Hula’s is a good idea any day of the week. But especially on Mahalo Mondays—when 10 percent of proceeds benefits a selected local program. And especially now with the volcanic action on the Hawaiian Islands. Catch some of the aloha vibes, without the fiery lava, at our Santa Cruz Hula’s Island Grill, devoted to the retro tiki bars of the ’50s. Technicolor food and cocktails with those little paper parasols on the top—it’s a soothing trip back to another era when food was fun and fruit belonged in everything. Happy Hour tiki drinks cover the waterfront, from the blood orange martini to an uncensored house Mai Tai ($6 during Happy Hour). At Hula’s appetizers are called “pupus” and conjure visions of swaying palms, roaring surf, and endless summer. The crispy coconut shrimp rolls are barely legal, and the jalapeño bacon mac and cheese can induce out-of-body epiphanies. Yes, it is that good. Did I mention that Hula’s has one of those welcoming menus featuring lots of gluten-free temptations, from spicy seaweed salad to a stunning bit of fusion culinary concept—the South Seas fish taco. Try a Hula burger on gluten-free bun and see how the other half lives. Creative vegetarian listings as well. The possibilities of bowls, salads and creatively seasoned tempeh and tofu are pretty much endless. Your June visits to Hula’s on Mahalo Mondays will benefit the Diversity Center—outreach and education events to help build equality where LGBTQ+ people can thrive. Hula’s Island Grill 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Pupus by lava lamp! Check hulastiki.com for details.
So it’s official: the June 9 Pop-Up Breakfast at the Santa Cruz Community Farmers Market—the one featuring Chef Brad Briske of HOME restaurant is sold out! So that means you better hit the link on your device to book the July 28 breakfast at the Westside Market with Chef Katherine Stern of La Posta. And you best do it soon! The outdoor marketplace dining experience has captured the hearts and taste buds of everybody in our region, and for good reason. Nothing smells better than foods made right in front of your eyes—especially when the aromas of fresh strawberries, bacon and sausage on the grill are available in the open air. Sit with dozens of your friends and neighbors and break bread together. It’s why we live here. Go to santacruzfarmersmarket.org and reserve your place for the July 28 breakfast. $45.
Wine of the Week: Getting Doon
While ambling through the appealing Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room the other day, my eye snagged on a little bottle of Le Cigare Volant 2011. I say “little” because the bottle was in fact a split, une demi-bouteille, a half bottle for something in the vicinity of $12. I reckoned that this would make a perfect size to share over dinner and brought one of these home (along with two bottles of the wonderful Proper Claret 2015. The Cigare—upon which Wine Enthusiast bestowed a lavish 93 points—was a superbly balanced creation of almost equal portions Mourvedre and Grenache, with 20 percent Syrah and 9 percent Cinsault added to the blend. Supple and aromatic, with a spicy finish, this bold Rhône-style beauty was a distinctive treat. Good to know that the Davenport tasting room offers many such half bottles for those of us who love fine wines but rarely finish a full-size bottle in one or even two sittings. The view of the ocean from the tasting room’s front porch is worth the drive, as well.
BDV Tasting Room, on Hwy. 1, Davenport. Open daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m.