EATERS DIGEST: Sensational local salami, special wine events and a lambic extravaganza at Lúpulo

Foustman's Salami is made using sustainably raised turkey, beef, lamb and pork.
(Via Facebook)

San Juan Bautista-based Foustman’s Salami takes Italian dry to a new level, Rootstock and Wine & Roses celebrate local wine this Saturday and Gueuzerie Tilquin takes over Lúpulo in Santa Cruz next weekend.

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Lily

Happy Friday! After a festive Halloween night, I took this week to slow down, bundle up and eat some vegetables in anticipation of a busy holiday season. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving will be here in less than three weeks.

But first! There’s lots to enjoy before the holidays really set in. Monday nights just got tastier now that Home restaurant has decided to open on this much-maligned day of the week, while Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen Beachside in Aptos plans to close for the winter for remodeling.

Local salumeria Foustman’s Salami became a pantry staple in the Belli household this week, and would make a great addition to holiday charcuterie boards. This Saturday, wine enthusiasts have their choice between two premier wine tasting events. Beer lovers should be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this Eaters Digest for important information on an exclusive lambic event next weekend at Lúpulo Craft Beer House in Santa Cruz.

Ready for a drink and a bite of salami? Read on.

News

The Santa Cruz area might feel like a big city, but it still has its small-town quirks — like how most restaurants are closed on Mondays. But we can now add one more to the short list of places to eat out the first day of the week: Home restaurant in Soquel will be open on Mondays for dinner starting next week, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. An extra opportunity to enjoy chef Brad Briske’s hyperlocal, constantly changing menu is a win for industry folks, weekday celebrations and anyone with a case of the Mondays. Make reservations at homesoquel.com.

While we’re on the subject, what are your favorite places to eat on Mondays in the county? I’m putting together a guide on where to eat on the trickiest day of the week and would appreciate your input. Email me at lily@lookoutlocal.com or text me.

Renovations to Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen Beachside will include a new bar area and space for large gatherings.
(Via Venus Spirits)

Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen Beachside in Aptos will close temporarily this winter while it undergoes interior renovations. The last day of service will be Sunday, Nov. 13, and the restaurant aims to reopen in late spring next year. The second restaurant in the Venus Spirits family opened in June after some very light remodeling of the Café Rio space — not much more than a new coat of paint and a patio refresh. Now, owner Sean Venus plans to move the bar area from the back of the restaurant to the front corner — the better to show off his award-winning, Westside-crafted spirits and artisan cocktails — and invest in some other changes to make it his own. The design has been made in collaboration with Stripe Design and William C. Kempf, Architects, and will include “modern and beach elements, while drawing inspiration from both the Westside location and the distillery.” Make reservations for the next two weeks at venusspirits.com.

Eat this

Dry salami is often on hand at my house for a quick snack, but it’s not usually something we get too excited about. That changed recently when we discovered Foustman’s Salami at the Westside farmers market. Drawn in by the pretty packaging, we went home with a pork salami with fennel and pepper and a lamb salami with garlic. The flavor was anything but mundane — in particular, the rich, slightly gamey flavor of the lamb is balanced with bites of black peppercorn and plenty of sweet garlic. Inspired by our tasty treats, we opened up a jar of good French mustard from the back of the pantry, brought out some fat Castelvetrano olives from the fridge and had an impromptu party in the middle of our kitchen.

This San Juan Bautista-based, family-owned company produces Old World-style naturally cured salami in more than a dozen different flavors. Owners Justin and Jessica Foust come from a long line of Italian salumists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now use sustainable California-raised meats in all of their products. The salamis are cured using sea salt and celery juice powder, without added nitrates. In addition to pork, Foustman’s also makes salamis entirely out of turkey, lamb and beef.

Foustman’s eye-catching packaging makes its salami very giftable. It’s available at local markets throughout the county and at the Westside and Scotts Valley farmers markets. Check out all its flavors and find a purveyor near you at foustmans.com.

Events

Two premier wine events will be held Saturday. In Santa Cruz, the inaugural Rootstock event will be held at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event kicks off with a panel discussion on the history of wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains, featuring six winemakers and viticulturists, followed by a grand tasting of Santa Cruz Mountains wines from 15 local wineries. Tickets are $150 for the full event or $75 for the grand tasting, available only at santacruzmah.org. Rootstock is a fundraiser for the MAH.

Also this Saturday, the 39th Wine & Roses returns to the Crosetti Building at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. This silent auction and fundraiser supports health and wellness services in the Pajaro Valley through the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust. Sample wines and beers from notable vintners and local breweries, nibble hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurants and bid on competitive prizes. Tickets are $100 each or $160 for a pair at pvhealthtrust.org.

Lúpulo Craft Beer House is the only bar in California that will host the Tilquin Fruit Extravaganza.
Lúpulo Craft Beer House is the only bar in California that will host the Tilquin Fruit Extravaganza.
(Courtesy of Lúpulo Craft Beer House)

Beer geeks, clear your calendars on Saturday, Nov. 12, and head to Lúpulo Craft Beer House in Santa Cruz for the Tilquin Fruit Extravaganza. The downtown taproom is one of just 20 bars in the U.S. and the only one in California to receive 10 special kegs of fruited lambics from Brussels-based brewery Gueuzerie Tilquin.

If you like beer but have no idea what that sentence means, let me break it down for you. Lambics are a traditional style of beer made using spontaneous fermentation, which results in a distinctive dry, often tart flavor. Lambics of different ages are sometimes blended together, and often blended with fruit. After it was established in 2009, Gueuzerie Tilquin earned quick fame in the beer world for its expert blends and for being the only brewery that was allowed to blend together beers from other iconic — and much older — Belgian lambic brewers like Cantillon, Boon and Lindemans.

For this event, brewer Pierre Tilquin created 10 experimental beers with rarely seen fruits, including quince, pear, apple, black currant, blueberry, gooseberry, elderberry, peach, white currant and raspberry. All the beers will be available on draft and will be joined by an impressive collection of bottled lambics and other Belgian beers that Lúpulo manager Tom Bentley says will showcase the versatility of the style. “Lambic is so fascinating because of the specificity of location and its production,” says Bentley. “It’s a fun thing to discuss while hanging out over a plate of food.” While VIP tasting is sold out, the event opens to the public at 11:30 a.m. and will go until the kegs run dry. More info at lupulosc.com.

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