Tag Archives: shopping

Christmas and Hanukkah goodies at Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz & Capitola

Christmas and Hanukkah are coming soon—in case you need some inspiration, I looked to Whole Foods Market for a few tips. Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola (1710 41st Ave.) and Santa Cruz (911 Soquel Ave.) always have lots of delicious, seasonal products, and the company generously gave me a gift card to enjoy a few items.

You can place orders in person or online; they must be made 48 hours before you want to pick them up. Depending on occasion, customers can place their holiday orders through Dec. 29; pick up dates are from Dec. 19-31.

Whole Foods Market has partnered with James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurateur and author Michael Solomonov for a pre-made Hanukkah meal for eight. Solomonov wrote “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.” Here are details on the meal:

  • Chicken Schnitzel with Apple Amba SauceMatzo-crusted chicken cutlers with hawaij—turmeric, cumin and black pepper—then fried crisp and served with a tangy Apple Amba Sauce
  • Green Beans with Mushrooms and Tehina (Vegetarian) – Tender green beans roasted with mushrooms and tossed in tehina sauce—tehina, apple cider vinegar, shallots and fenugreek—topped with beluga lentils and crispy garlic
  • Twice-Cooked Eggplant (Vegetarian) – First charred for deep flavors, eggplant is then mashed and simmered with onions, red bell pepper, paprika and coriander, and brightened by sherry vinegar and lemon juice
  • Leek and Potato Cakes – Shredded potato, matzo and onion pancakes, fried until crisp and tasty

There are three other chefs that Whole Foods Market has collaborated with this holiday season: Nicole Rucker, James Beard Award–winning cookbook author Stella Parks, and cookbook author Jenné Claiborne. Their special offerings include desserts like Honey Chess Pie (think buttery custard, warming spices flaky crust, whipped cream and candied ginger – this is from Rucker, a four-time blue-ribbon pie contest winner and author of “Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers). Have a different kind of sweet tooth? There’s Parks’ Caramel Spice Cake (includes buttermilk spice cake, layers of cranberry jam, cream cheese frosting, and caramel glaze—pastry chef Parks wrote “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts). Chef/blogger Claiborne, author of “Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes,” has created a vegan Southern holiday meal for two which includes mushroom étouffée (delicious – I tried it!) and black-eyed pea fritters.

Traditional offerings include classic roast turkey dinner (turkey breast for four or whole turkey for four, eight or 12—includes sides like green beans with roasted shallots), and prime rib or spiral-sliced ham dinner for eight. A la carte sides include creamed spinach and kale (includes cream, Parmesan and garlic), corn pudding, and cider-roasted Brussels sprouts with pepitas.

Other Whole Foods Market order-ahead offerings perfect for the holidays:

  • Appetizers & Party Platters like Crostini Kits (varieties include Chevre & Tomato Crostini, Smoked Salmon Crostini, Roast Vegetable Crostini), Crab Cakes, or Antipasti Platter. Each of these platters serves 10.
  • Desserts like Mini Pastry Platter or Berry Chantilly Cake (each serves eight) or Pistachio Chocolate Torte (serves six)

 Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

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

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Halloween treats & baking tools

Welch’s Halloween Fruit Snacks are available through Nov. 1 nationwide
Photo credit: Welch’s

Halloween is fast approaching—here are a couple treats and tools for those looking for shopping and/or baking ideas.

 

  • Welch’s Halloween Fruit Snacks: Welch’s created a special fruit snack package just for Halloween: the fruit snacks are shaped like pumpkins, castles, witches, bats and ghosts. The individual pouches are .5 ounces, smaller than standard ones, so they’re a nice change for giving out to Trick-or-Treaters or just giving to your own kids at home (and I must admit, I have enjoyed them personally—these aren’t just tempting to children!). They are “mixed fruit flavor” and come in 28-pouch boxes. Looking for a store that carries them? Visit the Welch’s Fruit Snack online finder.

 

  • Hershey’s Halloween: this year, Halloween- or fall-themed products from Hershey’s include pumpkin spice kisses, cookies ‘n’ creme skulls, and Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins. Learn more at hersheys.com.

 

  • Chicago Metallic’s Ghost/Pumpkin Silicone Mold ($19.99 on Amazon.com) enables you to bake or mold 12 small desserts or individual servings. You can use fun Halloween shapes and it’s great for mini cakes, brownies, marshmallows, gelatin, ice cubes, and more. Recipes included.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day gifts & activities from Santa Cruz chocolatiers, Gilroy Premium Outlets

Mutari Craft Chocolate House on Pacific Ave.
Photo credit: Mutari Facebook page

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching—here are some shopping ideas if you’re a chocolate lover in Santa Cruz or you’re considering a trip to Gilroy Premium Outlets.

 

Santa Cruz Chocolatiers

Santa Cruz County residents are very lucky; we have a variety of talented local chocolatiers. Some highlights, in alphabetical order:

 

Ashby Confections, 16 Victor Square, Scotts Valley

 

Donnelly Fine Chocolates, 1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz

 

Mackenzies Chocolate, 1492 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz

 

Mutari Chocolate (specializes in single origin craft drinking chocolate, it’s featuring housemade bon bons for Valentine’s shopping) – two locations: 1108 Pacific Ave., next door to Assembly, and 504A Front St. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Front St. location — usually open weekends only — is going to be open Wednesday 2/14 from noon to 9 p.m.

Gilroy Outlets

 

If you haven’t made restaurant reservations yet, there aren’t many left—how about staying home with your significant other or gathering a group of friends for some Valentine’s Day fun? Host a stay at home date or girls’ night with goods from Le Creuset or Kitchen Collection for accessories and tools to whip up a festive dinner party. Both have shops at the Gilroy Outlets.

 

Want to buy a sweet Valentine’s gift, either for yourself or someone else (whether it be a romantic partner, a co-worker, family member or friend)? You can find raspberry hearts, “conversation beans,” sour “smoochi” lips, Valentine’s Day gift boxes and more at the Jelly Belly store.

 

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Dads & Grads gifts: Gilroy Premium Outlets, Santa Cruz restaurants & cookies

Selections from Le Creuset at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Photo credit: Le Creuset

Waited ‘til the last minute to buy the dad or grad in your life a gift for this weekend? If they like to cook or are a candy fan, see below for a few gift ideas at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Remember that the outlets feature nearly 150 stores, incorporating a range of tastes. For the dad not particularly interested in food, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th has a great selection of clothing and ties, plus designer sunglasses and wallets. And Bose is a good option for the dad that loves music or television.

Outlet hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

 

Also, if you are shopping for a Santa Cruz foodie or are interested in purchasing a gift with a Santa Cruz theme, see end of article for more ideas.

Gilroy Outlets Food and Cooking Gift Ideas

    • Gift possibilities include grilling skillets, tongs, basting brushes and panini sets for Dad
    • Personalized gift boxes for dads and grads
    • Unique flavors including draft beer
    • Kitchen gadgets, cutlery, small appliances, BBQ accessories

 

Gilroy Outlets restaurants or cafes to purchase gift cards

  • Erik’s Deli Café
  • Starbucks

 

For refreshments while shopping, in addition to the aforementioned Starbucks and Erik’s Deli (the Sandwiches with Character at the latter are always popular), three options are:

  • All Natural Carts  (fresh fruit parfaits you can eat on the go)
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Gilroy Market Place (specialty coffees, pizza, garlic fries, sandwiches and more)

 

Santa Cruz Gifts/Gift Cards

Lots of folks appreciate restaurant gift cards; one idea is a card from The Glass Jar, which owns Assembly, The Picnic Basket and The Penny Ice Creamery. Purchase a card at any of these three, and your recipient can choose which venue to redeem it at. Same with Soif and La Posta, you can purchase gift cards at either restaurant, and they are good at both.

 

Last but not least, Pacific Cookie Company has options if you want to mail a gift. These include what they refer to as “dad-inspired cookie gifts” like Executive Sweet Pack (15 cookies, currently on sale for $23.50 from $26.50). Graduation-themed gifts include Congratulations Cookie Gift Tower (a dozen cookies, $21.95).

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