No matter how you plan it, dinner guests always seem to end up in the kitchen. So it makes a lot of sense to have a dinner party right in the kitchen to start with—where guests can soak in all the warmth, the delicious smells and the good feels.
In the case of an epicurious lifestyle—it’s a hip warehouse-style commercial kitchen located in the historic Seabright Cannery building in Santa Cruz. The high-ceilinged space at 104 Bronson St is surrounded by thriving local businesses like Verve Coffee Roasters, Doug Haut Custom Surfboards and Beckman’s Bakery, so the first thing you notice is the intoxicating aromas of coffee roasting and bread baking.
Owner/chef Adrienne Megoran formerly used the kitchen for her popular catering business, but recently switched over to hosting private parties there. And now she is launching two new monthly meals for the public: a meet-the-farmer supper club series and a family-style brunch.
“This is a really fun place to come. It’s like having your own restaurant for the night,” says Megoran. “Everybody always has a good time.”
The kitchen is strung with bistro lights and garlands of corks. Her ten-burner stove sits in the back with the stainless steel prep counters, while the front space is decorated with whimsical touches and dominated by a Douglas fir farmhouse table that seats 20 guests and was handmade by her husband Peter, a native of Northern Ireland.
The couple actually moved to Northern Ireland in 2008 with the idea of helping out on a family farm, but ended up running a bistro at the Ton Rory pub in the town of Dundrum for three years.
But the Irish sojourn didn’t really change Megoran’s culinary approach, which she describes as “rustic elegance.” Born and raised in Santa Cruz, the self-taught chef caught the cooking bug while living for several years in San Francisco.
She cooks with the seasons and her dishes reflect a little Italian flair, with homemade focaccia at every dinner.
“Cooking is just something that I’m good at and I like to do,” she says. “I’m very creative at putting together flavors that you wouldn’t normally expect.”
Private events at an epicurious lifestyle run the gamut from wedding rehearsal dinners and family reunions, to baby showers and birthday parties. Kids’ parties usually include interactive elements like pizza making or cookie decorating, while adult get-togethers often feature DJs or live music for dancing the night away.
“We’ve had some crazy parties here, but we always say: what goes on in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen!” Megoran laughs.
She prepares a four-course menu in consultation with the host of each event, beginning with appetizers passed by two servers as guests mingle and talk.
The sit-down phase of the evening includes an amuse bouche, salad course, main dish, dessert and always some element of surprise that she chooses to delight guests. All events are BYOB and cost on average $55 per person.
An epicurious lifestyle was awarded a Sustainable Kitchen certificate by CUESA for cooking with the seasons, and using only sustainable meats and fish and as much organic produce as possible.
The unique space can accommodate a maximum of 55 seated diners at two long tables or up to 250 people standing. Tents are available to extend the space outdoors in the evening.
For her new public events, Megoran plans to start “A Farmer’s Affair” on the first Saturday in April, with the idea of preparing the entire menu using fresh seasonal produce from the featured farm. Only 20 tickets will be available for each dinner, giving strangers a good chance to get to know each other and the farmer.
The monthly brunches are similar, with limited tickets available and passed sweet and savory dishes. The first brunch—held March 19—included warm cinnamon rolls, yogurt parfaits, pancetta and gorgonzola strata, chorizo and potatoes, bacon, housemade sausage patties and salad composed of baby arugula, roasted grapes, whipped goat cheese and honeyed almonds.
“I think it’s nice to eat family-style, when people who don’t know each other pass the bowls they start to talk to each other,” she says. Suggested wine and beer pairings are made on the signup page.
An epicurious lifestyle also hosts an annual Sip & Shop event for the holiday season, featuring local artisans, jewelry and gifts.
To join in on the public events, just go to the website www.anepicuriouslifestyle.com and sign up for their newsletter so you can be notified of upcoming farmer dinners and brunches.
To inquire about holding a tasty private party at their lively event space, simply fill out the form located on the website and you will be contacted. Or you can phone Adrienne directly at 831.588.7772.
an epicurious lifestyle
104 Bronson St. #13 • Santa Cruz