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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

Neighborhood Reunion

Neighborhood Reunion

Popular Harbor Cafe offers unique house-made flavors and substantial portions

Spring arrives this week, bringing with it more opportunities for sunny mornings and breakfast al fresco. At Harbor Cafe, the patio area is so comfortable and jovial it’s as if I’m eating in a friend’s backyard.

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Dining Reviews

Sandwiches in the Sun

Sandwiches in the Sun

I admit it, I had never been to Kelly’s Bakery, although I have enjoyed her products for years from a market that stocks a nice variety of locally made loaves. When I first moved here, I playfully called them “designer breads.” This plethora of unique artisan recipes, like those I had tasted in Europe, was nowhere to be found in the suburbia from whence I emigrated.

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Wine Reviews

Copious Winery

Copious Winery

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Looking for something really luscious and exciting? Let me recommend Copious Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

With a craving for some good Italian food, my husband and I went to Ristorante Barolo in Aptos for dinner and I took along a bottle of Copious Winery’s Cab ($42). With its muscular body and earthy nutty quality, it goes really well with hearty fare such as meat dishes and a good bowl of pasta. I almost always have a pasta dish at this restaurant and the one I had this time, one of the specials stuffed with crab, was excellent.

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Dining Reviews

Pass it Around

Pass it Around

New owners of 99 Bottles add to variety of beers and edibles

Every Tuesday night for more than a decade, we enjoyed a family dinner at 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz. Of course, we didn’t let the little ones run around, but the atmosphere during Pint Night, the weekly beer gear raffle, was animated enough that I didn’t have to constantly shush them. On the wall behind one of the many rows of brewery taps is a brick with my name engraved in it. My first-grade daughter, on the other hand, once had a sink installed in her honor. (Science lesson: weight-bearing capacity of cantilevered construction.)

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Dining Reviews

So Haute, it’s Cool

So Haute, it’s Cool

Haute Enchilada’s unique café and gallery has plenty for the palate and the palette

Moss Landing is a quaint historic fishing village that lies about 25 miles south of Santa Cruz. It is a treasure trove of places to explore, including fine antique stores, art galleries, lovely little shops, and is also home to the antique street fair that takes place annually on the last Sunday in July.

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Wine Reviews

Pat Paulsen Vineyards

Pat Paulsen Vineyards

Odyssey 2010—take a wine journey with Monty Paulsen

I would say a winery has reached the dizzy heights of fame when its wine has been served in the White House. But all that was some time ago when the winery was owned and run by Pat Paulsen. As many of you will remember, Paulsen, who died in 1997, was a celebrity comedian and regularly featured on the Smothers Brothers TV shows. He might be even better known for running for president of the United States—albeit rather tongue-in-cheek attempts.

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Dining Reviews

Uphill Climb

Uphill Climb

Owners of summit-top Drive-Inn restaurant have the right attitude

The picturesque view of forested Santa Cruz Mountains is stunning from the summit-top family-style restaurant now called the Drive-Inn. For years, the property has been unable to retain a tenant but owner-Chef Ben Kralj and his fiancée Lamia Mghari have all the ingredients to raise a healthy following.

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Wine Reviews

West Cliff Wines

West Cliff Wines

Rose of Syrah 2011— a lush pink wine

What do Shopper’s Corner, Beauregard Vineyards and West Cliff Wines have in common? They all belong to the same family. Jim Beauregard owns Shopper’s Corner, and his sons Ryan and Andre are the talented duo behind their own wine labels—Ryan with Beauregard Vineyards and Andre with West Cliff Wines.

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Dining Reviews

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games redefine ‘dinner and a show’ for downtown restaurants

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games have brought us back to downtown. A few thousand of us, that is. While our intention was to walk the mile and back, it’s easier to carpool and pay the paltry few bucks at one of the downtown parking garages. Whether we walk down Front Street or Pacific Avenue, restaurants seem to be doing a fine business both before and after the games. I’ve taken advantage of the team’s month-long road trip to check out some of the pre-game options.

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Wine Reviews

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Syrah 2007: A desirable red wine for Valentine’s Day

Looking for some sexy wine to drink over Valentine’s weekend? Then I would recommend Silver Mountain’s full-bodied Syrah.

This gorgeous rich wine has the classic meaty quality of Syrah with an abundance of dried blueberries, pepper and a touch of prosciutto. With juniper and allspice on the palate, and fennel, blackberry and blueberry on the nose, this is a delicious wine to simply enjoy. Syrah is also a very easy wine to pair with a variety of different foods—especially with all the decadent stuff you might want to eat this Valentine’s weekend—chocolate, oysters, voluptuous desserts, titillating delicacies, and so on.

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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: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

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

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.