Takeout Santa Cruz: How to bring the best in holiday dining home

Home in Soquel does not disappoint.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

From the fancy feasts of Home, Soif and Alderwood to the down-home eating of Mission St. BBQ and Kianti’s, Christmas and New Year’s feasts are still at hand amid the pandemic.

Eating out must wait — even our newest favorite version that involves fresh air and fresh perspectives. So with outdoor dining caput until at least Jan. 8, when the next COVID-19 check-in for our Bay Area Region will happen, our focus this holiday season turns to eateries that are using to-go to make a go of it.

Some places that went all-in on outdoor dining and other business models, such as Venus Spirits, will temporarily close and wait out the latest pandemic shockwave.

But others are hoping special to-go holiday meals, take-and-bake options and whatever else their creative imaginations can cook up will get them through this latest moment of 2020 challenge. We recently profiled some in our “Delivery done right” feature. Today, we continue with takeout options that include prix fixe menus, family pack BBQ and more.

The classico that is El Palomar

El Palomar is a local institution.
(Via El Palomar)

How many scenes of clinking margarita glasses over heaping plates of nachos can we remember at El Palomar?

This historic ballroom location in downtown Santa Cruz has always been a place to gather, but now, during COVID-19, we can bring the spirit home with their five “Family Packages.”

These are an affordable way to serve a small group, complete with all the fixings like beans, rice, homemade tortillas, chips and salsa. Try the Tortilla Soup Package for a good winter warm-up.

👉 Place your order: Here. Curbside pickup at the back entrance of 1336 N. Pacific next to the parking garage.

Parmesan Popover and more at Alderwood

Elevated prix fixe takeout? Yes, indeed. Three courses, with options within each category (and a little pre-meal Parmesan Popover nibble as well), for $50 per person.

That sounds like a pretty nice holiday date night option, when you are forced to have that date at home.

👉 Place your order: Menu here. Call 831-588-3238 to order and pick up at 155 Walnut Ave. in downtown Santa Cruz.

‘Home’ is where many options still remain

It’s a shame that we can’t cozy into the sweet little house that is Brad Briske’s Home restaurant in Soquel right now. Thankfully, we can order some incredible takeout.

And we can find Home goods at the Farmers’ Markets. And we can also order from the excellent Take and Bake menu, with items like 32 ounces of soup or an amazing cassoulet.

👉 Place your order: Menu here. Call 831-419-1191 to order, then pick up curbside 3101 N. Main St. in Soquel.

Don’t forget the bread at La Posta

Bread from La Posta.
(Via La Posta)

La Posta, our spot-on Italian neighborhood restaurant, still strives to provide us the same beloved dishes. Special multi-course holiday menus, priced per person, are all packed up and ready to heat and serve.

Hanukkah, Christmas and Capodanno (aka New Year’s) menus are available. And definitely don’t forget to order a loaf of their amazing bread.

👉 Place your order: Call 831-457-2782 or 831-457- 9782 or email lapostarestaurant@gmail.com to place order and La Posta will confirm. Menu and other details here. Pickup at 538 Seabright Ave. in Santa Cruz.

Make Pad Thai at home with some SCMB beer

Pad Thai from Han Loh
(Via Han Loh)

Community building through beer is what Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is all about, and their consistent collaborations with local producers and food folks continues amid the pandemic.

You can not only tap into a lengthy beer pick up program (or the advent calendar of 24 16-ounce cans of beer dropped right at your door), you can also order meal packs and the extra special Pad Thai kit from Hanloh Thai that serves 4-6 people.

👉 Place your Pad Thai kit order and get pickup or delivery details: Here

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Kianti’s bake-at-home for the kids

This is a great option when the kids need a little bit of cheering up. The bake-at-home pizza kit is interactive, and comes with all the things you would ever need, down to the flour for dusting your counter.

Instructions and a how-to video can be found at kiantis.com/virtual-fun. Each kit is $5 and serves one kid.

👉 Place your order: Here. Curbside pickup at 1100 Pacific Ave. in downtown Santa Cruz.

Upscale your takeout with Soif

Sister to La Posta, Soif is our equally beloved downtown spot that is also offering tempting multi-course holiday menus, priced per person. Savory Noodle Kugel, anyone? Chef Tom McNary, also founder of Carried Away in Aptos, is a pro at thinking up inventive, upscale take-out.

👉 Place your order and get delivery and pick-up options: Here

Bring on the BBQ with Mission St.

BBQ for the whole family! It’s a much better option than a bucket of chicken from KFC, don’t you think?

This local favorite offers five different “Family Packs,” ranging in servings of meats and sides to serve two up to “The Big Twenty” which comes with four loaves of garlic bread and serves 20.

👉 Place your order: Here. Curbside pickup at 1618 Mission St. in Santa Cruz.

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David Kinch’s variety of options

Chef David Kinch, the Santa Cruz resident who won an Emmy for his role in PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef,” is staying busy this holiday season despite the pandemic slowdown.

If you’re ready to spend some money, cross your fingers and hope that there still might be some Christmas Eve Family Meal dinners left for pick up at his highly lauded Manresa in Los Gatos. Closer to home in Aptos, pick-up Christmas Eve Dinner also is being offered at Mentone.

Over at another Kinch spot, The Bywater, also in Los Gatos, you can order a ton of different packages for pickup through Dec. 23. Jambalaya kits, Charcuterie Packs or a Christmas Dinner Take And Bake with a California Spirits Tasting Trio could be a holiday gift unto itself. Separate from holiday time, The Bywater offers a great BBQ Sundays takeaway menu.

Kinch’s wallet friendly option is to pre-order baked goods from Manresa Bread, including make-at-home mix options like Einkorn waffles and rye mocha brownies. Definitely don’t skip getting a giant Kouign Amann for Christmas morning. There will be a holiday pop-up on Dec. 23 at Mentone in Aptos, making it very convenient to stock up on treats for you and yours.

Fresh bread from Manresa Bread.
(Via Manresa Bread)

👉 Place your order and get pick-up details: Manresa Here, The Baywater Here, Manresa Bread Here, Mentone Here.