Tag Archives: Mole & Mariachi Festival

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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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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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

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Two family-friendly & delicious Santa Cruz benefits this weekend: Mole fest & Oktoberfest

Family-friendly, Santa Cruz, Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

There are many fun food-related activities this weekend in Santa Cruz, including two benefits that are family-friendly: the first annual Mole & Mariachi Festival Sat Oct 5, and Oktoberfest on Sunday, Oct 6. Below you’ll find details on both events.

Mole & Mariachi Festival Saturday Oct 5, 2013
The event is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, and it’s full of fabulous food—and not just mole! In addition to lots of local food, wine, beer, and other beverages, guests can enjoy music and dance performances, kids’ activities (such as tortilla making, giant bubble making, a piñata, and paper flowers) and a silent auction. Eight local restaurants and chefs will prepare 10 different moles. Mole dishes will be judged by festival attendees and by a panel of local celebrity judges. If you want to participate in the judging, you’ll pay a $10 fee to enter a separate, roped-off area, taste samples of the competing moles, and then vote. For non-mole-competition food/drink items, tickets will be sold for $1 each and different vendors will decide how many tickets their respective items cost. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below. If you’re not familiar with mole, it’s a wonderful and hearty traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Executive Director Bonny Hawley is very excited about the festival. “The Mole & Mariachi Festival marks the first time in many years that the Mission has hosted a heritage-themed event,” Hawley shared. “It is especially important to us since this downtown Santa Cruz State Park was slated for closure in 2012, but Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks was determined to save it and that’s what we did. The festival is a celebration of what our community has been able to accomplish saving this wonderful park and making it into a vibrant cultural event venue.”

There are 75 silent auction items including a week at a beachfront vacation home in Mexico, 3 nights in the beautiful artisan-rich city of Guanajuato, Mexico, multiple “staycations” (Costanoa and Hotel Paradox, for example), Disneyland and Boardwalk tickets, and certificates for all kinds of activities (such as golf, pilates, climbing, surfing, sailing, kayaking) plus restaurants and salons.

Event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in support of Mission restoration projects, educational programming for school children and community cultural events at the park.

For more information visit the event Facebook page.

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

Mole competitors:
Cafe Carlos Mexican Restaurant (Scotts Valley)
El Chipotle Restaurant (Soquel)
El Jardin Restaurant (Santa Cruz)
El Palomar (Santa Cruz)
La Cabana Taqueria (Soquel)
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant (Aptos)
My Mom’s Mole (Watsonville)
Tortilla Flats (Soquel)

Food & drink for sale:
Ceviche tostadas from H&H Fresh Fish
Garbanzo beans & roasted peanuts from R. Magdalena Produce
Mexican dishes from Café Carlos
Mexican dishes from El Chipotle
Hot dogs from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks’ Snack Shack
Churros from Jesus Lopez (he usually sells churros at places such as “…the Corralitos town center, and Watsonville fruit stands/busy corner markets”)
Fruit cups from Antojitos Pepitos
Pumpkin bread & apple pie from Beckmann’s Old World Bakery
Cookies from Pacific Cookie Company
Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery
Icy fruit drinks from Tejuinos Guadalajara
Wine from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
Beer from Discretion Brewing
30th Annual Oktoberfest Sunday Oct 6, 2013
Family-friendly event raises funds for local hospice programs
This event is Oct. 6 from 12-4 p.m. Proceeds benefit Hospice of Santa Cruz County. Admission is free. Lunch is available for purchase from 12-2:30 p.m. Items include kielbasa, sauerkraut, potato salad, and apple strudel prepared by Five Star Catering. Beverages available will include soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails.

The program includes live accordion music and both silent and live auctions; the silent one is from 12-3:30 p.m. and the live one begins at 2:45 p.m. Also, tickets will be sold for a drawing with cash prizes (and you don’t need to be present to win). Auction items include vacations and weekend getaways to places such as Hawaii, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Palm Desert; a fantastic TiVo package; fine wines, tickets to sports events and area shows; jewelry; artwork; and restaurant and business gift certificates. “This is a wonderful event,” said Lorraine Margon, Friends of Hospice member and volunteer. “The food is really tasty and there are plenty of great items to bid on, many of which are fantastic bargains, and all for a worthy cause.”

If bidding for prizes isn’t your cup of tea, you can peruse the “cash and carry” tables and purchase products including holiday items as well as vintage and re-purposed items, and browse the large assortment of garden items such as flowering plants and ornamentals. For more info call (831) 430-3000.

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