“What Is Bitcoin?” Fireside Chat & Dinner – March 21, 2014, 6pm

“So what is Bitcoin, anyway?”

Join us for an evening of animated discussion and exploration of what Bitcoin is (and isn’t) and how it works with local tech guru Danny Thorpe.

No degrees in mathematics or secret decoder rings are required – Mr Thorpe excels and delights in creating colorful metaphors to illustrate complex topics in everyday terms.

Topics will include:

Bitcoin Mechanics

  • What is Bitcoin, where did it come from, and how does it work?
  • The Blockchain – the public ledger
  • The Wallet – the vault that contains only a key
  • The Hash – sign here with your digital omelette

Bitcoin Laid Bare

  • Analysis of Bitcoin praise and criticism
  • Facts, fictions, and lessons learned in recent headlines

Bitcoin for Merchants

  • The advantages, costs, and risks of accepting payment, compared to cash and credit cards.

Bitcoin for Consumers

  • The advantages, costs, and risks of buying with Bitcoin, compared to cash and credit cards.

Common Sense Security Practices

  • (that no-one in the headlines followed)

Our goal is to present balanced coverage of Bitcoin features and criticisms so that you may develop your own informed opinion about the emerging world of cryptocurrency. This is not a recruitment meeting, political rally or sales pitch. The only thing we’re selling is dinner!

Dinner will be served following the presentation and discussion session.

Bitcoin Fireside Dinner Menu


  • Hummus with pita bread
  • Spanakopita
  • Goat Cheese with lemon & thyme served with flatbread crisps
  • Dried figs stuffed with feta, wrapped with sage and prosciutto


Greek Style with kalamata olives, feta, bell pepper, red onion and cucumber on lettuce


Choice of
Roasted lamb
Moussaka (vegetarian)


  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Stewed mixed Vegies (green beans, peas and tomatoes)


  • Honey cake
  • Baklava
  • Sesame seed crunch
  • Greek almond cookies
  • Fresh and dried fruits


When: Friday, March 21st 2014 at 6pm
Where: The Quail & Thistle Tea Room, 911 Capitola Ave, Capitola 95010
Cost:  $40 per person, inclusive of class and dinner.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday March 6 and will be available for purchase at The Quail & Thistle or online at Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Update: Ticket sales at BrownPaperTickets are now closed. However, we do still have seats available for this Bitcoin dinner. Please call us at (831) 477-1798 or stop by the restaurant during business hours to check availability.


Your Speaker:  Danny Thorpe, co-owner of The Quail & Thistle with wife Cindy Fairhurst-Thorpe, is a long time Santa Cruz resident and software architect. He worked his way up through the ranks to Chief Scientist in the Delphi software tools group at Borland, co-founded the Google Gears project at Google, contributed to Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Azure at Microsoft, and in recent years has been building security, authorization and authentication infrastructure at Dell Software. He actually did earn his degree in mathematics and holds a patent on a very obscure steganography technique that real cryptographers would simply laugh at – if they could find the data.

We Now Accept Bitcoin!

The Quail & Thistle Tea Room is pleased to announce that it will accept Bitcoin digital currency as payment for restaurant meals and catering services effective Saturday February 22, 2014!

bitcoin_accepted_hereRestaurant patrons will now have the option to pay their bill using Bitcoin digital currency. On request, the Q&T staff will present the bill with a Bitcoin payment address QR code (bar code) and payment amount in BTC. The customer uses their smartphone camera to scan the QR code into their Bitcoin wallet application to send the payment for the bill.

“The flow is a little different from what folks are used to with credit card transactions.” explains Quail & Thistle co-owner Danny Thorpe. “In a credit card transaction, the vendor’s credit card processor “pulls” payment from the customer account using the information on the credit card. In a Bitcoin transaction, the customer “pushes” payment to the vendor’s Bitcoin address.

“Based on an internet search of local businesses, we believe The Quail & Thistle is the first restaurant in Santa Cruz County to accept Bitcoin payments.”

Why Bitcoin?

“While it’s true that Bitcoin is still a fledgling currency compared to traditional fiat currencies, adoption and interest is growing rapidly worldwide. An enormous amount of Bitcoin technology development and activity is happening right next door to us in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Those Bitcoin luminaries and advocates live and play here in Santa Cruz county. If they have Bitcoin to spend, we’re happy to accept it as payment.

“Santa Cruz and Capitola attract a lot of international visitors. If these visitors have Bitcoin, they can purchase a meal from us directly in Bitcoin and avoid the fees associated with converting their native currency to our native dollar.

“As a merchant, Bitcoin is attractive because the transaction fees are much lower than credit card transaction fees. Bitcoin transactions clear (show up in our account) in minutes instead of days, so we can put that revenue to work sooner.”

What about volatility? Doesn’t Bitcoin value fluctuate a lot?

“Bitcoin’s exchange rate to US Dollars and other currencies does fluctuate quite a bit, just as US Dollar to British pounds or Japanese yen exchange rates fluctuate continuously on the foreign exchange markets. Bitcoin works fine as a currency to move payment from A to B. If you try to treat Bitcoin as an investment (for long-term value), you’re in for a wild ride.”

Will you list prices in Bitcoin (BTC) on your menu?

“All our prices are in US Dollars. When we generate the QR code for a guest check, the Bitcoin payment amount is calculated based on the current US Dollar / Bitcoin exchange rate at that moment. The customer transfers that amount of BTC to our Bitcoin address, and our Bitcoin processor (Coinbase) immediately converts that BTC to US Dollars for deposit into our local bank account. So our exposure to Bitcoin price fluctuations is negligible.”

Will you cater a wedding reception or bridal shower for Bitcoin?

“Of course! The bill will be in US Dollars and that will be converted to a realtime BTC figure at the time of payment.”

Will you accept other digital currencies, such as LiteCoin?

“We are only adding support for Bitcoin payments at this time. We will reevaluate that if our Bitcoin processor adds support for other digital currencies in the future.”

Will people rush out to buy Bitcoin so they can enjoy your delicious tea luncheons or catered dinners?

“<laughs> They are welcome to if they wish, but that doesn’t seem likely. We are just adding another form of payment for those who wish to use it. If you have Bitcoin, we are happy to accept it as payment, If you have MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Union Bank of China credit card or any of a number of other credit and debit cards we can process, we are happy to accept them as payment. Whatever payment form you prefer – the whole idea is to reduce friction for the customer.

“However,” he adds with a twinkle, “given the lower merchant fees for Bitcoin transactions, we’d be 3% happier if you choose to pay with Bitcoin over credit cards!”

Robert Burns Night Saturday January 25

Celebrate the birthday of the Scottish Bard, poet and lyricist Robert Burns at The Quail & Thistle Tea Room in Capitola this Saturday evening, January 25. Enjoy music from the highlands, poetry readings and of course a sumptuous meal with some really colorful names.

Begin your meal with cock-a-leekie soup and salad, followed by Scotch eggs, salmon, neeps and tatties, rumbledethumps and bridies. Save room for dessert! Who can resist black bun, shortbread and cranachan?

Saturday 25 January at 6pm. $38.00 per person, advanced reservations required, limited seating. Phone 831 477-1798 to book your table.

2013 Christmas Holiday Closure

The Quail & Thistle will be closing down for the Christmas break.

We will be closed from Sunday December 22 through Wednesday January 15. We will reopen on Thursday January 16, 2014 at our regular hours (11am – 3pm).

If you would like to make a reservation for a date on or after January 16, you can use the “Make a Reservation” widget in the top right of this page. Online reservations will be confirmed immediately by email.

You can also call us at (831) 477-1798 and leave a message with your name, phone number, requested reservation date and number in your party. We will call you back when we return in mid January to confirm/acknowledge your reservation.

From all of us at the Quail & Thistle, we wish you a merry Christmas and a fantastic new year!

2013 Mad Hatter Holiday Tea Party – Sunday Dec 15

The Mad Hatter invites you to a holiday tea party benefiting Toys for Tots at The Quail & Thistle Tea Room in Capitola Sunday December 15 2013.

Step through the looking glass to dine with characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in a tea party luncheon fit for a… Queen! Be spellbound by the beloved characters as they weave you into their stories. Consort with a hatter. Take tea with Alice!

Join in the fun – costumes are encouraged!

john-tenniel-the-white-rabbit-illustration-from-alice-in-wonderland-by-lewis-carroll-2Family Holiday Tea Luncheons
11am, 1pm, 3:30pm

Family-friendly seatings are available at 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm and will feature a tea luncheon of delightful tea sandwiches in adult and kid friendly varieties, baked sweets and fruit, and The Quail & Thistle’s famously fabulous fresh baked scones with cream, jam, and lemon curd. Fresh brewed black, green, and herbal teas will be served as well as apple juice, hot chocolate and milk.

Reservations are required no later than Friday Dec 13. $39 per person ages 10 and up, $29 ages 2 – 9, $10 ages 2 and under. Kindly plan to bring along with you a new, unwrapped toy per two persons attending to donate to Toy For Tots.

Click here to buy tickets for a Mad Hatter Family Holiday Tea Party Luncheon!

john-tenniel-alice-with-the-duchess-2Adults Holiday Dinner and Auction 6pm

At 6pm we will shoo the kids away to home and to bed so that the Mad Hatter can throw his first ever adults-only Mad Hatter Tea Party Dinner and Auction! Feast on a delightful variety of sweet and savory dishes, baked sweets and fruit, and The Quail & Thistle’s famously fabulous fresh baked scones with cream, jam, and lemon curd. Fresh brewed black, green, and herbal teas will be served. Vegetarian option available on request – please make a note on the reservation.

Your after-dinner entertainment will feature a light’n lively live auction benefiting Santa Cruz County Toys for Tots. What fabulous prizes will follow you home this evening?

Dinner starts promptly at 6pm Sunday Dec 15. Reservations are required no later than Friday Dec 13.  $59 per person, ages 21 and up only. Sorry, but kids just can’t handle this much fun! Be prepared to show photo id or a note from your children.

Kindly plan to bring along with you a new, unwrapped toy per person attending to donate to Toy For Tots.

Click here to buy tickets for the Mad Hatter Adult Holiday Dinner and Auction!


For information about Toys for Tots, visit http://SantaCruzCounty.ToysForTots.org/