My 25th Birthday at Soif Restaurant & Wine Bar

Soif means “thirst” in French, and this Santa Cruz restaurant known for its small plates, wine bar, and cozy wine retail shop, definitely quenched our thirsts and satisfied our appetites on November 22nd. My fabulous parents rented the private room upstairs that overlooks the dining room and bar to celebrate my Quarter-of-a-Century Birthday. A few weeks before, my Mom and I had the fun task of studying the menu and selecting a smaller version to offer our guests, paired with wines of our choice.

When everyone arrived there were plates of almonds and marinated olives already on the table, soon joined by several cheese platters, and salumi platters. When it came time to decide on the appetizer and entrée, it was extremely difficult, even though I knew for weeks what the choices were going to be. But I knew I made the right decision when I laid eyes on the Crispy Five-Spice glazed chicken wings w/ marinated cabbage. Three wings sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds arrived on top of colorful cabbage.They were sweet, tangy and ended with just the amount of heat. The marinated cabbage was the perfect cooling accompaniment. They went deliciously well with both the Prosecco and the Austrian white wine that we had chosen.

For the entrée I had the most perfect, pillowy Yukon gold potato gnocchi, served with flavorful roasted Chanterelle mushrooms and wild arugula; the simple buttery sauce allowed the ingredients to shine. The smoothness of the Windy Oaks Pinot (a local wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains) went beautifully well with the delicate gnocchi.

Dessert was the hardest decision of all, but I couldn’t say no to homemade churros, soft in the middle and crispy and cinnamony on the outside, served next to a small cup of thick, rich hot chocolate -A heavenly birthday dessert definitely worthy of a candle. I decided to end the meal with an espresso, and a final glass of the bubbly Prosecco. It was a wonderful night with all the flavors I love, and of course the people I love too!

I wish I could reflect on everything that was consumed that night, but it would take too long for me to write (and you to read). So please enjoy the pictures and overview of everything we enjoyed!

Small Plates:

Roasted Marcona almonds
Marinated olives

Salumi Platter:

Salame Rosa

Cheese Platter:

Le Delice de Bourgogne – triple milk cow’s milk; France
Mad River Roll – ripened goat’s milk; California
Petit Agour – raw sheep’s milk; Basque
Taleggio – cow’s milk; Italy
Blu Val Chiusella – raw cheep and cow’s milk; Italy

Appetizer (choice of one):

Crispy Five-Spice glazed chicken wings w/ marinated cabbage

Endive salad w/ Butter pears, Gruyere & walnuts

Roasted Kabocha squash on baby Mizuna w/ toasted hazelnuts and Manchego cheese

Entree (choice of one – duck not pictured; too busy eating it):

Yukon gold potato gnocchi w/ roasted Chanterelle mushrooms & wild arugula

Red Wine braised beef cheeks w/ baby carrots & horseradish mashed potatoes

Crispy duck breast & leg confit w/ Romano beans & huckleberry gastrigue

Dessert to die for (choice of one):

Vanilla bean rice pudding w/ red wine poached dried plums

Apple walnut crisp w/ vanilla ice cream

Warm chocolate cake w/ espresso ice cream

Churros w/ hot chocolate

The Wines:

NV Soligo Prosecco
Prosecco di Valdobbi, Veneto, Italy

2007 Ecker “Von Stokstal” Gruner Veltliner
Donauland, Austria

2006 Windy Oaks “Estate Cuvee” Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, California

2006 Windy Oaks “Diane’s Block” Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant
105 Walnut Ave. Santa Cruz

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