Dave Kumec’s Mission Hill Creamery will be donating a portion of sales to local schools every Tuesday for the next two months. (Photo by Chip Scheuer.)

Dave Kumec, entrepreneur ofMission Hill Creameryartisan ice creams, is launching the second annual Scoops for Schools program benefiting Santa Cruz City Schools. Stop by the scoop shop at 1101 Pacific Avenue on a Tuesday during the next two months and order up your favorite designer flavor—we're partial to the caramel almond variety—and Mission Hill Creamery will donate 10 percent of the sale to a designated school. For example, if you order up something cool and creamy on March 11, your purchase will benefit Santa Cruz High; on March 18 the proceeds go to Branciforte Small Schools, on April 8 Harbor High benefits. You really need to stop by Kumec's inviting shop on Pacific Avenue to scope out the full roster of schools and dates. Or you could simply get in the habit of stopping by the Mission Hill Ice Creamery each and every Tuesday until the end of time. There are worse habits to acquire.

Buttery Lunch to Go: Often if I'm out in the Shoppers Corner area before lunch I'll stop by and grab one of The Buttery's mega fresh sandwiches like the Black Forest ham and pickled onion Joe's Favorite on onion roll, or the turkey basil with pesto aioli ($7.75 and enough for two). Add a spice-inflected salad, such as last week's Moroccan quinoa and roasted carrot creation, and you have the stuff of a major lunch. I loved this aromatic blend of quinoa, roasted carrots, raisins and garbanzos—something different and a great side for a sandwich. Of course you'll be adding an apple galette, or the mother of all local cookies, the pecan sandie, with that addictive rosette of semi-sweet chocolate frosting in the center. This cookie is an entire world tour of a cookie's must-have friends. Crushed toasted pecans. Chocolate buttery creamy frosting topknot. Butter and yet more butter flavor packed into the enormous cookie platform itself. OMG! This a cookie that requires two hands to lift, yet only 10 minutes to ponder and consume. Life-affirming, the pecan sandie. From The Buttery, at the corner of Soquel and Branciforte.

Au Midi, Dinner Only: Au Midi ownersMichel and Muriel Loubiere announce that starting this week the intimate Aptos bistro will end lunch service. Authentic French dinners will continue, as usual (comme d'habitude) from Tuesday to Saturday. And don't forget to make reservations.

Soif Continues to Charm:With appetizers like the seductive charcuterie plate — outstanding with something in the key of red, such as a well-balanced Grand Montmirail Gigondas, or Reinking Russian River Zinfandel made from very, very old vines. This week's ($15) plate offered a small pool of coarse-ground mustard topped with infant gherkins and caper berries. Around the wide margins of the plate were slices of intensely flavored wild boar salami, lavish sopressata and two egg-sized mounds of creamy chicken liver mousse. With toasts, and with a side of ciabatta with olive oil, this is living!

Things We Can't Live Without: Major Grey's Hot Mango Chutney. Any wine made by Jeff Emery. Those tiny blueberry muffins made every morning at the Westside Coffee Shop in the Almar Plaza (next to Safeway). New Leaf's house granola, available in a gazillion designer flavors, but my favorite involves almonds and cranberries!