Tag Archives: The Crow’s Nest

“Dining in” at Santa Cruz County restaurants, June 19, 2020

Bacon & egg croissant from Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticerria
Photo courtesy of Gayle’s

So much has changed since my last article at the end of May, with restaurants now being allowed to open for dine-in service if they follow restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Here are some highlights of places that are open for onsite dining, whether that’s on an outdoor patio, in a dining room with limited seating, or both. Many of them are also still doing food to-go. I will try to publish an update in a few days.

Most of these are “listings only” but first, I wanted to share more details for a few local businesses:

Seabright Social, in the former location of Seabright Brewery (519 Seabright Ave., seabrightsocial.com) opened June 12 and features lots of outdoor seating plus some indoor seating. Hours are 11:30am-11:30pm daily (closed on June 22 for one day only). Reservations are recommended at 831-426-2739. After buying the brewpub and restaurant in 2019, local residents/co-owners Jason and Keiki McKay (who run Aptos-based Cantine Winepub in Aptos) and Jon Bates have done renovations to the building and the menu. Food includes salmon ceviche and a street taco trio with chicken mole, pork carnitas, and beef asada. Drinks include several Seabright Brewery draft beers, local wine, and a full bar.

Scrumptious Fish & Chips recently restarted its popups. Upcoming appearances include Steel Bonnet Brewery in Scotts Valley (5-8 p.m. on several Friday nights), the Scotts Valley (Saturday) and Live Oak (Sunday) farmers markets, and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in Westside SC. Visit https://www.scrumptiousfc.com/find-us for complete schedule.

The Palm Deli has its patio open again, with tables spaced appropriately, at 3000 Valencia Ave. They have returned to regular hours, opening at 7am every day, closing at 6pm weekdays and 5pm Sat-Sun. Visit https://www.thepalmdeli.com.

Hula’s Island Grill at 221 Cathcart St. offers the choice of dining indoors or on the lanai deck out front (takeout is also still available). They open at 2pm every day, and close at 8pm Sun-Thurs and 9pm Fri-Sat. Visit https://www.hulastiki.com/

Gayle’s Bakery at 504 Bay Ave. has newly extended hours of 7am-7pm daily and is now allowing socially distanced sit-down dining. Also, with online orders there is now next-day pick up (shorter wait time—when they first reopened, it was a two-day wait). Visit https://www.gaylesbakery.com.

May’s Sushi closed its 1800 Soquel Ave. location on June 1, and is now operating out of Sesame Korean Grill at 435 Front St. Both cuisines are still available, as the restaurants have the same owners. In addition, the owners announced they will be opening a new restaurant called Crazy Crab, adjacent to Sesame, which will feature seafood boils. Visit https://www.sesame-koreangrill.com/ or call 831-454-8355.

Vim at 2238 Mission St. reopened its dining room and patio on June 17, and it’s open 5-8pm Wednesday-Saturday and 10 am-1pm Sunday (Vim started doing Sunday brunch during shelter in place, and it was popular so they’re continuing now that they’re open for onsite dining). Visit https://www.vimsantacruz.com.

Mentone at 174 Aptos Village Way now offers first-come-first-serve tables outside in the parking lot on the weekend, from 3:30-7pm Fridays and 12-6ish Saturdays and Sundays. There is beer, wine, cocktails, pizzas, salad, and a variety of snacks.  Takeout pizza is available Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visit https://www.mentonerestaurant.com or call 831-708-1174.

Madrone Kitchen, a meal delivery business from chefs Reeny Marquez and Sean Adams, is doing Friday popups at Aldo’s (790 Mariner Park Way) from 5 p.m. to sellout. They sell food items while Aldo’s offers beer, wine and cocktails for sale.  Sample popup menu offerings include Mojo Shrimp Skewers with citrus garlic herb sauce, Cuban-style black beans, rice, and fried plantains. Madrone Kitchen also does weekly Sunday dinner delivery. Visit madronekitchen.com.

Although not yet open for “dining in,” Soif Restaurant and Wine Shop (831-423-2020, http://www.soifwine.com/) now has curbside pickup for food and wine from 4-8 pm  Wednesday-Saturday. They had stopped doing takeout in early April. Also, the May/June issue of California Bountiful, the magazine for the California Farm Bureau Federation, featured an article about Soif’s executive Chef Tom McNary with several recipes. Sister restaurant La Posta (831-457-2782, https://www.lapostarestaurant.com), formerly open Friday-Sunday, is doing pickup 4-8pm Thursday through Sunday. Also, there is a Thursday special: pizza or pasta with salad for one person, for $20.

Colectivo Felix now offers delivery Friday through Sunday to local residents (formerly only Fri-Sat). Empanadas are available by the half dozen or dozen, and they create a rotating variety of salads, soups, and desserts. Also, customers can now order a seasonal Ridge to Reef Organics produce box. Visit https://colectivofelix.square.site/ to order, or email info@colectivofelix.com with questions.

As always, please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, or corrections, for future articles.

Open for “dine-in” service

Alderwood (831-588-3238 or 831-888-6901, https://www.alderwoodsantacruz.com)

Auntie Mame’s Café (831-438-1840, https://auntiemamescafe.co)

Belly Goat Craft Burgers (at Abbott Square Market on Front St., https://www.bellygoatburgers.com)

Bittersweet Bistro (831-662-9799, http://bittersweetbistro.com)

Blaze Pizza (831-607-2030, https://www.blazepizza.com)

Blue Bunny Tacos (at Abbott Square Market, https://www.instagram.com/bluebunnytacos)

Britannia Arms (831-464-2683, https://www.facebook.com/britanniaarmscapitola/)

Café Iveta (Westside and campus locations, iveta.com)

Café Mare (831-458-1212, http://www.cafemare.com)

Café Rio (831-688-8917, https://www.caferioaptos.com)

California Grill (831-722-8052, www.californiagrillrestaurant.com)

Chaminade’s “The View, A Treeside Restaurant” (831-475-5600, www.chaminade.com/santa_cruz_restaurants)

Chocolate (831-427-9900, https://chocolatesantacruz.com)

Coffeetopia (http://www.coffeetopia.com)

The Crepe Place (831-429-6994, https://thecrepeplace.com)

The Crow’s Nest (831-476-4560, https://crowsnest-santacruz.com)

Daisuki Octagon Sushi (831-316-5464, at Octagon by Abbott Square, http://daisukioctagonsushi.com/)

Dharma’s (831-462-1717, www.dharmasrestaurant.com)

East End Gastropub (831-475-8010, http://eastendpub.com/)

El Jardín (831-477-9384, https://www.eljardinrestaurant.net/)

El Palomar (831-425-7575, https://elpalomarsantacruz.com)

The Farm House (831-536-5363, https://www.farmhousewatsonville.com)

Firefish Grill (831-423-5200, http://www.firefishgrill.net/)

Gabriella Café (831-457-1677, http://gabriellacafe.com)

Holy Smokes Country BBQ (831-471-8787, https://www.holysmokescountrybbqandcatering.com)

HOME Soquel (831-431-6131, http://www.homesoquel.com)

Hula’s Island Grill (831-426-4852, https://www.hulastiki.com)

Jalisco’s (https://www.jaliscorestaurant.com)

Jeffery’s Restaurant (831-425-1485, https://www.facebook.com/Jefferys-Restaurant-2348536278713065/)

Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar (831-469-4400, https://www.kiantis.com/)

The Kitchen at Discretion (831-316-0662, https://www.discretionbrewing.com)

Lago di Como (831-454-8257, http://lagodicomoristorante.com/)

Laili Resaturant (831-423-4545, www.lailirestaurant.com)

Lillian’s Italian Kitchen (831-425-2288, https://www.lilliansitaliankitchen.com)

Michael’s on Main (831-479-9777, www.michaelsonmain.com)

Mission Hill Creamery (831-508-0774, http://missionhillcreamery.com)

Mutari Chocolate (http://www.mutarichocolate.com)

Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen (831-621-8040, oasissantacruz.com)

Olive Garden (831-462-0120, https://www.olivegarden.com)

Oswald (831-423-7427, http://www.oswaldrestaurant.com)

Oyunaa’s Mongolian Cuisine (831-469-9900, http://www.oyunaas.com)

Palm Deli (831-688-3354, https://www.thepalmdeli.com)

Pizza My Heart (https://www.pizzamyheart.com)

Pizzeria La Bufala (831-999-0301, at Abbott Square Market, https://www.pizzerialabufala.com)

Pleasure Pizza—East Side Eatery (831-6058, https://www.pleasurepizzasc.com)

Pono Hawaiian Kitchen & Tap (831-476-7458, ponohawaiiangrill.com)

Rosie McCann’s (831-426-9930, https://rosiemccanns.com/santacruz)

Roux Dat (at Octagon by Abbott Square, https://rouxdatcajuncreole.com)

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort (831-662-7120, https://www.sanderlingsrestaurant.com/menus)

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (831-425-4900, https://www.scmbrew.com)

Scopazzi’s (831-338-6441, www.scopazzisrestaurant.com)

Tortilla Flats (831-476-1754, https://www.tortillaflatstogo.com)

Tramonti (831-426-7248, http://tramontisantacruz.com)

Veg on the Edge (831-423-3000, at Abbott Square Market, https://vegontheedge.com)

Vino Locale Wine Bar & Tapas (https://www.vinolocalesantacruz.com)

Vinocruz Winebar & Kitchen (https://vinocruz.com, 831-426-8466)

Woodies Café (https://www.facebook.com/woodiescafeca).

Woodstock’s Pizza (831-427-4444, https://woodstockscruz.com)

Zachary’s (831-427-0646, http://www.zacharyssantacruz.com)

Zelda’s (831-475-4900, http://zeldasonthebeach.com)

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Thanksgiving highlights for Santa Cruz County

Popular restaurant Shadowbrook received 500 reservations the day they opened up Thanksgiving tables! Photo credit: Shadowbrook

Thanksgiving is almost here, and there are many Santa Cruz County restaurants offering special menus—here are a few highlights in Santa Cruz, Capitola and Aptos.

Shadowbrook, 1750 Wharf Rd., 831-475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com, has its Rock Room Lounge & Bar open from 11 am – 9 pm and its Dining Room open from 11:30 am – 8:30 pm. A traditional dinner includes Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, oven-roasted breast and thigh, cranberry-orange relish, Bourbon-Pecan dressing, garlic-whipped potato and traditional gravy ($31.95); other selections include house specialty slow-roasted Angus prime rib. Desserts include Gizdich Ranch apple and pumpkin pie, and dark chocolate pear bread pudding. Note: even though 500 reservations were made the first day that Thanksgiving reservations were available, as of Nov. 25 there were still some tables open.

Chaminade, One Chaminade Lane, (831) 475-5600, www.chaminade.com, has a Thanksgiving buffet from noon to 6 p.m. The cost is $65 for adults, $20 for kids 6-12, $9 for kids 3-5 and free for kids 2 and under. Selections include cider-brined roast turkey with traditional gravy and cranberry orange compote, smoked rib eye with whipped Yukon gold potatoes and horseradish cream, butternut squash ravioli with porcini crème, several salads, and roast sweet potatoes with pistachio orange soup.

The Dream Inn, 175 West Cliff Drive, is offering a buffet from 1-6 p.m. in the upstairs event space. Cost is $70 for adults and $32 for kids 6-12. Selections include roast turkey and prime rib carved to order, a salad bar, local cheese and charcuterie, a shellfish bar, and a dessert display. Reservations are required at 831-460-5012 or events@dreaminnsc.com. Also, the hotel’s Jack O’Neill restaurant will be serving its regular menu plus Thanksgiving specials; you can book via OpenTable.

Severino’s Bar & Grill, 7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos (831) 688-8987, is offering a buffet from noon to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $47 for adults and $19 for kids 5-10; ages 4 and under are free. Selections include slow roasted turkey, Angus prime rib, honey baked ham, leg of lamb, clam chowder and vegetarian ravioli. Visit severinosbarandgrill.com

Ideal Bar & Grill, 106 Beach St., is offering specials on Thanksgiving, including a traditional turkey feast ($23.95) and slow-roasted prime rib ($24.95). Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and a limited menu will also be available. Desserts include pumpkin pie and apple pie. Call 831-423-5271 or visit idealbarandgrill.com.

Solaire at Hotel Paradox, 611 Ocean St., 831-600-4545, is serving a three-course prix fixe menu. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. and cost is $49. First course choices include spiced winter squash soup; second courses include traditional roast turkey dinner and Brandade crusted California sea bass. Dessert options include Watsonville berry crisp.

The Crow’s Nest, 2218 East Cliff Dr., 831-476-4560, crowsnest-santacruz.com, is offering brunch specials from 9-11 am, and the dinner menu from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.  Selections include a traditional turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams, dressing, and cranberry relish. Cost is $29.95 or $15.95 for child’s portion. Desserts include pumpkin pie with salted caramel whipped cream and hazelnut brittle. Also, the Beach Market will be selling breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches and more on Thanksgiving Day starting at 9 a.m.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Four days remain for Crow’s Nest downstairs specials–plus other restaurant news

“Drunken Prawns” with prawns, Andouille sausage, potato Parmesan pancake and crispy onions in bourbon gravy: a recent Thursday prix fixe entrée option at Crow’s Nest Photo credit: Crow’s Nest Facebook page

“Drunken Prawns” with prawns, Andouille sausage, potato Parmesan pancake and crispy onions in bourbon gravy: a recent Thursday prix fixe entrée option at Crow’s Nest
Photo credit: Crow’s Nest Facebook page

Santa Cruz harbor restaurant The Crow’s Nest has some great Monday through Thursday specials, valid at both lunch and dinner, and they’re ending this Thursday, March 9, 2017 — although the “Deal With a View” dinner special, served only in the upstairs bar, is also wonderful and that one’s valid through May 25.

Let’s first discuss the main restaurant weekday specials, served in the regular downstairs restaurant. These are called “Downstairs Classic Specials,” and are valid at both lunch and dinner:

  • Monday is retro menu ($21.95) with your choice of tempura scallops, broiled salmon or enchilada and sirloin. Each entrée comes with soup or house salad plus rice and vegetables.
  • Tuesday is lobster ($21.95) — broiled lobster tail with soup or house salad plus rice and vegetables.
  • Wednesday is steak day ($21.95): choose prime grade large top sirloin with crispy fried onions and Chef’s steak sauce or petit filet mignon with mocha rub and porcini butter or smoked 10 oz. prime rib (while they last). All come with soup or house salad, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
  • Thursday is prix fixe menu ($25), where customers receive a three-course menu designed by the chef. Two recent entrées are pork tenderloin in a syrah demi-glacé, topped with house smoked blue cheese and accompanied by pumpkin gnocchi with candied bacon; and “Drunken Prawns” with prawns, Andouille sausage, potato Parmesan pancake and crispy onions in a bourbon gravy.

 

As I mentioned, there are four days remaining this season to get the above weekday specials; they might be back again after Labor Day.

 

Deal with a View, on the other hand, is still running after this week. It’s only available upstairs, in the Crow’s Nest Breakwater Bar & Grill. It’s served from Monday through Friday evenings from 6 p.m. until the kitchen closes. For $9.95, customers receive entrée choice of Tuscan Chicken Sandwich, Fish Tacos, or Aloha Burger, served with soup, salad or fries (salad bar option costs an extra $2).
Another option: I just bought food from the restaurant’s next-door shop, Beach Market, for the first time. I highly recommend it. They have lots of very reasonably priced wood-fired pizzas plus sandwiches, salads and more. I enjoyed chicken pesto pizza and my young daughter liked the Hawaiian variety. My husband loved his pizza sandwich (mozzarella and red sauce with choice of three toppings on a francese roll).

 

For details on all of these, visit the Crow’s Nest web site.

Crow’s Nest is at 2218 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, 831-476-4560

 

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Food, wine and beer at 2016 Grazing on the Green benefiting cancer research

logo-thumb-website-1

The 13th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green—Saturday, Sept. 24 at Aptos Village Park, features 70-plus vendors including local restaurants and caterers, other food businesses, and local wineries, breweries, and spirits distilleries. Proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).

 

The event is from noon to 4 p.m. Buy $65 tickets at New Leaf Community Markets (downtown, Westside or Capitola locations) or online http://sccbg.org or it will be $70 at the door if it’s not sold out. If you have a group of 10, you can get tickets for $60 each. Adult admission includes food, drinks and a souvenir wineglass. Kids 10 and under are free; kids ages 10-20 are $35.

 

Participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2016 include The Crow’s Nest, Café Cruz, Café Rio, Real Good Fish, Niman Ranch, SunRidge Farms, Ashby Confections, Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, Cremer House, Ella’s at the Airport, Surf City Sandwich, Hula’s, Hollins House and Sid’s Smokehouse.

 

Participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Hallcrest Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Sones Cellars, Wargin Wines, Wrights Station Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Discretion Brewing, Seabright Brewery, New Bohemia Brewing Co. and Venus Spirits.

 

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, researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy.

For more information on the event, see www.sccbg.org.

There is free shuttle service every 15 minutes from Cabrillo College; parking is also free.

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

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.

Don’t miss Gourmet Grazing cancer research benefit with a wide array of food & wine

Attendees at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Attendees at a previous Gourmet Grazing on the Green

It’s time for the 11th annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green, where you can enjoy a large amount of first-rate food (from local restaurants and caterers)—plus beverages from local wineries, breweries, and distilleries—in a friendly and festive atmosphere. And you will be helping support the very worthwhile Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG).

Gourmet Grazing is Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 from noon to 4 p.m. at Aptos Village Park.

The event usually sells out a few days ahead of time, so I recommend you buy tickets soon. This year organizers are allowing 1,200 tickets to be sold instead of 800, so it is possible that tickets won’t sell out as fast—but you never know! SCCBG Board member Mary Anne Carson commented: “Due to its popularity, we’ve expanded our space in order to bring in more food purveyors, restaurants and vintners, as well as more Grazers, this year. We look forward to another stellar event and raising even more funds for the benefit of our beneficiaries.”

Purchase $65 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 $50 each. Admission includes food, wine, beer, a souvenir wineglass, and live music. The event is outdoors; last year it actually rained for a short while, but everyone just ran under the few sheltered spots and it stopped as quickly as it started.

New this year is a “big bottle silent auction,” courtesy of new festival partner Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association (SCMWA). There will also be a bottle booth operated by SCMWA, an alliance of more than 60 wineries promoting wine produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation.

Some of the food creations that participants will taste have been created with products generously donated by event sponsors Coke Farm, Watsonville Coast Produce, and presenting sponsor New Leaf Community Markets.

Some of my favorite dishes from last year’s festival included Café Rio’s Rio Prawn Spring Roll (included mung bean noodles, sprouts, carrots, green onion, basil, and mint) and Johnny’s Harborside’s Gazpacho Seafood Cocktail (calamari, scallops, shrimp, garnished with baby romaine and a watermelon radish). For more 2013 highlights, see my recap article.

There are more than 25 participating restaurants, farms, and food vendors for 2014 including The Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook, Café Cruz, Café Rio, The Whole Enchilada, Solaire Restaurant and Bar, Hula’s Island Grill, Santa Cruz Fish Co., Everett Family Farm, MacKenzie Bar & Grill, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Redwood Hill Farms, The Penny Ice Creamery, and The True Olive Connection.

More than 25 participating wineries, breweries and distilleries include Venus Spirits, Alfaro Family Vineyards and Winery, Beauregard Vineyards,  Burrell School Vineyards, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Seabright Brewery, Sones Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyards, and Kathryn Kennedy Winery.

This year, Kathryn Kennedy Winery will pour wine including 2011 Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, which sources say is “amazing.”

Proceeds from SCCBG’s events, including this year’s Gourmet Grazing, 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 Cancer Research, the Teen Kitchen Project, and WomenCARE Cancer Advocacy. Over the last decade, SCCBG has distributed more than $1.5 million to directly support the Santa Cruz community.

There will be a raffle, with ticket sales benefiting SCCBG. Prizes include jewelry, restaurant gift certificates, a wetsuit from O’Neill, and SCMWA Wine Passports.

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

Aptos Village Park: 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants open or closed on Christmas, Part 2 of 2

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Delicious Mojo Cauliflower at Aptos restaurant Booka, open on Christmas

Yesterday I published highlights for a few restaurants open on Christmas in Santa Cruz and San Jose. Here are several more.

Also, note some Santa Cruz restaurants will be closed just for Christmas (like Hula’s, closed on both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, and Johnny’s Harborside & Crow’s Nest, both closing at 3pm Xmas Eve and closed entire Xmas Day) while some shut down for a few days over the holidays:

  • Charlie Hong Kong (closed evening of 12/23 when the food runs out, through 1/1/14 – reopening 1/2/14)
  • Sabieng (closed 12/23 through 12/26 lunch, reopening 12/26 at dinner)
  • Little Shanghai (closed 12/22 through 1/5, reopening 1/6/14 at 11:30 a.m.)
  • Café Iveta (closed 12/25 through 1/1, reopening 1/2/14)

Santa Cruz, Capitola & Aptos restaurants

Booka Restaurant & Bar
On Christmas Eve Booka is offering a prix fixe dinner menu, and on Christmas Day Booka will feature a prix fixe tapas menu. For reservations and information call (831) 685-9500.
8041 Soquel Drive, Aptos

Café Mare
Café Mare is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (831) 458-1212 for reservations.
740 Front St, #100, Santa Cruz

Gabriella Cafe
Gabriella Café is open on Christmas Eve until 7:30 p.m. Call (831) 457-1677 for reservations.
910 Cedar St, Santa Cruz

Ideal Bar & Grill
Ideal is open Xmas Eve from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. with a regular menu. On Christmas Day, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For dinner, it’s serving selections including slow-roasted prime rib, turkey with yams, stuffing, etc., and live Maine lobster. Call (831) 423-5271 for reservations.
106 Beach St at the Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz

Severino’s Bar & Grill
On Christmas Day the restaurant at Seacliff Inn has a buffet from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  with Black Angus prime rib, Dungeness crab, roasted leg of lamb, and more. The cost is $39 for adults, $17 for kids 5-10, and free for 4 and under. For reservations and information call (831) 688-8987.
7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos

Zelda’s
Zelda’s is open on Christmas Day with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and a holiday menu & dinner specials beginning at noon. Specials include traditional turkey or maple baked ham dinner ($16.95 adults, $10.95 kids). Call (831) 475-4900.
203 Esplanade, in the Capitola Village

San Jose

Il Fornaio
The restaurant at the Sainte Claire is open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (408) 271-3366 for reservations.
302 South Market St (at the Sainte Claire), 
San Jose

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week Oct. 2-9 offers $25 3-course dinners

Food at Severino's in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Food at Severino’s in Aptos, one of more than 30 participants in Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of SCRW Facebook page

Foodie alert: it’s time for the fifth annual Santa Cruz Restaurant Week where more than 30 local restaurants – from Aptos, Soquel and Capitola to Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond, and Felton – serve three-course gourmet dinners for only $25. And you can win a free Santa Cruz Restaurant Week dinner through my web site! Read end of article for details.
Special menus are offered Oct. 2-9, 2013,  and typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection from each course.

The 2012 Restaurant Week was very popular and a lot of fun for those of us who participated as customers! Restaurant reservations are recommended but not required.
I will post a few menus and at least one review in the next few days.

Restaurants that are participating, in alphabetical order:
• Aquarius at the Dream Inn
• Booka
• Café Rio
• Center Street Grill
• Chocolate
• The Crow’s Nest
• El Palomar
• Gabriella Café
• Hindquarter Bar & Grill
• Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
• Hula’s Island Grill
• Ideal Bar & Grill
• Johnny’s Harborside
• La Posta
• Laili
• Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
• Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar
• Main Street Garden & Café
• Michael’s on Main
• Oak Tree Ristorante
• Oswald
• Pearl of the Ocean
• Red Restaurant & Bar
• Ristorante Italiano
• Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
• Severino’s Bar & Grill
• Soif
• Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
• Süda
• The Point Chophouse & Lounge
• Tyrolean Inn & Restaurant
• Zelda’s On The Beach
• 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
For more information, visit the event web site.

****
THE CONTEST:
This contest is open to readers of examiner.com and santacruzfoodie.com, but employees of Examiner.com are not eligible to enter.
PRIZE – One winner receives two $25 gift certificates for dinner at Center Street Grill during Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2013. To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”
Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page and include “Santa Cruz Restaurant Week.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Thurs. Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. I will pull a name from all entries and notify the winner by email.

Center Street Grill’s 2013 Restaurant Week menu includes entrée choices of Grilled Salmon Puttanesca with capers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, mashed potatoes, and green beans, Seafood Fettucine with crab, shrimp, smoked salmon, mushrooms, and lemon cream sauce, and Grilled Pork Loin Chop with blue cheese & peaches, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Great 2013 Gourmet Grazing festival raised money for Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group

Asian Tuna Tartare on rice crisp & slaw with candied ginger peanut dressing from The Chef’s Table. Photo courtesy of SCCBG

Asian Tuna Tartare on rice crisp & slaw with candied ginger peanut dressing from The Chef’s Table. Photo courtesy of SCCBG

The annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green features a wonderful atmosphere, amazing food, and lots of delicious wine and beer. The 10th annual Gourmet Grazing, a sell-out, was held Saturday Sept 21, 2013 and raised important funds for the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group. Everyone had a great time, even with the rainy weather! Read my preview article.

If you missed it this year, I recommend planning ahead for 2014. Buy your tickets early, either online or at New Leaf Markets. Because only a limited number of tickets are sold, the festival doesn’t get overly crowded. It’s enjoyable for families (I brought my young daughter) and individuals of all ages.

Here are some highlights from the 2013 festival to whet your appetite for 2014!

Food

  • Café Rio: Rio Prawn Spring Roll with mung bean noodles, sprouts, carrots, green onion, basil, and mint
  • Johnny’s Harborside: Gazpacho Seafood Cocktail with Calamari, Scallops and Shrimp and garnished with Baby Romaine and a Watermelon Radish

I must confess I had seconds of both of the above; they were that good!

  • The Whole Enchilada / Haute Enchilada: Delicious and refreshing Peruvian Ceviche with shrimp, Peruvian corn, onion, clam juice, sweet potato, mango, cilantro, habanero chile, and fresh lime juice.
  • East Side Eatery (Pleasure Pizza’s newest spot): Chicken Pozole which was hearty and satisfying, especially given the weather. It had a fun “add your own toppings” spin including green onions, queso fresco, and jalapenos. Apparently the version at the restaurant itself also includes avocados, so I’m sure it’s even better there!
  • Fresh Prep Kitchens: Mushroom and Asparagus Quinoa Risotto
  • The Chef’s Table: Asian Tuna Tartare on rice crisp & slaw with candied ginger peanut dressing (see photo)
  • Severino’s: Lobster Ravioli in a cherry-white wine-cream sauce
  • MacKenzie Bar & Grill at Pasatiempo: Pulled pork slider with coleslaw (very addicting!)
  • Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine: Lamb & Beef Gyro Wrap with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce & tzatziki sauce, served with Beet Salad
  • Solaire at Hotel Paradox: Sous vide shortrib over sweet polenta

Beer and Wine

  • Kathryn Kennedy: the winery poured a few exclusive bottles of their 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, for the lucky few that had a chance to taste before it was all gone!
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works: Santa Cruz AleWorks IPA, Santa Cruz AleWorks Kolsch
  • MYKA Cellars: 2012 Mitzi Unoak Chardonnay, 2012 Malbec Dry Rose, 2011 Kane Cabernet Sauvigonon
  • Santa Cruz Mounting Brewing: Madame Grey – Milk Honey Stout infused with earl grey, Fresh Hop Black IPA, Wilder Wheat

SCCBG has funded cancer research and local groups — including many that support people living with cancer — since 1995. The organization was started by a small group of friends who used to play tennis together once a week; they had each lost a relative or friend to cancer and wanted to do something to make a difference. The first event the group hosted was a Spring Forward Against Cancer Tennis Tournament and Celebration; these tournaments are still held each year. Proceeds from SCCBG’s events, including this year’s Gourmet Grazing, benefit these local cancer support and research organizations: Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support and Services, The Katz Cancer Resource Center, UCSC Cancer Research, and WomenCARE.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Taste of the Harbor 2013: Santa Cruz restaurants benefit O’Neill Sea Odyssey

Food from Cafe El Palomar at Taste of the Harbor 2012

Food from Cafe El Palomar at Taste of the Harbor 2012

The sixth annual “Taste of the Harbor” on Tuesday Sept 17 offers food from Santa Cruz restaurants and benefits O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) through the Intero Foundation.

The event, hosted by Intero Real Estate Services at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, is from 4:30 p.m. to sunset and includes live music and an auction. Advance reservations are $49 per person, or pay $55 at the door. It’s located at Intero Real Estate Services and the adjacent Harbor Beach, at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

Participating restaurants include several at the harbor – Café El Palomar, The Kind Grind, Aldo’s, Johnny’s Harborside, and The Crow’s Nest – plus others such as Zameen, Aunt LaLi’s Treats, and Hula’s. For more information see event web site.

OSO was founded in 1996 by surfer Jack O’Neill, who created a unique, hands-on program aboard a boat in the Monterey Bay (follow-up programs are held in an education center that’s on land). Central California kids in the 4th-6th grades participate and learn about topics including marine science and conservation. Since its launch, OSO has served more than 75,000 students so far with this free program (each group completes a community service project in order to participate).

Event parking at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor is $2. There is complimentary shuttle service available from the upper harbor, and a water taxi from the west harbor.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.