Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is Oct. 22-29, 2014. Never participated? It’s something that goes on in many cities across the country; some areas do it twice a year (like Silicon Valley and San Francisco – the latter’s is even two weeks long each time!). Some do it once a year–like Santa Cruz, which jumped on the Restaurant Week bandwagon 5 years ago. Restaurants create fixed-price menus available for a limited time. It’s an opportunity for people to try new places or try new dishes or perhaps just visit some of their already-favorite venues.
For Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2014, more than 30 local restaurants – from Aptos, Soquel and Capitola to Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond, and Felton–are participating. Some offer three-course gourmet dinners for $25, and some for $35 (this is a change from previous years, when all prices were $25).
Typically, the menus include three options for each course — appetizer, entrée, and dessert – and customers get to choose one selection from each course.
Mark Denham, who recently joined Soif as Executive Chef, is thrilled that Soif and sister restaurant La Posta are participating. “We always appreciate the extra business and the opportunity to serve new customers or reintroduce ourselves to guests that may not have been in for awhile, in particular this year as our restaurant week menu is a fair representation of the kind of food I’ll be cooking at Soif.”
Here is Soif’s 2014 Restaurant Week menu (customers choose one selection from each course, and it’s $35):
Autumn vegetable soup ~ turnip top pesto, spiced pepitasRoasted sunchokes ~ chestnuts, pomegranate, chicory, smoked ricottaOxtail terrine ~ celery salad, radishes, pickled mustard seeds
* * *
Golden beet farroto ~ caraway roasted carrots, Thompson raisins, sheep’s milk yogurt
Monterey bay squid ~ fregola, shelling beans, sweet peppers, fennel aïoli
Chicken cannelloni ~ leeks, escarole, fontina, late harvest tomatoes
* * *
Coffee pot de crème ~ whipped cream, cornmeal-chocolate cookie
Pink pearl apple & Muscat grape sorbets ~ sesame brittle
Warm pear bread pudding ~ creme fraiche, salted caramel
I asked Chef Denham to comment about the menu and its dishes and ingredients. His reply was thoughtful and intriguing: “The soup and sunchoke salad are prime examples of our market to plate style as they literally go from the Wednesday market to our plates (one block away). The oxtail terrine showcases our skill with charcuterie, the farroto displays our technique with vegetarian dishes and an inherent playfulness as the accompanying carrots are a rift on the old-fashioned sweet carrot-raisin salad of my youth. Squid highlight our commitment to local sustainable fishery, and the cannelloni are not only a nod to La Posta’s Italian inspiration but an acknowledgement that everyone loves chicken and Italian food and that we are in the business to please. The desserts are designed to be familiar, comforting and satisfying in which style never supersedes substance.”
Linwood’s at the Chaminade Resort is also serving a special three-course $35 dinner menu during Santa Cruz’s 2014 Restaurant Week. Executive Chef Kirsten Ponza says, “I’m excited to introduce new people to our great dining in Linwood’s!” She has created the following selections:
Warm Goat cheese with arugula and rosemary served with crispy rosemary flatbread.Organic spring greens with honey lime vinaigrette, toasted almonds and seasonal fruit.Caprese Salad: Yellow Wall Heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, Belle Farms olive oil and sea salt
* * *
Yellow Wall Heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, Belle Fam olive oil & sea salt
Sauteed Brown Butter Gnocchi with garnet yams and seasonal vegetables
Smoked Salmon and Pepper Papardelle in a feta crème with grilled ciabatta
Ancho Pork Loin with mango glaze, whipped potatoes, and seasonal vegetables
* * *
Poached quince with cinnamon ice cream
Vanilla Bean Pumpkin crème brulee
Chocolate Decadence with Salted caramel
When I spoke to Chef Ponza, she shared that for the Smoked Salmon and Pepper Papardelle, they will be house-smoking the salmon. “We’re also using a fresh pasta that’s been infused with chili flakes so it has a little spice to it.” This dish isn’t on the Linwood’s regular menu, but the two other entrees (gnocchi, and ancho pork loin) are.
Visit the Restaurant Week website for more information, including menus.
Here are all the participating restaurants, in alphabetical order:
- 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
- Aquarius at the Dream Inn
- Back Nine Grill & Bar
- Cafe Mare
- The Crow’s Nest
- El Palomar
- Gabriella Cafe
- Hindquarter Bar & Grill
- Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
- Hula’s Island Grill
- Ideal Bar & Grill
- Johnny’s Harborside
- Kauboi Japanese Grill and Sushi
- La Posta
- Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
- Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar
- Main Street Garden & Café
- Michael’s on Main
- Oak Tree Ristorante
- Red Restaurant & Bar
- Ristorante Italiano
- Rosie McCann’s
- Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort
- Severino’s Bar & Grill
- Star Bene
- Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
- The Point Chophouse & Lounge
- Tyrolean Inn & Restaurant
- Zelda’s On The Beach
Win Free Restaurant Week Gift Certificates!
We have partnered with Soif and Linwoods at Chaminade Resort to give away free Restaurant Week gift certificates.
Enter the contest for your chance to dine for free during Restaurant Week. The contest will end on Sunday October 19, at 5:00 pm, and winners will be notified via email.
UPDATE: This contest has ended and the winners have been notified via email. While that’s no doubt a bit of a bummer if you’re just now reading this, don’t despair. There are still some giveaways going on over at the Restaurant Week website.