Tag Archives: restaurant news

Charlie Hong Kong hosts benefit for Amigo Bob

Charlie Hong Kong will donate 10% of sales on June 30 to Amigo Bob Cantisano

Charlie Hong Kong will donate 10% of sales on June 30 to Amigo Bob CantisanobSan

On Thursday, June 30, during the entire time it’s open (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), Santa Cruz restaurant Charlie Hong Kong is donating 10% of sales to organic pioneer Amigo Bob Cantisano. The man who many call “Amigo” has been fighting stage four cancer for the last two-and-a-half years.

Charlie Hong Kong co-owner Carolyn Rudolph shares that Amigo “devoted more than 45 years to growing the Organic Movement…he started one of the first organic farm supply companies, founded an organic food co-op, helped establish CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and created the renowned annual Ecological Farming Conference at Asilomar.” That latter event, known as EcoFarm, is the largest sustainable-agriculture gathering in the Western US and had its 36th incarnation earlier this year.

An activist, teacher and leader, Amigo has advised organic farmers all over the world. For years, he has focused his life on building organic agriculture.

“He has probably prevented thousands of cancers through his work,” Rudolph says. “Now he needs our support. Charlie Hong Kong, with the support of CCOF, wants to express our gratitude and support to the ‘grandfather’ of the Organic Movement.” Any questions, call her at 831-818-1814.

For anyone unfamiliar with Charlie Hong Kong, the restaurant sells very delicious, affordable food featuring locally grown produce. They describe their cuisine as “organic Asian street food” and they have selections to satisfy vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free customers – as well as folks like me who love meat and seafood (although I probably order CHK’s sweet garlic tofu about every other time I’m there; it’s fantastic!).

If you want to learn more about Amigo, I noticed that an oral history about him is part of the “Cultivating a Movement” series that was completed in 2010. “Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History Series on Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming on California’s Central Coast” includes 58 (!) interviews with farmers, activists, researchers, and educators. UC Santa Cruz’s Regional Oral History Project conducted this documentary oral history project.

Location: Charlie Hong Kong, 1141 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-426-5664

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Love Mondays at Discretion Brewing: drink beer to benefit many causes

Beer at Discretion Brewing in Soquel

Beer at Discretion Brewing in Soquel

Discretion Brewing in Soquel hosts Love Mondays, where drinking beer equals money for local nonprofits. How it works: On selected Mondays, for the entire time the taproom is open (11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.), twenty percent of beer sales are donated to a variety of organizations that have applied for this privilege. This coming Monday, with Farm Discovery at Live Earth as the beneficiary, there is a twist: Discretion Brewing will still donate 20% of beer sales to Farm Discovery AND The Kitchen at Discretion will donate 20% of sales from two unique dishes made with Live Earth Farm produce: salad with smoked potatoes and baby carrots, radishes, Little Gem lettuce and Meyer lemon honey vinaigrette ($10); and Thai basil ice cream with macerated Albion strawberries and broken oatmeal cookies ($8).

Funds raised at Love Monday will help Farm Discovery provide ongoing opportunities for youth to visit Live Earth Farm to learn about organic farming, local food systems, and nutrition. Through Farm Discovery’s programs, local youth—including underserved ones—build confidence in learning to be active caretakers of themselves, their community and their environment.

Family-owned Discretion is committed to producing high-quality handcrafted organic beer. They serve food from The Kitchen at Discretion which chef Santos Majano creates to be shared and paired with the beers. Majano was executive chef at Soif for many years before becoming chef/owner at The Kitchen a couple years ago.

There won’t be a Love Monday on July 4 due to Independence Day (the taproom is open, but for limited hours – 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). But Discretion is having a big party to celebrate the holiday a couple days early: Saturday, July 2 there is an outdoor BBQ, live music and an IPA release.

Here are the beneficiaries for Love Mondays in July; each gets 20% of beer sales that day (this excludes growlers, bottles, & kegs):

July 11: Haven of Hope, which helps young women including foster youth aged 12 to 21
July 18: Young at Heart (with music, Young at Heart has entertained over 100,000 seniors since 1985 00 in senior and day care centers and skilled nursing, convalescent, memory disorder, Alzheimer’s, and residential community facilities throughout Santa Clara, Monterey, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties)
July 25: PAMF Santa Cruz 

Location: 2703 41st Ave., Soquel (831) 316-0662

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee celebrates 50th anniversary with new signature blend coffee

New Big Bang blend at Peet's Coffee

New Big Bang blend at Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and in honor of this occasion it has launched a new signature blend called “Big Bang” coffee. It’s now available in grocery stores and Peet’s cafes nationwide, including Northern California cities like Santa Cruz, Capitola, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Monterey.

I had the opportunity to sample this coffee recently by brewing some Big Bang coffee at home, and I enjoyed the resulting coffee quite a bit. It’s described as  a medium roast, and I liked its bold flavor. Big Bang features some of the same premium coffees that are found in Major Dickason’s Blend (the best-seller out of all of Peet’s coffees) but it also has “Ethiopian Super Natural” which includes citrus notes.

Curious about why Peet’s named this coffee “Big Bang?” Peet’s founder Alfred Peet, who opened the first Peet’s retail café in 1966 and essentially kickstarted the craft coffee movement, died in 2007. A quote from “The Joy of Coffee” author/Atlantic Monthly editor Corby Kummer that appeared in Mr. Peet’s New York Times obituary said, “He was the guru of everyone in the gourmet coffee revolution. He was the big bang. It all started with him.”

To find a Peet’s Coffee location near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

A few restaurants in Napa Valley and San Francisco for Thanksgiving 2015

An August dinner entrée at Michelin-starred Luce, which will offer a three-course prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu Credit: Luce Restaurant

An August dinner entrée at Michelin-starred Luce, which will offer a three-course prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu
Credit: Luce Restaurant

It’s less than a week to Thanksgiving; if you’re planning to dine in San Francisco or Napa Valley, here are a few restaurants to consider.

Napa Valley
Lucy Restaurant & Bar at the Bardessono hotel and spa in Yountville is offering a four-course holiday dinner ($90 adults, $40 kids under 10). As always, it will be fresh, garden-inspired cuisine. The menu features traditional holiday dishes that incorporate a twist, with sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients picked fresh from the onsite culinary garden when possible. First course choices include carrot salad with confit carrots, carrot chips, curry shallot dressing, and carrot fronds; and roasted pumpkin soup with pomegranate and nutmeg crème fraîche. Second course choices include butternut squash risotto with caramelized pears. Entrée selections are turkey with marjoram and brioche stuffing; house-cured honey ham with cabbages and little potatoes, whole grain mustard and caramelized pear jus; and pan-roasted sturgeon with brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, house cured bacon, and dijon beurre blanc. For reservations call 707-204-6030 or visit OpenTable. If you decide to make your special holiday feast part of an overnight getaway, you’ll be happy to know the Bardessono is an eco-conscious LEED Platinum-Certified property.

San Francisco Restaurants
Luce Restaurant

Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco will feature a 3-course prix-fixe menu for Thanksgiving. Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey is offering a seasonal selection of items like winter squash with whipped ricotta, butternut marmalade, and pomegranate; slow-cooked turkey breast with sage and rosemary, brussels sprouts, and potato puree; and diver scallops with celery root and navel orange confit and green olives. Dessert options include bread pudding; sticky toffee pudding; and chocolate cheesecake. Cost is $85 per person; $45 for kids (4 – 12 years). Pricing excludes tax and gratuity. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 415-616-6566 or visiting Luce’s web site.

Presidio Social Club
Presidio Social Club will be offering a prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner from 11am-5pm for $60/person. This year’s menu will include kale salad with pomegranates, apple, and pumpkin seeds; cauliflower soup with roasted chestnuts; turkey with wild mushroom and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and bourbon chocolate pecan pie. Call 415-885-1888 or email info@presidiosocialclub.com for reservations.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Thanksgiving brunch and dinner are available at Top of the Mark. Presented by Chef Nenad Stefanovic, the buffet will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature breakfast selections (from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.), antipastos, raw bar, salads, soups, desserts, and more. Seasonal specials include smoked duck breast with grilled persimmons, toasted pumpkin seeds and fig compote; sherry-molasses roast beets with allspice crème fraiche, candied walnuts and tondo, pickled butternut squash and pancetta jam; and roasted free range turkey with orange-cranberry sauce and giblet gravy. Desserts will include traditional holiday delights along with pumpkin foster martinis with diced pumpkin, apple brandy, cinnamon sugar and graham cracker cookie ice cream. In addition to the feast, entertainment will be presented by Michael Athens and Ricardo Scales on piano and a “Little Explorer” petting zoo will be in the lobby from noon to 4 p.m. Top of the Mark’s Thanksgiving brunch and Thanksgiving dinner cost $119 per adult and $59 per child (ages 4-12). Reservations are required at 415-616-6941.

One Market Restaurant
One Market is serving a three-course prix fixe menu by Chef Mark Dommen. The four first course choices include artichoke soup with hazelnuts, garlic flan, and lemon balm; and beet carpaccio with radish, chèvre, and sherry vinaigrette. Four entrée selections include roasted turkey with cornbread-sausage stuffing, root vegetables, and shallot-thyme gravy, and mushroom risotto with yuzu, pine nuts, and scallions. Three dessert selections include triple layer sugar pie pumpkin cheesecake with ginger-mascarpone ice cream. The price is $74 per adult and $39 per child 10 and under. Please call 415-777-5577 or visit OpenTable for reservations.

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

National Coffee Day: Peet’s is giving away free coffee with food purchase

Peet's Coffee and Tea (used with permission)

Peet’s Coffee and Tea
(used with permission)

Peet’s Coffee and Tea has a promotion to celebrate National Coffee Day Sept. 29, 2015: all Peet’s across the country are offering a free small cup of Peet’s Major Dickason blend with any purchase of a baked good, Simply Oatmeal or fresh food item. Baked goods may include pastries, cakes, and cookies. In Northern California, the stores’ fresh food selections include cheese boxes, fruit bowls, and turkey sandwiches. To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

Major Dickason is the #1 coffee favorite at Peet’s, and one of my favorites too! A blend of coffees from the world’s premiere growing regions, it’s named after a regular customer at Peet’s original Berkeley store. Retired army officer Key Dickason brought the idea for this blend to company founder Alfred Peet in 1969. Peet worked diligently to refine it, and he and his team sampled countless combinations before arriving at what is now the company’s all-time bestseller.

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Food truck, Homeless Garden Project events in Scotts Valley & Santa Cruz

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

Salad at a previous HGP Sustain dinner. Credit: Crystal Birns

There are many food events occurring this weekend in local cities such as Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley—here are details for a first-time Scotts Valley food truck event Friday and a benefit feast with star chefs at Homeless Garden Project Saturday.

Friday, Sept. 18: Food Trucks a Go Go
Food Trucks A Go Go, a food truck event company, is hosting its first food truck event at Skypark in Scotts Valley Friday night. Attendees can choose from four local trucks, and there are picnic tables at the park. Participating food trucks are Ate3One (Philly cheesesteak, tacos & more), Zameen Mediterranean (falafel, gyros, etc.), The Choke Coach (menu includes artichokes a la carte and as ingredients in other dishes), and Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Café (ice cream and sweets).

Aunt LaLi’s owner, LaLi Kates, has been bringing her treats to the local community for years, and she is the founder of Food Trucks A Go Go.  Kates says that for years, both she and her customers have been wanting food trucks in the area, and that the timing is now right to make this happen. Save the date for the next Go Go Gathering: Friday, Oct. 23, same time and place.

Date/Hours: Friday, Sept. 18, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

Saturday, Sept. 19: Homeless Garden Project benefit dinner
Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is holding an organic benefit dinner at its farm, the latest in its Sustain Farm Dinner series. Sustain is a seasonal gourmet dinner series featuring organic produce from the farm, wine pairings, and guest speakers discussing sustainable topics. The admission fee, $125, benefits HGP; the prices are higher this season because HGP is celebrating its 25th anniversary so the dinners are more extensive and the speakers are nationally known. The dinner held in August featured Greens Restaurant founder Deborah Madison, and Catherine Sneed is Saturday’s keynote speaker. Sneed began the horticulture program at the SF County Jail in 1982. Read more and purchase tickets online.

A different chef will prepare each of the four courses. David Morgan, chef for David Kinch’s soon-to-open The Bywater in Los Gatos (read more in my recent article) will prepare a first course duo: fried green tomatoes, bagna cauda and ricotta cheese; and smoked pork boudin with mustard and pickles. The Food Lounge’s Andrea Mollenauer will prepare a salad for the second course, while Soif’s Mark Denham will create an entrée of tea smoked quail, quinoa & kale “fried rice,” spiced eggplant, blistered padrons, and chimichurri  (vegetarian and vegan options are available if ordered ahead). Renowned Aubergine pastry chef Ron Mendoza is providing dessert: Japanese cheesecake with carrot and cilantro. There will also be live classical music performed by a quartet comprised of musicians from the Santa Cruz Symphony.

Date/Hours: Saturday, Sept. 19, 4-7:30 p.m.
Location: HGP Farm, Shaffer Road at Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Second Los Gatos restaurant coming soon from Manresa’s David Kinch

Chef David Kinch is opening a new restaurant this fall Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos

Chef David Kinch is opening a new restaurant this fall
Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos

Fans of David Kinch’s cooking have a reason to celebrate: the owner/chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Manresa is opening New Orleans-inspired The Bywater this fall.

This is the first casual bar and eatery for Kinch, who is opening The Bywater with partner Andrew Burnham. Located minutes from Manresa, the space is named for The Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, the city where Kinch grew up and got his start in the culinary industry. Chef David Morgan, formerly of August in New Orleans and Cyrus in Healdsburg, will serve as Chef de Cuisine. Burnham worked with Morgan at Cyrus.

The Bywater will pay tribute to the city where Kinch fell in love with cooking. “The Bywater is the kind of place where I would want to go after work or hang out on my day off,” said Kinch. “It’s casual, eclectic, and brings a bit of the food, drink, and atmosphere of New Orleans to this part of Northern California– music and all.”

The menu will showcases classic French and New Orleans-inspired dishes as well as Southern staples including fried green tomatoes. Kinch promises “Louisiana classics prepared with Manresa and California sensibilities.” Also, there will be a centerpiece raw bar offering a rotating selection of oysters, clams, and crabs.

Kinch visited New Orleans this summer to tape his appearance on PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef”(which debuts in a few days, incidentally). While there, he spent some time with his friend and fellow chef John Besh—I noticed he Tweeted about learning about gumbos with Besh, so I asked Kinch if the visit included any specific menu planning. “Having grown up in New Orleans, a lot of the dishes on the menu are inspired from my time there,” replied Kinch. “However, when I was in New Orleans recently filming, I met up with John. We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but John and I did cook some dishes that may end up on The Bywater menu.”

Members of The Bywater’s cocktail team have experience from venues including Trick Dog, Kin Khao, Rickhouse and ABV. The drink menu will include New Orleans cocktails such as the Sazerac, Gin Fizz, and Milk Punch.  There will be a full menu of spirits with a special emphasis on American whiskey, bourbon, and rye with some French brandies in the mix.  There will also be a frozen daiquiri machine and a selection of cocktails on tap. In addition, beer and wine will be served.

Visitors to The Bywater can choose from a variety of seating options including a 10-seat bar, a 30-seat dining room, and an outdoor patio in the rear. The atmosphere will feature New Orleans design accents such as shutters and vintage neon signs.

The Bywater’s future details:
532 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, open daily for lunch and dinner & open on Sat-Sun for brunch

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

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.

Carmel Valley’s Bernardus offers lavender event and Lucia has new menus

Cal Stamenov in the gardens at Bernardus Lodge & Spa Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa

Cal Stamenov in the gardens at Bernardus Lodge & Spa
Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa

The renowned Carmel Valley-based Bernardus Lodge & Spa and executive chef Cal Stamenov are hosting a lavender harvest celebration at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 11.

The annual event honors the 1,000 lavender plants that are in full bloom among the venue’s olive trees, rosemary and rose gardens. Horticulturist Mark Marino will guide attendees on a tour of the Chef’s Garden that includes wine. Then, guests will enjoy a lavender-inspired buffet lunch with ingredients from Bernardus’ garden and vineyard. Tickets are $95 and reservations are required at 831-658-3400.

Lucia Restaurant & Bar has announced a new summer menu. Dishes include salads with roasted nectarines/arugula/prosciutto or local octopus/King salmon belly/preserved lemon relish; butter-braised Maine lobster with sweet corn puree, tarragon and black truffle vinaigrette; Day Boat Scallop Wellington with chanterelle mushrooms and foie gras; housemade sweet potato pasta; a variety of brick oven pizzas; and Wagyu beef. Also, a four-course chef’s tasting menu is available.

Lucia Bar, in a separate area from the restaurant with more casual dining, has new summer craft cocktails such as Green Tea Collins (Charbay Green Tea vodka, fresh lemon and soda) and Summer in Jalisco (pressed watermelon, muddled cucumber, fresh lime, jalapeno agave and Corralejo Silver Tequila).

In April 2015, Forbes Travel Guide four-star luxury property Bernardus re-opened with new ownership after being closed during a four-month multimillion-dollar transformation. The former on-site restaurant, Marinus, is now closed, but chef Stamenov remained and he is now at the helm of brand-new Lucia. The restaurant was named after the Santa Lucia Range that provides the backdrop to the new 2,300-square-foot outdoor dining terrace. Other highlights include a 25,000-bottle wine cellar, and a food menu that features ingredients from local farmers, foragers, and fishermen.

For more information, visit bernarduslodge.com. Bernardus is at 415 W. Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz County food & wine events this week

Chaminade’s “Happy Yappy Hour” is July 6 from 5-7pm. Photo Credit: Chaminade

Chaminade’s “Happy Yappy Hour” is July 6 from 5-7pm.
Photo Credit: Chaminade

There are many food and wine events occurring this week in Santa Cruz County. Below are details for a few of them–including one tonight, July 6.

Monday, July 6: Chaminade’s “Happy Yappy Hour”
From 5-7 p.m., Chaminade Resort & Spa is hosting “Happy Yappy Hour” on the Sunset Patio. They’re offering drink, appetizer, and “yappetizer” specials, and invite dogs and their owners to attend. Chaminade is donating a portion of the proceeds from this event to the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter. They will also be serving Chateau La Paws wine; this company contributes funds to no-kill shelters and animal rescue organizations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, chaminade.com

Wednesday, July 8: Soif’s “Re-Opening Celebration”
Soif invites the community to a re-opening celebration from 4-6:30 p.m. July 8. They’ll be serving appetizers and drinks. As you may recall, Soif reopened two weeks ago after extensive renovations. Learn about their new food menu, new wine bar, and upgraded wine shop in my June 19 article.
105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, soifwine.com

Thursday, July 9: Lionfish SupperClub’s “A Taste of Ancient Grace”
From 6-10 p.m., Lionfish SupperClub is holding a special outdoor dinner event at the downtown Food Lounge. Attendees must purchase tickets in advance for $75. Last week’s preview event at the Lounge, where Lionfish sold a la carte Greece-inspired items, was very well received. Highlights included spiced ground lamb souvlaki skewered on freshly picked rosemary stems—a very succulent, flavorful dish—and a wonderful, chilled lemon-herb zucchini soup.
1001 Center St., Santa Cruz, lionfishsc.com

Friday, July 10: Food Lounge’s “Artisan Food Market”
From 2-7 p.m., the Food Lounge is the site of the Artisan Food Market, described as ‘farmers market meets cocktail hour.’ There will be more than 20 local food artisans and pop-up vendors, plus local wine and beer available for purchase. The first of these monthly events was held in June; read details.
1001 Center St., Santa Cruz, scfoodlounge.com

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.