Quick bites | Restaurants continue to have a tough year – Santa Cruz Sentinel



Laili temporarily shortens the hours

The Laili restaurant (101B Cooper St., 831-423-4545, lailirestaurant.com) is now only open three days a week: 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. These times are for patio meals, take out and delivery. The restaurant posted on its website: “The past year has brought challenges that we are in the process of overcoming. We appreciate all the love and support from the community and don’t plan on going anywhere. They say the reduced schedule is temporary before returning to full capacity in fall 2021.


Updated Chef List for Second Harvest Dinner

As we reported last week, tickets are on sale for the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Santa Cruz Chef’s Dinner on September 9. The event at the Holy Cross Annex (126 High St.) includes a multi-course dinner with food and wine pairings. The list of participating chefs has just been updated: Steve Wilson (Café Cruz), Anthony Kresge (Reef Dog Deli), Damani Thomas (Oswald), Brad Briske (HOME), James Manss (Venus Spirits) and Ella King ( Ella’s at the Airport). Tickets cost $ 275 until August 31, then $ 300. Profits help provide healthy food for children in need in Santa Cruz County.


Tickets available for Chaminade Vine to View

The Chaminade Resort & Spa’s Vine to View Farm to Table dinner series, featuring courses with food and wine pairing, continues on July 29. Al fresco dining, hosted on the courtyard terrace, features wines from Storrs Winery. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with the 2019 Christie Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, accompanied by several table appetizers, including Medjool dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. A four-course dinner follows; one of the highlights is the fried organic chicken thigh with a Belgian herb waffle, braised local greens and a Makers Mark maple reduction paired with the 2016 Pinot Noir Wildcat Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains. Tickets cost $ 125 per person, including taxes and tips. Future events have various wine partners and take place on the fourth or fifth Thursday of each month until October. Call 831-465-3449 or visit chaminade.com/santa_cruz_restaurants/ for details and tickets. Chaminade is at One Chaminade Lane.


Reduced hours in Pono

Pono Hawaiian Kitchen and Tap (3744 Capitola Road, 831-476-7458, ponokitchenandtap.com), formerly closed Tuesdays, is now closed Mondays and Tuesdays due to understaffing. They are currently hiring for line cook, preparatory cook and dishwasher positions. A recent Instagram post included: “Thank you for your Aloha and your patience during this difficult time.” Current hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Follow on IG @ponokitchenandtap or visit ponohawaiian.com.


New menus at Venus Spirits

Venus Spirits Cocktails and Kitchen (200 High Road, venusspirits.com/kitchen) has just launched new lunch and dinner menus from Chef James Manss and Sous Chef Gaby Molina. The venue has retained signature items like the Venus Burger, Five Mac and Cheese, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts. The all new small ‘sharing plates’ include steamed mussels and a sausage board with El Salchichero rotating sausages. Additions to the dinner menu include fish and steak selections that will change seasonally. Venus will offer the dinner menu on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during regular business hours (4 pm-9pm). Lunch will be served from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with a snack menu available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a dinner menu from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.


New opening hours for East End Gastropub

East End Gastropub (1501 41st Ave., 831-475-8010, eastendpub.com) has new hours. The restaurant is now open for lunch from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. every day and for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. East End offers both indoor and outdoor dining on a covered patio. Recently added dishes include the Duck Confit and Black Plum Salad with Greens, Radishes, Boursin Cheese, Toasted Almonds and White Balsamic Vinaigrette; and Linguini with summer corn, pancetta, trumpet mushrooms, béchamel and pecorino. Follow East End on IG @eastendgastropub.


Food Truck Saturdays continue at Nicholson Vineyards

Nicholson Vineyards (2800 Pleasant Valley Road, nicholsonvineyards.com) is hosting a summer series with Food Truck Saturdays and Music Sundays. Reservations are recommended. From Saturday to August 29, rotating trucks will be at the winery selling food from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with wine tasting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The seller for July 24 is Dos Hermanos Pupuseria. The next two weeks are Good Dogs Santa Cruz on July 31 and Mattia Pizza on August 7. From Sunday to August 28, there is live music from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with wine tasting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next performer is Michelle Lambert on July 25.


Staff of Life reopens hot bars and salad bars

The Staff of Life health food supermarket has just reopened its hot bar and self-serve salad bar in Santa Cruz (1266 Soquel Ave., 831-423-8632) and Watsonville store (906 East Lake Ave., 831-726-0240). Salad bar toppings include a variety of greens as well as options like mushrooms, grilled chicken or tofu and cheese. Hot bar choices include carnitas, chicken dishes, vegetarian options, and soup. The hot and salad bar in Santa Cruz is open for breakfast from 8:00 a.m., with lunch and dinner from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Watsonville Salad Bar is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the Hot Bar open from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Staff of Life changes serving utensils in each bar every two hours and asks customers to sanitize their hands before using the bars. Visit staffoflifemarket.com.


Winegrower dinner with Colectivo Felix, Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard (4005 Hecker Pass Highway, 408-847-1947, sarahsvineyard.com) is hosting a Winemaker’s Dinner with Tim Slater at 6 p.m. on July 24. The cost is $ 140. Chef Diego Felix’s Argentinian-inspired menu features five food and wine pairings such as Chicken Bori Bori (Paraguayan meatballs) with grilled mini carrots, fennel shavings, jasmine and corn relish accompanied by 2018 Sarah’s Vineyard Estate Viognier; and Monterey Bay Salmon over purple yam mash, seaweed salsa criolla and forest dust with 2017 Sarah’s Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir. View the full menu and purchase tickets at https://www.exploretock.com/sarahsvineyard/event/289795/winemaker-dinner-with-colectivo-felix. Follow on IG @colectivofelix and @sarahsvineyard.


Food trucks at Skypark Friday

The 2021 Food Truck Friday series continues from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Skypark (361 Kings Village Road) from. Participating food trucks will be Holopono, Saucey’z, Mattia Pizza, Nomad Momo and Tante LaLi’s. The Scotts Valley Educational Foundation is organizing a beer / wine garden with proceeds going to SVEF. The Gravity will be performing live. Food Trucks A Go Go hosts this series. Visit facebook.com/events/550670192606876 and follow FTAGG on IG @foodtrucksagogo.


Perséphone winegrower dinner with Ridge

Persephone (7945 Soquel Drive, 831-612-6511, persephonerestaurant.com) is hosting a Winemaker’s Dinner with Ridge Vineyards at 5:30 p.m. on July 25. Cost is $ 200 (tip included) and Kyle Theriot, Ridge Wine Operations Manager, to attend. The menu features five wines with five courses such as Arancini Stuffed with Salmon with Mashed Corn, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, and Bagna Cauda paired with 2019 Ridge Estate Chardonnay; and strip loin with farro, charred broccolini, whipped feta and romesco sauce, served with 2018 Ridge Estate Cabernet. See full menu and purchase tickets on the website. Follow on IG @persephone_restaurant.


The reimagined garlic festival starts this weekend

The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival (gilroygarlicfestival.com), which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, has been rotated for 2021. Festival Gourmet Alley food is available for drive-through pickup at the Gilroy Presbyterian Church this weekend and next weekend. Advance ordering is required and pickup times are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday to Sunday. To order food, visit olo.spoton.com/60c932509adef3e513319d03. There is a farm-to-table dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays at Fortino Winery in Gilroy. Tickets cost $ 175; view the menu and get tickets at eventbrite.com/e/gilroy-garlic-festival-farm-to-table-dinner-tickets-159281644687.

Quick Bites, compiled by Tara Fatemi Walker, is your weekly publication on Santa Cruz County restaurants, food and drink. Send the articles to [email protected] (Sunday 7 p.m. deadline for this week’s column). Want real-time local food and drink news? Follow the Sentinel food team on Twitter (@santacruzfood) or on Instagram (@santacruzfood).

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