Tag Archives: prix fixe dining

Valentine’s Day dinner reservations available at Jacks Monterey

Jacks Monterey at the Portola Hotel & Spa
Photo courtesy of Jacks Monterey

Jacks Monterey has an intriguing four-course prix fixe dinner menu available for Valentine’s Day 2018, and they are still accepting reservations (call 831-649-7874). Dinner is $64.95 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. In addition to the meal below, diners receive a box of chocolate-covered strawberries to go!


I had the opportunity to dine at Jacks a couple months ago, and the food from executive chef Danny Abbruzzese was exquisite. The restaurant is located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa at Two Portola Plaza.


Here is the menu, which will be offered from 4-11 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14 (Jacks Monterey’s regular menu will not be available that night):


First Course

Lobster Bisque profiterole, tarragon, orange oil

Second Course

Hearts Of Palm Salad organic gold beets, endive, pancetta, Pt. Reyes blue cheese dressing

Entrée (pick one)

  • Filet Mignon & Sweet Breads potato puree, local porcinis, perigord truffles
  • Wild King Salmon Dungeness crab gratin, haricot verts, tarragon, meyer lemon sauce
  • Mama’s Eggplant Parmesan Sicilian style with layers of fried eggplant, whole milk mozzarella, Reggiano-Parmesan, rich San Marzano tomato sauce


Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cake served with raspberry sauce, whipped cream

For more details, visit portolahotel.com/jacks-monterey.com.



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Pay $25 for 3 courses during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Hula’s

Scrumptious and whimsical Pot Brownie dessert at Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s

Scrumptious and whimsical Pot Brownie dessert at Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s

Santa Cruz restaurant Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room is participating in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013, offering many tasty choices in its prix fixe $25 three-course menu. My family and I had a very good meal there earlier this week.

It’s the fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which began Wednesday and lasts until Oct 9. More than 30 local restaurants are offering special menus for eight nights. For more details, read my SC Restaurant Week event preview (includes restaurant list). This is the first year that Hula’s is participating. “We are incredibly excited to be a part of Restaurant Week,” said Hula’s General Manager Rita Price. “We love helping and being a big part of our Santa Cruz community and especially to be amongst such a great group of restaurants.”

My dinner at Hula’s included attentive service from a gracious waitress; it was pleasant to eat in one of the several family-friendly dining areas. There’s also a bar area for those who prefer that type of environment. For the first course I chose Vietnamese Spring Rolls, which I’ve had several times at Hula’s; it’s consistently good with ingredients such as organic tofu, apples, lemongrass, basil and carrots. I had a few bites of my husband’s sweet Tiki Torch Chicken Wings; I don’t always enjoy sweet sauces but this worked well with the meat. For a second course I selected Lemongrass Encrusted Hapu, a Hawaiian seabass. The lime-ginger-cream sauce was absolutely delectable, and those who don’t eat seafood can substitute tofu. It was a hearty serving accompanied by white rice and Hula’s popular and refreshing slaw.

I sampled my husband’s pulled pork entrée and enjoyed that as well. Ingredients included pineapple and soy. Because it had sweet seasonings like the chicken wings, I wouldn’t recommend choosing the wing app and pork entree as a combination unless you’re in a really sweet mood. Or, if you’re like us and you and your dining companions enjoy sharing food, this plan works fine because you get to try lots of different items and flavors!

For dessert we shared Pot Brownie and Hula Pie. I appreciated the whimsical title, and presentation, of the pot brownie, which was served in a terra cotta-looking pot (see photo above). It was a rich treat chock full of brownies, hot fudge, and whipped cream. Onto the pie, where the nutty flavor of macadamia nut ice cream provided balance for the sweet Oreo crust. A small dish of hot fudge plus whipped cream completed the dessert perfectly.

All in all, Hula’s Restaurant Week menu provided a great dinner, and an opportunity to try out some new dishes. Even though everything I chose for Restaurant Week is part of the restaurant’s regular menu, the only selection I’d tried before was the spring rolls. Price said that I am one of many regular customers that have been coming in and trying new things. “I love having a fun showcase of some of our different foods,” she added. “So many people assume we are strictly Hawaiian food, which just isn’t the case.  We offer many varieties of food,  from sustainable fresh seafood to vegetarian options or even to our gluten-friendly menu.” Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the showcase at Hula’s, and at many other restaurants over the next few days!

Visit the SC Restaurant Week web site.

Hula’s: 221 Cathcart Street, Santa Cruz 95060, (831) 426-4852.

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Pay $25 for 3 courses during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week at Gabriella Cafe

Vanilla bean panna cotta at Gabriella Cafe during 2012 Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

Santa Cruz restaurant Gabriella Cafe is participating in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2012, offering many delicious choices in its prix fixe $25 three-course menu.

It’s the fourth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which began Wednesday and lasts until Oct 10. Local restaurants including downtown Santa Cruz’s Gabriella Café, with first-rate cuisine created by Adrian Cruz, are offering special menus for eight nights. For more details, read my SC Restaurant Week event preview (includes list of participating restaurants).

I dined at Gabriella on Thursday night, and enjoyed it tremendously. For the first course I recommend the salad with roasted beets, chèvre, toasted pistachios, and vinaigrette. The creaminess of the delicious cheese juxtaposed perfectly with the crunchy nuts and beautiful beets. For a second course I selected beef tenders with dry farm tomato emulsion and roast fingerling potatoes. This dish was definitely satisfying, but when I had a bite of my dining companion’s tagliatelle—with vegetables including eggplant plus fresh mozzarella—I wanted to steal her bowl of food; it was that good. For dessert we shared the two available selections, chocolate espresso torte and vanilla bean panna cotta. Both were wonderful, the torte offering richness and decadence and the panna cotta, with specks of real vanilla beans, bringing a refreshing ending including a delicate balance of flavors.

Click here for SC Restaurant Week web site.

Note that menus on the site are not necessarily exactly what you’ll find when you get to the restaurant. For example, Gabriella’s Restaurant Week online menu mentions certain vegetables and cheese in the pasta sauce but upon arrival at the restaurant, there were a few changes (understandable for restaurants like Gabriella that seek out the freshest produce from farms and farmers markets).

Gabriella Cafe: 910 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz 95060, make reservations at (831) 457-1677.

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