Tag Archives: Mission Hill Creamery

Santa Cruz holiday shopping: Gift card bonus offers for restaurants

Pono Hawaiian Grill is offering discount gift cards this holiday season

If you’re in Santa Cruz or Capitola and have some gift or stocking stuffer shopping to do, you’ll be happy to know that several restaurants are offering “gift certificate bonus deals” for the 2018 holiday season. Here are a few options – if you hear of any more, let me know at tara@santacruzfoodie.com so I can share with everyone, thanks!

Santa Cruz

Pono Hawaiian Grill (120 Union St.) – If you buy a $25 gift card, it costs $20. If you buy a $100 card, you get a $20 bonus certificate. The offer is valid until Dec. 31. For more information, call 831-426-7666 or visit ponohawaiiangrill.com.

 

Hula’s Island Grill: ((221 Cathcart St.): Purchase a $50 gift certificate and get a $10 card free to keep for yourself. Purchase $100 and get a $20 certificate free. Offer available until December 23. For more information, call 831-426-4852 or visit hulastiki.com.

 

Mission Hill Creamery (1101B Pacific Ave., 831-216-6421) is offering gift cards at a 20 percent discount. Purchase cards such as a $10 card for $8 or a $50 card for $40. The promotion is valid through Dec. 24. Visit missionhillcreamery.com.

 

Woodstock’s Pizza  – Now through Christmas, for every $50 in gift cards you purchase, you get 5 free “Woody Bucks.” The Santa Cruz location is 710 Front St. Call 831-427-4444 or visit woodstockscruz.com.

 

Denny’s: customers who buy a $25 Denny’s gift card will receive $50 in coupons for future visits. The offer is valid through Dec. 25. The Santa Cruz location is 1515 Ocean St. Call 831-426-4628 or visit dennys.com.

 

Capitola

Paradise Beach Grille (215 Esplanade): Buy a $100 gift certificate for $80. Offer valid through Christmas. Call 831-476-4900 or visit paradisebeachgrille.com

 

Chili’s  – If you buy $50 in gift cards, you receive a $10 bonus card to keep for yourself. The Capitola branch is at 1855 41st Ave. For more information, call 831-462-1813 or visit chilis.com.

 

IHOP – If you buy a $25 gift card, you receive a $5 bonus coupon. The Capitola branch is at 1549 41st Ave. For more information, call 831-475-0540 or visit ihop.com.

 

Happy holiday shopping & Bon Appetit!

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Last minute foodie holiday gifts in Santa Cruz

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co. Photo credit: PCC web site

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co.
Photo credit: PCC web site

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping and have some foodies on your list? Want to shop local? There are lots of choices in the Santa Cruz area including some discounts; here are some highlights including a gift fair tomorrow that has plenty of options–whether you want to buy something food/drink-related or something else that’s made locally.

First, the gift fair:

2nd Annual Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market — Saturday 12/17 at Food Lounge

I went to this fabulous event last year and bought gift items for several friends/family members, not to mention a few things for myself! The market will feature locally made packaged foods including jams, olive oil and hot sauce that are currently available in the Food Lounge Pantry, which opened in September. The holiday market will also offer beautiful jewelry, textiles, glass art, print art and kitchen antiques. Additionally, a few small-batch food producers will offer tamales, empanadas, meat pies and other items that would work well for holiday entertaining or for a delicious dinner with your family. Plus they will sell ready to eat food that customers can enjoy while shopping like empanadas (from La Sofrita Puerto Rican pop-up), tamales (Yoli’s Adobo) and savory pies (Artisan Hand Pies).

“We offer this market as close to the holidays as possible so that all of our vendors’ food-based products are fresh for gift-giving and entertaining,” said Andrea Conklin Mollenauer, one of the three partners in the Food Lounge, an incubator kitchen and event venue that will celebrate its second birthday in January. “We are excited to offer market space to 25 local vendors who don’t have their own brick-and- mortar places to sell products.”

Vendors with food gifts will include Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Notso Hot Sauce, My Mom’s Mole, Ashby Confections, and Farmer Freed Salts. Non-food vendors will include True Blue Indigo (textiles), Love Light Vintage Candles, Verdant California (body products) and  Fereshteh Fatemi (artisan jewelry and greeting cards – disclaimer, this is the author’s mother).

In addition to the holiday market, the Food Lounge Pantry is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to

7 p.m. as a hub for local artisan food products – a perfect stop for holiday shopping, including next week when you realize which folks you forgot to buy for!

Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz

Date/Time: Sat Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Next, some gift card discount highlights:

Until Christmas, Hula’s Santa Cruz (221 Cathcart St.) is offering a special: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get a free $10 certificate for yourself; purchase $100 and get a free $20 gift card to treat yourself.

Mission Hill Creamery (1101 Pacific Ave.) has these discounts until Christmas: Buy a $25 gift card for $20 OR buy four $10 gift cards and receive the fifth free OR re-Charge your existing gift card with at least $20 and get 20% off your gift card purchase.

Through Dec. 24, Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake) is offering a bonus: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get $10 free; spend $100 and get $20 free, etc.

Other gift ideas

Last but not least, other foodie gift options include certificates from local restaurants. The Glass Jar announced they’re offering a card that’s good at any of their three restaurants—that’s Assembly, The Picnic Basket AND The Penny Ice Creamery. If you know people who are fans of Soif and/or La Posta, you can also purchase gift cards that are good at both. And Crow’s Nest gift cards are redeemable at the restaurant or its neighboring Crow’s Nest Beach Market.

Want to send a sweet Santa Cruz-themed food gift to someone? Pacific Cookie Company has lots of options. These include Top Tier Cookies & Chocolate Box ($49.95), with 36 two-ounce cookies and 32 white and milk chocolate flower medallions made by local chocolatier Mackenzies Chocolate; Sweet Elegance Cookie Gift Box ($37.95) with 24 two-oz. cookies, Season’s Eatings Christmas Tin ($26.95) with 36 one-oz. cookies, and Classic Cookies and Milk ($24.95) with a dozen two-ounce cookies and two 8-oz cartons of organic milk (it’s shelf-stable low-fat Horizon milk which doesn’t require refrigeration). Also, Los Gatos-based Manresa Bread now ships its scrumptious artisan bread anywhere in the continental U.S.; see my November article and/or the Manresa site for details.

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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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New Leaf offers birthday discounts & party plus employees get raises

Limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream from New Leaf & Mission Hill Creamery

Limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream from New Leaf & Mission Hill Creamery

New Leaf Community Markets is celebrating its 30th birthday with lots of discounts through Sunday, Oct. 25, at its stores in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Half Moon Bay and Pleasanton. Also, the Westside store will hold a community block party on Saturday, Oct. 24. Visit Visit New Leaf’s 30-year anniversary site  for details on events and promotions.

Discounts & More
Through Sunday, there are 30 different product lines being sold at 30% off—choices vary each day. There are three or four on each weekday, and 14 Saturday/Sunday specials. For Oct. 20, selections on sale included packages of fresh pasta and ravioli from Pasta Mike and raw organic sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture (both wonderful Santa Cruz area companies). Thursday’s discount items will include all bulk items except for coffee, tea, and herbs. The weekend deals include all New Leaf-brand cheese, organic local apples, and Talenti gelato.

The store created a few fun “30th anniversary exclusive products” including limited edition stainless steel pint cups (Klean Kanteen produced them) and a limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream made by local Mission Hill Creamery. Only 1,000 pints of this delicious-sounding dessert are being made. It features organic vanilla MHC ice cream made with Straus Family Creamery dairy as the base, infused with a generous caramel swirl made with organic ingredients. The ice cream is blended with deluxe rich chocolate cake donated by Black China Bakery (a family-owned wholesale bakery in Santa Cruz), and chocolate Newman-Os, chocolate cream-filled cookies made with organic flour and organic sugar by Aptos-based Newman’s Own.

Birthday Party
New Leaf’s birthday party, 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Westside New Leaf (1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz), has free admission. It features music by The McCoy Tyler Band and the Painted Horses band, an in-store tasting fair, kids’ arts and crafts, and lots of food and drinks for sale. Food vendors include Uncie Ro’s, Mission Hill Creamery, Beckmann’s Bakery, and Farmhouse Culture. Drink vendors include Uncommon Brewers, Bonny Doon Vineyard, and Hallcrest Vineyard. Proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank, a longtime New Leaf partner. If you donate a can of food to SHFB during the party, you’ll get a free raffle ticket (prize to be announced).

History and recent news
New Leaf has accomplished a lot over the years. When their very first store opened, it stocked produce from local Route 1 Farms—and Route 1 vegetables are still found at New Leaf today (in the regular produce bins and in the store’s popular, ready-to-eat Coastal Kale Salad). This is just one of the many local produce growers that New Leaf carries. In 2002, New Leaf became the first retail partner with non-profit marine conservation organization FishWise and launched a sustainable seafood labeling program.

In 2013, Portland-based New Seasons Market purchased New Leaf Community Markets. New Seasons was the first grocer in the world, and New Leaf the second, to become certified B Corporations, which recognize businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. In late September 2015, New Leaf announced that effective January 1, 2016, it’s increasing the starting wage for all store staff from $10.30 to $12/hour. The pay rate for any staff whose rate falls below the new scale will move to the scale’s minimum, and any staff who have been with the company for more than two years will receive an additional adjustment based on tenure.
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Family-friendly Santa Cruz benefit with food, wine, Warriors prizes

Ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery, an official Santa Cruz Warriors partner and a participant in this weekend’s Taste of the Warriors

Ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery, an official Santa Cruz Warriors partner and a participant in this weekend’s Taste of the Warriors

The inaugural Taste of the Warriors—Saturday, Oct. 10, at downtown Santa Cruz’s Kaiser Permanente Arena—is a family-friendly event with food, wine, beer, and entertainment. The Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association and the Santa Cruz Warriors (the 2015 champions of the NBA’s Development League) are partnering to host this benefit for Santa Cruz City Schools (SCCS). In addition to serving wine from 19 local wineries including several South County vintners, the event will feature selections from several restaurants including local chefs who are SCCS alums. There will be photo ops with championship trophies from the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors. For more information or tickets, visit santacruzbasketball.com. The party will be from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and the arena is at 140 Front St.

For the kids, there will be a special area with a jump house, face painting, basketball hoops, and kid-friendly food. Adults can enjoy beer from Uncommon Brewers and New Bohemia and wine from the aforementioned wineries; their tickets include a souvenir Warriors wine glass. There are lots of restaurants and food vendors including Hoffman’s Bistro (Adam Hoffman is a SCCS alumnus), Assembly, Kianti’s, Pacific Thai, Back Nine Grill & Bar (chef Michele Costa is a SCCS alumna), Pleasure Pizza, Ristorante Italiano, Whitings’ Food, Goose’s Goodies (owner Marci Prolo is an alum), Penny Ice Creamery, and Mission Hill Creamery. Back Nine is serving rib tips; Hoffman’s is dishing up bruschetta and pineapple pulled pork sliders; Ristorante Italiano is providing homemade meatballs with marinara and meat dipping sauces plus mini Caprese salads; and Goose’s will provide toffee. Participating wineries include Alfaro, Armitage, Bargetto, Bartolo, Bottle Jack, Burrell School, Byington, Clos LaChance, Dancing Creek, Equinox, Odonata, and Stockwell Cellars.

Tickets have been on sale for a while at $50 in advance or $70 at the door. Those under 21 pay $10. On Oct. 7 organizers announced a 2-for-1 ticket deal. For that promotion, you need to call the Warriors ticket number (831-713-4400) or buy tickets at the door. Event proceeds will benefit SCCS, which serves 7,000 students. Since relocating to Santa Cruz in 2012, the D-League Warriors have collaborated with the district through the Read to Achieve and Math Warriors programs.

“We’re proud to host this event as part of our ongoing commitment to support our public schools,” said Santa Cruz Warriors President Jim Weyermann. “We are all champions when we stand together.” He described the upcoming event as “a family night that celebrates our community’s culinary talents, exemplary winemaking and dedication to education.”

Other highlights for Oct. 10 include an appearance by Warriors dual champion James Michael McAdoo who will take photos with fans; a raffle with autographed Warriors prizes such as jerseys signed by MVPs Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Flowers will be provided by alumna Wendy Melrose of Lina Floral.

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National Ice Cream Month in Santa Cruz includes Mission Hill Creamery’s birthday

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery, used with permission

Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery (photo used with permission)

July is National Ice Cream Month, and here in Santa Cruz this coincides with Mission Hill Creamery’s 5th birthday plus a contest where you can win free ice cream for a year.

First, the Mission Hill Creamery news: Dave Kumec founded this wonderful artisan ice cream company in July 2010. To celebrate Mission Hill’s fifth birthday, the downtown shop is offering $1 ice cream scoops from noon to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21. There will also be live music and drawings for Santa Cruz Warriors merchandise. Kumec loves giving back to the community. I asked him to reflect on the last five years. “I feel like the business has become a grown-up,” Kumec shared. “We had some challenges early on, but now we are finding a great groove. It’s all about the team you surround yourself with and our team is fantastic. It’s a fantastic career knowing you make people happy all day long.”

Kumec and Mission Hill started out in the former Front Street Culinary Center, and moved to the current Pacific Avenue site in 2012. They serve a variety of ice creams, desserts, milkshakes, and floats—with local and organic ingredients like Straus organic cream and Santa Cruz County strawberries—plus coffee and espresso, and packed pints. Mission Hill Creamery products are also sold at many Northern California stores and other venues including Whole Foods Market and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Next, here are details for the ice cream contest Downtown Santa Cruz is sponsoring. It’s a coloring contest, and the Ice Cream for a Year prize will be comprised of 50 gift certificates: 10 gift certificates for a scoop, from each of the 5 participating locations. The idea is you get one scoop of ice cream per week, for all but two weeks of the year.

How to play: pick up a coloring sheet at one of Downtown Santa Cruz’s five participating stores: Cold Stone Creamery, Marini’s Candies, Mission Hill Creamery, Pacific Cookie Company and the Penny Ice Creamery. Return your completed coloring sheet to the Info Kiosk in front of New Leaf Market on Pacific Ave. by July 31 and you will be entered in the contest. The winner will be notified by email during the the first week of August.

People are encouraged to follow Downtown Santa Cruz on Facebook and check out the front windows of Palace Art on Pacific Ave. to see featured coloring sheets, and participants are encouraged to post photos of both ice cream treats and coloring sheets on Instagram with the hashtags #downtownsantacruzicecream and #downtownsantacruz.

Location details:
Mission Hill Creamery, 1101B Pacific Ave. near Cathcart
The Penny Ice Creamery, several locations including original downtown branch, 913 Cedar St.
Pacific Cookie Company, two locations including downtown, 1203 Pacific Ave.
Marini’s Candies, two locations including downtown, 1308 Pacific Ave.
Cold Stone Creamery, 1129 Pacific Ave.
New Leaf Market, 1134 Pacific Ave.
Palace Art, 1407 Pacific Ave.

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Santa Cruz chocolate festival with restaurants and vendors benefits UCSC scholarships

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 8th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday January 18, with lots of food and wine, benefits UCSC scholarships. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings together about two dozen vendors. See complete list at womensclub.ucsc.edu/fundraising/chocolate-festival/vendors-list-page.html.

Participants include local confectioners and bakers like Ashby Confections, Marich Confectionary, and Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting, plus restaurants and cafes like Zizzo’s Coffeehouse and India Joze. Other local companies who will be present include Mission Hill Creamery, Lifestyle Culinary Arts, Mutari Hot Chocolate, and wineries Sones Cellars and Bonny Doon Vineyard.

Each food vendor will have treats such as truffles, cupcakes, or ice cream available in exchange for a tasting ticket. Buy tasting tickets at the event (admission is free) or online. Each $15 purchase gets you six tickets. Wine prices are $5 for a souvenir glass plus one tasting.

There will be live music by Jazz by Five, and a silent auction with prizes including Giants tickets, chocolate baskets, and a magnum of wine. Attendees can enjoy activities like cupcake decorating and face painting ($4 each), and have the opportunity to buy chocolate products like Valentine-themed boxes at select booths.

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans). The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 30-some years the club has awarded over 330 scholarships totaling more than $230,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 1-4pm

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A Taste of Santa Cruz 2014 features 30 restaurants, wineries

Food from 2013’s

Food from 2013’s “A Taste of Santa Cruz”

The 10th annual “A Taste of Santa Cruz,” at the Cocoanut Grove on Thursday, Nov. 13, features approximately 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. For more information, visit the site www.atosc.com or call 831-464-2000.

Attendees sample food and drinks, and all 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 Aldo’s, Assembly, Chaminade, Paradise Beach Grille, Pleasure Pizza’s East Side Eatery, Crow’s Nest, Hula’s, Johnny’s Harborside, Mission Hill Creamery, Shadowbrook, The Point, The Kitchen at Discretion Brewery, Stagnaro Bros. Seafood, and Woodstock’s Pizza. Wineries and breweries include Trout Gulch Vineyards, Storrs Winery, MJA Vineyards, and Uncommon Brewers.

Other highlights at the event: more than 100 raffle prize packages from local businesses and artisans. Prizes include a Las Vegas penthouse stay, four floor seats to a Santa Cruz Warriors game, and four club seats plus VIP parking to a SF Giants game.

Several hundred people attend this event, raising approximately $30,000 annually. Purchasing your tickets in advance is recommended.

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

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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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National Ice Cream Month — win ice cream for a year in Santa Cruz

mission hill july 2014

Ice cream and espresso at Mission Hill Creamery

To celebrate National Ice Cream Month, there is a delicious Downtown Santa Cruz-sponsored contest with a grand prize of free ice cream for a year!

One winner receives 50 gift certificates for free ice cream – so the idea is to use one per week. To be exact, the prize is “approximately” one year of free dessert.

How you play: visit one of the five participating venues and pick up an Ice Cream Month punch card. The venues are the Penny Ice Creamery, Pacific Cookie Company, Mission Hill Creamery, Marini’s Candies and Cold Stone Creamery. Through July 27, have your card punched every time you order a treat from one of these sweet places.

Then, on July 27, visit Mission Hill Creamery at 3 p.m. for a special event. Vice Mayor Don Lane (the “Vice Cream Mayor,” he even has an ice cream tattoo!) will present a special Vice Mayoral Proclamation. Anyone who has a completed Ice Cream Month punch card (ten punches) will be entered in a raffle for free ice cream. You must be present to win. If you have eaten enough ice cream by July 27 that you have more than one punch card filled out, each one of these counts as a separate raffle entry.

Follow the Downtown Santa Cruz Facebook page to learn about featured ice cream flavors every day. You don’t have to eat that particular flavor to get a punch; it’s just another highlight of ice cream month in Santa Cruz. Not to whet your appetite or anything, but Sunday’s featured flavor was Macapuno (baby coconut) at Pacific Cookie, Saturday’s was Oreo Overload at Coldstone, Friday’s was Ricotta Fig at Mission Hill, and the 4th of July highlighted the flavor The Great Morgani at Marini’s.

Today’s featured flavor? Blackberry Sweet Corn at The Penny Ice Creamery. Mmmm, I can taste it already…

Remember — since National Ice Cream Month is July, we are halfway through already. You better get eating!
Locations:
Mission Hill Creamery, 1101B Pacific Ave.
The Penny Ice Creamery, several locations including original downtown branch, 913 Cedar St.
Pacific Cookie Company, two locations including downtown, 1203 Pacific Ave.
Marini’s Candies, two locations including downtown, 1308 Pacific Ave.
Cold Stone Creamery, 1129 Pacific Ave.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.