Tag Archives: Mexican food

Santa Cruz weekend highlights including Church Street Fair

Food from G’s Tacos, one of the vendors at Church Street Fair this weekend. Photo credit: G’s Tacos Facebook page

The summertime bounty of events in Santa Cruz continues; here are a few highlights for the weekend of Aug. 5-6, 2017, including refreshment options at the annual Church Street Fair.

 

Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 5-6: Church Street Fair

The Church Street Fair is part of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which lasts until Aug. 12. As usual, there will be music, dance, art, food, and wine. Participating breweries and wineries include Corralitos Brewing (noon-3:30 p.m. Saturday), New Bohemia Brewing Co. (4-7 p.m. Saturday), Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (noon-3:30 p.m. Sunday), Uncommon Brewers (4-7 p.m. Saturday), Storrs Winery, Odonata Wines, Soquel Vineyards, Rexford Winery, Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery and Birichino WinesVinocruz—which is opening in Soquel soon—will be pouring the wine both days. Falafel of Santa Cruz, the chefs from Prophet Elias Orthodox Church who put on the annual Greek festivals, food truck G’s Tacos, and Efi’s Dutch-Indo will sell food on both fair days. Food truck Ate3One will participate on Sunday.

Event organizers promise that “non-stop performances from global traditions will keep your spirits high as you select from a variety of local food purveyors, vintners and brewers, and explore the work of dozens of regional artists and craftspeople” (see site for entire performance schedule, which includes Flor de Cana and Broken English Saturday & Watsonville Taiko Sunday).

Location: Church Street between Chestnut & Cedar

 

Other highlights:

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Monthly Santa Cruz Night Market continues June 10 at the Food Lounge

Kutsara is a participant at the Food Lounge’s Santa Cruz Night Market June 10
Photo credit: Kutsara Facebook page

It’s time for the popular and very delicious Santa Cruz Night Market. Held the second Friday of each month at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge, it’s a popup event with food, craft cocktails and live music. For the June 9, 2017 event, there will be several local vendors selling ready-to-eat food or take-home food products. These include Fogline Farm, Tanglewood Catering (chef Rachel Hughes), Rogue Pies (formerly Artisan Hand Pies), My Mom’s Mole, and the vendors listed below.

 

You can stop by anytime between 4-9 p.m., although the earlier you go, the more food options there are.

 

  • Hanloh Thai will have five gluten-free dishes ranging from $5-10 each. These include “A Very Big Spring Roll” with green gem, quick pickled carrot & daikon, sweet chili sauce, vermicelli noodles, mint, cilantro and tofu or Vietnamese sausage (made with Fogline Farm pork belly); and deep-fried curried catfish “Tod Mun Pla” with housemade curry paste, cucumber relish and sweet & sour sauce
  • Efi’s Dutch-Indo is doing three small plates at $6 each: Satay, Rissoles, and bitterballen (mini croquettes)
  • Kutsara with chef Clarissa Flores is serving Smoked Duck Banh Mi and Tocino Chicken Bao with Homemade Green Papaya and Korean Daikon Pickles

 

Location: Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz

Contact Info: www.scfoodlounge.com, info@scfoodlounge.com

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Lots of popups this weekend in Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley

Mole nachos from My Mom’s Mole.
Photo credit: My Mom’s Mole Facebook page

There are many pop-up dining opportunities this weekend, May 26-27, 2017, in the Santa Cruz area–here are details for a few including two at local breweries.

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

My Mom’s Mole is hosting dinner at POPUP from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday (or earlier if the food sells out). There will be mole nachos (chicken and veggie options) made with My Mom’s Mole homemade tortilla chips plus their signature cactus and kale salad.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Friday night: La Sofrita at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co.

La Sofrita is doing dinner at Steel Bonnet Brewing Co. from 4-9 p.m. Friday. Dishes available will include empanadas; Puerto Rican achiote rice and pink beans, stewed with ham and sweet potatoes; mango-cucumber salad; and yuca fries served with garlic-mojo dipping sauce. Buck N The Odds will play live music.

Steel Bonnet Brewing Co., 20 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Saturday night: Homeless Garden Project at POPUP

Homeless Garden Project is holding its first “farm to table pop-up” at Assembly’s POPUP, from 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday. Angie Smith is preparing the food. Menu selections will be beet sliders with pickled radishes and creamy green goddess dressing; Southern style barbecue chicken sliders; grilled potato salad with arugula and lemon mustard vinaigrette; summer chopped salad; and strawberries, angel food cake waffles and honeyed whipped cream.

POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave. (next to Assembly), Santa Cruz

 

Saturday night: Hanloh at East Cliff Brewing Co.

Hanloh Thai Food will be at East Cliff Brewing Co. from 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Their menu will include vegan and gluten-free options. There will be live music by Take One from 7-9 p.m.

East Cliff Brewing Co., 21517 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz

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Trio of events at Santa Cruz’s Assembly and POPUP this weekend

Puerto Rican food by La Sofrita, Photo credit: La Sofrita Facebook page

Puerto Rican food by La Sofrita. Photo credit: La Sofrita Facebook page

There are many events, including some food-related ones, occurring this weekend in the Santa Cruz area. Here are details for three events in Santa Cruz at POPUP and Assembly (all at 1108 Pacific Ave.).

 

Friday night: My Mom’s Mole at POPUP

To celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day, My Mom’s Mole is hosting dinner at POPUP from 5:30-9:30 p.m. (or earlier if the food sells out). There will be mole nachos (chicken and veggie options) made with My Mom’s Mole homemade tortilla chips and a new mole queso sauce.

 

Saturday: La Sofrita at POPUP

La Sofrita will be at POPUP beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Puerto Rican Pop Up menu will feature dishes including empanadas with vegetarian options, Puerto Rican achiote rice and stewed pink beans, and garlic mojo chicken (made with organic thighs). “And, back by popular demand, shrimp a la criolla,” said chef Anna. The shrimp is simmered in a tomato-white wine broth, with sofrito and manzanilla-stuffed olives, and served atop Puerto Rican rice. “We’ll also have yuca fries served with garlic-olive oil dip,” she added. “You think you like French fries? Wait til you try these!” This pop-up doubles as the pre-party for the Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Windy City Bulls game at Kaiser Permanente Arena, but everyone is welcome, whether or not they are attending that game. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the development of the Scotts Valley Sports Complex.

 

Sunday: Oscars Viewing Party at Assembly

Event Santa Cruz is hosting its second annual gala event—complete with red carpet—to celebrate the Oscars beginning at 5 p.m. at Assembly. People are encouraged to dress in black tie. Tickets are $35 and include several savory and sweet bites throughout the evening and a glass of champagne upon arrival (additional drinks can be purchased at the new Assembly cocktail bar). There will be a large screen to watch the Oscars, and a separate, “no-talking room” for serious fans. All attendees will be entered in a drawing for Santa Cruz Warriors tickets. Purchase tickets or get more information online at eventsantacruz.com.

All events are at POPUP and/or Assembly, 1108 Pacific Ave.

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Time for the 2016 Santa Cruz Mole & Mariachi festival

Mole poblano prepared by David Jackman of restaurant Chocolate, a first-time competitor at the Mole & Mariachi Festival Photo credit: David Jackman

Mole poblano prepared by David Jackman of restaurant Chocolate, a first-time competitor at the Mole & Mariachi Festival
Photo credit: David Jackman

The 4th annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is Saturday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park. The family-friendly food and music festival has free admission. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale that includes six tastes; additional tasting tickets can be purchased for $2 each.

 

Ten local restaurants and chefs—including first-time participant David Jackman of Chocolate—will prepare moles. The other competitors are restaurants El Chipotle, El Jardin, and El Chino; caterers and food makers Cesario Ruiz of My Mom’s Mole, Taquitos Gabriel’s and Sunny’s Catering; and home chefs from Club Tuxpan Santa Cruz, Emma Pinto (Mama Marquita’s) and Lidia Montesino (JoLí Molé).

 

In addition to sampling mole, attendees can purchase beer from Discretion Brewing, wine from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, fresh-fruit aguas frescas by Mollie’s Country Café and chavelas (a drink made from beer, tomato juice, and spices). Food vendors will sell mole dishes for lunch such as mole Oaxaqueño plates from El Chipotle; mole sopés, mole empanadas and mole huaraches from Taqueria Lidia; and mole tamales from Taquitos Gabriel’s. Also, there will be non-mole selections for sale from Mission Hill Creamery, Garcia’s Fish Tacos and Sason Mexicano, plus churros, fruit cups and roasted corn.

 

There will be music and dance performances, free kids’ crafts and face painting, piñatas every hour, and a raffle with prizes including an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, a wine collection valued at $800 and a stay in an Airstream trailer at the KOA campground across from Manresa State Beach.

 

For the first time ever, Mariachi Feminil Orgullo Mexicano — an all-female mariachi band — will perform at the festival. Other performers include live mariachi music from Mariachi Alma de Mexico and the group’s youth bands, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Mariachi Infantil Alma de Mexico, and dancing by local dance troupes Senderos and Estrellas de Esperanza. Mojigangas (giant, dancing puppets that have been popular at previous festivals) will return.

 

A diverse array of artisans will show and sell work at the festival marketplace, including Artemex’s display of blouses, dresses, drinkware, dolls, jewelry and other handmade items from Mexico; Artesanias Mexicanos; Creative Woman and Alejandro’s Trade. Watsonville food company The Green Waffle will sell take-home packages of healthy waffles.

 

Festival attendees and a panel of local judges will select their favorites. The judges include state Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird; Patricia Santana, owner of Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant; Santa Cruz City Councilmember David Terrazas; Edible Monterey Bay writer Debbie Luhrman; Tony Solis of the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Good Times Publisher Jeanne Howard; and Santa Cruz Life writer Christine Candelaria.

 

All event proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (including educational programs and restoration and improvement projects) via Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The event encourages alternative transportation by providing free trolley rides from downtown.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School Street

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Tequila & taco festival in Santa Cruz this weekend

The third annual Tequila & Taco Music Festival is this weekend

The third annual Tequila & Taco Music Festival is this weekend

The third annual Tequila & Taco Music Festival happens this weekend in Santa Cruz: Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28 at San Lorenzo Park.

There will be gourmet street tacos, craft beer, and margaritas for sale, plus tequila sampling (for a separate fee) Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Advance tickets for the tequila tasting have sold out and a limited number will be sold at the event on a first-come first-served basis.

Participating vendors include Dirty Tequila; Tequila Los Tres tonos; Venus Spirits; 3 Crowns; Casa San Matias; Mezcal Mala Noche; 1933 Spirits LLC; Suerte Tequila; THE Bloody Cure; Patron; and Saville.

Food vendors include Garcia’s Fish Tacos, Tacos Moreno, Conscious Creations, La Olla, Burt’s Chicken Fingers & Garlic Fries, Jardines Restaurant, Tacos Don Beto and The Vegetarian Blog. There will also be arts and craft vendors and music.

All ticket holders both days will have access to food vendors, craft Beer, margarita booths, and live music, but there is no tequila sampling Sunday.

 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Alcohol sales end at 5 p.m.

 

Cost: Adult $10 general admission, $40 Saturday tequila tasting, Kids 12 and under are free.

 

Live music:

Saturday — Third Sol (12:30pm-1:45pm); Extra Large (2:15pm-3:45pm); and Patron Latin Rhythms (4:15pm-5:30pm)

Sunday — Patron Latin Rhythms (12 noon-1:30pm); Metalachi (1:45pm-3:00pm); and SambaDá (3:30pm-5:10pm)

Location: San Lorenzo Park, 137 Dakota St., Santa Cruz

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Santa Cruz hosts family-friendly Mole & Mariachi festival

Mole ingredients from a competitor's table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Mole ingredients from a competitor’s table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

The 3rd annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park. The food and music festival has free admission. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below.

In addition to sampling mole, attendees can purchase local food, beer from Discretion Brewing, and other beverages including chavelas (a drink made from beer, tomato juice, and spices). Food vendors include The Penny Ice Creamery and Garcia Fish Tacos.  There will be music and dance performances, kids’ crafts, piñatas every hour, and a raffle.

This year, six local restaurants and chefs—including first-time participant Jozseph Schultz of India Joze—will prepare moles. Festival attendees and a panel of local judges led by Patricia Santana will select their favorites. Santana and her husband Leonardo own Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos. In 2013 the judges’ panel chose Manuel’s as the winner of the inaugural mole cook-off with a recipe Leonardo developed.

Santana is excited and honored to be a judge this year; she is very passionate about mole. “This year, it will be fun to not compete, and actually get to enjoy other moleros’ creations without the stress of bringing our own,” she says. “I salute every mole maker bringing their best entry. In my opinion, mole is the king of sauces in the Mexican kitchen, but one needs to keep in mind there are seven different types of mole – and as many recipes as there are mole makers,” she adds. “This sauce is a labor of love, and every cook has their own secrets.” On mole day at Manuel’s (Sunday), her husband gets up at 2 am to have the restaurant kitchen to himself.

At the festival, free kids’ activities will include face painting, crafts, bubbles, and a mural project coordinated by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

Four folk music bands will perform: Mariachi Gilroy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Trio del Sol. Also performing will be Estrellas de Esperanza, a children’s Mexican folklorico dance group from Watsonville, and Centeotl Grupo de Danza y Baile, a Santa Cruz-based dance group that preserves cultural connections with Mexico.

All event proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (including educational programs and restoration and improvement projects) via Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The event encourages alternative transportation by providing free trolley rides from downtown and having bike valet service at the park. For more information on the festival, visit the event web site.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School Street

Mole competitors:

  • El Chipotle Restaurant in Soquel (preparing a rojo Oaxaqueño mole)
  • El Jardin Restaurant in Santa Cruz—People’s Choice award winner at the 2013 festival, and a winner at the 2014 festival (preparing “Jorge’s Traditional Mole,” a red mole poblano)
  • My Mom’s Mole from Watsonville (with a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz)
  • Gerald Gonzalez (a home cook from Contra Costa County that will prepare “Mole de Paz,” a mole poblano)
  • Mariquita’s (home cook Emma Pinto Valedez will prepare her grandmother’s mole poblano recipe)
  • India Joze (Schultz will prepare a to-be-announced mole sauce)

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Get a free burrito when you order tofu sofritas at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering a special promotion: anyone that orders vegan organic sofritas on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 will get a free burrito during their next visit.

How it works: order an item with sofritas (tofu) as the filling at any Chipotle in the U.S. or Canada. It can be a burrito, a bowl, some tacos, or a salad. Bring your receipt back between Jan. 27 and Feb. 28 and get a free item of your choice: a burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos.

Chipotle added sofritas to its menu a couple years ago. It was first tested in a few markets including Northern California in April 2013. A big success, it was soon added to all locations. It’s made from shredded tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. FYI, it’s not just for vegetarians—it satisfies a carnivore like me. I have enjoyed sofritas many times! Chipotle uses organic, non-GMO tofu from Oakland’s Hodo Soy (learn more at hodosoy.com).

Wondering about the name? Chipotle says its sofritas are inspired by the Spanish word sofrito— a popular cooking base used for stews, rice and beans in Spanish and Latin American culture.

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Family-friendly Santa Cruz events: Mission Hill birthday, Mole & Mariachi festival

Mariachi Gilroy, a performer at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival

Mariachi Gilroy, a performer at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival

Here are a couple upcoming family-friendly events in Santa Cruz.

Mission Hill Creamery’s 2nd birthday celebration: Monday, Sept. 15, 2014
Owner Dave Kumec invites the community to visit Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Café on Monday, Sept. 15 – all day and until they close – for a $1 birthday scoop of ice cream. This special discount is his way of saying thanks for all your support.

A bit of history, as told by Dave:
Mission Hill Creamery started 4 1/2 years ago in the Culinary Center of Santa Cruz on Front Street. From those humble beginnings, we have grown to our current location and now offer a variety of ice creams, desserts, novelties, milkshakes, floats, as well as a full coffee and tea menu, and packed pints. Our products are distributed in nine counties and growing. Come help us celebrate as we happily grow into our third year in our Pacific Avenue Creamery store.”

Location: 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s
Hours for 9/15 celebration: Noon to 11 pm

Mole & Mariachi Festival: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
The 2nd annual event is from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, and it offers lots of fabulous food—and not just mole! In addition to local food, wine, beer, and other beverages, guests can enjoy music and dance performances, kids’ crafts and a piñata, and a raffle. I attended last year, and it was great fun for the whole family. There is free admission.

This year, nine local restaurants and chefs will prepare moles. Festival attendees and a panel of local celebrity judges will select their favorites. Santa Cruz restaurant El Jardin won “People’s Choice” last year. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below.

All event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Want to avoid the trouble of parking your car? There will be bike valet service at the park, as well a free trolley to the festival from downtown Santa Cruz.

For more info, visit www.thatsmypark.org. Watch a 30-second Mole & Mariachi PSA video here.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, 144 School Street near downtown Santa Cruz

Mole competitors:

  • El Chipotle Restaurant in Soquel (preparing “rojo Oaxaqueño mole”)
  • El Jardin Restaurant in Santa Cruz (preparing “Jorge’s Traditional Mole”)
  • My Mom’s Mole from Watsonville (with a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz)
  • Lidia’s Taqueria in Watsonville (traditional Oaxacan dark mole with nopales [cactus paddles])
  • El Chino Restaurant in Santa Cruz (mole with poblano chiles)
  • The Kitchen at Discretion Brewing (Soquel brewery)
  • Vivas Restaurant in Santa Cruz (serves organic food)
  • Maya Mexican Restaurant in Scotts Valley (Michoacán mole)
  • Plaza Lane Optometry (a newcomer to the event, will prepare a staff member’s personal recipe featuring chocolate, peanuts and pumpkin seeds)

Vendors selling a variety of food/drinks:

  • El Jardin Restaurant
  • Garcia’s Fish Tacos
  • Mission Hill Creamery
  • Chocolate Restaurant
  • Sazon Mexicano
  • Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
  • Discretion Brewing
  • Lagunitas Brewery

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Win free burritos for 20 years from Chipotle Mexican Grill

Win free burritos through Chipotle’s Adventurrito contest

Win free burritos through Chipotle’s Adventurrito contest

To celebrate its 20th anniversary in business, the restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill is holding a three-week treasure hunt leading up to a grand prize of free burritos for 20 years. And there isn’t just one grand prize winner, there are 20!

“Adventurrito” begins on Saturday, July 13, 2013, which is the exact day of Chipotle’s anniversary. There will be a series of 20 online puzzles and daily prizes. During the first 19 days of the contest, Chipotle is giving away free burritos for a year (that’s one burrito a week for 52 weeks) to 20 contestants each day. On the last day of the contest, the first 20 players who finish the puzzle first will be awarded the Grand Prize of free burritos for 20 years (that’s one burrito a week for the next 20 years).

Specific details: Chipotle will unlock a daily puzzle at 20:20 Mountain time each night at Adventurrito.com (so 7:20 p.m. Pacific time, or California time). Once the puzzle is unlocked, players who attempt to answer the puzzle before 20:20 Mountain time on the following day will be entered into a daily lottery to win a year of free meals at Chipotle (20 winners will be selected each day). If a player has answered all of the 19 daily puzzles correctly by 20:20 Mountain time on Thursday, August 1, the twentieth puzzle is unlocked and that player has a chance to solve the puzzle and win the grand prize. In order to participate, players must register at Adventurrito.com — where you can also get more rules and details on the contest, like how to get puzzle hints in the form of haikus or “Hai-clues,” and extra entries for referring friends.

“Twenty years in, we are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “That vision has connected with a lot of people and helped to make them very loyal customers. In celebrating this milestone, we thought giving something special to our customers was the right thing to do, since they have given so much to us over the years.”

The first 19 puzzles will vary from easy puzzles to more challenging ones, and will incorporate Chipotle history as well as its commitment to food from more sustainable sources. Each will be accompanied by a video clue presented by “friends of Chipotle,” including celebrities, athletes, political leaders, and farmers.

Note that you don’t have to purchase any Chipotle food to enter the contest. However, if you haven’t tasted Chipotle’s newest menu item, delicious sofritas, you might want to try it sometime soon. You can read more about it in my June article.

Bon appetit and good luck! On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.