Tag Archives: San Francisco

Pressed Juicery expands menu and locations

Pressed Juicery launched new beverages in October 2014

Pressed Juicery launched new beverages in October 2014

Last month, Pressed Juicery revamped its menu of juices and other beverages. After listening to customer feedback, it added drinks such as new juice and coconut water flavors.

On October 6, Pressed Juicery introduced nine new flavors. There are new “classic” versions of orange, watermelon, and apple, catering to adults and kids both; coconut waters in rose and green flavors (alongside the store’s original coconut water); and cold-pressed coffee drinks, at all stores and online. Pressed Juicery also brought back a popular Brazil Nut signature blend made with spinach, kale, romaine, vanilla bean, dates, and sea salt.

I had a recent opportunity to sample a few of the beverages. They were all enjoyable; a couple of my favorites were “Greens 2” (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon) and “Chocolate Almond” (almonds, dates, cacao, and sea salt).

“We took our customers’ comments to heart when creating the new items, and saw an opportunity to improve the juices our fans have grown to love while adding a fresh twist to our menu,” said CEO/co-founder Hayden Slater.

Pressed Juicery now has six San Francisco Bay Area locations, including SF’s Ferry Building and Palo Alto’s Stanford Shopping Center. It has a total of 20 locations including Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach (at the latter, the store is trying out smoothies and soups—this location only). It’s in the middle of a rapid expansion, with lots more stores planned for the remainder of 2014 (Newport Beach, for example) and for 2015 (San Jose’s Santana Row).

The shop also offers juice cleanses, both online and in stores—including at its Northern California locations. There are cleanses geared towards beginners, and towards more experienced cleansers. If you order online, you need to purchase a 3- or 5-day cleanse. If you go to a store, you can buy products for a one-day cleanse.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area restaurants for Father’s Day Part 1 — includes San Jose, SF & Monterey

Buffalo wings and beer at Cannery Row Brewing Company

Buffalo wings and beer at Cannery Row Brewing Company

Father’s Day 2014 is less than a week away, on Sunday, June 15. If you have a foodie in your life that needs some celebrating, you’d better make plans! Here are details on a few Bay Area restaurants; I’ll publish more in the next couple days including restaurants in Santa Cruz and a few more Monterey highlights.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins 

Top of the Mark and Executive Chef Nenad Stefanovic present a delicious brunch buffet. Guests will enjoy a carving station with Roasted Bone in Prime Rib of Beef and Baby Back Ribs with whiskey BBQ sauce and entrees like Grilled  NY Steak with cipollini onion, cherry tomato, demi glace and Pan Seared Corvina with fennel beurre blanc. Breakfast favorites for dad include Pork Belly Benedict with coleslaw and chipotle hollandaise sauce and a Forest Ham and California Monterey Jack Strata. An omelet and buttermilk waffle station are also available. The price is $79 for adults and $45 for ages four through 12. Children three and under are complimentary. Brunch is served from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. For reservations, call 415-616-6916.
Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio for Father’s Day
Sit back and treat Dad to a Father’s Day indulgent experience complete with a reserved blanket to take home as a souvenir. There is a $100 package for two or a $150 package for four that includes:
• A signature Picnic at the Presidio blanket ($35 retail value), for you to keep
• One or two beer kits (depending on package) for the group to share
• Tri-tip lunch for two or four

Pick a spot upon your arrival and they will lay out a picnic blanket for you and your party.After seating, enjoy a choice of one of the Presidio Bar’s beer kits (5 bottles of Scrimshaw or Pacifico) as The Whole Beast prepares your tri-tip lunch. They will serve up your tri-tip lunch with sides (baked beans, potato salad and green salad with bleu cheese dressing) right to your blanket.
Book here

Presidio Social Club
PSC will host its annual Father’s Day Pig Roast on Sunday, June 15. Following in the spirit of a backyard luau, the Pig Roast is a vintage-Hawaiian themed event taking place throughout the restaurant with two pigs rotating through the spit on the sunny back patio. Available from 1 p.m. through dinner service, the Pig Roast meal is a composed plate including meat right off the spit, two sides and a scrumptious Pineapple Upside-down Cake with coconut sorbet for dessert. For reservations, call 415-885-1888.

Fogo de Chão

On Father’s Day, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse invites the man of the hour to relax and enjoy his special day, while Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs do all the grilling. As a special thank-you, Dads who dine on Father’s Day will receive a Father’s Day card good for a complimentary lunch or dinner towards their next visit. The Father’s Day menu will feature the restaurant’s extensive variety of fire-roasted meats that are specially carved to each guest’s preference. Make reservations online or call 408-244-7001.

Cannery Row Brewing Company

Located in downtown Monterey right off historic Cannery Row, the building was once a cannery (as the name suggests) but is now redefining Northern California brewhouses and casual dining. With 73 beers on tap, a dining room, and outdoor fire pits, Cannery Row Brewing Company is a family-friendly spot to enjoy Father’s Day. This year dads can enjoy a Prime Rib special paired with English Ales Big Sur Golden, a local Monterey brewery, for $25. Other regular selections include burgers and buffalo wings. The venue is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Call 831-643-2722 (note: the web site is supposed to be canneryrowbrewingcompany.com but at press time the link wasn’t working).

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa
The hotel’s “TusCA Ristorante, The Fireplace Lounge” is having a special BBQ-themed dinner. A $25 special features oregano BBQ lamb ribs, rosemary red potatoes, and grilled sweet corn with thyme butter. Dads get free strawberry shortcake with the purchase of an entrée. Call 831-657-6675 for reservations.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Restaurants for Easter in Santa Cruz, SF and the Greater Bay Area

Fogo de Chao on Santana Row is serving Easter Brunch

Fogo de Chao on Santana Row is serving Easter Brunch

Dining out for Easter 2014? It’s this coming Sunday; here are some restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the Bay Area.

Santa Cruz Restaurants

The Chaminade offers its annual Easter Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; the price is $50.95 (adults), $17.95 (kids 6-12), and free for kids under 6. Selections include prime rib, honey baked ham with Jack Daniels glaze, rosemary and garlic encrusted lamb leg, a seafood bar with teriyaki salmon, peel and eat prawns, fried calamari and more, omelets made to order, and Belgian waffles. Additional highlights: several salads, fresh berries, chocolate fondue, and a chocolate fountain. There will be Easter egg hunts for the kids at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.
One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, www.chaminade.com

Johnny’s Harborside
Johnny’s Harborside is offering a special Easter brunch menu from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (last seating at 2:15 p.m.). Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. with a few specials in addition to the regular menu. Easter brunch specials include a variety of Eggs Benedicts (such as a crab cake variation for $16, traditional for $12), a smoked salmon and goat cheese quiche ($14), and a proscuitto omelet with asparagus, hearts of palm, spinach, and housemade dou latte cheese ($14). Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.
493 Lake Avenue, Santa Cruz, www.johnnysharborside.com

Hoffman’s is serving brunch until 2:30; dinner is served from 3-9:30. Make reservations via OpenTable or at (831) 420-0135.
1102 Pacific Ave., hoffmanssantacruz.com

San Francisco Restaurants

A16 will host a festive Easter brunch and dinner featuring an a la carte menu with creations from Chef Chris Thompson and Pastry Chef Candace Rowan. For brunch, A16 will offer dishes such as Ceci Fettucine with braised sugo, fava, and pecorino and Pastiera Napoletana, an Italian cake made of ricotta cheese that hails from Naples. For dinner, guests can choose from menu items like Roasted Leg of Lamb with senise peppers, English peas, and tendrils and Cassata Siciliana, a traditional round sponge cake from Palermo with fruit juice and ricotta cheese. The special brunch offerings will be available in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu. A16 will be open from 11 am to 2:30 pm for lunch and 5-10 pm for dinner.  For more information on A16 San Francisco or to make reservations, visit www.a16sf.com or call 415.771.2216.

CHAYA Brasserie
This Easter, celebrate the holiday on the water at the Embarcadero gem, CHAYA Brasserie. Offering a special menus like the young adults’ menu for $15 and the 3-course menu for $42, CHAYA will feature dishes such as  Smoked Trout and Crispy Potato with crème fraiche, ikura, and shiso salsa verde; Castelle French Toast with caramelized banana, almonds, and fresh fruits; and Five Spiced Duck Confit Hash with piquillo peppers, red onions, and fried duck egg. For an additional $12, guests can enjoy bottomless champagne or mimosas. Reservations can be made by calling 415.777.8688 or visiting thechaya.com/SanFrancisco.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Top of the Mark Executive Chef Nenad Stefanovic presents the annual Easter buffet on Sunday, April 20. In additional to the views to be had from the legendary sky lounge, guests will enjoy a selection of raw bar items, antipasto, salad, and small plates including Almond cucumber gazpacho and Roasted Wild Mushroom with crostini and basil oil. Entrée selections include Alaskan Halibut with caramelized fennel, fire roasted peppers and citrus beurre blanc; Kurabota Pork Loin with Brussels sprouts and whole grain mustard sauce; and Saffron Couscous with spring vegetables and parmesan broth. Brunch favorites can be had at the omelet station and a build-your-own buttermilk waffle station. Guests of Top of the Mark’s Easter brunch will enjoy limitless mimosas, entertainment by pianist Michael Athens, and a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Reservations can be made by calling InterContinental Mark Hopkins: 415.392.3434.  Easter brunch is served from 10am – 2pm; Adults are $109 and children between the ages of four and 12 are $59. Visit www.topofthemark.com.

Join Silverado Resort & Spa for their spectacular Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet from 10:30 am-2:30 pm with a menu designed and prepared by acclaimed Executive Chef Jeffrey Jake and his team. Traditional brunch selections include hand-carved gently roasted meats, lavish hot & cold displays and an array of decadent desserts for $60 per adult and $25 per child (ages 4-9).

Los Gatos
Visit award-winning Dio Deka for an Easter filled with traditional Greek favorites seasoned with California technique from Chef Jeff Fitzgerald. Weather permitting, seating will be available in the restaurant’s beautiful outdoor patio as well as in the dining room. The à la carte brunch menu will feature dishes such as Keftethakia, lamb meatballs with blistered grapes, kalamansi yogurt and a light herb-broth ($13); Zambonopita, a crispy puff-pastry stuffed with smoked ham, green onion, feta, kasseri and ricotta cheeses ($16); Plevrakia, slow-cooked pork ribs rubbed with Greek spices, Attiki honey and lemon glaze, and sour cherries with ouzo ($15); and Cinnamon “Greek” Toast with whipped vanilla butter and maple syrup ($14). Brunch will be available from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 408-354-7700. Regular dinner service will resume that evening.

San Jose
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in San Jose will offer a lively and elegant dining alternative – a Brazilian twist on Easter brunch. The Easter Sunday menu will feature the restaurant’s extensive variety of fire-roasted meats that are specially carved to each guest’s preference. Diners can enjoy selections such as the house specialty picanha sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye, lamb chops, chicken wrapped in bacon, and pork ribs, to name a few, or try the newly-introduced lighter seafood selection. Additionally, Fogo offers a gourmet salad and sides bar with an abundance of choices, and Southern Brazilian side dishes such as pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, and caramelized bananas are served family style. A tempting dessert menu, creative and classic cocktails, and an award-winning wine list complement the dining experience. Lunch is served from 11:30am – 3:00pm and dinner is served 4:00pm – 9:00pm on Easter Sunday. Price: $51.50 (salad bar only – $26.50); kids 6 and under are complimentary. Children 7 to 12 are half price.

Palo Alto
The Sea by Alexander Steakhouse located in Palo Alto offers a special three-course pix fixe brunch menu for Easter Sunday. Tuna tartare, lobster scrambled eggs, scallops and New York steak are just a few of the selections on this lavish menu prepared by Executive Chef Yu Min Lin. Three courses for $45, and other items a la carte. From 10:30am – 1:30pm. Reservations: (650) 213-1111.
On Sunday, April 20, 2014 Restaurant 1833 will open early and host a special Easter Brunch from 10:30-2:30 with a three-course menu for $50. Located in the historic California landmark, the Stokes Adobe house, guests can enjoy dishes from New Executive Chef Abby Burk with selections such as Smoked White Sturgeon Tartine with pumpernickel bread, pickled red onions, capers, and cream cheese; Lemon and Ricotta Waffles topped with marinated berries and whipped cream; Slow Roasted Spring Lamb Rachetta with feta, black olives, tomato confit, bread salad, and rosemary jus; and Mignardise Board of marshmallow peeps, raspberry jellies, chocolate mendiants, and pistachio financier. As always, available for a $6 add on are 1833’s infamous Bacon Biscuits served with a sausage gravy. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made with a credit card through Open Table or by calling (831) 643-1833.

East Bay
A16 Rockridge

Celebrating its first Easter in Oakland, A16 Rockridge will offer special brunch and dinner offerings by Chef Rocky Maselli. For brunch, guests can choose from an a la carte menu with dishes such as Crespelle with rhubarb compote and whipped cream fraiche and candied almonds and Capunti with lamb heart sugo, gava beans, and pecorino reserva. For dinner, the a la carte menu will feature savory dishes such as Verdetto, Easter Lamb with egg, snap peas, pea greens, and grana padano and a special dessert of Pastiera Napoletana with cinnamon, gelato, and orange caramel. An Easter-inspired libation will be available for the holiday as well. The Carrot Top features Boyd + Blair vodka, carrot, grapefruit, and lemon juice with ginger syrup and garnished with festive carrot fronds.  A16 Rockridge will be open from 11 am to 9 pm and switch from its dinner menu at 4 pm.  For more information or to make reservations, visit www.a16rockridge.com or call 510.768.8003.

This Easter Sunday, join Bocanova for two special dishes: A 7-hour leg of lamb Oaxacan-style with beans and tomatillo salsa and a Dungeness Crab Benedict for brunch. Visit www.bocanova.com.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Bay Area Valentine’s Day dining Part 1: San Francisco restaurants

Chef Kajino’s Petrale Sole with Organic Bloomsdale Spinach, Winter Root Vegetables and a Lemon Beurre Blanc, from CHAYA’s January menu (a variation of this is available on Valentine’s Day)

Chef Kajino’s Petrale Sole with Organic Bloomsdale Spinach, Winter Root Vegetables and a Lemon Beurre Blanc, from CHAYA’s January menu (a variation of this is available on Valentine’s Day)

It’s almost Valentine’s Day 2014 – where does the time go? Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to enjoy a romantic meal at one of your favorite restaurants, and I’ve gathered some information for several San Francisco venues. See below for details and menus plus information on a few SF hotels if you want to turn the romantic holiday into a weekend getaway. One hotel even offers marriage proposal packages!

I’ll publish information on restaurants in other Bay Area cities including Santa Cruz and San Jose over the next few days.

For those looking to avoid a prix fixe menu, 1760 provides a welcome alternative. Chef Adam Tortosa will offer his nightly a la carte menu of shareable dishes with a few key additions for the holiday. To further the experience, Wine Director Gianpaolo Paterlini’s wine list focuses on selections that complement the creative cuisine. Cocktails crafted by Bar Manager Christopher Longoria also highlight seasonal ingredients and are known for approachable yet distinctive flavors. For reservations visit http://www.1760sf.com/reservations/ or call 415-359-1212

For more than two decades, Acquerello has offered romance and an unparalleled Italian fine-dining experience in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood. Acquerello restaurant is housed in a former chapel, and the space is graced with arches and a rustic wood-beamed vaulted ceiling, perfect for an intimate dining experience. Dishes on the special Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu may include the Santa Barbara Uni served with crab, apple, turnip and pepperoncino, Petaluma Farms Poultry Lasagna or the Re-Interpreted Veal Osso Buco. For dessert, indulge in the Madeleine Cake with Rosé-White Chocolate, pistachio and candied rose petals. Price per person $215 excluding wine, tax and gratuity. Wine pairing $95. For reservations please email info@acquerello.com or call (415) 567-5432

Cozy up by the fire at TBD restaurant this Valentine’s day and enjoy Chef Mark Liberman’s hearth-cooked fare. Couples can enjoy a special family-style menu for two with 7-8 small plates created for the holiday.

Alexander’s Steakhouse
Spoil your loved one at Alexander’s Steakhouse with the restaurant’s special 7-course menu with optional wine pairings. The menu highlights all of the steakhouse’s beloved delicacies including Tuna Carpaccio with Shio Koji cauliflower, pickled pearl onion and olive oil and Tajima F1 Wagyu Beef with salt roasted potato, charred leek, and black truffles. For dessert, diners can indulge in a Truffled Gouda cheese course with honeycomb as well as a chocolate course featuring Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Currant, and Port. The dinner is $165 per person excluding gratuity with additional wine pairings available for $95.

Presidio Social Club
Enjoy the standard Presidio Social Club menu of classic favorites along with some special additions in honor of the holiday. Get festive with the Wagyu Carpaccio with crispy sunchoke and truffle, the Broiled Black Cod and Crab Custard in an aromatic broth or the California Lamb Chops.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with CLIFT’s Sweet Escapes package including Rose champagne and heart-adorned red velvet cupcakes with extra frosting and 2 body paint brushes to have a little fun with. Also included are 2 complimentary cocktails in the Redwood Room and 20% off dinner in the Velvet Room. Upgrade upon check in based on availability.

Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema is pleased to usher in Valentine’s Evening with a romantic Pretty in Pink theme and a sumptuous a la carte menu filled with their favorite dishes: Cornmeal Blini with Caviar, Oysters on the Half Shell, Aged New York Steak, Filet Mignon, Big Eye Tuna, Maine Sea Scallops, Seasonally Inspired Salads, Indulgent Desserts and much more.

InterContinental San Francisco
The InterContinental San Francisco offers a “San Francisco Is for Lovers” package that includes romantic features such as champagne for two, long stem strawberries delivered to the room by butler, a bath drawn with rose petals, and a VIP turndown service. Breakfast and a late checkout are also included in the package.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Michelin Star at the InterContinental San Francisco’s Luce Restaurant. The 4-course menu for $65 per person includes dishes such as Roasted Carrots and Sun Dried Spices with nettles, smoked egg, and chicken bouillon and Pacific Halibut and Blue Prawns with fennel, golden turnip and winter squash. To sweeten the evening, upgrade to “The Sweetheart Package” for $214 per couple and enjoy a bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins boasts the legendary Top of the Mark restaurant and bar with a near 360 degree view of the scenic skyline of San Francisco. Situated on the 19th floor of the hotel, the world-renowned sky lounge is famed for its 100 Martinis menu, cocktails and live entertainment. This classic, romantic spot provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable proposal. The Top of the Mark offers a number of Romance Packages such as “Love Above All,” which includes a table with a view at the Top of the Mark, a bottle of Piper Sonoma sparkling wine, six red roses, an assortment of fine truffles, and a framed photo. With “The Perfect Proposal” package, guests are treated to a table with a view, a custom chocolate ring box, a bottle of Piper Sonoma sparkling wine, a framed photo, and an engagement announcement by the Top of the Mark band.  For guests unsure of how to pop the question, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins has a Proposal Desk to help brainstorm romantic solutions to engagement needs. The Proposal Desk service will facilitate endeavors from flower delivery to hot-air balloon chartering.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
This Valentine’s Day, take in a romantic 6-course dinner and 360 degree view of the city at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins’ Top of the Mark. The decadent dinner includes dishes such as Arugula with strawberry, figs, honey, and walnuts and Wagyu with scallop, asparagus, tomato pierogi, and port wine essence. Dinner guests are encouraged to bring an overnight bag as they will be automatically entered into a drawing for a one-night stay in the hotel’s luxurious Presidential Suite. The dinner is $495 per couple and includes one bottle of Möet & Chandon Rosé. Reservations are required.

A16 will celebrate their 10th anniversary on Valentines’ Day 2014. Co-owners Shelley Lindgren and Victoria Libin will host a special dinner that evening where A16’s original chef Christophe Hille will collaborate on a menu with current Executive Chef Chris Thompson featuring the “classics” of A16: favorite dishes from the past decade.

CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco
On Friday, February 14, CHAYA Brasserie at the Embarcadero will celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special three-course prix fixe dinner menu for $80 per person. Guests can choose between six appetizers, six entrees, and five different desserts featuring dishes such as the signature Seared Wagyu Beef Sushi Roll with crab, tempura shrimp, cucumber, and spicy aioli; Spiced Honey Glazed Duck Breast with crispy winter root phyllo, Bloomsdale spinach, and Meyer lemon; and Coconut Ice Cream Sandwich with chocolate fudge.  Chef Yuko Kajino offers a take-home gift of CHAYA truffles, and those who dine before 7pm can enjoy the “Early Love-Bird” special with a complimentary ½ bottle of Rose. With idyllic views of the Bay Lights installation, CHAYA’s dining room provides a romantic setting with floor to ceiling windows looking out to the Bay Bridge. CHAYA is renowned for serving innovative cuisine that blends European and Asian flavors. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 415-777-8688 or visiting www.thechaya.com.

Chef Jason Wittek at Radius will offer a special 4-course tasting menu with dishes such as the McFarland Springs Ranch Trout with smoked potatoes, pickled onions and citrus beurre blanc or the Liberty Farms Duck Breast with escarole, grapes and hazelnut. End the evening of romance with a delicious dessert of Chocolate Nougatine with Vanilla & Olive Oil Milkshake. The 4-course tasting menu will be offered at $70 per person both Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15, 2014. A limited a la carte menu will also be available. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. For reservations, please visit http://radiussf.com/or call (415) 525-3676.


Bergerac in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood will be hosting “The Lonely Hearts Club” this Valentine’s Day, playing the best love songs from the 60’s and 70’s all night long. Bar goers can drink their sorrows away with the special Love in Vain, Lonely Teardrops, or Sealed With a Kiss cocktail for $7; cry over the Heartbreak Hotel or Let’s Get it On punch bowl with several friends for $30; or enjoy an Oyster Threeway for $5 (one Kumamoto, one Sweetwater, and one Virginicas oyster).

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Upcoming Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly hires veteran San Francisco chef

Carlo Espina will be Executive Chef at Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly (photo credit: Nader Khouri)

Carlo Espinas will be Executive Chef at Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly (photo credit: Nader Khouri)

The team behind Santa Cruz’s The Penny Ice Creamery and The Picnic Basket are opening their first full-service restaurant – Assembly – in a few weeks. They just hired Carlo Espinas as Executive Chef, and this is great news for the local dining community!

California Culinary Academy alumnus Espinas is moving to Santa Cruz next week, leaving his current chef position at San Francisco’s Comstock Saloon. After Espinas’ 2005 CCA graduation he worked at Incanto under chef Chris Cosentino, where he learned a lot including the importance of seasonally changing menus (you may recognize Cosentino’s name from TV’s Top Chef Masters and Chefs vs. City). Espinas also worked at SF restaurants such as Piccino Café, where he served as opening chef, and Camino, where he worked under Russell Moore who spent 20 years at Chez Panisse.

Assembly, opening in the next couple months at 1108 Pacific Ave.,  is slated to be a 100-seat restaurant with “rustic California Cuisine.” Speaking of his culinary styles and passions, Espinas says, “…My food tends to skew towards Mediterranean and regional American cuisine. California is the intersection of all of this: amazing produce and growing seasons that are coupled with rich cultural traditions from all over the country and world.”

Espinas is excited to cook for the Santa Cruz community and to make Assembly visitors feel like family. His own family is a big influence on his vision. “I am one of six in my family and I have 46 cousins, just on my mom’s side. Coming from a large, extended Filipino family, I grew up in a culture that centers around the table; chatting, laughing, and eating,” he explains. “I like food that brings people to the table, that facilitates conversation and cheer; and food that excites and satiates. I often think about my family when I cook…it keeps me grounded and focused on food that is tasty, tantalizing, but approachable.”

Assembly co-owners Kendra Baker and Zach Davis couldn’t be happier that Espinas said yes to their job offer. Baker first met Espinas when she was pastry chef at SF’s Bar Tartine, and has been keeping tabs on him ever since. “I knew Carlo was one to watch,” Baker says. “When Zach and I started talking about people we would want to work with, he immediately came to mind.”

Pastry Chef Anna St. John will also be part of the Assembly team. An experienced Penny staff member, St. John will work with Baker to create a range of tantalizing desserts.

It seems there is nothing Baker and Davis can’t accomplish in the culinary world. They started The Penny Ice Creamery with a Cedar Street location in August 2010 and expanded with a Pacific Ave. kiosk in November 2011 and a Pleasure Point location in February 2013. They also run beachfront café The Picnic Basket. What’s next? Hard to imagine, but in the meantime I can’t wait to try Assembly!

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Chipotle Mexican Grill offers new tofu filling and free San Francisco festival


Salad with sofritas filling, bell peppers, and fresh corn salsa from Santa Cruz restaurant Chipotle

Salad with sofritas filling, bell peppers, and fresh corn salsa from Santa Cruz restaurant Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill has a couple pieces of news: it recently added sofritas, a tofu filling, as a choice for its burritos, tacos and salads in its Northern California locations, and it’s hosting a San Francisco festival this weekend.


First, let’s discuss the sofritas, which you can see in the image at the top of this article (in that case it was used as a salad topping with Chipotle’s fresh corn salsa). Sofritas has been available at Chipotle’s Northern California locations since mid-April and is made from shredded tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. Chipotle uses organic, non-GMO tofu from Oakland’s Hodo Soy. As Chipotle has announced, sofritas is available in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads, and can be combined with other signature ingredients including white or brown cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans or vegetarian black beans, house-made salsas and guacamole, and cheese or sour cream. I have enjoyed the sofritas a couple times now, and highly recommend it for your next Chipotle visit.


Next, the festival: on Saturday, June 8, Chipotle is hosting the free festival “Cultivate San Francisco.” It’s from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Golden Gate Park at Hellman Hollow and includes cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, live music, local food artisans, regional beer and wines, a special Chipotle festival menu, and other activities emphasizing fresh and affordable food made with sustainable ingredients. Chipotle’s menu for the festival, with items ranging between $5 and $7, will include a grilled flatbread gordita; chicken and sofritas tacos; charred esquites (corn) salad; and a jasmine rice bowl with pork and chicken meatballs or organic tofu from ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, Chipotle’s Asian concept. Other offerings include an Artisan Hall with lots of Bay Area food vendors selling items (a full list is below) plus a special “Cultivate Farmhouse Ale” created in partnership with SF’s Speakesasy Ales and Lagers.


Chipotle created the Cultivate Festival in 2011 as a way to raise awareness of the impact food has on society. The festival is intended to get people thinking and talking about food and food issues. The first one was in Chicago; in 2012 there were events in Chicago and Denver; this year there are Chicago & Denver events plus SF.


Chefs scheduled to speak and cook at Cultivate San Francisco include Richard Blais (The Spence, HD1, and Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta); Michael Chiarello (Bottega in Napa Valley and Coqueta in San Francisco); Amanda Freitag (Food Network’s “Chopped” and “The Next Iron Chef”); Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table in San Francisco); Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun in Los Angeles) with Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec in Los Angeles); Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen (San Francisco); and Nate Appleman and Joel Holland (Chipotle Culinary Team). The musical lineup includes Mayer Hawthorne, The Walkmen, Walk the Moon, LP, and Matt Costa.

Artisan Hall line-up


4505 Meats

·         Smoked Brisket, $10

·         Cheddar Bratwurst, $7

·         Chicharrones, $4


El Porteño Empanadas

·         Carne: Prather Ranch Organic Dry-Aged Grass Fed Beef, Pimiento Stuffed Olives, Raisins, $5

·         Pollo: Mary’s All Natural Chicken, Raisins, Olives, $5

·         Champiñones: Fresh Seasonal Local Organic Mushrooms by Far West Fungi, Shallots, Crème Fraiche, $5

·         Alfajor de Dulce de Leche: Argentine cookies joined together with dulce de leche (Argentine caramel made with organic milk), $2


Handsome Coffee Roasters

·         Espresso, $4

·         Espresso + Milk (3oz & 5oz cups), $5

·         Iced Coffee, $5


Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

·         Pickle On a Stick, $2

·         Mixed Pickle Plate, $5

·         Quinoa Veggie Salad, $6

·         Lavender Lemonade, $4


Hodo Soy

·         Hodo Yuba Fresh Spring Rolls, $6

·         Soy Thai Tea (hot or cold), $3

·         Hodo Silken Tofu with Ginger Syrup, $3

·         Miso Soup with Hodo Tofu, $4


Pop Nation

·         Strawberry Cream, $4

·         Sea Salted Dark Chocolate, $4

·         Bangkok Night Market, $4

·         Strawberry Lemonade, $4


Llano Seco Organic Meats

·         Llano Seco Organic Hot Dog, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Argentine Sausage, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Italian Sausage, $7

·         Llano Seco Organic Breakfast Sausage, $7


Marin Gourmet

·         Falafel, 6 for $5 or 12 for $10

·         Tabouli Salad Lunch Pack, $8

·         Hummus, Small: $4  Med. : $6  Lg. :$8

·         Dip, Small: $6  Med. :$10  Lg. :$12


Nana Joes

·         Tony’s Trail Mix (Gluten-Free), $5

·         Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten-Free), six-pack for $5 or one for $1

·         Orange Spiced Mixed Nuts (Gluten-Free), $8


Sunbud Bakery Buckwheat Cookies

·         Buckwheat Cookie with Apricots, $1

·         Buckwheat Cookie with Chocolate and Currants, $1

·         Package of $5 Cookies


Cafe Fanny Granola

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Original (12oz Box), $8

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Flaxseeds w/ No Raisins (12oz Box), $8

·         Cafe Fanny Granola Cran-Coconut w/ Quinoa (12oz Box), $8

·         Parfait with Yogurt and Your Choice of Granola, $4

·         Coffee Almond Butter Granola, $4


CC Made

·         Classic Artisanal Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         Pistachio Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         Spiced Almond Caramel Corn, $4 (3 oz) or $8 (8 oz)

·         3-Flavor Caramel Popcorn Cone, $2



·         Chasewater Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pesto on Sour Dough Bread with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese, $6

·         Favolosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20

·         Tuscan Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20

·         Mission Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18

·         Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18



On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.


Celebrate lamb during March 2013 at Lark Creek restaurants in San Jose, SF, & other Bay Area cities

Marin Sun Farm Lamb Duo of Loin and Shoulder at Lark Creek Steak

Marin Sun Farm Lamb Duo of Loin and Shoulder at San Francisco’s Lark Creek Steak

If you’re a lamb fan, you have 11 remaining days to participate in this fun event: during March 2013, Lark Creek Restaurant Group is partnering with the American Lamb Board to bring unique spring lamb dishes at seven of its Bay Area locations. These selections, made from lamb that is fresh and sourced directly from local farms, will be available through the end of March.

  • Thinly Sliced Lamb Tongue served with lamb’s lettuce, Asian pear, and puffed quinoa from Chef/Partner Mark Dommen at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, 415.777.5577 (I have sampled Chef Dommen’s food at a festival; it was truly divine)
  • Marin Sun Farm Lamb Duo of Loin and Shoulder (see photo above) served with brioche, almonds, roasted cauliflower, and a pomegranate glaze from Chef Ismael Macias at San Francisco’s Lark Creek Steak, 415.593.4100
  • Moroccan Lamb Meatballs served with crispy spearmint, chickpea hummus, and tomato sauce from Chef Aaron Wright at The Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur, 415.924.7766
  • Slow Roasted California Leg Of Lamb Sandwich served with arugula and sundried tomato mint relish from Chef/Partner Scott Wall at Lark Creek Walnut Creek, 925.256.1234
  • Lamb Polpette with pecorino and a spicy tomato sauce from Chef Marc Tennison at Cupola Pizzeria  in San Francisco, 415.896.5600
  • Spiced Lamb Carpaccio with roast peppers, feta cheese, kalamata olives, cumin scented breadstick, and micro arugula from Chef Chad Greer at Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row, 408.244.1244 (I had a fabulous, memorable meal at this restaurant in January; read about a few of the dishes and see one photo in this article)
  • Braised Spring Lamb Shoulder Panini with house made hummus, spicy harissa aioli, and preserved lemon from Chef Jonathan Hall at Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, 408.970.6104.

Learn more about the American Lamb Board at the ALB web site. You’ll find nutrition info, statistics, recipes, events for lamb lovers, and more.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.




12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 11: Hula’s in Santa Cruz, open on Xmas

Poke at Hula’s in downtown Santa Cruz

It’s Day 11 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize has been donated by Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room in downtown Santa Cruz – it’s a gift certificate for lunch or dinner for two! See below for how to enter.

Hula’s is closing for some of the upcoming holiday season. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. However, it will be open on New Year’s Eve serving its regular menu. Plus, there are two drink specials that night: $3 champagne and $3 mimosas.

Selections at Hula’s include Hawaiian fusion dishes and other choices such as spicy edamame, fish tacos, slow roasted pulled pork, jungle tofu, wasabi ahi, macadamia-encrusted mahi mahi, a variety of burgers (including vegetarian) and sweet potato fries. Hula’s also offers a tiki bar with tropical drink specialties. Also of note: Hula’s participates in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

Hula’s, 221 Cathcart Street (between Cedar and Pacific), Santa Cruz (831) 426-4852

For a few restaurants open on Christmas in the Santa Cruz area, see this article. Feel like traveling to San Francisco for a special Xmas meal? Try one of these top-rated places:

Open Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day:

Cliff House

Campton Place

Open Christmas Eve:

Lark Creek Steak



Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize. If you’ve entered for Day 10, and you don’t know yet if you’ve won – feel free to go ahead and enter for Day 11 (if you win Day 10, I just won’t add your name to the Day 11 drawing)

DAY 11 PRIZE – Hula’s gift certificate for lunch or dinner for two. To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the word “Hula’s.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page and include “Hula’s.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Sun. Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

Bay Area restaurants celebrating Julia Child Centennial with special dinners

The Hyatt Carmel Highlands is the site of one of several Bay Area events celebrating Julia Child’s 100th birthday

It would have been the fabulous Julia Child’s 100th birthday on August 15, 2012, and many Bay Area restaurants, from Carmel to San Francisco and beyond, are celebrating this Julia child Centennial with special dinners.

Julia Child is basically the godmother of televised cooking shows; her television career lasted more than thirty years and drew legions of fans long before “food TV” was as prolific as it is today. Child, a native of Pasadena, California, was a major influence on chefs in the US – introducing Americans to French cuisine – and on people across the world. Her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” was published in 1961. Julia Child passed away in 2004.

Below are some Bay Area highlights for Julia Child-inspired celebrations. Other events outside the Bay Area include Pasadena restaurants hosting cocktail parties, a look-alike contest, and costume parties, and restaurant chefs across the country paying tribute to Ms. Child with Julia Child Restaurant Week from August 7-15.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands

The AIWF (American Institute of Wine & Food) of Monterey Bay is hosting “Julia’s 100th Birthday party” on August 26 at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Tickets are $175 for AIWF members and $225 for others. RSVP’s are required by August 18. Call (831) 624-0830 or email mchamberlin1@earthlink.net for more information. The event is black-tie optional and begins at 5:30p.m. The AIWF is a non-profit organization founded by Julia Child, Robert Mondavi, Richard Graff and others in 1981 to “advance the understanding, appreciation and quality of what we eat and drink.”

For Julia’s birthday party, food will be prepared by:

Matt Bolton, Executive Chef, Hyatt Carmel Highlands
Jeff Jake, Executive Chef, Silverado Resort, Napa
Peter Armellino, Michelin Star Chef, Plumed Horse, Saratoga
Mark Ayers, Corporate Executive Chef, Coastal Luxury Management
Gina Scalla, Pastry Chef, Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Location: Hyatt Carmel Highlands, 4 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1 at Highlands Drive

Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse has both a downstairs restaurant and an upstairs café. The venue is serving Julia Child-inspired dinners during the week of August 13. For restaurant reservations call (510) 548-5525 Monday through Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. For café reservations call (510) 548-5049 Monday through Saturday, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Location: 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

San Francisco

Traci Des Jardins’ Jardiniere will serve a prix fixe menu on Monday, August 13 in honor of Julia Child. The dinner is $49 and the menu follows; it includes wine pairings. Call (415) 861-5555 for reservations. Jardiniere actually serves a $49 prix fixe menu every Monday night. It usually includes wine, although last week’s August 6th dinner was themed “Artisinal Beer” — so each course was paired with a beer hand selected by bar manager Greg Stone.

Julia’s Bibb Lettuce Salad,
Bacon Avocado, Chioggia Beets and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette
Beckman, Sauvignon Blanc, Sta. Ynez Valley, California 2011
Coq au Vin,
Braised Bacon, Wild Mushroom and New Potato
Betrand Amboise, Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy, France 2009
Chocolate Mousse,
Crème Anglaise and Candied Almonds
M. Chapoutier, Banyuls, France 2007

Location: 300 Grove Street, San Francisco

The restaurant Camino is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner on August 15. The meal at Camino costs $55 and includes bourride (seafood stew), steak au poivre (pepper steak), and clafoutis (a baked French dessert that features cherries). Call (510) 547-5035 for reservations.

Location: 3917 Grand Ave, Oakland

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Top Chef Masters begins new season which includes San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino

Gnocchi with red corn and popcorn shoots at Incanto, Chris Cosentino’s SF restaurant (July 2012 via Twitter)

As Top Chef fans know, July 25 is the premiere of the new season of Top Chef Masters; 12 chefs are competing including San Francisco’s Chris Cosentino.

Cosentino is quite a well-known celebrity chef these days. He has appeared on “The Next Iron Chef,” “Iron Chef America,” and “Chefs vs. City,” and he has two San Francisco food venues. The first is restaurant Incanto, the second Boccalone. The latter is a fabulous meat shop in the Ferry Building with more than 20 handmade cured meats to choose from, as well as panini. Cosentino’s other ventures include a new cookbook, “Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal,” and a comic book.

The grand prize winner of Top Chef Masters is awarded $100,000 that goes to the charity of his or her choice. In addition, during each episode the winner of the Quickfire Challenge wins $5,000 and the Elimination Challenge winner gets $10,000 – all for charity. Cosentino is competing for the Michael J. Fox Foundation; his uncle died of Parkinson’s disease.

Another competitor of note this season is Art Smith, a veteran of the series and a two-time James Beard Award recipient. Smith’s restaurants include LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto. Chef Smith competed in Season 1 but didn’t win. After seeing himself in an overweight state on TV and being diagnosed with diabetes, Smith lost 100 pounds. He has a very endearing TV presence and is a talented chef; I look forward to watching him this season.

The series airs on Bravo on Wednesdays at 10pm/9pm Central. The host is Curtis Stone; judges include popular author and former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie