SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Restaurants given green light for indoor dining
Last week, after Santa Cruz County moved from purple into the less restrictive red tier in the state’s color-coded COVID-19 risk assessment system, restaurants were given permission to open their indoor dining at a 25% capacity. Beginning March 10, some restaurants served customers indoors (with social distancing and other safety restrictions) for the first time since November. Bars and breweries remain closed while wineries are allowed only outdoor operations.
Soul Salad opens Thursday
Soul Salad (7957 Soquel Drive, 831-708-2106, soulsalad.com) is officially opening Thursday to serve customers. Over the last couple weeks, the restaurant has been open off and on for short times to do soft opening service. Starting hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Monday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The opening menu features 14 salads (choice of small or large) including Disco Greens (shredded beets and carrots, cherry tomatoes, Pink Lady apples, chickpeas, cucumber, hemp seeds, feta, avocado, and balsamic vinaigrette) and The Wasabi (with arugula, sesame-crusted seared tuna, wontons, avocado, wasabi miso vinaigrette, and more). Santa Cruz County native Jeff Hickey and his wife Leah DiBiccari co-own the business. “We have at least 10 more salads we want to rotate in,” shares Jeff. “We also have other culinary surprises we’ll be adding over time, including some build your own options coming soon.” Longtime salad lover DiBiccari created Disco Greens; she has made more than 500 of these for her own consumption. Jeff has always dreamed of opening a restaurant. They look forward to showing the community that “salads can be delicious, healthy and filling.” Stay in the loop by following on Instagram @soulsaladsc.
Bookshop Santa Cruz hosts virtual David Kinch event
Bookshop Santa Cruz is hosting a free virtual event with renowned chef, restaurateur and author David Kinch at 7 p.m. March 24 to celebrate the publication of his new cookbook “At Home in the Kitchen” (published by Ten Speed Press). The three-Michelin-star chef, who opened Mentone in Aptos last year, will be in conversation with co-author Devin Fuller. Acclaimed chef/author Andrea Nguyen, a local resident like David, will moderate.
The book’s more than 120 recipes (billed as “simple ones from a chef’s night off”) include make-ahead Grilled Cheese, Penne with Walnut Sauce, Jambalaya New Orleans Style, and Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Cod. The chef is excited to partner with Bookshop SC for this event. “My whole life, I have gotten pleasure haunting and getting lost in bookstores. I still do,” David says. “I have been a longtime fan and customer of Bookshop SC.” David chose Andrea to be moderator; he has great admiration for her, and they have been friends for years. “I have been honored to have dined in her home many times. Our personal friendship, and our relationships with Ten Speed make it a perfect match.”
Learn more, register for the event, and/or preorder the book at bookshopsantacruz.com.
Upcoming pop-up farmers market vendors
El Pájaro CDC Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program hosts weekly booths at the Westside and Live Oak farmers markets. Upcoming vendor appearances are at Cuevas Express Foods at Westside Saturday and at Live Oak Sunday, My Mom’s Mole at Westside March 27 and Cali Dawg vegan hot dogs at Live Oak March 28. Visit santacruzfarmersmarket.org.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Discretion Brewing partners with Sunrise Rotary for benefit
Discretion Brewing Beermaster Michael Demers is leading a live online beer tasting 3-4 p.m. April 11, as the seventh annual Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club fundraiser for water and sanitation projects in Uganda.
Attendees of “Beers to Cheers” will learn the nuances of each beer’s unique flavor identity. The featured beer is Discretion’s Three Fawns Barrel Aged which boasts “a boozy warmth redolent of vanilla, black pepper, and honey, along with soft berry notes, leads into a dry peppery finish influenced by oak.”
Tickets are now $40 per person or $75 for two; prices will increase April 1. Admission includes a party pack (snacks and beer; pickup will be arranged after purchase), a video tour of the brewery, and a raffle ticket. Visit givesignup.org/TicketEvent/SCSunriseRotaryWineToWater.
Cabrillo offers virtual baking and cooking classes
Cabrillo College Extension has several upcoming virtual culinary classes. Topics include Irish Soda Bread with Whipped Honey Butter (March 17), Italian Rainbow Cookies (March 31-April 1), Night on the Mediterranean (April 10), Dairy-free or Regular Ice Cream (April 24 or May 1, both taught by Mission Hill Creamery owner Dave Kumec), and Caribbean Chickpea Stew (May 6). There is a discount when two or more people register together. For more information, visit cabrillo.edu/extension/classes/culinary/.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Silver Mountain expands hours
Silver Mountain Winery has expanded its hours at the winery (269 Silver Mountain Drive, Los Gatos/ Santa Cruz Mountains) and the tasting room (328 D Ingalls St., Suite 29, Santa Cruz). Wine tasting is now offered from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. People can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation at either location. Visit silvermtn.com for details.
Chocolate announces longer hours
The restaurant Chocolate (1522 Pacific Ave., 831-427-9900, chocolatesantacruz.com) is lengthening its weekend hours beginning March 19. The restaurant will now be open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. “By COVID standards, that is later than most places,” says owner David Jackman. Indoor dining is by reservation only. This includes one large table, enabling them to accommodate groups of up to 10 (in a party room). There are 13 outdoor tables; most of these are close to heaters. Chocolate continues to offer takeout and delivery service.
11th Hour Coffee sells refreshments plus plants
Late last year, 11th Hour Coffee (1001 Center St., 831-322-4599, 11thhourcoffee.com), added a plant and gift store to its retail location. The entire front of the store has plants, pots, plant accessories, coffee brewing gear, succulent arrangements, and more. 11th Hour continues to sell a large variety of coffee and espresso drinks, plus ready-to-eat selections such as avocado toast (a longtime favorite among customers), and breakfast burritos (also added late last year, these feature Glaum organic eggs, bacon, potato, quinoa, avocado, tomato, pickled onion and chipotle sauce). Also, the café just added lots of new seating to its outdoor back patio.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Homeless Garden Project hosts kickoff event for food challenge
Homeless Garden Project is hosting a virtual kickoff event at 11:30 a.m. Saturday to support the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Food Challenge, which is in its seventh year. The free event features U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta, a performance from Senderos, and a presentation from Challenge organizers. Attendees will learn how to participate in the Challenge and have opportunities to reflect on equity in our local food system. The Challenge is made up of daily, short email prompts delivered each morning from April 5-25. In its inaugural year partnering with the Challenge, HGP encourages the local community to participate and “embrace HGP’s vision of a thriving and inclusive community, workforce and local food system.” For more information and to register, visit https://bit.ly/HGP21Day.
Quick Bites, compiled by Tara Fatemi Walker, is your weekly helping of Santa Cruz County restaurant, food and drink news. Send items to email@example.com (Sunday 7 p.m. deadline for that week’s column). Want local food & drink news as it happens? Follow the Sentinel’s food crew on Twitter (@santacruzfood); on Instagram (@santacruzfood); or on Facebook (Santa Cruz Food).