Tag Archives: The Penny Ice Creamery

Last minute foodie holiday gifts in Santa Cruz

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co. Photo credit: PCC web site

Cookies from Pacific Cookie Co.
Photo credit: PCC web site

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping and have some foodies on your list? Want to shop local? There are lots of choices in the Santa Cruz area including some discounts; here are some highlights including a gift fair tomorrow that has plenty of options–whether you want to buy something food/drink-related or something else that’s made locally.

First, the gift fair:

2nd Annual Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market — Saturday 12/17 at Food Lounge

I went to this fabulous event last year and bought gift items for several friends/family members, not to mention a few things for myself! The market will feature locally made packaged foods including jams, olive oil and hot sauce that are currently available in the Food Lounge Pantry, which opened in September. The holiday market will also offer beautiful jewelry, textiles, glass art, print art and kitchen antiques. Additionally, a few small-batch food producers will offer tamales, empanadas, meat pies and other items that would work well for holiday entertaining or for a delicious dinner with your family. Plus they will sell ready to eat food that customers can enjoy while shopping like empanadas (from La Sofrita Puerto Rican pop-up), tamales (Yoli’s Adobo) and savory pies (Artisan Hand Pies).

“We offer this market as close to the holidays as possible so that all of our vendors’ food-based products are fresh for gift-giving and entertaining,” said Andrea Conklin Mollenauer, one of the three partners in the Food Lounge, an incubator kitchen and event venue that will celebrate its second birthday in January. “We are excited to offer market space to 25 local vendors who don’t have their own brick-and- mortar places to sell products.”

Vendors with food gifts will include Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Notso Hot Sauce, My Mom’s Mole, Ashby Confections, and Farmer Freed Salts. Non-food vendors will include True Blue Indigo (textiles), Love Light Vintage Candles, Verdant California (body products) and  Fereshteh Fatemi (artisan jewelry and greeting cards – disclaimer, this is the author’s mother).

In addition to the holiday market, the Food Lounge Pantry is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to

7 p.m. as a hub for local artisan food products – a perfect stop for holiday shopping, including next week when you realize which folks you forgot to buy for!

Location: Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz

Date/Time: Sat Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Next, some gift card discount highlights:

Until Christmas, Hula’s Santa Cruz (221 Cathcart St.) is offering a special: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get a free $10 certificate for yourself; purchase $100 and get a free $20 gift card to treat yourself.

Mission Hill Creamery (1101 Pacific Ave.) has these discounts until Christmas: Buy a $25 gift card for $20 OR buy four $10 gift cards and receive the fifth free OR re-Charge your existing gift card with at least $20 and get 20% off your gift card purchase.

Through Dec. 24, Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake) is offering a bonus: Purchase a $50 gift certificate for someone else and get $10 free; spend $100 and get $20 free, etc.

Other gift ideas

Last but not least, other foodie gift options include certificates from local restaurants. The Glass Jar announced they’re offering a card that’s good at any of their three restaurants—that’s Assembly, The Picnic Basket AND The Penny Ice Creamery. If you know people who are fans of Soif and/or La Posta, you can also purchase gift cards that are good at both. And Crow’s Nest gift cards are redeemable at the restaurant or its neighboring Crow’s Nest Beach Market.

Want to send a sweet Santa Cruz-themed food gift to someone? Pacific Cookie Company has lots of options. These include Top Tier Cookies & Chocolate Box ($49.95), with 36 two-ounce cookies and 32 white and milk chocolate flower medallions made by local chocolatier Mackenzies Chocolate; Sweet Elegance Cookie Gift Box ($37.95) with 24 two-oz. cookies, Season’s Eatings Christmas Tin ($26.95) with 36 one-oz. cookies, and Classic Cookies and Milk ($24.95) with a dozen two-ounce cookies and two 8-oz cartons of organic milk (it’s shelf-stable low-fat Horizon milk which doesn’t require refrigeration). Also, Los Gatos-based Manresa Bread now ships its scrumptious artisan bread anywhere in the continental U.S.; see my November article and/or the Manresa site for details.

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week started yesterday and includes restaurant Assembly

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Restaurants that are participating in SCRW, in alphabetical order:

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

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

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Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets Pop-Up Breakfast Series tickets on sale

Food at a 2015 farmers’ market pop-up breakfast

Food at a 2015 farmers’ market pop-up breakfast. Photo credit: Carolyn Lagatutta

Credit: Carolyn Lagatutta

Tickets are on sale for the entire 2016 season of pop-up breakfasts at the Westside Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley farmers’ markets. The first event is the morning of Saturday, May 28 at the Westside market with chef Kevin Koebel of Local FATT—see menu below. There is limited seating; $37 tickets are available for purchase online and at the markets.

Different local chefs are featured at each event. For each dish at these multi-course meals, nearly 100% of the ingredients are sourced from farms at the markets. Event proceeds benefit the markets’ public educational programs including the Foodshed Project.

2016 Pop-Up Breakfast Dates and Chefs:

Scotts Valley market

Westside market

Full menus will be posted on the web site as events draw closer.

Santa Cruz’s Food, What?! youth empowerment program graduates provide service at the events, which begin at 9:30 a.m. Attendees choose their seats by placing their own plates and silverware at spaces along u-shaped, family-style tables. At 10 a.m., plates of seasonal cuisine made with ingredients sourced from the markets begin rolling out. As the guests eat and visit, farmers and chefs share their knowledge and perspectives regarding agriculture, community and consumer choice within the food system. There is also live local music at each breakfast.

The first summer series occurred in 2013, and the farm-to-table breakfasts continue to draw sell-out crowds. For more information call 831-325-4294 or email education@santacruzfarmersmarket.org.
May 28 Pop-Up Breakfast Menu

  • PAN GRIDDLED WALNUT-VANILLA BEAN FRENCH TOAST with Strawberry-caramelized sugar compote and crème fraiche
  • LATE SPRING SAVORY SALAD: micro greens with prosciutto di parma carpaccio, crispy leek and savory Tuile
  • GRILLED WILD SALMON FILET BRIOCHE WITH FARM EGG AND GREENS served with a duo of lemon chutney and cilantro chutney
  • SPRING VEGETABLE CADEAUX (bundle) wrapped in sweet leek, roasted and served with Meyer lemon-local sea salt beurre blanc sauce
  • SWEET FINISH Champagne syrup macerated fruit gratin
  • TASTY BEVERAGES COURTESY OF Lulu Carpenter’s Coffee

Read more about the Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Event Santa Cruz hosts Edible Night at Assembly

Ashby Confections is providing food for Edible Night at Event Santa Cruz

Ashby Confections is providing food for Edible Night at Event Santa Cruz

Interested in food, restaurants, beer, farms, and things of that nature? The November program for monthly speaker series “Event Santa Cruz,” which takes place at restaurant Assembly on Nov. 17, has an edible theme. There will be eight speakers, and it’s almost sold out.

Organizer Matthew Swinnerton, who started Event Santa Cruz in September 2013 to tell the stories of local businesses and the people that make these businesses run, is very excited about the program.  “There is something about an entrepreneur that is involved in the world of food,” he says. “Entrepreneurs usually have a lot of passion, but throw in an entrepreneur that loves food and deals with it for a living, oh man, that is passion ten fold.” He’s confident that attendees will hear some of the best talks Event Santa Cruz has ever had.

Scheduled speakers:

  • Zach DavisThe Penny Ice Creamery, Assembly, The Picnic Basket
  • Andrea Conklin MollenauerLifestyle Culinary Arts
  • Romney DunbarDunbar Productions
  • Tabitha Raquel StroupFriend In Cheeses Jam Company
  • Marci ProloAn Epicurious Lifestyle
  • Annie PautschBrew Cruz
  • Liz BirnbaumIncoming Board Chair, Slow Food Santa Cruz
  • Nesh DhillonSanta Cruz Farmers Markets

Participant Mollenauer says, “I was thrilled to be invited to speak. The very focus and passion I have for my business is our local community and how to feed it great food, so to be asked to talk about that in a room full of community members who are willing to be a part of that delicious conversation makes me smile.” She plans on sharing details about the next stage of growth for her business and how the community can get involved in that.

Speaker Zach Davis is also co-owner of Assembly, the night’s venue. He’s happy to have the program at his restaurant, which opened in March 2014 and continues to draw crowds. “We always imagined Assembly as a place where people would literally come to the table to meet and converse over nourishing food and drink,” he says. “I’m personally excited about sharing the stage with some folks I know and admire for their food expertise as well as their involvement in the community.” He looks forward to hearing about what motivates and inspires them. “For me it’s the people I work and interact with, and I appreciate the opportunity to share a little more about them.”

Matt Ruiz is the evening’s musical guest. Also participating are several local food and beverage vendors, who are providing refreshments for the first hour of the program, during which time guests are invited to come and socialize. There will be dumplings from Mortal Dumpling, and treats from Mutari Hot Chocolate, Ashby Confections, Cardamom Tuesday, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company, and Hush-Hush Kitchen.

Tickets are only $10; purchase tickets online at eventsantacruz.com. There are only 28 tickets left as of Thursday morning, Nov. 13.  There are also a limited number of “annual passes” available for $75. This grants pass-holders admission to 12 consecutive months of events, from now through Oct. 2015, so it’s a $45 savings over the entire year.
For more information call 831-332-8677.

Monday Nov. 17, 2014
6-7 p.m. refreshments, 7-8:30 p.m. speakers
: Assembly, 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (Assembly’s not open on Mondays, so this event will be held in the main restaurant space)

Follow me on Twitter @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.

New Santa Cruz ice cream shop The Penny Ice Creamery from former Manresa pastry chef & UC Santa Cruz alum

Delectable, organic ice cream sundae at The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz

Former Manresa pastry chef Kendra Baker has opened a new downtown Santa Cruz ice cream shop at 913 Cedar Street, The Penny Ice Creamery. The doors opened yesterday, Tuesday, August 24, 2010, at noon. Warning: continued reading might result in stomach growling…

Baker, a UC Santa Cruz alum and California native, and co-owner Zachary Davis say that The Penny Ice Creamery is the only artisanal ice cream shop in Santa Cruz making ice cream and sorbet completely from scratch in-house. “Being licensed by the California Food and Agriculture Department to pasteurize gives us a tremendous amount of freedom to craft our ice cream from scratch,” says owner/chef Baker.  And with an open kitchen and production room, you can see it all for yourself!

There will be nine rotating flavors each day featuring local, seasonal, and organic ingredients including wild fruits, flowers and herbs – plus organic dairy, eggs, and sugar. Davis and Baker both became parents in the last six months. “When we choose to use all organic cream, cane sugar, and eggs in our ice cream, we’re thinking about what’s best for our children,” Davis says. Then laughing he adds, “We’re also thinking about what’s best for our taste buds!”

The current flavor list:

1. Tahitian vanilla

2. Dark chocolate sorbet

3. Fresh mint and cocoa nib

4. Coffee toffee

5. Blackberry corn, made with corn grown at Baker’s three-acre farm

6. Caramel

7. Bourbon bacon chocolate

8. Brown butter-spiced pecan with chili spice

9. Raspberry rose sorbet

I can’t wait to try all of these amazing-sounding flavors, especially in treats made with local ingredients. I didn’t make it there yesterday, but I know two people who did, and they enjoyed a refreshing mint-cucumber soda float with melon sorbet and a decadent sundae with caramel ice cream, strawberries, almonds, and puff profiteroles. Other notes of interest: The coffee toffee ice cream includes Santa Cruz’s own Verve Coffee (site of a recent Slow Food Santa Cruz event – read details). Verve will also be used in “affogatos” and other coffee-related items, and Verve coffee drinks will be available for purchase in the future at Penny. Affogato, which means “drowned” in Italian, is a dessert that often consists of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with espresso.

Other local purveyors that Penny Creamery is using include Rebecca King at Garden Variety Cheese, Dirty Girl Farms, Tomatero Farms, Frog Hollow, Arthur’s Figs, and Route One Farms. Current and future rotating menu items include popsicles, bon bons, ice cream sandwiches, and toasted cinnamon meringues. All Penny Creamery paper products are 100% recycled and biocompostable, and the business is a member of Think Local First and Slow Food.

Baker’s first professional cooking gig was at Santa Cruz’s Gabriella Café, and she says “I’m excited to be back in Santa Cruz focusing on something I’m really passionate about.” Baker has top credentials including a degree from Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Rhode Island. As the opening pastry chef, she helped launch renowned San Francisco restaurant Bar Tartine, where she received acclaim from critics like esteemed San Francisco Chronicle writer Michael Bauer. She then worked with fellow Santa Cruzan David Kinch as executive pastry chef at Kinch’s two-Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos. Read my interview with David Kinch.  Baker has also worked with other world-famous chefs like Rene Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma (a distinction shared by another Manresa alum now at the helm of his own kitchen in Santa Cruz, Cellar Door chef Charlie Parker). Unfamiliar with Redzepi? He’s a giant in the international food world; he’s visiting San Francisco’s Omnivore Books in October and the coinciding event – moved from the bookstore to a larger location due to demand – is already sold out. Noma was named the world’s best restaurant earlier this year.

Curious about the ice cream shop’s name? The owners were inspired by a story that in 1847 in London, Carlo Gatti was the first person to sell “penny ice” on the streets, making ice cream available to the everyday person whereas it was previously a luxury. Gatti did not use any preservatives or artificial flavors, a tradition that Penny Ice Creamery continues – along with presenting “luxurious” desserts to everyone. I’ll see you at Penny! If you’re on Twitter, please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

The Details:

The Penny Ice Creamery

913 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz 95060

(831) 204-2523

Hours: Tues-Wed and Sun 12-9pm, Thu-Sat 12-11pm


Credit cards accepted: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa