Dining Reviews

Better-Late-Than-Never Dungeness Crabs Arrive at Staff of Life

Staff of Life lands live crabs directly from crabbers

Dungeness crabs are shown in the cold case at Staff of Life. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

The season begins! The first of the better-late-than-never Dungeness crab season now fills the iced display cases at Staff of Life, a natural foods landmark with deep connections to our local fisherfolk. 

“We get them delivered live directly from the crabber,” a Staff of Life spokesperson told me. “No processor or middleman involved.” 

So if you’ve been hungering for luscious sweet super-fresh crab, hustle on over to Staff of Life, where cooked, cleaned, and cracked crab runs a mere $10.99 per pound.  

staffoflifemarket.com.

Saucy Pop-Up

Every casual dining restaurant and fast-food stand in Germany offers a version of currywurst, a messy, gooey, delicious creation of hot, serious sausage slathered in a curry-intensive ketchup. The roots of this unlikely marriage of India and Germany originated somewhere just after the second war. 

The good news is that the tireless entrepreneurs of Scrumptious Fish and Chips are now featuring something new at their pop-up events at the Santa Cruz Farmers’ Markets and local breweries. Yes, it’s a California-ish spin on the currywurst ketchup they’re calling Zau. No, it’s not a new Scrumptious menu item. 

We have always offered our curry ketchup, which has been so popular that we have begun to sell it in bottles,” explained Scrumptious co-founder Tim Korith. “The best way to describe Zau —a traditional German sauce that I have modified—is sweet and tangy. It really goes well with everything including fries, sausages, grilled meats, even breakfast eggs.”

The new bottled ketchup is available at the Scrumptious Fish and Chips food truck, at Sunnyside produce in Soquel, The Point Market, and, soon, online at zausauce.com. Could it join the must-have lineup of sauces on your own table next to Cholula and Sriracha? Try some and find out. 

“Our core menu still includes our signature Alaska cod, jumbo battered shrimp and British banger sausages from el Salchichero butchers,” Korith says. “We also still offer British sides such as mushy peas and pickled onions, plus loaded avocado chips and loaded chicken tikka masala chips.” 

I’m already hungry. For the pop-up schedule, visit: scrumptiousfc.com/find-us.

Persephone Update

Takeout and delivery on Saturdays at Persephone has been adjusted for easy access. Patrons can now call 831-612-6511 between 4:30 and 6:30pm and order dinner for pickup or delivery within 20-30 minutes. Notice time for online pickup has also been shortened. Place your order by 2pm for same-day pickup on Thursday and Friday. Closed Sunday-Tuesday. For details about lunch and dinner pickup times and delivery charges, go to: persephonerestaurant.com.

Food Notes

“We normally take time off in January,” restaurateur Patrice Boyle reminded me, “and this year it was particularly welcome.” Soif dining will reopen on Feb. 4. Soif Wine Shop remains open Thursday-Sunday, 2-8pm. Keep tabs on the latest at soifwine.com.

Garden guru Cynthia Sandberg is enjoying a vibrant set of small, open-air Love Apple Farms workshops that focus on designing productive organic vegetable gardens. Sold out through February, these classes have availability in March at their Scotts Valley nursery. For details and reservations, visit: growbetterveggies.com

Cafe Sparrow’s cassoulet is a tasty idea for a rich, traditional winter dish that is pretty complicated to make at home. Cafe Sparrow is offering a full-on family meal of duck and pork belly cassoulet, including a bottle of SCM Strong Pinot Noir, salad and bread pudding ($75 for two, $120 for four). The cassoulet is sold cold. Pickup available 4-7:30pm nightly. Delivery 4:15-7:45pm Monday-Saturday. Call 831-688-6238 or visit cafesparrow.com

Oswald now does duck two ways. There’s a mouth-watering duck breast with chorizo cornbread stuffing and pomegranate-cranberry sauce on the takeout menu, along with a duck Confit banh mi with jalapeño and cilantro and sweet/hot pickled daikon. Be still my heart!

oswaldrestaurant.com.

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