Paul Cocking is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Gabriella Cafe. Photo by Chip Scheuer.
Founded only yesterday—December 1992—Gabriella has been doing its seasonal, local, artistic thing for 20 years. Unbelievable. If you haven’t stopped by lately, you can find out why Paul Cocking’s landmark cottage is still the most romantic dining room in town. Gabriella Café—910 Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz. 831.457.1677.Here’s a Delicious Holiday Gift: A 2013 Outstanding in the Field al fresco dining gift certificate. Gift certificates are available in $200 denominations, and here’s a quick snapshot of where the table will be spread in North America next year. May/June: California; July: Pacific Northwest, B.C. (Canada) and the Rockies; August: Upper Midwest to Northeast; September: Northeast to Mid-Atlantic; October: the South; Early November: Arizona and Southern California. Eighty events are planned from May into November. All schedule details will be in by early March. Tickets go on sale on the first day of spring—Wednesday, March 20.
Is This the Year You Let Someone Else Cook Christmas Dinner?: Think about an only-in-Santa Cruz Christmas meal spent watching the surf—and the surfers—right outside the window. Think Aquarius in the beachfront Dream Inn. On Tuesday, December 25, Aquarius offers a four-course holiday menu, from 12:30 until 9:30pm. The $55 price (not including tax and gratuity) opens with house-cured salmon, followed by your choice of wild arugula salad with hazelnuts and goat cheese, or two-mushroom velouté, or pan-seared sea scallops. Entrée choices include grilled veal chop, or whole striped bass, duck confit, or sweet-potato gnocchi with brown butter kale. Each entree arrives with luscious side accessories. Desserts range from chocolate pecan tart with caramel gelato (whoa!) to Christmas trifle with whippedcream or maple spice cake with sweet mascarpone and orange-ginger syrup. Chef Brian Drosenos is an expert cuisinartist, so prepare to be enchanted. The view is a value-added Christmas gift. For reservations, contact Aquarius at 831.460.5012.