Happy Friday, hungry people. On the menu today, Pacific Gas & Electric is offering grants to small restaurants in its service area to help them recover from the pandemic, and local restaurateurs can apply through the end of the month. I always dream of a piña colada-inspired pastry from Emozioni Patisserie, and yet another local restaurant is adding brunch to their menu. And if you haven’t had the chance to stop by Blossom’s Farmstand & Coffeeshop in Corralitos, head inside, you won’t be disappointed.
There are a number of fun events to look forward to this weekend, including the return of Food Truck Fridays; a ping-pong tournament and beer outing at Discretion Brewing; a special winemaker’s dinner at Persephone; and the Pleasure Point Sip and Stroll.
Santa Cruz County restaurant owners, take a look at this: PG&E announced this week that it will donate $500,000 to the Restaurant Resilience Fund to help small independent restaurants. Local restaurant owners whose businesses are in PG&E’s service area can apply for grants of $3,000, which will be awarded by the California Restaurant Foundation. Restaurants can use the extra money to upgrade equipment, pay off debts and help retain employees. The program aims to help small restaurants get back on their feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and will prioritize minority and women-owned businesses. Last year, of 476 applications in PG&E’s Northern California service area, 109 were awarded grants; none have been awarded in Santa Cruz County, and a local PG&E representative believes this may be because local restaurants were unaware of the program. Restaurateurs can apply until April 30 on restaurantscare.org.
Brunch is booming across the county. Earlier this week I reported that Cruz Kitchen & Taps recently opened for brunch. Now the Malik Williams restaurant, the new gastronomic address in Aptos, will be open for brunch every Sunday after a successful Easter launch. Highlights of his current menu include a Benedict with lamb sausage and artichoke for $18; pancakes filled with apricots, feta and basil for $14; and a massive 16-ounce breakfast burger topped with hash browns, an egg, pork belly, and cheese that’s a must-see for $24. There’s also a variation of the steak and eggs with a 32-ounce, boneless, dry-aged rib eye for $139. As a bonus, customers receive a free mimosa to start the meal. Make your reservations at OpenTable.com. Brunch fans should also note new offerings from Humble Sea Tavern in Felton, including a crab omelet, fried chicken and waffles.
My family had been craving a tropical vacation, but so far it hasn’t been planned. This week, I discovered the best thing after sipping a piña colada on a beach: pineapple. baba to Emozioni Pastry. Pastry chef Crescenzo Pelliccia – aka Chef Enzo – transforms the traditional Neapolitan dish baba by filling it with chunks of fresh and juicy pineapple and a white chocolate and coconut ganache, which somehow enhances a pastry that was already perfect. The acid in the sweet pineapple pierces through the rich rum- and sugar-soaked sponge cake, and every bite is bound to a silky, coconut-flavored cream. I’ve never had a Chef Enzo creation that I didn’t love, but this one is a must. Check out Emozioni’s Instagram at @emozionipâtisserie to see when it’s available again, and find it at the Lago di Como restaurant bakery in Live Oak. More info on emozioni.cafe.
In my opinion, the cheerful Blossom’s Farmstore & Coffeeshop at the corner of Corralitos Road and Freedom Boulevard is the jewel in the crown of Corralitos Village. Inside the historic pink-hued Spanish-style adobe building is a treasure trove of local treats, and it’s well worth the trip to seek them out. Every time I stop for a coffee and a snack, I end up wandering through the different rooms, admiring the work of local artists and discovering new local handicrafts.
Upon entering the cozy interior, visitors will find a produce section filled with organic fruits and vegetables from nearby farms – watermelon radishes and celeriac sit alongside greens from John’s Farm Stand in Watsonville and half-baked vegetables. pints of Coastal Moon Farm grown by Corralitos blueberries, so sweet that once you taste them, you’ll swear you’ve never tasted them before. In the fridge, in addition to local products such as eggs from Pajaro Pastures, located just down the road, Blossom’s offers its own selection of fermented treats, including juns, kombuchas and krauts. I already mentioned that his beet kvass is the best i have ever had. My family also loves their tangy vegan kimchi, which has a great texture and the perfect amount of heat. (I caught my husband eating it more than once.)
In the apothecary, Blossom’s offers dozens of herbal remedies and skin care products. Owners Carine Fortin and Delmar McComb recently moved his farm to Aromas after six years in Corralitos and six years in Bonny Doon. There they cultivate the herbs for their tinctures, oils, balms, lotions and tonics, used to soothe and fortify the body.
If you can, take the time to grab a hot drink and a coffee-baked treat and enjoy some time for yourself in the cozy cafe or on the Blossom’s terrace. The atmosphere is so welcoming and full of magic, you’ll want to linger…. The farm stand is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info on blossomsfarm.com.
Food Truck Friday returns this week for its seventh season at Scotts Valley Skypark. When the weather warms up, these free Friday night events are a wonderful way for the whole family to spend a summer evening. Kicking off the season, Holopono, the food truck arm of Pono Hawaiian Grill, will be there with pupus, poke and plate lunches; Saucey’z brings its well-stocked fries and its famous crispy Brussels sprouts; Pana will be there with its delicious Venezuelan arepas; Taquizas Gabriel prepares tasty tacos; and Aunt LaLi’s ice cream truck offers sweet treats.
Musical guest The Paperback Ryders will perform a curated list of Beatles hits with a food truck twist, including “Let It Bean”, “Strawberry Shortcake Forever”, “Norwegian Wood Oven Pizza”, “Lettuce Be” and more. If you need a drink to wash those puns away, you’ll find it at the Beer and Wine Garden, where proceeds will benefit Scotts Valley Public Schools. Admission and parking are free, and friendly leashed dogs are welcome. This event takes place every Friday until the end of October. More info on foodtrucksagogo.com.
This weekend, local breweries in the Coast Chapter of the Bay Area Brewers Guide are celebrating Coast Brewer Weekend. The party starts at noon Friday at Discretion Brewing in Soquel with the release of Cool Cats Coastal Collab, a West Coast-style IPA made with Half Moon Bay Hop Dogma Brewery and Seaside’s Other Brother Beer Co., in 16-ounce cans. and on Draft. On Sunday, Discretion hosts its first annual pro-am style ping pong tournament. Brewery professionals and beer enthusiasts will compete in their own categories, and the winners will face off in the final match. Email Toph at [email protected] walk in. See the full list of events at drinkbaybeer.com.
This Saturday, sample beer and wine in the heart of Pleasure Point at Pleasure Point Sip and Stroll. From noon to 5 p.m., enjoy tastings at more than 20 local businesses and stores in the Pleasure Point neighborhood centered around 41st Avenue and Portola Drive. There are great restaurants in the area including Zameen At The Point, East Side Eatery, and Suda, so stick around for lunch or dinner. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. To visit pleasurepointsipandstrol.com for more information.
On Sunday, the Persephone restaurant in Aptos is hosting a special dinner with winemaker Sante Arcangeli John Benedetti. Chief Cori Goudge-Ayer has crafted a five-course menu to complement five Sante Arcangeli wines, including an appetizer of yellowfin tuna with pickled vegetables paired with a 2021 rosé and stuffed pasta of pork cappelletti with the 2019 Ananda pinot noir. Benedetti will discuss his wines and his oenological philosophy throughout the meal. Tickets are $175 per person. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.com.