Valentine’s Day cooking to warm the heart
Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon, the celebration of romance that also commemorates the martyrdom of two ancient seekers of truth, both named Valentine. These days we usually toast the day with a bit of bubbly. Pizza Mike of the Mountain does things a bit wilder, with a sense of play and a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes. Yes, for all of you who held your breath for this long-awaited treat, the heart shaped pizza is back! And it’s available at our own depot in pizza heaven, Mountain Mike’s at 3715 Portola Drive. This heart-shaped baby is available for the same price as a large single-topping pizza, $21.99 – the folks at MM tend to prefer a layer of crispy, curly pepperoni, but you’re free to select which topping you like. Please. romantic fantasy. Order your V-Day pizza for comfortable enjoyment on your own sofa, patio, dining table, bed, just the way you like it. Add the appropriate beverage of your choice—Birichino Rosé comes to mind and let the games begin! mountainmikespizza.com.
Two other Valentine’s Day ideas are special meals to Cafe Gabriella and mentone. At Gabriella, romantic every day of the year, the $75 prix-fixe dinner includes choices of rack of lamb, New York steak, chanterelle risotto, swordfish or duck breast preceded by oysters, Dungeness crab cakes and the other usual suspects. Five services, $75/person on Monday, February 14. Gabriella is also open for Sunday dinner for à la carte customers.
In Mentone, where the weekend lunch service has just started (12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.), your Valentine’s Day reservation ($90/person) includes Beau Soleil oysters, Caviar with Manresa brioche ($130 supplement), Caesar with Brassicas roasts followed by a choice of Gnocchis with truffle cream or Short Rib of beef with parsnips. Dessert choices are chocolate cream pot and pistachio crumble with whipped cream. Hurry for reservations! FYI: Mentone will be closed on Sunday, February 13 for normal service, but will be offering a special Super Bowl take-out menu for pickups between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Pan sliced pizza, fried chicken, wood-fired pizzas, and Caesar salad (plus spritz cocktails to go).
Tastes of the week
AT dwarf roosterwe were stunned by a surprising dish of royal trumpet mushrooms with wax beans, chard and herbed yogurt ($22), the beans and mushrooms swap earthy flavors in their luscious creamy sauce. And it was perfect with the excellent homemade Negroni ($12) and this addictive pancake of homemade salted butter bread ($5). And of Barcelonetawe were transported by a dish of roasted Brussels sprouts ($12). The humble winter vegetable was transformed by fried capers, pickled currants, Meyer lemon and romesco sauce. Amazing combination of flavors, but that’s what I always expect from this busy downtown diner. Don’t miss this dish, ditto the bright and tangy homemade pickled vegetables, especially the dark pink radish. Sexy flavors for just $4.
Even more humble
The humble sea The team is set to open its second Santa Cruz County bar in the historic House Cremer in Felton—Humble Sea Tavern. Lee DeGraw, the Humble Sea marketing manager says to expect a full menu of “elevated comfort food,” as well as handcrafted cocktails. Beers will still be brewed at the Swift Street bar, home to the outrageous Secret Garden, and the team will be bringing plenty of rotating taps to the new tavern. The oldest surviving structure in Felton, Cremer House was built in 1876 as lodgings for loggers during the great redwood boom of the late 19th century. Clandestine booze, gambling, and available women haunted the scene at the time. Fast forward to various general stores, beauty salons, and finally restaurants, and now Humble Sea Tavern. Stay tuned!