Tag Archives: Verve Coffee

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 1: Pure Heart chocolate from Santa Cruz

Pure Heart truffles, from top to bottom: Bittersweet Triple Chocolate, Rose Cardamom (not available currently), & Verve Espresso. Photo credit: Warren Jones

Pure Heart truffles, from top to bottom: Bittersweet Triple Chocolate, Rose Cardamom (not available currently), & Verve Espresso. Photo credit: Warren Jones

Becky Potter started Pure Heart Chocolate in 2015 in Santa Cruz, and she is the first participant in the Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” That’s right: today is Day One of TWELVE DAYS of food-related giveaways! You can win a great prize. Keep reading for how to enter.

Pure Heart is organic, artisan, raw chocolate that is very tasty. It’s dairy, gluten, and preservative free. There are three truffle varieties: Bittersweet Triple Chocolate, Verve Espresso and Lemon Ginger. Any of these would make great holiday gifts.

Potter sources her cacao and other ingredients from farmers who use sustainable methods. “I’ve been making raw vegan chocolate truffles for the past 5 or so years, perfecting my craft over time, using the kitchen as my creative outlet to make chocolate that is not only more delicious than the mega-produced, waxy, cloyingly sweet variety I could find on store shelves, but more sustainable, too,” she says. “By leaving out the dairy, the processed sugars, and the hard-to-pronounce preservatives, I found that what I was left with was cacao in its purest form–raw, unadulterated, and incredibly delicious.” Pure Heart doesn’t have its own brick and mortar retail location where they sell chocolates, but you can find them at New Leaf Markets in Santa Cruz—in the bakery cases—and you can buy them online. At New Leaf truffles are sold individually for $3.25. They are at the westside, downtown, and Capitola stores.

Potter says that one convenient way people can get holiday pre-orders in before the (fast approaching) Dec 19th deadline is to print the holiday order form off her website, fill it out in its entirety, then take a picture with their iphone and text it to her at 530-400-3811. She can confirm with customers that she received the text, and have orders ready for pick up on Dec. 21 in the evening or Dec. 22 in the morning at Extra Kitchen (commercial kitchen at 254 Potrero St. across from the Sash Mill).

She also wants to remind potential customers not to put a truffle in a stocking like a typical “stuffer.” Because the truffles are raw and need to stay refrigerated, a good alternative is to put a note in the stocking to check the refrigerator for truffles (and perhaps even champagne…). That should make the gift recipient quite happy!
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NOW FOR THE CONTEST:
One lucky reader will win a box of Pure Heart truffles worth $18. The winner needs to be able to pick up the chocolates from the aforementioned Extra Kitchen at a time to be arranged with Becky Potter.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by Mon. Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. and include the words “pure heart.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email. Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Good luck and happy holidays!
Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Manresa inspires Los Gatos bread venue: products also available at Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz

Handcrafted, small batch products from ManresaBread  Photo credit: Joyce Oudkerk Pool

Handcrafted, small batch products from ManresaBread
Photo credit: Joyce Oudkerk Pool

ManresaBread opened its first retail storefront a couple weeks ago; inspired by the bread program at the two-Michelin-star restaurant Manresa, ManresaBread in Los Gatos offers hand-crafted, small batch breads and pastries by Manresa head baker Avery Ruzicka.

The hours are currently Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (or earlier if they sell out). The venue will eventually be open daily.

On March 1, Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters began providing customers with the opportunity to purchase ManresaBread pastries and breads at their three retail Santa Cruz/Capitola locations. As you may recall, ManresaBread was available in Santa Cruz via POPUP last fall.  ManresaBread continues to be available at the Campbell and Palo Alto farmers markets on Sundays.

Co-founded by Ruzicka, partner and Manresa chef/owner David Kinch and partner Andrew Burnham, the company will look to expand to other retail locations in the South Bay and eventually online sales. “Avery took the bread program at Manresa to the next level and being able to share that outside of the restaurant happened naturally for us,” says Partner David Kinch. “We grew from one to two farmers’ markets to the Santa Cruz popup and a brick and mortar was the next step. We’re excited to start out with a smaller scale retail space in Los Gatos and see where we go from there.”

ManresaBread focuses on hands-on techniques and high-quality ingredients. The retail shop stocks a rotating selection of breads and sweet and savory pastries including Manresa Levain, Sour Baguette, Pumpernickel Rye, Fruit and Nut Loaf, Polenta Whole Wheat, Red Fife Whole Wheat, Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake, Caramelized Apple Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Chocolate Brioche, Kale and Parmesan Scones, and more.

Ruzicka has a degree from the French Culinary Institute and experience working with Master Baker Ben Hershberger of Per Se Restaurant and Bouchon Bakery. “I love the whole process  of working with bread – cultivating the starter, tweaking a recipe, working with the dough, and using all of my senses to gauge if it’s time to bake,” he says.

Location: 276 N. Santa Cruz Ave., downtown Los Gatos, 408-402-5372

To follow ManresaBread on Twitter, see twitter.com/ManresaBread.
To follow me, see twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz area restaurant news highlights through February 2015

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it's usually served with fries)

Hideout Burger served with housemade chips (note: it’s usually served with fries)

Some of this is more recent restaurant news for the Santa Cruz area, and some is much older. I recently discovered that quite a few people I know weren’t aware of certain closings, so I am distributing information that might seem out of date to those who keep on top of local restaurant news.

Openings
The Hideout opened in Aptos in January. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’ve been hearing positive comments. It’s open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9p.m. except Tuesdays, when it doesn’t open until 5 p.m. Sandwich/burger selections include Reuben, roasted vegetables with goat cheese, grilled chicken club, and a signature burger with a ground beef/bacon patty and crumbled bleu cheese (see photo above). Dinner entrees served after 5 include Merlot-braised short ribs, pistachio-crusted chicken, New York strip, and Petrale sole piccata. Several pasta dishes, soup, salads, sides, and starters round out the menu.
Location: 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos (most recently the site of restaurant Ma Maison)
Contact Info: 688-5566, thehideoutaptos.com

Opening Soon
Mutari Chocolate House
is opening in early March; co-owner Adam Armstrong says they’re aiming for March 5th. He and his brother Matt will be the first tenants to officially open in the Food Lounge, the new venue from Andrea Mollenauer of Lifestyle Culinary Arts. They create their product Mutari Hot Chocolate on site. This chocolate is “Stone Ground Bean to Bottle” made from cacao that is “always certified organic and ethically traded (and mostly Rainforest Alliance Certified).”  You can enjoy hot chocolate at the Chocolate House or buy your own bottled mix to take home — it’s also sold at retailers like Artisans Gallery so you may have noticed it in the last few months. Learn more at mutarichocolate.com and facebook.com/mutarichocolate. I got to experience a hot chocolate tasting at Mutari last fall when they had their factory at Front St. Kitchen and I really liked the varieties I sampled. The new Chocolate House will serve coffee, hot chocolate, sipping chocolate, mini cupcakes (from Buttercup), and more.

More on the Food Lounge: Mollenauer and partners Cat Hernandez and Sally Kane are launching this unique space that has lots of options including: you can throw a party there, have an event for your business, or attend a pop-up. Other tenants at the Lounge include Fogline Farms, Ocean2table, and Mortal Dumpling. Officially the Food Lounge will be an “innovative community-minded event venue, commercial incubator kitchen, and full-service food hub aimed at fueling, educating, and inspiring Santa Cruz.” Visit scfoodlounge.com to sign up for the email list.
Location: 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz

Verve Coffee is opening a new location at 1010 Fair in Westside Santa Cruz at some point in the future, in the former spot of Chimera Tattoo. This is the same plaza where Bantam Restaurant is located.

Closings
Two venues in downtown Santa Cruz on Pacific shuttered their doors:
Sushi restaurant Benten closed Jan. 31.
Noah’s Bagels closed on Feb. 24.

Santa Cruz restaurant The Greek closed at the end of November. A permit taped to one of the restaurant windows indicates a Korean eatery will be opening in the future. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page mentioned that owner Vasili was retiring (yes, this is the same Vasili that formerly owned Vasili’s in Westside Santa Cruz).

Changes
Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly is now closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays. They used to be closed on Mondays, and beginning January 6 they are only open Wednesday through Sunday. This is continuing “at least through the winter months.”
Location: 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 824-6100, assembleforfood.com

Soif is closing in late March for a few weeks, to do some remodeling.
Location: 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
Contact Info: 423-2020, soifwine.com

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Two weekend events: Assembly adds brunch service & Hop N’ Barley Fest expands

Bread pudding from Assembly’s new brunch menu

Assembly Serving Brunch

Popular downtown restaurant Assembly is launching weekend brunch service beginning Saturday, June 28. The restaurant will open at 9am and, according to co-owner Zach Davis, “feature a menu of seasonally inspired bunch favorites including house baked pastries and breads.” Choices include savory bread pudding with broccoli, Gruyère, hollandaise and a poached egg; see photo above. Can’t wait to try the newest creations from Chef Carlo Espinas!

And there’s more: To celebrate the new brunch menu, this weekend Assembly is featuring guest Verve Coffee Roasters baristas crafting complimentary Verve espresso drinks for diners.
1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, http://assembleforfood.com

Hop N’ Barley Fest

Also on June 28, it’s the 5th annual Hop N’ Barley beer and bbq festival. Most events are on Saturday at Sky Park in Scotts Valley, but this year the festival has expanded from one day to two. There are approximately 60 breweries participating, and there will be live music. Saturday is the main event with beer and barbecue, with gates opening at 10 a.m. and beer starting at noon. The gates close at 5 p.m.

On Sunday, there is a morning disc golf tournament at DeLaveaga and an afternoon craft and home brew competition. Tickets range from $25-80, but it’s free for non-beer-drinkers including kids – event organizers emphasize that “kids and dogs are welcome.” The Hop N’ Barley beer and bbq festival benefits non-profit Community Housing Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.

Skypark, 361 Kings Village Rd, Scotts Valley, hopnbarley.org

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

Wharf to Wharf party & 4th anniversary celebration at Whole Foods Market Capitola

Photo station from previous birthday party at Whole Foods

Photo station from previous birthday party at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market in Capitola is having a fourth birthday celebration and post-Wharf to Wharf party on Sunday, July 28, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Whole Foods is a sponsor of the popular annual race that draws 15,000 runners, but you don’t have to be a race participant to attend the party.

Some of the highlights? A taco truck that includes fish tacos, product samples from many vendors including delicious Diestel Family Turkey Ranch and Verve Coffee, and live music from local band The Beach Cowboys. Plus, there will be beer tasting with proceeds benefiting the Santa Cruz Teen Kitchen Project, face painting for the kids, desserts, and photo stations (see photo above for an example from last year).

Another fun element: there will be a scavenger hunt, and all players who complete the hunt will receive a free treat and a chance to win a $100 WFM gift card. Four randomly selected winners will be drawn.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

The Details:
Whole Foods Market
1710 41st Avenue (across from Capitola Mall)
(831) 464-2900