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Apr 16th
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Dining

Restaurant dining and wine reviews for Santa Cruz County >
Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area.

Dining Reviews

Northern Bites

Northern Bites

Tasty recipes and charming service are customary at the Panda Inn

For 30 years, the Panda Inn has served specialties of Northern Chinese cuisine from its location in the Deer Park Center in Aptos.

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Dining Reviews

Comfy Cafetal

Comfy Cafetal

Three large blackboards showcase the surprisingly large menu, which ranges from freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, bagels, and breakfast burritos, to soups, salads and sandwiches. You can even get a sugar cone filled with Marianne's ice cream.

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Wine Reviews

Hallcrest Vineyards

Hallcrest Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2009

One of my favorite wine-related events of the year is Pinot Paradise, which takes place every March at Villa Ragusa in Campbell. It’s a day when Pinot lovers come out in full force to enjoy the fruit of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Dining Reviews

Naturally Delicious

Naturally Delicious

Pizzeria Avanti fires up its new oven for a taste of New York

Although Ristorante Avanti moved to another location on the same street, it left pieces of itself behind. Pieces of pizza that is, as well as a couple of their popular salads.
Now, Pizzeria Avanti continues Avanti’s long-observed tradition of using local organic produce, naturally raised meats and sustainable seafood, as well as in-house baking of bread.

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Dining Reviews

Food & Wine Spring 2013

Food & Wine Spring 2013

As Santa Cruz emerges from its wintry slumber, the sights, sounds and sumptuous flavors of our vibrant home come alive with the sunshine of spring. There’s plenty to keep you and your appetite busy, but if you need some inspiration, take note of the tasty ideas on the following pages. We have bites and sips that will satisfy you no matter the mood you find yourself in as the weather warms up. Feeling stressed? Slow down with a traditional tea ritual at Hidden Peak Teahouse (page 52), or unwind over a pint of organic brew at the mellow new beer hotspot Discretion Brewing (page 44). Enjoying an adventurous streak? Try a Beer Float from The Picnic Basket (page 34), or consider stopping by the Young Farmers and Ranchers annual Testicle Festival (page 59).

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Wine Reviews

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Sean Boyle Syrah 2008—a sumptuous wine for spring

I love that Craig and Cathy Handley, owners of Pleasant Valley Vineyards, have named their wines after family members, including nieces and nephews. We have Dylan David, Brittany Morgan, Casey Alexander, Abby Madison, Austin Craig—and Sean Boyle Syrah ($40).

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Dining Reviews

Green Getaway

Green Getaway

Shops, theatre and fine dining await near Santa Cruz. What can we learn?

Sometimes I need a quick getaway that’s actually relaxing. Palo Alto fits the bill, especially when I can relax on Public Transit and stay in a beautiful hotel relatively inexpensively.

The downtown entertainment section is roughly two blocks wide, bisected by University Avenue, which runs perhaps 10 blocks west of the El Camino.

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Dining Reviews

Spring Food & Wine Sneak Peek

Spring Food & Wine Sneak Peek

GT's Spring Food & Wine magazine hits stands this Thursday, April 4. In the meantime, here’s a small taste of the folks and local flavors featured in its pages. All photos by Keana Parker.
See entire Food & Wine Spring 2013 issue >
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Wine Reviews

Wine Hopping

Wine Hopping

Wining and dining over the Easter holidays and beyond

Wine Tasting
The Santa Cruz Mountains are awash with incredible wineries, so it’s good to get out and try new wines, and discover a new place you haven’t been to before. Visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association website—scmwa.com—for a list of wineries and tasting rooms in the area.

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Dining Reviews

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

Discretion Brewing brings the community together through food and brews

Some 2,300 years ago, the classical Greek philosopher Plato proclaimed, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” In the millenniums since, uncountable cultures have fiddled with the recipe of ancients, creating a multitude of styles and flavors based on available ingredients.

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Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.