Tag Archives: Mutari Hot Chocolate

Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights, Part 2 of 2

Savory hand pies at Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting

Savory hand pies at Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting

Here is some restaurant news for Santa Cruz — I published Part 1 of this two-part series a few days ago.

Openings

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting opened its new spot about 2 weeks ago, moving to Pacific Ave. (former Noah’s Bagels site) from around the corner on Locust. It’s got so many changes that it’s basically a brand-new place! Don’t worry: the amazing cupcakes, regular or mini-size ($4 or $2), are still available in flavors including signature Triple Orange (Earl Grey frosting on blood orange cake). Now you can order espresso from Lulu’s to accompany the sweet treats. New food items include granola with yogurt or milk ($5), spicy corn muffins with paprika garlic cream cheese, gluten-free vegan “miracle muffins” (ingredients include coconut and almond flour), and vegan scones (like lemon cherry; ingredients include coconut oil). There are savory and sweet “handpies” (mini $2, regular $5) with rotating flavors like potato-egg-cheddar or The Greek (feta, spinach, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts). Rotating soup varieties include chipotle corn chowder ($4/bowl). Current hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun-Thurs, and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri-Sat. In the future, hours will expand to 8am-9pm daily.
Location: 1411 Pacific Ave., (831) 466-0373.

Ashby Confections now has a second storefront—it’s keeping the Victor Square store in Scotts Valley, and is now offering lots of goodies—including selected handmade chocolates and caramels—at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge (it took over the space formerly occupied by Mutari; for more on Mutari, see “Changes” section below). Just today Ashby announced a new, freshly made ganache “made with Askinosie Chocolate dark milk chocolate made with single origin Filipino cacao with a touch of goat milk powder and sea salt.” They are serving lots of hot chocolates including “European style” and traditional South American-style drinking chocolates made by local company CACOCO. They also offer fresh honey marshmallows and vanilla bean whipped cream. Hmmm, and there is rain in the forecast the next few days…sounds like a good combination! In the future, Ashby will have a variety of chocolate milks and frozen desserts available at the Lounge. Current hours are Wed-Sun noon to 8 p.m. Location: 1001 Center St.


Opening Soon

Café Iveta will be opening its second location soon, probably in late March: an expanded restaurant at UCSC. The original Westside location—2125 Delaware near Swift—will remain open (and thriving!). The new location will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It will feature a full espresso bar and sustainable coffee, plus craft beer and wine. Campus hours will be 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon-Fri and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. Location: Graduate Student Commons (across from the Bay Tree Bookstore), UCSC, 1156 High St.

Changes
The Santa Cruz Food Lounge is now open 5 to 9 p.m. Wed-Sat with a full bar serving local wine, beer, cider, and artisan spirits. There will be special guest bartenders on occasion; this Saturday, March 5 features Tabitha Stroup (owner of Friend in Cheeses Jam Company) who will be “slinging original cocktails incorporating her delicious locally made jams” according to Food Lounge owner Andrea Mollenauer. On March 5 customers can also purchase food from Tanglewood…if you haven’t tried this yet, I highly recommend it. I tried Tanglewood chef Rachel Hughes’ meatballs at the last Artisan Market and they were delicious. Hughes is a former Ty’s Eatery sous chef. Tanglewood will be serving food at the Food Lounge bar regularly (except at the times other local chefs are doing popup dinners). Location: 1001 Center St.

Ty’s Eatery, which used to do a weekly pop-up Sunday brunch at the Food Lounge, is no longer a regular participant. However, Ty still does catering; for details call him at (925) 451-7944.

Mutari Hot Chocolate is no longer at the Food Lounge. Owners Adam and Matt Armstrong closed that location at the end of 2015, and sold the business to Katy Oursler and Stephen Beaumier. Mutari fans can still buy products online, and Oursler and Beaumier are hosting occasional popup cafés at Front Street Kitchen (504A Front St.). The next one is Friday, March 4, 5 to 9 p.m.

LionFish SupperClub has big news. It has discontinued the weekly Tuesday popup gig at the Food Lounge. LionFish is now offering dinner service every Wednesday through Saturday at nightclub MOTIV’s upstairs bar/kitchen (formerly known as Pearl Alley Bistro). Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Wed-Thurs and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fri-Sat. The grand opening celebration and Santa Cruz Chamber ribbon cutting is Friday, March 4, beginning at 5:30 p.m. LionFish will continue to hold occasional special events such as dinners (at various venues) and private culinary events. Location: 1209 Pacific Ave./110 Pearl Alley.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie. Have food/restaurant/wine/culinary event news to share? Write me at tfatemi@gmail.com.

Ocean2table hosts Santa Cruz Pescetarian PopUp Dinner

Charlie & Ian grilling up miso sablefish at the first Pescetarian PopUp. Photo courtesy of Ocean2table

Charlie & Ian grilling up miso sablefish at the first Pescetarian PopUp.
Photo courtesy of Ocean2table

Santa Cruz-based Ocean2table is partnering with several other local businesses to host their third Pescetarian PopUp Dinner on Thursday, July 16, at the Food Lounge in downtown Santa Cruz.

Tickets are $50 for the multi-course dinner and there will be a cash bar. Buy tickets online.

Sustainable seafood company Ocean2table is Charlie Lambert and Ian Cole. They started this dinner series with the hope of encouraging community support for local, sustainable food. So far, they have had two successful events, one in April and one in May. Their collaborators for the July 16 dinner are Crescent Farm, Mutari Chocolate, Companion Bakeshop, Squash & Blossom, Creative Cultures, and Ty’s Eatery. The final menu will be set a couple days before the event, but there will be a salad from Crescent, hot chocolate from Mutari, bread from Companion, beet kvass from Creative, and appetizers from Ty’s.

“We see our pop-ups as a chance to meet and bring together people who care about where their food comes from,” says Cole. “There are a lot of great businesses here in Santa Cruz working to bring delicious environmentally conscious food to the table, and I think it makes sense to get us all under one roof to share. We learn a lot from working with other businesses and it’s quite a rush pulling it off!”

Normally, Ocean2table offers very fresh seafood to customers via pick-up or delivery. Those who are email subscribers get notified the day before local fish is available—it depends on what they or other local fishermen catch—and customers must place their orders by a certain deadline, choosing a half share or full share. If you’re on the email list, there is no obligation to purchase anything. I’m an email subscriber and bought a half share of rockfish earlier this year, and it was very succulent and fresh. I even used the recipe they recommended, which was simple and delicious. They always include a link to a recipe with their emails.

For more information visit getocean2table.com.

Details: Thursday, July 16, 2015, 5:30-8:30 p.m., $50

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

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Artisan Food Market: Farmer Freed culinary salts, oysters, & other local treats

Spice It Up Salt from Farmer Freed, a vendor at the inaugural Artisan Food Market Photo credit: Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends

Spice It Up Salt from Farmer Freed, a vendor at the inaugural Artisan Food Market
Photo credit: Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends

Farmer Freed culinary salts and Belle Farms olive oil to enhance your cooking, Mortal Dumpling dim sum and comfort food from Kickin Chicken to provide a delicious easy dinner: these are just a few examples of what will be available at the debut Artisan Market this Friday afternoon and evening at the Food Lounge. See the full list below, and keep reading for more details.

The Food Lounge’s Andrea Molleanauer describes the inaugural Artisan Market as ‘farmers market meets cocktail hour.’ She encourages attendees to stop by whether they want to stock up on delicious food and supplies for the weekend, sit and have a drink after work or grab a snack from one of the pop up vendors. It’s family-friendly, and bound to be a unique, fun event. I know I am excited, what with the wonderful space at the new venue and all the fabulous local food artisans that are participating.

Emily Freed of Farmer Freed is also excited. “Farmer Freed is thrilled to be a vendor at the Inaugural Artisan Food Market because this event will create an opportunity for farmers and local food entrepreneurs (both grassroots and established) to gather together and sell their wares to Santa Cruz community members who are interested in supporting local food related businesses,” Freed shared.  “There are so many wonderful people making exceptional food products in the area…I hope there is a lot of cross pollination between vendors, consumers, and tourists at the event, and that the community comes out to support their fellow artisans who work so hard to produce unique food products.”

At Friday’s market, CardamomTuesday’s Naomi Woldemar will be pouring tastes of “The Dirigible,” described as a Negroni-like craft cocktail made with the company’s new Bitter Orange Chocolate Elixir. Like many of the participating Artisan Market vendors, CardamomTuesday is a Food Lounge tenant, using their incubator kitchen. Woldemar will also be selling her CardamomTuesday Elixirs (natural syrups) at the event. These are house made from real food ingredients like green cardamom, Maturi cacao nibs, organic bitter orange, gentian, and saffron. They can be used to sweeten coffee, cocktails, sparkling water, and even be used as marinade for fish.

Friend In Cheeses Jam Company will be debuting their “Drought Responsible Project utilizing either dry farmed or low water need crops to help preserve our precious resources with jars of love.” Tabitha Stroup announced on Facebook that they will be serving Dirty Shirley Cocktails with Pinot Cherries.

This is the first of a planned monthly event. The second one will be Friday, July 10.

Vendors with packaged or fresh foods

  • Belle Farms Olive Oil
  • CardamomTuesday Elixirs
  • Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends
  • Fish Princess Farms
  • Fogline Farm
  • Friend In Cheeses Jam Company
  • La Onda Sauces
  • Mäkse Bar
  • Ocean2Table
  • Squash & Blossom Alternative Flour Bakery

Vendors with grab n go foods

  • Kickin Chicken
  • La Marea Oyster Bar
  • LionFish SupperClub
  • Mutari Hot Chocolate
  • Mortal Dumpling
  • Melissa’s Mexican Tamales

Beverages

  • MJA Vineyards
  • Tanuki Cider

Where: Food Lounge, 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz
When: Friday, June 12, 2-7 p.m.
For more info, see facebook.com/scfoodlounge

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz area restaurant news highlights through February 2015

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it's usually served with fries)

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it’s usually served with fries)

Some of this is more recent restaurant news for the Santa Cruz area, and some is much older. I recently discovered that quite a few people I know weren’t aware of certain closings, so I am distributing information that might seem out of date to those who keep on top of local restaurant news.

Openings
The Hideout opened in Aptos in January. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’ve been hearing positive comments. It’s open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9p.m. except Tuesdays, when it doesn’t open until 5 p.m. Sandwich/burger selections include Reuben, roasted vegetables with goat cheese, grilled chicken club, and a signature burger with a ground beef/bacon patty and crumbled bleu cheese (see photo above). Dinner entrees served after 5 include Merlot-braised short ribs, pistachio-crusted chicken, New York strip, and Petrale sole piccata. Several pasta dishes, soup, salads, sides, and starters round out the menu.
Location: 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos (most recently the site of restaurant Ma Maison)
Contact Info: 688-5566, thehideoutaptos.com

Opening Soon
Mutari Chocolate House
is opening in early March; co-owner Adam Armstrong says they’re aiming for March 5th. He and his brother Matt will be the first tenants to officially open in the Food Lounge, the new venue from Andrea Mollenauer of Lifestyle Culinary Arts. They create their product Mutari Hot Chocolate on site. This chocolate is “Stone Ground Bean to Bottle” made from cacao that is “always certified organic and ethically traded (and mostly Rainforest Alliance Certified).”  You can enjoy hot chocolate at the Chocolate House or buy your own bottled mix to take home — it’s also sold at retailers like Artisans Gallery so you may have noticed it in the last few months. Learn more at mutarichocolate.com and facebook.com/mutarichocolate. I got to experience a hot chocolate tasting at Mutari last fall when they had their factory at Front St. Kitchen and I really liked the varieties I sampled. The new Chocolate House will serve coffee, hot chocolate, sipping chocolate, mini cupcakes (from Buttercup), and more.

More on the Food Lounge: Mollenauer and partners Cat Hernandez and Sally Kane are launching this unique space that has lots of options including: you can throw a party there, have an event for your business, or attend a pop-up. Other tenants at the Lounge include Fogline Farms, Ocean2table, and Mortal Dumpling. Officially the Food Lounge will be an “innovative community-minded event venue, commercial incubator kitchen, and full-service food hub aimed at fueling, educating, and inspiring Santa Cruz.” Visit scfoodlounge.com to sign up for the email list.
Location: 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz

Verve Coffee is opening a new location at 1010 Fair in Westside Santa Cruz at some point in the future, in the former spot of Chimera Tattoo. This is the same plaza where Bantam Restaurant is located.

Closings
Two venues in downtown Santa Cruz on Pacific shuttered their doors:
Sushi restaurant Benten closed Jan. 31.
Noah’s Bagels closed on Feb. 24.

Santa Cruz restaurant The Greek closed at the end of November. A permit taped to one of the restaurant windows indicates a Korean eatery will be opening in the future. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page mentioned that owner Vasili was retiring (yes, this is the same Vasili that formerly owned Vasili’s in Westside Santa Cruz).

Changes
Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly is now closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays. They used to be closed on Mondays, and beginning January 6 they are only open Wednesday through Sunday. This is continuing “at least through the winter months.”
Location: 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 824-6100, assembleforfood.com

Soif is closing in late March for a few weeks, to do some remodeling.
Location: 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 423-2020, soifwine.com

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz ocean-inspired holiday shopping plus gourmet food gifts

Mutari Hot Chocolate, a vendor at Jingle Shells

Mutari Hot Chocolate, a vendor at Jingle Shells

Jingle Shells will be on Sunday, Dec. 7, at Seymour Center in Santa Cruz. It’s a family-friendly holiday shopping event with ocean- and nature-inspired gifts plus gourmet food gifts.

The annual Jingle Shells Arts & Crafts Festival is from noon to 5:30 pm. Participants can explore the Seymour Center’s exhibits and aquarium, and meet local artisans while shopping for unique holiday gifts including jewelry, ceramics, and art glass. There will be crafts for kids, too.

Vendors selling gifts include four related to food and drinks. Twins Kitchen creates innovative jams and mustards using seasonal and organic fruits from local farms. Flavors include Strawberry Balsamic Jam with rosemary, Black Pepper Raspberry Vanilla Jam with lavender, and Apricot Bourbon Mustard. Farmer Freed makes culinary salt blends using local organic ingredients. Yami’s Spicy Secrets will be there with curry spice blends, and you can purchase gifts from Mutari Hot Chocolate which creates handcrafted single origin hot chocolate blends using organic cacao beans.

Seymour Center will be serving free hot cider, and selling Odwalla bars and juices. Weather permitting, Gary and his Snappy Dog truck will be selling his famous sausages for people to eat. Attendees can also enjoy live music.

Also note that the Center’s Ocean Discovery Shop (this is separate from the special vendors appearing that day) is offering 10% off all purchases on Sunday. All proceeds from these shop sales benefit the Center’s educational programs. For anyone unfamiliar with the Center, it’s dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans. Read more at Seymour Center’s web site or call (831) 459-3800.

The Details
Sunday, December 7: Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for Friends of Center members, UCSC undergrads, and kids under 3
Location: Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab, 100 Shaffer Road (past Natural Bridges State Beach, at the end of Delaware Avenue).

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Event Santa Cruz hosts Edible Night at Assembly

Ashby Confections is providing food for Edible Night at Event Santa Cruz

Ashby Confections is providing food for Edible Night at Event Santa Cruz

Interested in food, restaurants, beer, farms, and things of that nature? The November program for monthly speaker series “Event Santa Cruz,” which takes place at restaurant Assembly on Nov. 17, has an edible theme. There will be eight speakers, and it’s almost sold out.

Organizer Matthew Swinnerton, who started Event Santa Cruz in September 2013 to tell the stories of local businesses and the people that make these businesses run, is very excited about the program.  “There is something about an entrepreneur that is involved in the world of food,” he says. “Entrepreneurs usually have a lot of passion, but throw in an entrepreneur that loves food and deals with it for a living, oh man, that is passion ten fold.” He’s confident that attendees will hear some of the best talks Event Santa Cruz has ever had.

Scheduled speakers:

  • Zach DavisThe Penny Ice Creamery, Assembly, The Picnic Basket
  • Andrea Conklin MollenauerLifestyle Culinary Arts
  • Romney DunbarDunbar Productions
  • Tabitha Raquel StroupFriend In Cheeses Jam Company
  • Marci ProloAn Epicurious Lifestyle
  • Annie PautschBrew Cruz
  • Liz BirnbaumIncoming Board Chair, Slow Food Santa Cruz
  • Nesh DhillonSanta Cruz Farmers Markets

Participant Mollenauer says, “I was thrilled to be invited to speak. The very focus and passion I have for my business is our local community and how to feed it great food, so to be asked to talk about that in a room full of community members who are willing to be a part of that delicious conversation makes me smile.” She plans on sharing details about the next stage of growth for her business and how the community can get involved in that.

Speaker Zach Davis is also co-owner of Assembly, the night’s venue. He’s happy to have the program at his restaurant, which opened in March 2014 and continues to draw crowds. “We always imagined Assembly as a place where people would literally come to the table to meet and converse over nourishing food and drink,” he says. “I’m personally excited about sharing the stage with some folks I know and admire for their food expertise as well as their involvement in the community.” He looks forward to hearing about what motivates and inspires them. “For me it’s the people I work and interact with, and I appreciate the opportunity to share a little more about them.”

Matt Ruiz is the evening’s musical guest. Also participating are several local food and beverage vendors, who are providing refreshments for the first hour of the program, during which time guests are invited to come and socialize. There will be dumplings from Mortal Dumpling, and treats from Mutari Hot Chocolate, Ashby Confections, Cardamom Tuesday, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company, and Hush-Hush Kitchen.

Tickets are only $10; purchase tickets online at eventsantacruz.com. There are only 28 tickets left as of Thursday morning, Nov. 13.  There are also a limited number of “annual passes” available for $75. This grants pass-holders admission to 12 consecutive months of events, from now through Oct. 2015, so it’s a $45 savings over the entire year.
For more information call 831-332-8677.

Monday Nov. 17, 2014
6-7 p.m. refreshments, 7-8:30 p.m. speakers
Location
: Assembly, 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (Assembly’s not open on Mondays, so this event will be held in the main restaurant space)

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.