Plant-based sourdough cinnamon rolls, Spanish octopus and dark-chocolate-covered dried apricots made for good eating this week. Plus, Gilman Brewing announces its opening day and Shanty Shack turns 6.
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Fool me thinking things might slow down as we head into the holiday season — Santa Cruz County’s food and drink scene has other plans, and I have the updates for you.
While the Central Coast Dungeness crab season is still closed, you can currently find fresh live crab from farther north at H&H Fresh Fish Co. in the Santa Cruz Harbor. In Santa Cruz, Gilman Brewing will open its new location on Soquel Avenue this Saturday and Shanty Shack Brewing is celebrating its 6th birthday with an art market, live music and special beers.
I ate very well this week, starting with a satisfying plant-based rice bowl and sourdough cinnamon roll at Honey B Market, which opened Tuesday in downtown Santa Cruz. A Spanish octopus dish with potatoes and aioli blew me and my fellow guests away at Home restaurant in Soquel. And my Christmas shopping went awry when I couldn’t stop myself from digging into the chocolate-covered dried apricots I found at Capitola’s Reef Dog Deli that I originally purchased as a gift.
Without further ado, let’s dig in.
While the local Dungeness crab season remains closed until at least Dec. 30, H&H Fresh Fish Co. received live Dungeness crab from Washington this week. This is the first live Dungeness the Santa Cruz-based fish supplier has been able to stock this season, so if you’re craving crab, head down to the shop in the Santa Cruz Harbor, underneath Johnny’s Harborside restaurant, to get yours. Live Dungeness is $19 per pound and cooked crab is $18 per pound. Fun fact that I learned from the H&H website: Our beloved West Coast crustacean is named after the town of Dungeness, Washington. More info at hhfreshfishco.com.
The team at Gilman Brewing weren’t kidding when they said Tuesday that the new Santa Cruz location on Soquel Avenue will open “very, very soon.” Just two days later, they announced that opening day is this Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. This is the fourth location for Berkeley-based Gilman Brewing, which joins Sante Adairius Rustic Ales’ Santa Cruz Portal and the still-unopened Beer Run Santa Cruz in a growing craft beer enclave in Midtown.
Lookout celebrated its second birthday at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center on Tuesday. Aside from meeting and chatting with nearly 100 members and their guests, the highlight of the evening was the food — all provided by locally owned businesses. Thank you to Movin’ & Shakin’ Cocktail Catering for the classy cocktails, Pana Venezuelan food truck for the melty, hot arepas (the Pabellon with black beans, mozzarella, shredded beef and plantains is my fave) and Cracked Cookies, Emozioni Patisserie and Make It Sweet for the desserts.
Honey B Market opened Tuesday, greeting guests with a sunny café full of plant-based treats. I stopped in at lunchtime for the Huni Bowl, a seasonal rice bowl brimming with nourishing ingredients. The winter bowl includes coconut yellow curry with roasted kabocha squash, nutty house-fermented chickpea lentil tempeh, tangy kimchi and peppery arugula salad over purple coconut rice.
It was one of the most satisfying lunches I can remember eating in a long time — but be sure to save room for dessert. I couldn’t resist the sourdough cinnamon “snail” rolled with cinnamon-dusted dates and probiotic cashew icing. Tender, fluffy and filled with warm spices, it was so good my friends and I just started giggling as we pulled apart the sweet layers — and, like everything at Honey B, it’s made without any refined sugar. “Cinnamon rolls are my love language,” owner Katie Belanger told me. I could definitely taste the love. Find out more about Honey B in my story from early December. Find Honey B at 1005 Cedar St. in downtown Santa Cruz on Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At a celebratory dinner at Home restaurant in Soquel this week, I was blown away by an octopus dish. Grilled, tender — never tough — Spanish octopus lay over roasted potatoes and tangy, creamy, caper-flecked aioli. I adore octopus, but even other guests who weren’t familiar with it kept returning for more. Chef Brad Briske originally crafted this dish during his days at La Balena in Carmel, and while he is now committed to sourcing fish from only Monterey Bay, his Spanish octopus with potatoes has become such a fan favorite that he still occasionally brings it out for special dinners and parties. Keep an eye out for it on Home’s dinner menu through the weekend before it disappears again.
Looking for a tasty stocking-stuffer for the foodie in your life? Reef Dog Deli has dark-chocolate-dipped, sea salt-flecked dried apricots and persimmons from Cosentino Family Farm in San Jose, both $14 for about 8 ounces. Originally founded in 1945, Cosentino is the last working orchard in San Jose and grows a diverse number of stone fruit, persimmons, apples, figs, berries and more. These chocolate-dipped treats would make a sweet gift, but be warned: I intended to give them to family members but my husband and I devoured a whole bag in a moment of weakness. I have no regrets, and now I have an excuse to go back to pick up more and order one of Anthony Kresge’s incredible sandwiches. Read my profile on the local chef and the gourmet fare at Reef Dog Deli here.
Shanty Shack Brewing on Fern Street in Santa Cruz is celebrating six years in business on Saturday. This casual watering hole filled with tie-dye, local art and good vibes knows how to throw a party. Sip and shop at a holiday art market with a dozen artisans from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., then dance the night away with local rockers The Cruzers at 5 p.m. and Harry & the Hitmen at 6:30 p.m. Owners Brandon Padilla and Nathan Van Zandt are releasing special beers, lighting the fire pits and sending out good vibes. Visit shantyshackbrewing.com for more info.
Make your reservations now for a special Christmas Eve lunch at Chocolate in downtown Santa Cruz. Chef David Jackman is offering his most popular dinner items and a few specials, as well as his decadent desserts, hot chocolate and truffles. Chocolate will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with seatings until 4:30 p.m. Call 831-427-9900 for reservations. More info at chocolatesantacruz.com.