Tag Archives: Mutari Chocolate

Valentine’s Day gifts & activities from Santa Cruz chocolatiers, Gilroy Premium Outlets

Mutari Craft Chocolate House on Pacific Ave.
Photo credit: Mutari Facebook page

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching—here are some shopping ideas if you’re a chocolate lover in Santa Cruz or you’re considering a trip to Gilroy Premium Outlets.

 

Santa Cruz Chocolatiers

Santa Cruz County residents are very lucky; we have a variety of talented local chocolatiers. Some highlights, in alphabetical order:

 

Ashby Confections, 16 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Donnelly Fine Chocolates, 1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz

 

Mackenzies Chocolate, 1492 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz

 

Mutari Chocolate (specializes in single origin craft drinking chocolate, it’s featuring housemade bon bons for Valentine’s shopping) – two locations: 1108 Pacific Ave., next door to Assembly, and 504A Front St. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Front St. location — usually open weekends only — is going to be open Wednesday 2/14 from noon to 9 p.m.

Gilroy Outlets

 

If you haven’t made restaurant reservations yet, there aren’t many left—how about staying home with your significant other or gathering a group of friends for some Valentine’s Day fun? Host a stay at home date or girls’ night with goods from Le Creuset or Kitchen Collection for accessories and tools to whip up a festive dinner party. Both have shops at the Gilroy Outlets.

 

Want to buy a sweet Valentine’s gift, either for yourself or someone else (whether it be a romantic partner, a co-worker, family member or friend)? You can find raspberry hearts, “conversation beans,” sour “smoochi” lips, Valentine’s Day gift boxes and more at the Jelly Belly store.

 

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Santa Cruz First Friday food highlights for March 4

For First Friday, HGP’s Angie Smith is making sweet potato and kale boxty with gingered applesauce

For First Friday, HGP’s Angie Smith is making sweet potato and kale boxty with gingered applesauce

Friday, March 4 is the next “First Friday Art Tour” in Santa Cruz; that night there are lots of related events with good food plus a couple unrelated events with delicious food that happen to be the same day. Here are a few highlights. FYI, the free First Friday tour happens every month, rain or shine, at different venues including restaurants, cafes, wineries and galleries.

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is hosting an event at its downtown shop to coincide with First Friday. Retail store and product manager Angie Smith will be cooking up tasty treats for attendees: sweet potato and kale boxty (latkes) with gingered applesauce (vegan and gluten-free), and vegan chocolate Stout cupcakes (plus some non-alcoholic chocolate cupcakes). There will also be “Sasquatch Red” wine (a blend from Humboldt County). There will be a special exhibit by Jessie Case, “Volunteers Giving While Getting Back,” which is a photo essay. Jessie photographed and interviewed some of Homeless Garden Project’s volunteers. The theme of the night is “Celebrating our Growing Community.” In 2015, nearly 2,500 people volunteered their time at HGP. “It’s also National Social Work Month so we are celebrating the Social Work interns that work with our trainees,” says Smith. “Since it’s March, we are having an Irish band and Irish themed appetizers.”

The HGP store stocks items including culinary products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at its organic farm. Income from sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.
Location: 110 Cooper St.

The Art Bar at the Tannery Art Center is having a grand opening celebration during First Friday with paella and more. Chef Antonette Wood is cooking up Spanish seafood paella for 100 (!) in the Art Bar’s patio using a traditional paellara. Read more about The Art Bar and its current offerings in my Feb. 27 restaurant news article. Ian McRae of Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room has taken over as sole proprietor of The Art Bar. On First Friday, The Great Morgani will perform from 7-8 p.m., and Kirby Scudder will be creating a 6 x 8 ft. live action painting of “a prominent politician… he won’t say who,” says McRae. “I think it will be Trump.” As usual, there will be lots of Tannery artists participating in First Friday; people are encouraged to visit the surrounding studios at 1050 and 1060 River St.
Location of The Art Bar: 1060 River St. #112 in the Tannery Arts Center

My Mom’s Mole will be at POPUP for dinner on Friday, March 4. The menu, which will include items from $3-10, will feature their signature mole sauce AND a new mole verde (green mole) served with chicken, pork and veggie tostadas paired with a locally sourced cactus and kale salad. I have tasted the signature mole several times—including at last week’s wonderful Event Watsonville night at the Commercial Kitchen Incubator—and can vouch that it’s delectable!

Here is a description of the food from Cesario Ruiz, who created the My Mom’s Mole recipe after watching his mother make mole and seeing all of the different ingredients she used: “My Mom’s Mole was named Best Mole, People’s Choice at the 2015 Mole & Mariachi Festival at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. The signature recipe is in the Guanajuato style and is more savory with a bit of heat at the back of the palate…our mole verde, also known as pipián, has a subtle, yet rich & fresh flavor to it. We are excited to share it with you; it may be our next product in stores so we can’t wait for you to try it!” There will be vegetarian/vegan (Guanajuato style) and gluten-free (verde) options available.
Location: POPUP, 1108 Pacific Ave.

LionFish SupperClub is having its grand opening celebration and Santa Cruz Chamber ribbon cutting at the MOTIV upstairs bar/kitchen starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The menu that night will include chili-carmel brussels sprouts, rosemary-parmesan fries, French onion soup, smoked duck carnitas tacos, foraged mushroom ragout, candy cap souffle cheesecake, and caramel creme brulee. Read more about LionFish in my March 2 restaurant news article.
Location: 1209 Pacific Ave.

Mutari Chocolate is hosting a First Friday popup café and shop at Front Street Kitchen from 5 to 9 p.m. accompanied by the art of Randy Cardona. Mutari will be serving up a full menu of hot chocolates and sipping chocolates. Bean-to-bar, single origin chocolate bars will also be available. During First Friday, customers will receive 10% off any in-store retail purchases. For more news on Mutari changes, see March 2 restaurant news article.
Location: 504A Front St.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Event Santa Cruz hosts PopUp Santa Cruz Night

Food by Lionfish Supper Club, a participant at Event Santa Cruz: PopUp

Food by Lionfish Supper Club, a participant at Event Santa Cruz: PopUp

Matthew Swinnerton has done it again: he started Event Santa Cruz in September 2013 to tell stories about local businesses and the people behind them, and he’s been bringing our community fantastic monthly events—always sell-outs—ever since. The next one, “PopUp Santa Cruz Night,” is June 25 with eight speakers. Warning to all you foodies out there: tickets are almost gone.

The setting is An Epicurious Lifestyle, owned by Adrienne Megora and Marci Prolo—themselves speakers in last November’s ‘Edible Santa Cruz’ program from Event Santa Cruz. As Swinnerton has announced on the eventsantacruz.com site, Megora and Prolo are welcoming attendees into their kitchen “to sample delicious PopUps from all over Santa Cruz” before listening to the speakers, who are all part of the burgeoning Santa Cruz PopUp movement.

Scheduled speakers, in alphabetical order:

  • Matthew Armstrong – Mutari Chocolate
  • Elizabeth Birnbaum – Slow Food Santa Cruz
  • Austin Kaye – Back Porch
  • Charles Lambert – Ocean2Table
  • Zachary Mazi – Lionfish Supper Club
  • Noah Kopito – Mortal Dumpling
  • Ty Pearce – Ty’s Eatery
  • Justin Williams – Kickin Chicken

Lionfish’s Zachary Mazi recently came across some intriguing statistics from Eventbrite: “In 2014, PopUp dining events enjoyed the largest growth of any type of ticketed event, with an 82% increase in attendance and sales,” Mazi shares. “Following closely on the heels and coming in second on growth was Communal Dining events, at around 64% growth.” One reason Mazi cites for his excitement about participating in Event Santa Cruz: PopUp: “…we are riding a national wave of the changing face of dining, and it feels like Santa Cruz really has a lead on this particular growing industry.”

Mazi likes being able to have a dialogue with the local foodie community. “Foodies should know that connecting back to the source of our food is the most important step anyone can take in their eating habits,” he says. “For me, that includes growing your own food, foraging, understanding your local food history and your current agricultural surroundings.  LionFish strives to bring these factors to full attention with every meal we craft.”

Ty Pearce is very enthusiastic about the June 25 event. “It brings exposure to a lot of great PopUps, and gives each of us the opportunity to explain why we are going on this journey in the PopUp world.” I met Pearce a few weeks ago when I ate his delicious food at the weekly Wednesday night Food Lounge PopUp, and it’s obvious how much care goes into his creations. “I take the time to source organic wholesome ingredients that make delicious comfort food that is sold at a fair price,” he says. “My menu can be completely customized to each individual’s lifestyle needs.”

Speaker Justin Williams, chef and co-owner of Kickin Chicken, is looking forward to the event. “This is a great opportunity to talk about how late-night food doesn’t have to be subpar,” says Williams. “We strive to deliver the undeliverable!”

Back Porch owner/chef Austin Kaye is honored that he was included in this program. “I enjoy being part of an event that explores the pop-up scene in Santa Cruz, with an emphasis on community and collaboration, rather than competition,” shares Kaye. “I can’t wait to talk about something that I care so much about!” Back Porch has just acquired a food trailer, and on the evening of June 25 Kaye will be revealing its menu and its late summer locations.

Matthew Armstrong, Mutari Chocolate co-founder, also looks forward to speaking to local food fans June 25. “The way we make and deliver our chocolate has always been something exciting to speak about,” says Armstrong. “We are doing something both new and traditional, that also carries my own personal adventure. Armstrong is very excited to hear from “others in the community who have their own stories of inspiration.”

Slow Food Santa Cruz Board Chair Elizabeth Birnbaum is thrilled to be included in Event Santa Cruz’s PopUp Night. “I am the only woman in the speaker line-up, and the only non-chef/food producer. I am also the only non-business-owner of the group, but I am always creating food-based projects and am presently working to build a business.” Birnbaum has collaborated with some of the other speakers—including Mutari, LionFish, and Mortal Dumpling. “They are all awesome and I am inspired by working with them!”

“Being the only non-chef, I have an interesting opportunity to cross over between the chefs and food producers, and help support them all by creating events,” Birnbaum adds. “I consider myself an event producer and community organizer. I especially love creating space for food literacy education. I have been able to do this for work and for fun, which is really incredible.”

Tickets are only $15; purchase tickets online at eventsantacruz.com. There are only 38 tickets left as of Sunday morning, June 14.  There are also a limited number of “annual passes” available for $75. This grants pass-holders admission to 12 consecutive months of events, through June 2016.

For more information call 831-332-8677. Ian Janco is the evening’s musical guest.

Details:

Thursday, June 25, 2015
6 p.m. doors open, and food will be served from most of the speakers
7 p.m. speakers begin

Location: An Epicurious Lifestyle, 104 Bronson St. Suite 13, Santa Cruz

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.