Tag Archives: Starbucks

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).

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Santa Cruz and nearby restaurant news highlights, Part 1 of 2

Dinner at Santa Cruz's Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant

Dinner at Santa Cruz’s Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant

Here is some restaurant news for Santa Cruz and other local areas. I haven’t published a roundup of restaurant news since June, so there’s a lot of information to share. I’ll be publishing part two in the next few days. I also wanted to remind my readers: if you have any food/restaurant/wine/culinary event news to share, please email me at tfatemi@gmail.com.

Openings
Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened a Capitola location in November, in the old Carl’s Jr. spot at Capitola Mall (1855 41st Ave.). Hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and you can reach the restaurant at (831) 475-1948. There are hundreds of Five Guys locations in the U.S., including approximately 100 in California. A Santa Cruz location is opening soon at 1101 Pacific Ave. in the old Taqueria Vallarta spot next to Mission Hill Creamery.

Mozaic Mediterranean Restaurant opened in downtown Santa Cruz in August. I went the second day it opened; read my recap. I’ve been back many times since then and enjoyed more dishes such as the fun and tasty flaming cheese appetizer. Last time I split the grilled octopus appetizer with my sister and it was heavenly (a colleague of mine had recommended it, saying she has extremely high octopus standards and it’s the best she’s had in a long, long time). It’s very rich so I advise splitting it with at least one other person. Mozaic is at 110 Church St. off Pacific in the former Louie’s Cajun Grill location, (831) 454-8663. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun-Thurs and 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat.

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company opened in Scotts Valley in October. The family-owned-and-operated brewery produces small batches of craft beer in various styles such as stout and IPA. They usually have about seven beers on tap. Steel Bonnet is at 20 Victor Square, (831) 454-8429. They’re open from 4-8 p.m. Mon-Fri and 1-8 p.m. Sat-Sun.

Café Hanna opened in Scotts Valley in June. Husband-and-wife owners Adbeen and Jamie Karam serve what they call Greek fusion; selections include falafel sandwiches and spanakopita. According to the restaurant’s web site, all sauces and dressings are made in-house, including an olive oil-based hot pepper sauce. Falafel fritters are made from scratch with ground garbanzo beans and several dishes use the restaurant’s housemade yogurt. Café Hanna is at 5272 Scotts Valley Dr., (831) 708-8845. It’s open from 11 a.m. -7 p.m. Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun).

Sushi Garden opened its third location in Scotts Valley in August. The other restaurants are in Capitola and Watsonville.  The newest location is at 5600 Scotts Valley Dr. where Yamamori used to be. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. daily. You can contact them at (831) 438-9260.

Mandarin Gourmet opened in downtown Santa Cruz in October, in the old Little Shanghai location at 1010 Cedar St., (831) 458-2460. It’s open from 11 a.m. -9:30 p.m. Mon-Sat and 5-9 p.m. Sun.

Starbucks opened a new Santa Cruz location in October. It’s located at 21620 E Cliff Dr. Hours are 5 a.m. -10 p.m. Sun-Thurs and 5 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Fri-Sat.

Opening in the Future
The Bywater, from Santa Cruz resident David Kinch (owner/chef at Michelin-starred Manresa), will open in Los Gatos in January. Read my preview article.

Closings
Taqueria Vallarta at 1101 Pacific Ave. closed in October; the restaurant still has four locations (three in Santa Cruz and one in Felton).

Yamamori Sushi & Grill in Scotts Valley closed during the summer.

Little Shanghai closed at the end of June.

Changes

Lúpulo Craft Beer House expanded in October. Their new space includes a second dining room, which the existing bar wraps into, as well as a “pub” room in the back equipped with two large screen TVs, shuffleboard, and a stand up-piano for “Pianoman” nights. These rooms added extra seating for Lúpulo, plus there are now spaces available for private parties and meetings. Lúpulo’s menu remains the same: the food is a seasonal rotation of tapas and other selections designed for sharing, while the beer is 16 constantly rotating taps.

Santa Cruz Food Lounge: some pop-up tenants have changed schedules, or plan to in the near future. See below.
Ty’s Eatery: although they no longer offer pop-up dinner Wednesdays, they serve pop-up brunch every Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
LionFish SupperClub: they now serve pop-up dinner every Tuesday from 5-9p.m. (they used to only serve it every 2 weeks)
Mortal Dumpling: the Monday night pop-up dinner (5:30-9p.m.) will stop at the end of December

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Starbucks Coffee’s newest blends including K-cups

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

I recently got my first K-Cup brewer, so I’ve started trying out many different coffee varieties including a few from Starbucks.

So far, my favorite K-Cup from Starbucks is its Tribute Blend. I need to stock up on some because it’s only available for a limited time! I noticed when browsing the Starbucks web site there are others who feel the same way and wish it was available more often. It’s a rich, full-bodied blend with hints of cherry. I like it first thing in the morning, and as an afternoon pick-me-up. Originally crafted for Starbucks’ 40th anniversary, it was so popular that the coffee company now releases it once a year during the spring. When it sells out, that’s it until next year. You can find the Tribute blend online at starbucks.com or at Starbucks retail shops, and in addition to K-cups it comes in whole bean packages, Verismo pods, and VIA instant packs.

I had the opportunity to sample a couple coffees from the Starbucks Blonde Roast line. In case you’re wondering, the Blonde Roast was developed due to a customer demand for something milder than Starbucks’ standard offerings. So now, there is a “Starbucks Roast Spectrum” which divides the coffee into three profiles: Blonde Roast, Medium Roast and Dark Roast.

The Blonde Roast coffees I tried were the new Bright Sky and Aria Blends. Aria is formerly known as Willow Blend (it was re-branded this spring), and it’s available in both regular and decaf. It’s a blend of Latin American and East African beans that includes lemony notes. Bright Sky contains Latin American beans, and it has a subtle nutty flavor.

Since I tend to prefer darker roasts in general, these were enjoyable but I like the Tribute better. I ended up liking both blonde ones more when I chose to brew an 8 oz. cup as opposed to the traditional 10 oz. cup I brew. That made the coffee bolder (I have to thank my husband for this suggestion). People that like lighter roasts should definitely try both Bright Sky and Aria; they do have nice flavors. If you prefer darker but happen to live with someone who prefers a lighter roast, you could buy one of the blonde varieties and try the adjustment I made—see if it works you! They are available at Starbucks retail stores and grocery stores, but not online. Bright Sky was made available in grocery stores beginning in January 2014. In addition to K-cups, Aria and Bright Sky come in ground coffee form.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.