Dining Reviews

Pop-up Dining Pops Up Everywhere

din popupSo many of us loved last season’s pop-up breakfasts at the Westside Farmers Market that—you guessed it—there will be more.

Starting May 31, Erin Lampel and company of Companion Bakeshop will kick off the Farmers Market Pop-up season on Saturday, May 31 at 10 a.m. The menu, created on the spot from market ingredients and serenaded by live music, begins with warm biscuits and blueberry preserve, followed by young kale salad and El Salchichero sausage. Thick-cut sourdough with farm egg and green garlic hollandaise leads into a roast of seasonal veggies, followed by dessert of Garden Variety fromage blanc mousse with macerated strawberries. Hungry yet? You’ll need to bring your own plate and silverware, and plan on a two-hour dining experience among like-minded gastronomes.

Tickets are $33 are available at santacruzfarmersmarket.org. Bring your sweetheart, and prepare to meet your new best friends.

The Farmers Market pop-ups continue with a June 21 event at the Scotts Valley Market featuring chef Brad Briske of Carmel’s La Balena (former Gabriella chef), followed by four more breakfast events throughout the summer. Stay tuned!

And stay hungry … Also, don’t forget the feast of Italian spaghetti and meatballs, plus side dishes—all given a special expert touch by cuisinartist Jozseph Schultz—at the Noche Azul Pop-up Dinner Party & CD release, June 1 at 418 Front Street, starting at 5 p m.  The $15 admission gets you a major dinner (you can purchase wine and beer at the event), plus live music by Paul Rangell, Emily Abbink, Irene Herrmann and other musical guests—with non-stop films screened in the background.

No Coincidences!

On June 8, you’ll have another chance to sample the incomparable al fresco, on-site cookery of Jozseph Schultz as he and his cooking team unveil their magical movable wok and cater another installment of the infamous Avant Garden Party.

The afternoon soiree combines the culinary soundtrack of Jozseph Schultz with a suite of new music performances. Chef Schultz pulls out all the stops — intriguing, surprising, often mysteriously spiced (and never, ever boring) appetizers, finger foods and small plates will be served throughout the afternoon. And yes, there will be wine—a lovely selection of premium vintages from Alfaro Family Winery and Bonny Doon Vineyards and others.

Also to tempt your palate will be a Gung-Fu Style Tea Pouring offered by Hidden Peak Teahouse. It’s hard to think of how you can enjoy this much culinary and musical culture for $35 (advance) $30 (advance/senior); $15 (advance/student). At the door, five dollars more in each category.

The Avant Garden Party will be held at 2701 Monterey Ave., Soquel, 425-3526.

Dollars for Dining

From biz wiz Teresa Thomae comes the heads up about a new Restaurant Seminar Series aimed at helping restaurateurs increase profits and lower costs. Sounds like a tasty plan, especially in the current economic environment.

The series of three seminars begins Wednesday, June 11, with “Customer Service Strategies”; Tuesday, June 24 covers “Cost Controls to Increase Profits,” and the Thursday, June 26, session is on “12 Steps to Sales Growth.”

Classes are $15 each, and run from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in Cabrillo College’s Horticulture Center Room 5005 at the top of campus.

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in journalism, painting, music, woodworking, winetasting, trail running, reiki, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir.

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