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Feb 11th
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Food & Drink

Dining Reviews

Kickin' Chicken

Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

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Dining Reviews

Open Wide

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’

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Wine Reviews

Pelican Ranch Winery

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

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Dining Reviews

Kitchen Witch Bone Broth

Kitchen Witch Bone Broth

One of the latest health products on the market, bone broth is considered by its proponents to be almost magical.

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Dining Reviews

Raising the Bar

Raising the Bar

Award-winning absinthe cocktail at Hoffman’s, plus Enfold Wines and a conserve from Frog Hollow Farms

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Wine Reviews

Stockwell Cellars

Stockwell Cellars

As one of the judges at the Dare to Pair Food & Wine Competition held April 26 at the Surf City Vintners complex on the Westside, I had a hard time choosing a winning dish. All 12 plates of food prepared by students in the Cabrillo College Culinary Program—each paired with a compatible wine—were outstanding.

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Dining Reviews

Cutesy Cupcakes

Cutesy Cupcakes

Jeanette Fitzgearl on the love of baking, ‘Cupcake Wars’ and all things cupcake

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Dining Reviews

Spiritual Awakenings

Spiritual Awakenings

Venus Spirits on the brink of opening, Negroni Week and spring asparagus at Avanti

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Wine Reviews

Windy Oaks Estate Vineyard

Windy Oaks Estate Vineyard

I recently got together with a group of friends at Cantine Winepub in Aptos, which accommodates groups well with its spacious interior and west-facing wooden deck (with a fire pit), which makes a sunset glass of wine all the more enjoyable. Located in the heart of Aptos Village, Cantine also offers small plates of food, such as bruschetta, marinated kale salad, a cheese tray, and other tasty morsels that are perfect for sharing.

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Dining Reviews

Opening Season

Opening Season

Fresh produce at UCSC Market Cart, small plates at Motiv, and brand-new tasting room for Venus Spirits

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
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Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster