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Jul 27th
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Santa Cruz

Best of Santa Cruz '10

Best Food & Drink

Best Food & Drink

Appetizer, Wine Bar, Wine List
SOIF
Soif offers an interesting array of choice appetizers. Especially good are the pan-seared scallops with potato risotto and black trumpet mushrooms, and the pan-fried local sardines served with lacinato kale from Route 1 Farms in Santa Cruz. Entrees include spinach gnocchi, stuffed quail and braised lamb shank—each and every dish paired with a suggested wine, and all of it fresh, local and organic. Soif prides itself on its eclectic variety of wines from California and all over the world. As well as featuring the well-known wine countries of Spain, Italy, France and Germany, there are also wines from Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Portugal. There is even one from an area that most people don’t think of particularly as a wine region, the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Cozy up to the fabulous wine bar and taste some of their eclectic assortment of wines by the glass or by the bottle. And the helpful staff will suggest something if you don’t know what to get. BRAIN CANDY: If you’re looking for that special bottle of wine, try Soif’s retail shop right next to the wine bar. | Josie Cowden
Runners-up (Appetizer) Paradise Beach Grille, 515 Kitchen, Crow’s Nest (Wine Bar) Cava, Bonny Doon, Vino Primo (Wine List) Shadowbrook, Paradise Beach Grille, Cava

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Best of Santa Cruz '10

Best Health & Fitness

Best Health & Fitness

Acupuncture
5 BRANCHES
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese medical herbs, energetics, dietetics, Tuina massage— it doesn’t get much better than this! Your coveted one-stop holistic portal is both a school and a haven.  Its impressive roster of professional health workers are simply dynamite. But it’s the unique methods of acupuncture that generated the most buzz this year. Thanks for the good vibes—inside and out—5B.  QUICK NOTE: Founded in 1984, the year of the mouse. | Charlie Price
Runners-up Lee Holden, Martha Benedict, Spa Fitness

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Best of Santa Cruz '10

Best Professionals

Best Professionals

Bartender
PATRICK JOHNSON @ MOTIV
Can cute people actually make better cocktails? Well, why not? Still, we’re not saying it’s PJ’s dashing looks that gave him the top vote this year—although it didn’t hurt, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we’re just saying that it must have something to do with how well the guy can balance his smarts for drinks with efficiency. Especially on those Friday and Saturday evenings when Motiv in Downtown Santa Cruz is packed. (Wait till he flashes that smile the next time he makes a drink for you.) FUN FACT: Motiv’s very telling staff gave us the dirt on Patrick. 1.Tattooed a bottle of poison on himself. 2. He’s endearingly clumsy. 3. Eats one item at a time on a plate. | CP
Runners-up
Blaine at the Red Room, Lisa Moulton at El Palomar, Jeff Pappas at Clouds

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Best of Santa Cruz '10

Best of the Rest

Best of the Rest

Beach
SEABRIGHT
Smack in the middle of Santa Cruz, in the sunny belt of the Seabright neighborhood, Seabright Beach is (once again) your top pick for sunbathing and sand revelry. Around the bend from both the Santa Cruz Harbor and the Boardwalk, it’s got easy access to all your family’s needs. Fourth of July fireworks mayhem and lights show? Check. A Museum of Natural History for a little education across the street? Check. Ample bars and eateries along the Seabright strip for your post-beach volleyball indulgence? Check. When you want to wet yourself before you wreck yourself, you do it right—you do it at Seabright. TAKE NOTE: Because the old Scholl-Mar Castle used to sit at the entrance to the beach from 1928-1967, some local elders know it as “Castle Beach.” | Linda Koffman
Runners-up Cowell’s, Capitola, 16th

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Best of Santa Cruz '10

Critics’ Picks

Critics’ Picks

Best Sweaty Body:
KALIL MOUTAWAKKIL
It’s hard not to admire sweaty bodies when you’re a Bikram yoga enthusiast. And, God knows, if you’re going to take yoga, there’s nothing wrong with meditating on the beauty of all the beauty around you. Hey, what can I say? I think people should be thanked for being beautiful. Why, it was just the other year that I picked up the brand new habit of thanking people for their various attributes. “Thank you for having that great haircut,” I once told a young lady texting on the street. A nervous toss of her blond locks later, she shot me a concerned look and continued thumbing her iPhone. “Thank you for having nice biceps,” I recently told a young man on Pacific Avenue. He kept moving, his cocoa-puff brown eyes holding a horrible look of fear. (If he’s going to wear a tight white T-shirt that shows off his biceps, why is he so surprised about the attention he’s getting?) Anyway, it only seemed to further fuel what I now have dubbed “The Gratitude Experiment”—thanking people for things they wouldn’t normally be thanked for. “Thank you for your lovely mole—it’s surprisingly becoming.” “Thank you for your great neckline.” “Thank you for your minty fresh breath.” So, when it comes to smoldering Zen attractiveness—can Zen smolder?—Kalil Moutawakkil stands out, especially when he’s moist. As one of Village Yoga’s savvy, compassionate Bikram Yoga instructors, Kalil instructs with grace. And, when he’s taking class with you, the local simply inspires with his deep dedication to an age-old practice—and, of course, all that perspiration. So, thank you, Kalil … thank you for your sweaty body!  | Charlie Price

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.