Tag Archives: The Picnic Basket

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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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 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.

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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)

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Special Santa Cruz film, food & wine event includes Assembly, Vinocruz, and The Del Mar

Preview food from soon-to-be-opened Assembly at a Feb. 6 Santa Cruz event

Preview food from soon-to-be-opened Assembly at a Feb. 6 Santa Cruz event

There is a fabulous collaborative event in the Santa Cruz community next week; tickets are selling fast for this “Spinning Plates” evening of film, food, and wine.

As you may recall from my article earlier this month, the team behind Santa Cruz’s The Penny Ice Creamery and The Picnic Basket—Zach Davis and Kendra Baker—are about to open their first full-service restaurant, Assembly, with Executive Chef Carlo Espinas. On Thursday, Feb. 6 you can preview Assembly’s food and watch an award-winning restaurant-related documentary film, “Spinning Plates.” The event will also include samples from The Penny Ice Creamery and The Picnic Basket, and Vinocruz is pouring wine that evening.

When you purchase a ticket online (see information at The Nick/Del Mar web site), you can choose to buy a ticket that includes the film, food and wine ($24) or just the film and food ($18). You also select which time you’d like to enter for the refreshments: 6:30, 6:50, or 7:10 p.m. The movie will be screened at 8 p.m.

Ike Jablon, Director of Marketing & Special Events for Nickelodeon Theatres (this encompasses The Nick, Del Mar & Aptos Cinema), is excited about the event and the community’s response to it (as of press time, the 6:30 & 6:50 admission times had already sold out and the last time is quickly approaching sell-out status). “I’m looking to have our three theatres collaborate as much as possible with other locally owned businesses in the area. When we found out about the film ‘Spinning Plates,’ it seemed like a perfect fit for us to work with Kendra and Zach.” Jablon adds that since the film is about the creativity and perseverance it takes to own and run a restaurant, it aligns perfectly with the team that has worked so hard and opened two Penny Ice Creameries, the Penny Kiosk Downtown, The Picnic Basket and soon Assembly.

Davis shares Jablon’s excitement. “We’re huge fans of The Nick/Del Mar and thrilled to be putting this event together with them,” he says. “It’s really special to be bringing The Penny, Picnic Basket and Assembly together under one roof. The Assembly portion of the food will be indicative not only of Carlo’s menu and style, but also of his excitement about getting involved in the community outside of Assembly’s four walls.”

An update on Assembly: As of January 30, 2014, the opening date of this highly anticipated restaurant (it’s going to be the largest in Santa Cruz, seating 100 diners!) is set for February 25th.

If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz January 2013 restaurant news includes new Penny Ice Creamery

New macaroni and cheese dish at The Picnic Basket in Santa Cruz

Recent restaurant news for Santa Cruz and nearby neighborhoods features a closing, several changes, and openings including a couple new locations for already-existing restaurants (Burger in Aptos, Penny Ice Creamery in Pleasure Point).

Recently Opened

Burger in Aptos

The restaurant Burger, which has been drawing crowds to its Mission Street location since 2010, opened a second location in Aptos. Like the original Westside venue, the Aptos branch specializes in burgers and beer. You can find the new Burger across the street from the Safeway center, in the former location of the Aptos Club. It’s open daily “11 a.m. to late.”

7941 Soquel Dr, Aptos, (831) 662-2811

Westside Bistro

A new café has opened on Mission Street near Bay, at the former site of Filling Station, which closed in August 2012 after being open for one year. Westside Bistro opened on January 1, and its hours are Sun-Thurs 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Fri-Sat 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Menu selections include soup, salad, panini, empanadas, coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. The venue also sells gifts; its web site proclaims these include laser engraved art, art from showcased local creators, and movie merchandise from Westside Video.

1500 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 818-1736

Opening Soon

Penny Ice Creamery in Capitola

Popular Penny Ice Creamery, which started with a main location on Cedar Street in August 2010 and expanded with a Pacific Ave. kiosk in November 2011, is opening a Pleasure Point location at the end of January or in early February. It’s at the site of Verve Coffee’s original roastery (now located in Seabright), between Verve’s cafe and Pink Godzilla. Co-owner Zach Davis shares that Penny is looking forward to serving even more of the community. “We’re very excited to join the tremendous vitality of the Pleasure Point neighborhood,” says Davis. “There’s so much energy here, and we’re having a lot of fun building a whimsical and welcoming scoop shop that will fit right in.”

820 41st Ave, Capitola. Santa Cruz scoop shop phone #, for any info or questions on new location, is (831) 204-2523


India Joze

India Joze is re-opening today, January 21, at 3 p.m. after being closed since January 13 for a remodel. This is the restaurant’s first big remodel since its Summer 2010 opening. It includes a re-done kitchen, new floors and paint, and India Joze promises an improved dining room that features two window booths and more comfortable seating. The restaurant also just announced its first-ever Coconut Festival, which will be held Feb 1-2. Stay in touch with India Joze via its Facebook page.

418 Front Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 325-3633

The Picnic Basket

The oceanfront café, owned and operated by the folks behind Penny Ice Creamery, re-opened January 18 after a two-and-a-half week closure. The Picnic Basket boasts added outdoor seating plus new menu items including “Anna’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese,” several entrée salads, and a bacon/celery root/truffle oil/goat cheese panini. One salad featured on Jan. 19: the Daily Grain with wheat berries, blood oranges, sweet baby carrots, and toasted almond and chicory root. Longtime fans can be assured that certain staples are still available such as desserts with Penny Ice Cream, jelly donuts, the tasty Rib King pulled pork sandwich, and local beer and wine.

125 Beach Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 427-9946

Casablanca Restaurant and Bistro

The restaurant and bistro at Casablanca Inn (near the Boardwalk and Wharf) are temporarily closed. A re-opening date has not been announced at this time.

101 Main Street, Santa Cruz, Inn phone number is (831) 423-1570

Closing Soon


The café Deli-Licious, located in the shopping center on E. Cliff Drive near 15th, is closing its doors on Jan. 31. For now, it has reduced its hours. Co-owner Karla Oliveira will continue her catering business, which is called Karla’s Kitchen. Through this business, she provides lunches to local schools and also caters private events and parties.

2-1505 East Cliff Dr, (831) 462-3019


Dave’s Gourmet Albacore

Dave’s Gourmet Albacore, located in the Harvey West neighborhood, shut its doors in early January. The venue had first opened as a retailer 13 years ago, and later added a café. Owner Dave Greenberger has said that he might re-open in the future in another city.

310 Coral, Santa Cruz

Free ice cream in Santa Cruz at Penny Ice Creamery for 1-year anniversary

The Penny Ice Creamery in downtown Santa Cruz

Organic Santa Cruz ice cream shop Penny Ice Creamery is celebrating its one-year anniversary by giving out free ice cream today: Wednesday August 24!

Here are the details:

From noon on Wednesday until they run out or until the store closes at 11pm, The Penny Ice Creamery is serving free single scoops to anyone who visits. There will be two free flavors, classic vanilla bean and a special birthday cake flavor.

Co-owners and friends Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis opened Penny on August 24, 2010. Santa Cruz residents – plus fans from the Bay Area and beyond – have embraced the delicious, handmade gourmet ice cream. The shop was voted Best Ice Cream by Santa Cruz Weekly’s Readers Poll and Best New Business by Good Times Santa Cruz’s Readers Poll.

Flavors rotate with the seasons and include local produce and ingredients from Santa Cruz companies such as Verve Coffee. Recent choices included basil, raspberry chocolate, blackberry corn, mascarpone hazelnut, and strawberry pink peppercorn. Penny’s ice cream can also be found at local farmers markets.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” said Baker. “We had a dream, we went for it, and we’ve been on cloud nine ever since.” They’ve been so successful that they even opened a second venue in June across from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The Picnic Basket serves both savory items and the ice cream that made Penny’s owners so popular. Read my article on The Picnic Basket. Note, the beer and wine that was “coming soon” as of that article’s publication are now available; selections include Birichino wine and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing ale.

Interested in details on Penny including its history? Read my overview article (since that article was published, the hours have changed: Penny is now open 7 days a week).

If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Penny Ice Creamery Hours & Info

Daily Noon-11pm

913 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz 95060

(831) 204-2523

The Picnic Basket: New Santa Cruz restaurant from owners of Penny Ice Creamery

Earlier this summer, the folks behind organic Santa Cruz ice cream shop The Penny Ice Creamery opened The Picnic Basket, a restaurant that serves savory food from local providers as well as the infamous Penny ice cream that has countless fans.

As owners Kendra Baker and Zach Davis have promised, The Picnic Basket offers a seasonal menu from “local farmers, foragers, and artisans.” Menu items include breakfast selections such as egg frittata pressed sandwich ($8), Santa Cruz-based Companion Bakers’ scones ($2.50) or Companion toast served with local Plumline jam ($3).

Lunch/dinner selections at The Picnic Basket include the El Salchichero hot dog with Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut ($6), which I can personally recommend, Ricotta and beet panini with lemon, toasted walnut spread and greens ($7.50), and Rib King pulled pork sandwich with roasted tomatillos and house slaw ($10). There are a variety of sandwiches and salads and ingredients change depending on local and seasonal availability; for example, the ricotta and beet panini has appeared as the ricotta and asparagus panini. I recently enjoyed the Picnic Salad ($7.50) with Fogline Farms lemon roasted chicken, very thinly sliced summer squash, shaved Parmesan cheese, toasted croutons, and mixed greens. The flavor and texture combinations worked perfectly in this refreshing dish. Read more on Santa Cruz’s El Salchichero.

Side dishes include corn on the cob ($2) and spiced nuts ($3), and beverages include sparkling fruit sodas made on-site ($3), Verve coffee ($2.75), and – coming soon – a variety of local beer plus wine from Birichino (co-founder John Locke is the wine director at Soif). Desserts include ice cream, sorbet, popsicles, shakes, and ice cream sandwiches. Don’t miss ice cream happy hour: double scoop for the price of a single on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm (also good at original Penny Ice Creamery on Cedar Street).

If you want more background on the original Penny Ice Creamery — including its owners who just a year after opening Penny now run two popular Santa Cruz spots — read this article (since that article was published, the hours have changed: Penny is now open 7 days a week).

If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Picnic Basket Hours & Info

Hours: Daily 7am-midnight

125 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060

(831) 427-9946