Quick Bites | Eateries prep for Valentines Day – Santa Cruz Sentinel



The Giving Cake announces Valentines treats

Watsonville-based The Giving Cake will offer “mini cupcake bouquets” for Valentine’s Day. (Contributed)

Watsonville-based The Giving Cake (831-531-8386, thegivingcake.com) will offer “mini cupcake

bouquets” for Valentine’s Day. These have three cupcakes wrapped bouquet style in a handled gift bag. Like always, profits from cupcake sales will be donated to local nonprofits such as CASA, Center for Farmworker Families, Digital Nest, and Homeless Garden Project. Customers get to choose the nonprofit when they place orders. Owner/baker Anna Lieby launched The Giving Cake last month. Traditionally, she has these selections: boxes of cupcakes (four, six or 12) or intricate “floral cupcake bouquets” (seven, 12 or 19). Flavors include vanilla, lemon, and regular or vegan chocolate. Pickup is in Watsonville three days a week and in Santa Cruz one day a week.


Mentone announces Super Bowl, Valentine’s pre-orders

Mentone (174 Aptos Village Way, 831-708-4000, mentonerestaurant.com) is offering advance ordering for takeout Super Bowl and Valentine’s food. Super Bowl choices for Feb. 7 include a la carte pizza, guinea hens, and cocktails. Select pickup times have already sold out. The Feb. 14 menu is a prix fixe dinner for two including cioppino, Parmesan risotto, gelato, and more. Also, the restaurant will soon be offering delivery in addition to takeout.


Storms cancel Wednesday Live Oak market

Wednesday’s downtown Santa Cruz farmers market has been canceled due to projected high winds and flooding from stormy weather across the county. A Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets representative emphasized the priority is to keep people safe. The downtown market should return at its normal hours of 1-5 p.m. next week, on Feb. 3.


Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., Charapa Project, Mutari win awards

Last week, Santa Cruz County’s Friend in Cheeses Jam Co., The Charapa Project and White Label Chocolate (from Mutari Craft Chocolate) earned “West region” Good Food Awards. Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. won for its Smokin’ Padron Jam, Charapa for its Peruvian Aji Amarillo Sauce, and White Label for two chocolate bars: 68% Madagascar, Bejofo Estate and 72% Trinidad, Garcia Estate. Hollister-based Wise Goat Organic also won for its Spicy Garlic Sauerkraut. Every year, from approximately 2,000 entrants, there are three winners chosen in 17 categories in four regions: North, South, East, West and Central. Products are judged on flavor as well as utilizing sustainable and local food production. For a complete list of winners, visit goodfoodawards.org.


Taqueria Michoacan hosts anniversary party

Family-owned Taqueria Michoacan (21401 E Cliff Drive, 831-465-8290, Instagram @taqueriamichoacansc) celebrates its 20th anniversary Feb. 1 and is offering giveaways at certain hours that day. Customers that show up between noon and 1 p.m. or 4-5 p.m. will receive one free taco, soda, and either a shirt or hat while supplies last. There will also be a limited number of churro cupcakes. Current operating hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily except Sundays.


The Wild Bite adds keto meals, brunch boxes

The Wild Bite (100 Enterprise Way, 831-334-3864) now offers keto meals in addition to vegan and gluten-free options. There are a la carte dishes or 10- and 14-meal packages delivered twice weekly. They also just started Sunday brunch boxes that serve two; these are picked up in Scotts Valley. A recent box included Fogline Farm chicken and waffles, banana pancakes, avocado toast, and chocolate chia pudding. “Ingredients are organic and locally sourced, and animal proteins are hormone-free and ethically raised,” says Carla Martinez Jurado, who launched the business in December. “I know my farmers and ranchers; that’s important to me.” She is a certified Institute for Integrative Nutrition health coach, and a former body builder, “which is where I got very passionate about making clean food tasty.” The website thewildbite.com, will be live within a few days, where people can order meals and view caloric and macro information. In the meantime, visit IG @thewildbite.


New chef, food at Discretion Brewing

Brad Briske, of HOME Restaurant, officially started as the chef at Discretion Brewing (2703 41st Ave., 831-316-0662, discretionbrewing.com) last Friday. His new food venture is called HOMEfry (replacing The Kitchen at Discretion), and the current menu includes Far West Fungi oyster mushroom tacos, Fogline Farm chicken sandwich with Sambal aioli, Beer & Llano Seco Pork Salumi with mustard and baguette. Specials include beer-braised ham and clams with garlic toast. Longtime Discretion chef Santos Majano announced in September that he would be leaving at the end of 2020. Also, Discretion’s garden reopened Monday afternoon. Hours are now noon to 7 p.m. daily for dine-in (tented, heated beer garden) or takeout beer and food.


Chicken Foot hosting popups

Chef Jessica Yarr is doing regular popups under her new Chicken Foot business (IG @_chickenfoot_), which she launched last month to showcase her culinary heritage (Ukrainian and French-Canadian roots) and her family. There is a takeout dinner popup Sunday with dishes including pierogies, Khachapuri (stuffed cheese bread), Borscht and Russian honey cake. You must order in advance no later than Friday. Pickup details will be given upon ordering. Her kitchen is based in the Santa Cruz mountains, in her hometown. Jessica’s cooking experience includes Assembly and Gabriella Cafe. She also started making jars of Superfood Granola (available at 11th Hour Coffee and Cameron Marks) and is offering one-on-one virtual cooking classes. Visit chefjessicayarr.com.


Café Sparrow reopens, plans Valentine’s offerings

Café Sparrow (8042 Soquel Drive, 831-688-6238, cafesparrow.com) reopened last Friday after a winter break. Takeout and delivery orders are 4-7:30 p.m. daily. The restaurant will be releasing its Valentine’s Day menu on the website soon.


Cali Dawg announces popup in Santa Cruz

Cali Dawg, which does popups featuring handmade vegan hot dogs plus signature macaroni salad and more, will be at the Live Oak farmers market 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Maria Gonzalez launched her business in 2019. She makes plant-based sausages from scratch and offers spicy, Italian, and other varieties. In addition, as of Feb. 8 the full Cali Dawg menu will be served daily in a Salinas venue: Park Row Café (962 Park Row).


Hakouya adds market location, expands offerings

Hakouya recently added the Saturday morning Aptos market (at Cabrillo College) to its weekly farmers market rotation, and continues to be at the Wednesday downtown, Saturday westside and Sunday Live Oak and Los Gatos markets. In addition, they have a new product at the markets: Amazake probiotic drinks. These come in five flavors: chocolate, vanilla, matcha, orange spice and plain. Eriko Yokoyama and Masumi Diaz, who run Hakouya, make miso paste from scratch. They use it in several products that they sell through markets, retailers, and the website hakouya.com. These include a fresh, probiotic miso dressing; quick miso soup (two versions, one is vegan); and white and red miso paste.


Pour Taproom shutters doors

Pour Taproom announced on social media last week that it has permanently “…closed its doors due to the shutdowns.” Owner Chris Reno opened the self-pour tasting room at 110 Cooper St. (with the main entrance on Pacific Ave.) in 2016.

Quick Bites, compiled by Tara Fatemi Walker, is your weekly helping of Santa Cruz County restaurant, food and drink news. Send items to sentinelfood@gmail.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).


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