It’s a sunny Sunday in Santa Cruz, there is a light breeze in the air, and the smell of Grilled Homemade Banana Bread is wafting lazily through the high ceilings of the Santa Cruz Art Bar. The click of heels on concrete floors and the subtle sounds of chopping knives, accompanied by the pop of a champagne cork and the subdued sounds of a kitchen being managed welcomes Mothers and their families in through the always opendoors of the tannery turned coffee shop: Mother’s Day brunch has just begun.
Last weekend Zachary Mazi, the co-owner and head chef of the new pop-up LionFish Supperclub hosted a midday brunch for Mothers Day at the Art Bar and Cafe in the Tannery.
The Art Bar itself has a rustic industrial feel to it, but now that it is covered floor to ceiling in art (Including a giant paper mache cows head) it is at once beautiful enough to feel special, and casual enough to make you feel comfortably at home.
The Art Bar and Cafe is bustling with activity. Zachary and his team of food magicians are quietly and efficiently crafting their own works of art, laid out on platters for the waiting Mothers and co.
The spread was indescribably good. The brunch started at 11 o’clock, and went until around 2, giving the attendants 3 hours to enjoy the seven course meal served by LionFish Supperclub.
First up on the list was a Grilled Banana Bread (Gluten free!) with a Candy Cap Mushroom butter. Although mushrooms don’t leap to most people’s minds when they think of breakfast foods, you would never know that the buttery substance you were slathering on your banana bread wasn’t filled with caramel sauce and ambrosia.
Second was the Cheese and Meat Board, stacked high with charcuterie, jam, cheese, and pickles. Paired with a grapefruit and orange
blossom champagne and blackberries, this was the perfect palate cleanser for the next course.
Griddled asparagus fried in duck fat, topped with an over easy duck egg (also fried in duck fat) topped with popcorn (also covered in duck fat), with a black hawaiian sea salt tieing it all together. If you have never had popcorn on your duck fat fried over easy eggs and asparagus, you should definitely start today.
The next course was a Radicchio Salad of shredded red cabbage mixed in with local bacon lardons and mustard. The salad was at the same time light and filling, the bacon adding a complementary flavor to the mustard and was paired nicely with a Port wine and ginger syrup with spanked basil cocktail.
Following the salad came a Smoked Salmon platter with bread, garden variety cream cheese, two beautifully colored heirloom tomatoes topped with capers. One of the most colorful dishes of the day, it was just as pleasing to eat as it was to look at.
The second to last course was a shredded duck confit hash with purple potatoes. If you are a vegetarian, this meal is not for you, but if you are a meat enthusiast then this dish will have you begging for the recipe. The duck hash with potatoes is just like mother used to make, if your mother is a 5 star chef with access to the highest quality, local, organic food in Santa Cruz. Not-too-salty, not-too-sweet, filling you up, but leaving just enough room for the final course. The cocktail for choice for this meal was the Cucumber-Elderflower cocktail, complete with cucumber toppings!
And finally, a classic caesar salad. This caesar came topped with croutons, parmesan, and anchovies tossed in a caesar dressing. It was of course delicious, and rounded up the entire edible experience wonderfully.
Over all, the LionFish Supperclub Love-Your-Mother Champagne Brunch was a charming and soul feeding experience that anyone would be lucky to share with their mother. Guests leave feeling perfectly full, with none of the side splitting uncomfortable fullness you can sometimes get when being fed such delicious food, but at the same time not kept waiting for ‘just one more thing’ to eat.
Zachary and his team came by each table at every course to describe the meal, to ask you if you liked it and to ask for your opinion in person. As in everything LionFish does, they found the perfect balance between high class, and home cooked; welcoming and professional.
Their food pushes you to try new things you never knew you loved, but also welcomes you back to your trustworthy favorites with their own
If you want to get in on one of the newest and most delicious pop-ups in town, you can check them out in the Food Lounge off center street, or go to one of their next events.