Tag Archives: pizza

Christmas shopping: last minute restaurant gift card bonuses

Photo caption: Sushi Garden is offering discount gift cards this holiday season

Two weeks ago I posted this article with eight different “gift card bonus offers” from Santa Cruz and Capitola restaurants. Here are a few more for any of you doing very-last-minute shopping.

 

Capitola, Scotts Valley and Watsonville

Sushi Garden is offering 10% off if you purchase at least $50 worth of gift certificates. You have to buy them by Dec. 24, and they’re valid at all three locations: Capitola (820 Bay Ave.), Scotts Valley (5600 Scotts Valley Dr.) and Watsonville (1441 Main St.).Visit sushi-garden.com.

 

Capitola, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz

Jamba Juice is offering a gift card deal this holiday season, through Christmas. If you buy $25 in gift cards, you get a $5 bonus card redeemable in January and February. For more information, visit jambajuice.com. Local stores include Capitola (3555 Clares St.), Santa Cruz (1550 Pacific Ave.), and Scotts Valley (214 Mt. Hermon Rd.).

 

Santa Cruz

At Blaze Pizza (1901 Mission St.), if you buy a $25 gift card by Dec. 31, you get a free pizza reward to use at in 2019 (Jan. 1-Feb. 28). Restrictions: You must be a Blaze Rewards member (but it’s easy to sign up). For more information, visit blazepizza.com/locations/santa-cruz.

 

And finally, even though it’s not food-related, I have to mention Bookshop Santa Cruz because it’s such a wonderful, independent resource—and it’s been so for more than 50 years! Through the holiday season, you receive a free $10 BSC gift card when you purchase four $25 gift cards, or a free $5 gift card when you purchase five $10 gift cards. Speaking of food, your gift recipients (or you!) can buy a cookbook or a different type of food book (Ruth Reichl’s Comfort me With Apples…Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, etc.). Visit bookshopsantacruz.com.

 

Best wishes for a great 2019!

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Pi Day discounts at Blaze Pizza and Whole Foods Market on the Central Coast

Blaze Pizza has $3.14 pies on Pi Day, March 14, 2017 Credit: Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza has $3.14 pies on Pi Day, March 14, 2017
Credit: Blaze Pizza

Pi Day, March 14, is tomorrow and people and businesses will be celebrating across the country—including restaurants and food vendors on the Central Coast such as Blaze Pizza and Whole Foods Market.

Blaze Pizza, which offers customers personalized pizza cooked in three minutes, has 185 restaurants—mostly in the US, but also in Canada. It’s celebrating Pi Day by offering $3.14 whole pizzas all day at all locations on March 14. Originally imagined as an unconventional “pop-up” event three years ago, Blaze’s Pi Day celebration has become very popular. They expect to serve close to 250,000 pizzas on March 14, 2017.

 

Whole Foods Market is celebrating Pi Day by offering customers $3.14 off both large bakery pies and large take-and-bake pizzas. Frozen products are excluded from this promotion.

This deal is only valid on March 14 and available while supplies last at shops across the county including Bay Area ones like Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Varieties of pies and pizzas vary from store to store, but may include pumpkin pie, apple pie, gluten-free apple pie, cherry pie, pepperoni pizza, cheese pizza, and vegan pizza. All WFM pies and pizzas contain no hydrogenated fats, no bleached or bromated flours, and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Here are some facts about Pi Day provided by Blaze Pizza:

  • Pi Day is celebrated each year on March 14, to commemorate the irrational number of 3.141592653
  • In 2009 the US government recognized March 14 as National Pi Day
  • Pi, or π, is defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s an irrational number, meaning it cannot be written as a simple fraction
  • March 14 is also Einstein’s birthday. He was born in Germany in 1879
  • The first organized Pi Day was in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Physicist Larry Shaw had the idea to celebrate the day by marching around a circle and then eating some pies. They still have the celebration today

 

Local Blaze Details

  • Blaze San Jose-Almaden is at 5353 Almaden Expressway. Call (408) 440-2307 for details.
  • Blaze Marina is at The Dunes, 110 General Stilwell Dr. Call (831) 324-0246 for details.
  • Blaze Salinas is Northridge Mall, 796 Northridge Shopping Center. Call (831) 443-1123 for details.

For more Blaze locations, including one in SF at Stonestown, see the store locator.

Local Whole Foods Details

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

 

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Tutto Fresco in Santa Cruz offers Panini, pizza, espresso & Italian groceries

The signature Panino Tutto Fresco with turkey roasted in-house plus homemade pesto, provolone and tomato

The signature Panino Tutto Fresco with turkey roasted in-house plus homemade pesto, provolone and tomato

In June, the owners of Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria opened Tutto Fresco, an Italian deli and small grocery store next door to their Santa Cruz restaurant.

 

In the deli, they make Italian Panini on freshly baked Ciabatta bread. The most popular sandwich is signature Panino Tutto Fresco with roasted turkey, provolone, tomato, and pesto. The seasoned turkey is roasted in-house. Tutto Fresco also sells selected specialty Italian deli meats and cheeses by the pound and a few salads by the pound.

 

The chef also bakes pizza daily, which customers can buy by the slice and take to go.

 

The deli serves Illy Italian coffee and espresso plus pastries—some made onsite, some from local vendors such as Heather’s Patisserie. Tutto Fresco also has grab and go items like parfaits with fresh berries and yogurt, Odwalla juices, fresh seafood, fresh ravioli, chicken, fresh housemade pasta sauces (pesto, Bolognese, marinara and bruschetta), roasted peppers and salads.

 

Groceries that Tutto Fresco sells include dairy (mostly from Clover), produce, spices, baking supplies, jams, and a few Italian imported items like pasta, olive oils, vinegar and biscotti. A few items are gluten-free. The shop also sells barbecue supplies (including charcoal), picnic supplies and firewood.

 

Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. Visit Tutto Fresco on Facebook.

 

Location: 21400 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz (831) 621-2063

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 9: Win a pizza pack from industry pro Tony Gemignani including his cookbook, The Pizza Bible

The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani

The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani

It’s Day 9 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” See end of article for how to win a “pro pizza pack” from pizza guru Tony Gemignani of San Francisco restaurant Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Still have a couple holiday gifts left to buy for some foodie friends or family? Keep reading!

The Pizza Bible: Got any aspiring pizza chefs on your holiday gift list? When Ten Speed Press published this book by chef Tony Gemignani last October, Eater National called it “one of the most anticipated cookbooks of Fall 2014.” The book is a comprehensive guide to pizza making, with more than 75 recipes covering nine regional styles including classics like Neapolitan, Roman, Chicago, and what some call “pizza sub-specialties” like St. Louis and Californian. Recipes include New Jersey tomato pie, organic three cheese, fig/almond/Monterey jack, calzone with meatballs or spinach, pepperoni and sausage, and Calabrese “diavola.” The Pizza Bible has been described as a “complete master class in making delicious, perfect, pizzeria-style pizza at home… (including) the ins and outs of starters, making dough, assembly, toppings, and baking, how to rig your home oven to make pizza like the pros, and all the tips and tricks that elevate home pizza-making into a craft.” Gemignani is an 11-time world pizza champion and he owns 13 restaurants across Northern California and Las Vegas including Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Slice House at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Pizza Rock in Sacramento and Las Vegas, Tony’s of North Beach, and Slice House by Tony Gemignani in Rohnert Park. He is also proprietor of the International School of Pizza in San Francisco where he certifies chefs from around the world in various styles of pizza.

More pizza cookbooks: Other books that might pique a pizza-lover’s interest include “Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza” by acclaimed Portland baker Ken Forkish (of Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza) and “Pizza on the Grill: 100+ Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More” by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer. “Flour Water Salt Yeast,” the #1 best seller from Amazon.com’s “Pizza Baking” category, features a tutorial on baker’s percentages, advice for manipulating ingredients ratios to create custom dough, tips for adapting bread baking schedules to fit your day-to-day life, and recipes such as sweet potato and pear pizza and golden beets and duck breast “prosciutto” pizza. Pizza on the Grill includes recipes like Kung Pao cashew chicken pizza, pulled pork pizza, and blistered corn, asparagus, and pesto pizza.

****
NOW FOR THE CONTEST:
One reader will win “Tony’s Pro-Pizza Pack,” graciously donated by chef/author Tony Gemignani himself. It includes a copy of Tony’s cookbook “The Pizza Bible,” a pack of his custom blend California artisan pizza flour, and an Italian professional pizza peel.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by 9 pm. Tuesday, Dec. 22 and include the word “pizza.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz restaurant news highlights

spinning plates food

Photo caption: Tasty food at the Spinning Plates event, prepared by Chef Carlo Espinas
Photo credit: Farnaz Fatemi

Some of this is newer restaurant news for the Santa Cruz area, and some older, but I thought it was all worth sharing!

The highly anticipated restaurant Assembly opened March 11 on Pacific Ave. — read my article about Executive Chef Carlo Espinas moving here from San Francisco. A couple dishes already being raved about are slow-cooked chicken leg with house-made chorizo, artichokes, white beans, and green olive relish ($15), and root vegetables with cumin, sunflower seeds, and wonderful Garden Variety sheep’s milk cheese from local Monkeyflower Ranch ($8). I haven’t been to the restaurant yet, but I got to sample Chef Espinas’ food at the Spinning Plates event in February. Everything was both delicious and beautiful, including a skewer of pickled quail egg, roasted beet, and brussels sprout, and a dish featuring braised chickpeas, artichoke, green garlic, and pecorino.  Assembly is currently open from 11am-10pm Tues-Thurs and Sun, and until 11pm Fri-Sat.  Starting March 22, it will open at 9am Sat-Sun for brunch.

The downtown location of Pizza My Heart, which coincidentally is on the same block as Assembly, underwent an expansion recently and it looks great. I was downtown last night for the Steve Martin show at the Civic, and lots of people were waiting in line at the popular pizza place for some quick dinner. I look forward to trying out a meal at PMH’s bigger space in the near future.

Santa Cruz harbor restaurant The Crow’s Nest has some great Mon-Thurs specials, valid at both lunch and dinner, and they’re ending Thursday, March 20 — although the “Deal With a View” dinner special, served only in the upstairs bar, is a favorite of mine and valid through May 22. Back to the main downstairs restaurant weekday specials: the Monday special is Filet Mignon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, all-you-can-eat salad bar, and a glass of wine or martini for only $19.69. The Tuesday special is a lobster tail, vegetable, rice pilaf and all-you-can-eat salad bar for $19.69. For Wed-Thurs specials and other info, see the restaurant’s web site and look for seasonal specials.

Fans of family-run, top-notch Lillian’s Italian Kitchen in mid-town Santa Cruz may remember that the restaurant used to serve lunch Tuesdays-Fridays, and then it stopped this service. Like many others, I was saddened by this change. I recently discovered that the Tuesday-Friday lunch service is back: thank you, Moreno family, for listening to what your customers wanted!

Last November, I ate lunch at the (then-recently-opened) casual restaurant Mission St BBQ, which took over the former Mamma Lucia location. I definitely enjoyed my moist and tender spicy pork sandwich and side of coleslaw, and the restaurant was packed on a weekday. It had been open about a week at that point. When I drove past it at lunchtime during a couple recent weekdays, I notice it’s still drawing many customers. The restaurant now offers a weekly Wed. night Pint Night featuring draft beer specials.

Finally, I tried the new Westside Santa Cruz restaurant Your Place for a weekday brunch last month, and I was quite disappointed. It’s located in the former La Mission spot. My tofu scramble didn’t have enough tofu in it, but the vegetables were pretty good. My daughter’s pancakes were ok, but my husband’s chicken fried steak was terrible. The side of bacon we all shared was the one bright spot; it was flavorful and cooked well.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz restaurant Kianti’s 10th anniversary party with specials and prizes

Pasta at Kianti's in Santa Cruz

Pasta at Kianti’s in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz restaurant Kianti’s is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Fri. January 3, 2014 with fun activities and great specials on pizza and more. Kianti’s has been offering excellent pizza and pasta, including affordable and delicious kids’ selections, since it opened in 2004.

The anniversary party lasts all day, with 10-cent sodas, $10 one-topping pizzas, $10 t-shirts, cake, champagne, pizza spinning, and prizes. Customers can win t-shirts, hoodies, gift certificates, and bottles of Kianti’s house wine (red and white). The raffle grand prize is a family-size pizza each month during 2014. Approximate raffle times are 4, 6, and 8 p.m.

More info:

  • It’s also Warriors game night. Show up in Warrior gear and receive an additional 10% off of your check.
  • Bring the kids from 2-4 to meet the new Kianti’s mascot (you can also help name him!)

The Details
Kianti’s Celebration Party: Fri. January 3, 2014, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Location: 1100 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, (831) 469-4400

If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

New family-friendly Los Gatos restaurant Top This Pizza with personalized pies

Custom pizza at Top This Pizza in Los Gatos

Custom pizza at Top This Pizza in Los Gatos

I had the opportunity to dine at the recently opened Los Gatos restaurant Top This Pizza a few days ago. I recommend it for a casual, fast, and inexpensive lunch or dinner.

It was definitely delicious and I plan to return. While it wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life, it was a nice-sized meal and extremely affordable. What a fun concept: design your own 10-inch pizza with unlimited toppings, and it’s only $8! Unless you choose gluten-free crust, in which case it’s $2 more.

After finding the unassuming storefront in the middle of a strip mall, I entered the small restaurant and walked up to the counter. Eager, friendly young staff instantly greeted me and explained how the process worked. I could choose from a few pre-designed combinations, or I could create my own. Reviewing the menu, I was intrigued by creations like “Brandon’s BBQ” with BBQ sauce, cheese, grilled garlic chicken, bacon, red onion, and cilantro. I decided on Leo’s Chickenlicious with pesto, buffalo mozzarella, garlic chicken, roasted red peppers, fresh garlic, and shaved parmesan. Then I added sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts for a twist. The price was still $8, even if I’d wanted to add several more toppings. I chose to sit inside (there are also a few outdoor tables), and my pizza was ready about 3 minutes later due to their 800-degree “Big Bertha” pizza oven. I greatly enjoyed it; for folks wondering about crust style, it had a “flatbread”-type quality. I also got to taste a few other combinations that my family ordered. Alejandra’s Hot Mess, which includes jalapenos, gorgonzola, and a buffalo wing sauce drizzle, was very good. I also really loved the spicy red sauce that my husband chose for his pizza.

There is a huge range of choices in terms of cheeses (from traditional types to pepper jack), sauces (alfredo, pesto, red/tomato, spicy red), meats, veggies, and what they call “drizzles” (ranch and more) and “finishers” (that’s where my sundried tomatoes were listed). Salads and soft drinks are also available. All in all, it’s a clever idea that allows many choices within a fast-food-type context.

Another note: they have a great online method to take care of those “group lunches” in your office where there’s always that one person that doesn’t chip in enough. You go to the web site, and each person designs their own pizza & pays with their own debit or credit card. When everyone has ordered, someone hits “send” and the whole order will be ready for one person to pick up. Genius!

Husband and wife Jerry and Yovette Raymond opened Top This in October. “Our family loves coming together for pizza night,” says Yovette. “But we always had the same problem. Everyone wanted different toppings and crusts and sauces and such.” That’s no longer a problem, for the Raymonds or other nearby families. They plan to open two more locations in the next few months, starting with San Jose.

Two of the Raymonds’ sons, Brandon and Tyler, work at the restaurant. They also have a son Michael, daughter-in-law Alejandra, and dog Leo (who’s considered one of their kids), all with namesake pizzas at Top This. Even Leo’s dog-friend Minnie has her own pizza!

Top This Pizza is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Stay in touch with the new restaurant via its Facebook page.

Location: 15466 Los Gatos Blvd. #110 (in the same plaza as Trader Joe’s), Los Gatos (408) 884-8253

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz August 2013 restaurant news includes a few changes and one opening

Tables at the recently opened West End Tap & Kitchen at Westside Santa Cruz's Swift Street Courtyard

Tables at the recently opened West End Tap & Kitchen at Westside Santa Cruz’s Swift Street Courtyard

Here is some recent restaurant news for Santa Cruz and nearby neighborhoods, including an opening and a few changes.

Recently Opened
West End Tap & Kitchen

West End Tap & Kitchen opened a few weeks ago in Westside Santa Cruz, at the former site of Bonny Doon Vineyards’ tasting room in Swift Street Courtyard.  Currently the kitchen opens at 11:30 a.m. daily, and closes at 9:30 p.m. Sun-Wed, and 10 p.m. Thurs-Sat. The bar itself stays open a little later, until 10 p.m. Sun-Wed and until 11 p.m. Thurs-Sat. Available drinks at the new gastropub include more than a dozen craft beers on tap, plus several local wines. The current menu features items such as a burger (ground in-house, served with fries, $10.50) served on a challah bun from Gayle’s Bakery, pan-roasted wild salmon (served with French green lentils, roasted tomato, bouillabase broth and saffron butter, $18), tempura squash blossoms ($8), vegetarian and non-vegetarian flatbreads ($7-10) and salads including green, caprese, and chicken ($8-12). A happy hour began Aug 19, and it occurs every Mon-Fri from 4-6 p.m. in the bar area (not valid in dining room). It includes “$3 West End pints plus one bonus beer, $3-4 select wines, and cheap eats.” The business is co-owned by Aptos native Quinn Cormier and chef Geoff Hargrave.
(831) 471-8115, 334D Ingalls St, Santa Cruz
www.westendtap.com

Recently Changed
Shadowbrook: New Chef

Capitola restaurant Shadowbrook has a new executive chef. Ashley Homer, who left in March, has been replaced by St. Helena native Anthony Kresge. The new chef’s experience includes earning a Master Certification in Europe, apprenticing under top chefs in Napa Valley, and working at several restaurants in locations including Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove. He is very excited to be working at Shadowbrook, commenting “I have always felt like Santa Cruz has been home since I was a young chef. Being able to work with winemakers and farmers throughout the years, I’ve gained a true appreciation for our resources and the ability to bring those incredible ingredients to the plate, showcasing just how valuable this region really is to the rest of the world.”
1750 Wharf Rd, Capitola (831) 475-1511
www.shadowbrook-capitola.com/

Wood Fire Woodie: New Hours
Scotts Valley restaurant Wood Fire Woodie is now open for lunch. The formerly mobile business opened its brick-and-mortar location in 2012. Chef Pat Flanagan and his wife Mariah, residents of Capitola, studied in Italy. Earlier this month, they decided to expand their hours and are now serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. The pizzeria is also open Mon-Sat for dinner from 5-9 p.m. They also recently began a Tuesday happy hour: 2fer Tuesday with $2 beers all night.
3105B Scotts Valley Rd, Scotts Valley (831) 316-9001
www.woodfirewoodie.com

Other Notes
Little Caesars Pizza is moving in September, from its longtime 41st Ave location in Capitola to the corner of Portola Drive and 17th Avenue.

Sake Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi opened in mid-July at 525 Water St. near Ocean at the former site of Fuji Buffet; it features a teppanyaki grill (think Benihana) and is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Two Shakespeare Santa Cruz events including Woodstock’s Pizza benefit

Pizza from Woodstock's in Santa Cruz

Pizza from Woodstock’s in Santa Cruz

On Tuesday June 4, 2013, there are two events related to UCSC’s Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC), and one is a win-win for local pizza fans.

Pizza Benefit at Woodstock’s

Woodstock’s Pizza is donating a percentage of its dinner sales (good for dine-in AND to-go) between 5 p.m.  and 9 p.m. to SSC – but ONLY for the customers that bring in a special flyer (click here). In case you’ve never been to Woodstock’s, it offers a lot of tasty pizza choices (including whole wheat, white, and gluten-free crust options), several salads (including organic spinach with almonds, dried cranberries, and organic balsamic dressing), and a decent beer selection. There is a huge amount of seating including a pleasant outdoor patio. Spread the word: depending on how much money SSC fans spend at Woodstock’s that night, SSC – a fabulous repertory theater company –  will receive between 15% and 25% of these sales.

 

Season Preview at Bookshop SC

At 7:30 p.m., SSC Artistic Director Marco Barricelli is speaking at Bookshop Santa Cruz. He will introduce the 2013 summer festival season, share set and costume designs, and answer attendee questions.

 

Interested in going to a SSC play? The main 2013 SSC season starts July 23 and lasts until September 1. This year’s plays are Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Henry V. There is also a show that features SSC’s acting interns, always referred to as “The Fringe Show.” This year, they’re performing Tom Jones, adapted by Jon Jory from the novel by Henry Fielding, on August 20 & 27. All of this season’s performances are on UCSC’s campus at the outdoor Festival Glen. For more information or tickets visit shakespearesantacruz.org or call (831) 459-2159.

 

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

 

The Details:

Woodstock’s Pizza, 740 Front St., Santa Cruz, (831) 427-4444

Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 423-0900

 

 

Eat pizza and drink beer to benefit Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s mascot hanging out at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. Photo credit: Sandor Nagyszalanczy.

There are two upcoming occasions to eat pizza and drink beer to benefit Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC), a professional repertory theater company located at UC Santa Cruz.

On Monday, July 16, Woodstock’s Pizza is donating a percentage of its dinner sales (good for dine-in AND to-go) between 5-9 p.m. to SSC – but ONLY for the customers that bring in a special flyer. (click here to download)

Spread the word, because depending on how much money SSC fans spend at Woodstock’s that night, SSC – such a worthy non-profit! – will receive between 15% and 25% of these sales.

On Thursday, July 19, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is donating $1 from every pint sold to SSC as part of its Thank You Thursday program that benefits local community organizations. Every Thursday, the organic microbrewery contributes $1 of every pint sold during business hours (noon -10 p.m.). Seven flagship brews are always available, plus seasonal and specialty brews and hard cider. Non-alcoholic options include kombucha and draft root beer.

Interested in going to a SSC play? The main 2012 SSC season starts July 24 and lasts until August 26. This year’s plays are Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “Henry IV, Part Two” plus “The Man in the Iron Mask” by Scott Wentworth. There is also a show that features SSC’s acting interns, always referred to as “The Fringe Show.” This year, they’re performing “The Mandrake” by Niccolo Machiavelli on August 21-22. All performances are on UCSC’s campus at the Mainstage Theatre and Festival Glen.
For more information or tickets visit shakespearesantacruz.org or call (831) 459-2159.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie


The Details:

Woodstock’s Pizza, 740 Front St., Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 427-4444
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, 402 Ingalls Street (in Swift Street Courtyard), Santa Cruz, (831) 425-4900