Tag Archives: restaurants

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week continues: highlights from Hula’s and Chaminade

Baby Beet Salad with pomegranate seeds and goat feta crumbles is one of Chaminade’s appetizers for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

Baby Beet Salad with pomegranate seeds and goat feta crumbles is one of Chaminade’s appetizers for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which continues through Wednesday, Oct. 19, includes nearly 40 restaurants such as Hula’s and Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort and Spa.

 

Restaurants offer three-course prix fixe dinners for $25 or $35 during Restaurant Week, and also continue to serve regular menus during this time. Read details about Assembly’s menu selections and inspiration in my article from yesterday.

 

Hula’s Island Grill (221 Cathcart St., 831-426-HULA) is serving a three-course $25 menu. Appetizer choices include crispy coconut shrimp rolls with pineapple and horseradish dipping sauce; and Hawaiian ceviche with whitefish, coconut milk, chili, cilantro and garlic. Desserts include Hula pie with macadamia nut ice cream, Oreo crust, hot fudge and house-made whipped cream.

 

Hollis Ferguson, general manager of Hula’s in Santa Cruz, commented on why Hula’s is a longtime Santa Cruz Restaurant Week participant: “It’s fun to be part of a community wide event that encourages people to take a night off and go out to eat, try new restaurants they haven’t before and/or a dish they might not have tried before.”

 

Ferguson says that the Kalbi Ribs, an entrée on the Restaurant Week menu this year, are a good classic Hawaiian dish, plate lunch style (they’re served with macaroni salad and rice). “Our Lemongrass Hapu is more exotic and showcases flavors of Thailand and Polynesia,” she adds. Customers can also substitute tofu for the Hapu (which is Hawaiian sea bass); both versions include lime-ginger-cream sauce, rice and slaw.

 

Executive chef Nick Church, from Linwood’s at the Chaminade (One Chaminade Lane, 831-475-5600), has created a $35 menu that includes seasonal ingredients such as squash, apples and sweet potatoes. Appetizers include roasted butternut soup with spicy apple relish and toasted pumpkin seeds; and baby beet salad with frisee and escarole, vanilla vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds and goat feta crumbles. Entrée choices are grass-fed grilled NY steak with wild mushroom ragout, sweet potato gratin, grilled asparagus and roasted baby carrots; grilled pork chop with Calvados demi, apple puree, smashed fingerling potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts; and pan-seared local halibut with heirloom tomato relish, farro and Dungeness crab risotto plus wilted greens and sauteed baby vegetables. Desserts include persimmon crisp with lavender ice cream.

Even though it just started two days ago, Church is already enjoying Restaurant Week. “We love seeing all of the locals come up to the property while experiencing Linwood’s and hearing all of the their favorite Chaminade stories,” Church said. “There is so much history and so many fun and personal memories people have, it’s refreshing to hear the positive feedback during Restaurant Week.”

Restaurants participating in SCRW, in alphabetical order:

  • 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Aquarius at the Dream Inn
  • Assembly
  • Back Nine Grill & Bar
  • Café Mare
  • Chocolate
  • Crow’s Nest
  • El Jardin
  • Gabriella Café
  • Hindquarter Bar & Grill
  • Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
  • Hollins House at Pasatiempo
  • Hula’s Island Grill
  • Ideal Bar & Grill
  • Johnny’s Harborside
  • Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar
  • Laili
  • Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
  • Margaritaville
  • Michael’s on Main
  • Mozaic
  • Pearl of the Ocean
  • Red Restaurant & Bar
  • Ristorante Italiano
  • Rosie McCann’s
  • Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
  • Severino’s Bar & Grill
  • Soif
  • Solaire
  • Splash!
  • Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
  • Süda
  • The Cremer House
  • The Point Chophouse & Lounge
  • The Water St. Grill
  • Tyrolean Inn
  • Your Place
  • Zelda’s On The Beach

For more information and full menus, visit the event web site at santacruzrestaurantweek.com.

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week started yesterday and includes restaurant Assembly

“Fresh off the boat” seafood stew is one of Assembly’s three prix fixe entrée choices for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

“Fresh off the boat” seafood stew is one of Assembly’s prix fixe entrée choices for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week started yesterday, and continues through Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly (1108 Pacific Ave., 831-824-6100) is one of the nearly 40 participants from across the county that have created special three-course prix fixe dinners that cost $25 or $35 depending on the venue. These SCRW menus typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection from each course.

 

For its $35 special menu, one of Assembly’s “starter” selection choices is Kabocha squash soup with brown butter sautéed apples, crème fraiche and fried sage. When chef/owner Kendra Baker owner Zach Davis were planning the menu, Baker was thrilled to see that Route One Farms’ Kabocha squash would be here in time for Restaurant Week. “I love sharing my favorites of the season,” said Baker. “These Japanese Pumpkins have a lovely chestnut-like sweetness and make the most velvety soup.”

 

Two of Assembly’s SCRW entrée selections are seafood stew and braised chicken leg. The stew, described as “fresh off the boat,” is served with potatoes, chard, zucchini, creamy polenta and a tomato-saffron broth. “As the seasons are changing my taste buds were longing for a soul-satisfying brothy seafood dish,” said Baker. “Working on developing this stew I envisioned the earthy notes of tomatoes with the saffron, oils of lemon zest, fennel and white wine being the perfect partners for the bounty of seafood we have available to us.”

 

The chicken entrée includes caramelized leeks, brussel sprouts, gigante beans and fried bread with a lemon butter caper sauce. There’s also a vegetarian option available. “Developing the braised chicken recipe for restaurant week, I had my father’s newfound love for capers at the age of 63 in mind,” said Baker. “He never ceases to surprise me. For the better part of my life I have known him as the iceberg lettuce and garbanzo bean salad with blue cheese dressing kind of guy.”

 

Baker’s partner Davis also has a new caper fan in his family. “My daughter discovered capers a couple days ago at the age of two and loves them,” said Davis. “I’m very excited to have her try this dish!”

 

Dessert choices for the SCRW menu include caramelized apple pie with brown sugar oat streusel and whiskey custard ice cream, and Penny Ice Creamery sorbet trio. Baker and Davis operate The Penny Ice Creamery, Picnic Basket and POPUP in addition to Assembly. In fact, a couple weeks ago they started offering some of their Picnic Basket selections at POPUP (a small storefront connected to Assembly at 1108 Pacific). These include sandwiches and cookies and are available Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

I will post a few more SCRW highlights in the next couple days.

 

Restaurants that are participating in SCRW, in alphabetical order:

  • 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Aquarius at the Dream Inn
  • Assembly
  • Back Nine Grill & Bar
  • Café Mare
  • Chocolate
  • Crow’s Nest
  • El Jardin
  • Gabriella Café
  • Hindquarter Bar & Grill
  • Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
  • Hollins House at Pasatiempo
  • Hula’s Island Grill
  • Ideal Bar & Grill
  • Johnny’s Harborside
  • Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar
  • Laili
  • Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
  • Margaritaville
  • Michael’s on Main
  • Mozaic
  • Pearl of the Ocean
  • Red Restaurant & Bar
  • Ristorante Italiano
  • Rosie McCann’s
  • Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
  • Severino’s Bar & Grill
  • Soif
  • Solaire
  • Splash!
  • Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
  • Süda
  • The Cremer House
  • The Point Chophouse & Lounge
  • The Water St. Grill
  • Tyrolean Inn
  • Your Place
  • Zelda’s On The Beach

For more information and menus, visit the event web site at santacruzrestaurantweek.com.

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The 2016 California Beer Festival: Santa Cruz Beer Week finale

Last year’s California Beer Festival at Aptos Village Park Photo courtesy of California Beer Festival

Last year’s California Beer Festival at Aptos Village Park
Photo credit: California Beer Festival

The 2016 California Beer Festival (CBF), at Aptos Village Park from Friday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 14, is the final celebration to cap off Santa Cruz Beer Week (Aug. 7-14). See the Santa Cruz Waves Beer Week site for details on lots of activities including a collaboration between burger and Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. at burger’s Aptos location on Thursday.

California Beer Festival details

Tickets range from $10 on Sunday to $99 for a three-day VIP pass that includes lots of benefits. Live music includes Sambada (Friday night) and Prince tribute band The Purple Ones (Sunday).

Location: Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek

More info or advance tickets: (805) 628-9588 or californiabeerfestival.com/santacruz

  • Friday, Aug. 12: “Food & Beer Pairing” (5:30-8:30 p.m.) plus live music. Several Brew Masters are pairing up with gourmet chefs. Each is competing for attendees to vote for them for “best food and beer pairing.” A $50 a la carte ticket includes food samples, beer, live music and one CBF souvenir pint glass. Must be 21 years of age or older to attend.  Pairings:
  1. The Jerk House & Brews of Santa Cruz
  2. Pour Tap Room & 101 North
  3. Hollins House & Seabright
  4. Ulterior & Leopold 7
  5. Peter B’s & Peter B’s
  6. Burt’s & Burt’s
  • Saturday, Aug. 13: “Craft Beer Heaven” (Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and beer sampling is 1-4:30 p.m.). There will be more than 85 craft beers available plus live music, food, and bocce ball. You must be 21 years of age or older to attend. General admission is $50 and VIP tickets are $75. Designated driver tickets are $25.
  • Sunday, Aug. 14: “Sunday Funday in the Park” (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) There is no beer sampling on Sunday but there is beer and food for sale. That day, kids 12 and under are free. Anyone over 12 pays $10. Families are encouraged to attend and people can bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Festival profits benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to student athletes in Santa Cruz County.

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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

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Valentine’s Day dinner and hotel/spa discounts at Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

If you’re looking for a getaway for Valentine’s Day, the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey has packages available—and they’re good all the way through March—or you can just choose to dine there for a romantic and delicious dinner. Here are highlights of their offerings.

Valentine’s Dinner at Jacks Restaurant
For Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, Jacks Restaurant’s executive chef Jason Giles is serving a four-course dinner for two for $99. The meal includes a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for each person. Reservations are required at 831-649-7874.

  • First course: smoked serrano & chicken boudine with lemon spätzle chimichurri sauce and a micro green salad
  • Second course: choice of butter lettuce salad with roasted beets, candied pecans, glacier bleu cheese, and a port vinaigrette or lobster bisque with brioche croutons and crème fraîche
  • Third course: choice of petite filet mignon with grilled rosemary gulf prawns served over parmesan-whipped potatoes and asparagus; sesame and black pepper crusted ahi tuna served over cashew rice with a broccolini sauté; mesquite roasted chicken breast served with a cherry & faro ragout, organic spinach topped with a sherry vinegar butter sauce; roasted beet ravioli chive and white wine sauce with shaved parmesan
  • Fourth course: white and dark chocolate mousse filled tulips with fresh raspberries and a vanilla crème anglaise

Romance for Two Package
Through March 31, the hotel is offering a special package starting at $199 that includes overnight accommodations for two, warm homemade chocolate chip cookies at check-in, a bottle of Piper-Sonoma sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and use of the 24-hour fitness center plus the pool, Jacuzzi, and poolside cabanas. Blackout dates apply.  For reservations or information call 888-222-5851.

Spa Packages
The hotel’s Spa on the Plaza is offering a couple of Valentine’s specials; see details below. For reservations call the spa at 831-647-9000.

  • Aromatherapy Massage with a Hydrating Facial & private tub, 110 minutes / $175 (valued at $245)
  • Symphony Massage with a Spa Pedicure, 1.5 hours / $159 (valued at $180)

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay location: 201 Alvarado Street, Monterey

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Family-friendly Santa Cruz benefit with food, wine, Warriors prizes

Ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery, an official Santa Cruz Warriors partner and a participant in this weekend’s Taste of the Warriors

Ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery, an official Santa Cruz Warriors partner and a participant in this weekend’s Taste of the Warriors

The inaugural Taste of the Warriors—Saturday, Oct. 10, at downtown Santa Cruz’s Kaiser Permanente Arena—is a family-friendly event with food, wine, beer, and entertainment. The Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association and the Santa Cruz Warriors (the 2015 champions of the NBA’s Development League) are partnering to host this benefit for Santa Cruz City Schools (SCCS). In addition to serving wine from 19 local wineries including several South County vintners, the event will feature selections from several restaurants including local chefs who are SCCS alums. There will be photo ops with championship trophies from the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors. For more information or tickets, visit santacruzbasketball.com. The party will be from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and the arena is at 140 Front St.

For the kids, there will be a special area with a jump house, face painting, basketball hoops, and kid-friendly food. Adults can enjoy beer from Uncommon Brewers and New Bohemia and wine from the aforementioned wineries; their tickets include a souvenir Warriors wine glass. There are lots of restaurants and food vendors including Hoffman’s Bistro (Adam Hoffman is a SCCS alumnus), Assembly, Kianti’s, Pacific Thai, Back Nine Grill & Bar (chef Michele Costa is a SCCS alumna), Pleasure Pizza, Ristorante Italiano, Whitings’ Food, Goose’s Goodies (owner Marci Prolo is an alum), Penny Ice Creamery, and Mission Hill Creamery. Back Nine is serving rib tips; Hoffman’s is dishing up bruschetta and pineapple pulled pork sliders; Ristorante Italiano is providing homemade meatballs with marinara and meat dipping sauces plus mini Caprese salads; and Goose’s will provide toffee. Participating wineries include Alfaro, Armitage, Bargetto, Bartolo, Bottle Jack, Burrell School, Byington, Clos LaChance, Dancing Creek, Equinox, Odonata, and Stockwell Cellars.

Tickets have been on sale for a while at $50 in advance or $70 at the door. Those under 21 pay $10. On Oct. 7 organizers announced a 2-for-1 ticket deal. For that promotion, you need to call the Warriors ticket number (831-713-4400) or buy tickets at the door. Event proceeds will benefit SCCS, which serves 7,000 students. Since relocating to Santa Cruz in 2012, the D-League Warriors have collaborated with the district through the Read to Achieve and Math Warriors programs.

“We’re proud to host this event as part of our ongoing commitment to support our public schools,” said Santa Cruz Warriors President Jim Weyermann. “We are all champions when we stand together.” He described the upcoming event as “a family night that celebrates our community’s culinary talents, exemplary winemaking and dedication to education.”

Other highlights for Oct. 10 include an appearance by Warriors dual champion James Michael McAdoo who will take photos with fans; a raffle with autographed Warriors prizes such as jerseys signed by MVPs Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Flowers will be provided by alumna Wendy Melrose of Lina Floral.

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Lots of food and wine at biggest Grazing on the Green ever to benefit cancer research

Food at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Food at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

The 12th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green, Saturday, Sept. 19 at Aptos Village Park, has more food and drinks than ever before! As of press time, there are 73 vendors including local restaurants and caterers, other food businesses, and local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).

The event, which is from noon to 4 p.m., usually sells out so it’s smart to buy tickets ahead of time. Buy $70 tickets at New Leaf Community Markets (downtown, Westside or Capitola locations) or online. If you have a group of 10, you can get tickets for $60 each. Admission includes food, drinks a souvenir wineglass, and live music.

Participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2015 include The Crow’s Nest, Café Cruz, Café Rio, Solaire Restaurant and Bar, Real Good Fish, Niman Ranch, Smart Chicken, New Leaf Community Markets, Ella’s at the Airport, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, and Sid’s Smokehouse.

Participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards,  Cima Collina, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Sones Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Discretion Brewing, Seabright Brewery, and Venus Spirits.

Non-alcoholic beverages will include drinks from Tulsi Teas, Pacific Coffee Roasting Co., and Pure Valley Water.

Proceeds from SCCBG’s events benefit these local cancer support and research organizations: Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Association, Katz Cancer Resource Center, UCSC’s fellowship program for cancer research, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy.

More details:
There is free shuttle service every 15 minutes from Cabrillo College Lot E; parking is also free.
For more information on the event, see sccbg.org or call (831) 465-1989.

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz hosts family-friendly Mole & Mariachi festival

Mole ingredients from a competitor's table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Mole ingredients from a competitor’s table at the 2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival. Photo credit: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

The 3rd annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park. The food and music festival has free admission. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below.

In addition to sampling mole, attendees can purchase local food, beer from Discretion Brewing, and other beverages including chavelas (a drink made from beer, tomato juice, and spices). Food vendors include The Penny Ice Creamery and Garcia Fish Tacos.  There will be music and dance performances, kids’ crafts, piñatas every hour, and a raffle.

This year, six local restaurants and chefs—including first-time participant Jozseph Schultz of India Joze—will prepare moles. Festival attendees and a panel of local judges led by Patricia Santana will select their favorites. Santana and her husband Leonardo own Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos. In 2013 the judges’ panel chose Manuel’s as the winner of the inaugural mole cook-off with a recipe Leonardo developed.

Santana is excited and honored to be a judge this year; she is very passionate about mole. “This year, it will be fun to not compete, and actually get to enjoy other moleros’ creations without the stress of bringing our own,” she says. “I salute every mole maker bringing their best entry. In my opinion, mole is the king of sauces in the Mexican kitchen, but one needs to keep in mind there are seven different types of mole – and as many recipes as there are mole makers,” she adds. “This sauce is a labor of love, and every cook has their own secrets.” On mole day at Manuel’s (Sunday), her husband gets up at 2 am to have the restaurant kitchen to himself.

At the festival, free kids’ activities will include face painting, crafts, bubbles, and a mural project coordinated by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

Four folk music bands will perform: Mariachi Gilroy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Trio del Sol. Also performing will be Estrellas de Esperanza, a children’s Mexican folklorico dance group from Watsonville, and Centeotl Grupo de Danza y Baile, a Santa Cruz-based dance group that preserves cultural connections with Mexico.

All event proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (including educational programs and restoration and improvement projects) via Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The event encourages alternative transportation by providing free trolley rides from downtown and having bike valet service at the park. For more information on the festival, visit the event web site.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School Street

Mole competitors:

  • El Chipotle Restaurant in Soquel (preparing a rojo Oaxaqueño mole)
  • El Jardin Restaurant in Santa Cruz—People’s Choice award winner at the 2013 festival, and a winner at the 2014 festival (preparing “Jorge’s Traditional Mole,” a red mole poblano)
  • My Mom’s Mole from Watsonville (with a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz)
  • Gerald Gonzalez (a home cook from Contra Costa County that will prepare “Mole de Paz,” a mole poblano)
  • Mariquita’s (home cook Emma Pinto Valedez will prepare her grandmother’s mole poblano recipe)
  • India Joze (Schultz will prepare a to-be-announced mole sauce)

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Beer Week 2015 & California Beer Festival

Attendees at a previous California Beer Festival Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Waves

Attendees at a previous California Beer Festival
Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Waves

Santa Cruz Beer Week is August 2-9; the finale is the California Beer Festival at Aptos Village Park from Friday, Aug. 7-Sunday, Aug. 9. From Aug. 2-7 there will be a few restaurant-brewery pairings, among other activities. See the official beer week web site or the Santa Cruz Waves special site for details on several events including:

  • August 2, 5:30 p.m.-close: Beers from Discretion Brewing will accompany food at Assembly during a special beer-themed dinner. Santa Cruz Waves hosts the evening, which will include “Summer Fish Fry with Song of My Heart battered cod, shrimp, chickpeas, green beans, and new potatoes plus malt vinegar aioli; mussels with Uncle Dave’s Rye smoked ham hock broth; and buttermilk bran cake with Oh Black Lager ice cream and caramelized bananas.
  • August 3, 5 p.m.-close: There are two events: the first is at The Hophead Public House in Scotts Valley, featuring Lagunitas Brewing Company. The second is “Nubo Brew & BBQ” at New Bohemia Brewing Company on 41st Ave. Surf City Sandwiches will provide BBQ sliders and side dishes. Young & Lowe will perform music from 6-8 p.m.
  • August 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m.: A beer and food pairing competition will be held at Aptos Village Park. Five breweries and five restaurants are competing.

There are also events August 4, 5, and 6.

The official three-day California Beer Festival is at Aptos Village Park Saturday and Sunday, August 8-9. Tickets range from $10 general admission for Sunday (no food or beer included), to $99 for a three-day VIP pass that also includes the Friday night competition. There are several a la carte options. Saturday’s theme is “craft beer heaven” and Sunday it’s the “hamburger and hops music festival” with live music. There is no beer sampling on Sunday (but there is beer and food for sale). That day, kids 12 and under are free.  If you’re interested in attending the festival, see the website for advance tickets.

Saturday hours: 12:30-5 p.m. Beer sampling: 1-4:30 p.m.
There will be more than 85 craft beers on tap, live music, food, and bocce ball.  You must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

Sunday hours: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Families are encouraged to attend.

Proceeds benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to student athletes in Santa Cruz County.

Location: Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek Rd., Aptos

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Ben Lomond’s Casa Nostra offers monthly wine dinner

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe), one of the featured dishes at Casa Nostra’s July wine dinner

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe), one of the featured dishes at Casa Nostra’s July wine dinner

Italian restaurant Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond is hosting a wine dinner on Tuesday, July 28, from 6-9 p.m. See end of article for menu.

This is part of the restaurant’s wine dinner series. Events are held the last Tuesday of each month. For $65 (excluding tax/gratuity), attendees receive a prix fixe meal with five small plate courses prepared by chef Mario Ibarra, plus wine pairings. Every month, a different local winery and winemakers are featured. This time it’s Santa Cruz-based Rexford Winery. Owners/winemakers Joe and Sam Miller will be present at the dinner. Jazz duo Joe & Paul will be performing.

Contact (831) 609-6132 or juan.garay74@gmail.com for reservations.

After July 28, the next dinner is August 25 with Beauregard Vineyards.

July 28 Menu, featuring Rexford Winery

Creamy Artichoke Croquettes on a bed of mixed greens, with homemade ranch dressing

2013 Rexford Pinot Gris, Santa Cruz Mountains

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Orchiette Pollo, with chicken, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccolini, pecorino cheese

2010 Rexford Pinot Noir, Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone

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Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Mama’s homemade Eggplant Parmigiana recipe

2013 Rexford Zinfandel, Lodi

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Boneless slow-braised short ribs, red wine reduction with carrots, celery, onions & herbs

2012 Rexford Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley

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Tiramisu with cocoa nibs & chocolate drizzle

2012 Rexford Zinfandel port-style dessert wine

Casa Nostra is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and also serves weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
The Details

Wine Dinner Series, 6-9 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month: next dinner July 28
$65 per person
Ristorante Casa Nostra, 9217 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, (831) 609-6132