUN, don’t walk, to Tortilla Flats to get one by Sunday.  The combination of almonds, prickly pears, fresh berries and shortbread crust is incomparable.

A bit of history related to this weekend’s special menu: according to Marquez, the “…Opuntia cactus is part of the coat of arms of Mexico, commemorating the founding of the great capital of the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan (the Nahuatl word for cactus is tenochtli). Cactus is still an important food in Mexico.”

Tortilla Flats offers a variety of annual events with special menus once or twice a month; during these times the regular restaurant menu is also available featuring treats like Quesadilla Suprema (green chile stuffed with cheese, wrapped in a tortilla and topped with enchilada sauce, melted cheese, sour cream, and guacamole).

Tortilla Flats, located at 4616 Soquel Drive, is open daily for lunch and dinner.  If you’re a party of six or more, make reservations at (831) 476-1754.

Cactus Specialties March 24-27, 2011

Cactus Chile Verde

Carnitas in rich tomatillo sauce with cactus strips

Enchiladas Sonora

Chicken and nopale strips in an enchilada topped with a hatch chile and cactus sauce

Green chile crepas

Crepes made with New Mexico green chiles filled with chicken and nopalitos served with verde casera sauce

Prickly prawns

Grilled jumbo prawns with prickly pear lime sauce

Ceviche En Nopal

Marinated jumbo prawns, lime, peppers and avocado served in a nopale ‘chalupa’

Basa In Nopalito Shrimp Sauce

Mild white filet of fish, pan-fried and served in a delicate shrimp cream sauce

Prickly Pear Pork Tenderloin

Succulent slices of pork tenderloin served with jalapeno, nopalito applesauce and sauteed red bell peppers

Pollo con Pina y Nopalitos

Grilled chicken strips with fresh pineapple and nopalito salsa, served on a bed of fresh greens

Raspberry Prickly Pear Tart

French shortbread crust with a layer of almond frangipane, pastry cream and fresh raspberries glazed with prickly pear sauce

The Details

Tortilla Flats Restaurant, 4616 Soquel Drive, Soquel 95073, (831) 476-1754

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.