Written by Les on November 1st, 2013
Bantam is a fairly new restaurant in Santa Cruz that serves wood-fired pizzas (with local ingredient toppings), great snacks (appetizers), locavore seasonal creative vegetable dishes and salads (such as Early Girl Tomatoes). We’ve been to Bantam a few times now and have loved the food more and more at every visit. It is a good place for groups or couples and we even brought our 3 month old son one Friday evening (louder, lively setting). The setting is sparse with an open kitchen. The ambiance is lively from all of the talking tables as it is just all around a good spot for a fun weekend meal. We’ve taken friends from out of town and they have really appreciated the local and seasonal ingredients used in the creative dishes. The snacks are quite creative and we’ve tried them all: Carrot, turnip and green bean PICKLES, AVOCADO TOAST with sesame, chili and lime, Cherry tomato with BURRATA and tarragon, Warm marinated OLIVES (order all of them if you have a group of 4-6).
I just read on their facebook page that Wednesday is Hamburger Wednesday at Bantam, looks super tasty!
What does BANTAM mean you ask? A small breed of chickens I believe.
Check out their menu online as the food changes a bit by the season.
Open for dinner only.
Closed on Sundays.
Written by Les on May 23rd, 2013
I know there aren’t many of you looking for non-alcoholic drinks to sip on when your friends go out for cocktails but this is a great NA drink featured at the Paradox Hotel (Solaire Poolside Bar) in Santa Cruz. I am not exactly sure of the name of this drink but twice now I’ve just asked the bartender to make me a good NA drink and the photograph above shows off what they make!
For your drinking friends, they do offer some local beers on draft (Santa Cruz Ale Works i.p.a. and amber ale) and wine too of course. At the moment they only have Soju cocktails but they are inline for a liquor license beyond beer and wine. We like munch on their Marcona almonds.
You can order drinks and sit outside by their pool and sip away!
Cocktail Bar Menu
The Solaire does have a happy hour too:
Solaire Happy Hour
$5 Apps & Drinks
Sunday – Thursday
4:00PM – 7:00PM
Dinner 5:00PM -10:00PM
Happy Hour- 4:00PM- 7:00PM, SUN-THURS
For reservations, please call (831) 600-4545.
Linked Photos of the Pool
Written by Les on May 8th, 2013
This winter our friends from San Francisco drove down twice just to eat at Aptos BBQ with us. These same friends have tried lots of BBQ in San Francisco and say they love the smokey flavor at Aptos BBQ. They even claim that they haven’t found anywhere else in the Bay Area that can get that smokey taste in their meats. Their favorite … the smoked tri-tip sandwich. Both times when we finished our meals our friends bought more meat to take back for lunch-time sandwiches for the next week.
At Aptos BBQ you order at the counter and take a seat in the southern style dining room (with live music each night from what I hear). They do have sides such as the potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw that are also tasty. One of the best things about their sandwiches is that they serve them on garlic toast! In addition they have craft brews on draft with lots of tasty choices.
8059 Aptos St Aptos, CA 95003
Written by Les on May 8th, 2013
I made this one again tonight! It is a really tasty vegetarian tomato pasta sauce that you can throw together in one dish and easily get it on the table in a flash (well, 40 minute bake time).
Baked Pasta Sauce Recipe
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1, 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes + juice (I use fire-roasted)
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 jar (or mixed) black/greek olives &/or green olives
- 1 jar roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven 400F.
In a baking dish (9×13), pour olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Then add the tomatoes and all of the veggies (you can add mushrooms too) and mix a bit. Then top the mixture with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cook the pasta of your choice and put the baked sauce on top!
Written by Les on March 7th, 2013
Have you been to Baskin’ Robbins lately to pick-up an ICE CREAM CAKE?
These are two alternative homemade ice cream cakes we have made that won’t break the bank and they were great! We made the NERDS & Funfetti Ice Cream Cake for my brother-in-law and he thought we bought it (was he just being nice, not sure). The Peanut Buster Parfait Ice Cream Cake was made by a friend and it was so tasty.
Nerds Funfetti Ice Cream Cake Recipe
- Buy a Funfetti Box Cake, pack of NERDS candy, White Icing, & Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream (to class it up)
- Prepare & Bake Funfetti Cake as directed on box in a removable side cake pan.
- Let the cake cool. Use knife around sides of cake pan edge. Remove cake pan side. Then cut cake into two pieces on the side (to create a top and bottom piece). Then place the bottom portion of the cake onto a plate.
- Next, let your Breyer’s Vanilla ice cream soften a bit.
- Spoon the ice cream onto the bottom piece of the cake (don’t let it hang over the edges). Now place the top part of cake back on.
- Freeze the cake for a bit so it hardens (this makes it much easier to frost).
- Next, frost the cake on the top and sides.
- Sprinkle Nerds on top (and Skittles too if you have want to).
- Freeze again until you are ready to serve.
Written by Les on March 4th, 2013
Earl Campbell's Hot Links
Our Uncle is friends with Earl Campbell and was sent a bunch of Earl Campbell’s HOT LINKS in the mail, which we were lucky enough to enjoy. When they had us over to try them, we loved them and even passed on a pack to our Texas friends and they loved them too (they are a bit spicy so you have to enjoy that). So we set out to order a bunch more but this time with cheese: Hot-n-Cheddar Links! The packs are quite large so we split a shipment with friends. The links are pretty great to have in the freezer and pop out to make these tasty and easy dishes below.
You can eat these sausages grilled or cooked on the stove top with some sides but we also found three other recipes that worked really well with these links. One is an easy stew from Bon Appetit and the other is an easy Jambalaya Recipe.
UPDATE: The shipping costs are pretty high for these sausages but from our research it says that the Fremont, CA Walmart carries them!
Earl Campbell’s Sausages in these easy recipes:
- Easy Jambalaya Recipe
- This is a great weeknight dinner, super easy, fast and it will impress the weeknight crowd for sure, this is not a complex flavored true jambalaya – it is the weeknight, fast version. Serve with a salad.
- 1 Tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 red or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 pound sausage (use links above), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun Spices
- 2 Tablespoons Tabasco
- 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- Heat butter in larger saucepan.
- Add vegetables to pot.
- Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.
- Add sausage; cook 3 minutes.
- Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
- Stir in stock, Cajun Seasonings, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil.
- Add Rice. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Written by Les on March 2nd, 2013
Ok, so this is not difficult and it is not gourmet, it is just good!
My Aunt makes this breakfast casserole EGG BAKE (my husband calls it ‘French Toast Casserole with Sausage & Cheese’) every holiday when we are together. She also makes a really complicated Danish Pastry Wreath Recipe to accompany it. If you don’t have the time to make a homemade coffee cake to accompany this dish, make a box coffee cake (I love those too).
Egg Bake Breakfast Casserole Recipe
6 slices white bread/cubed
1 lb. cooked sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
Mike all together and refrigerate overnight.
Bake in a 9 X 13 pan at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes.