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Apr 24th
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Dining

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

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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Dining Reviews

Boldly Bantam

Boldly Bantam

New hotspot brings wood-fired pizza and a whole lot more to the Westside

Seeking to satisfy Santa Cruz’s seemingly insatiable desire for pizza, Bantam has fired up its wood-burning oven on the Westside, just across Fair Avenue from New Leaf Market.
An hour before closing we were shown to a recently vacated table, and the only available table. The atmosphere was warm as neighbors lingered over the last of their beverages. Lively ’80s rock music and jovial banter shared the air with savory aromas. Our server Dan was welcoming, and shared in-depth knowledge of ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques.

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Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011—From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

By Josie Cowden Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a stunning restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but also the cuisine is outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

At a recent dinner at Pacific’s Edge, I selected a Talbott Chardonnay 2010. The estate-grown grapes for this excellent wine come from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the most significant vineyards in this appellation. Owned by Talbot Vineyards, this expansive piece of land is prime grape-growing country with deep sand and gravelly soils coupled with dramatic coastal weather, which means the right amount of sun and then cooling fog.

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Dining Reviews

Foodies on Parade

Foodies on Parade

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz creates restaurant-centric camaraderie

At Pono Hawaiian Grill, a sellout group of forty curious foodophiles was donning name tags, ordering beverages and mingling; anxious for the mystery that was Santa Cruz’s first Dishcrawl ($45) to unfold. Finally, an organizer announced that the buffet was open and we lined up to partake in the food at our first of four restaurant stops.

Dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee enjoyed taking groups of friends to sample the food at various San Jose-area restaurants, and saw the potential of turning the joy of shared culinary experiences into a business.  The company’s first expansion was into Montreal, and there are now organizations in 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

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Dining Reviews

Fandango Fascinates

Fandango Fascinates

Revered Central Coast culinary portal offers one-of-a-kind dining experience

Anniversaries are a lovely thing and even better when you can make them downright delicious. Such is the case this year as Pacific Grove’s eminent Fandango Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Never one to lose sight of what matters most—the meal, its preparation and the people who will eventually enjoy it—owners Pierre and Marietta Bain continue to surprise diners with an inventive blend of old-world charm and classic culinary competence.

The creative appetizer to Fandango’s current triumphs stem back to 1983 when Walter Georis had the idea to transform a unique home in Pacific Grove into a bona fide restaurant.

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Wine Reviews

Opening and Closings in 2012

Opening and Closings in 2012

We are now well into 2013 and things should be settling down in our local wining and dining world. Many new restaurants opened last year, but, sadly, a few we loved also closed their doors. Here is a partial list of openings and closings in 2012.

Green Valley Grill, possibly the most popular restaurant in Watsonville, closed its doors in October. Fortunately two new places opened up in the area—the Beach Street Café, and the California Grill in Freedom.

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Dining Reviews

Fish in the Woods

Fish in the Woods

Boulder Creek’s Edo Sushi offers some nice Japanese dishes

I can pass on potatoes except when it comes to a Japanese Koroke, a snack that takes tater tots to a gourmet level of texture and comfort. Pronounced ko’-row-kay, which when spoken quickly, resembles the French food croquettes for which they are named.

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Dining Reviews

Crisp and Filling

Crisp and Filling

It was Mrs. Torres who taught my mom how to make tacos, which quickly became a family favorite. She would fold and fry corn tortillas in corn oil, stuff with ground beef sautéed with onions, top with cheese, iceberg lettuce and pico de gallo made with tomatoes, green onions, dill pickles, radishes and peperoncinis.

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Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011: From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a beautiful restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but the cuisine is also outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

Read more...
Dining Reviews

In and around the Lake

In and around the Lake

Live Oak’s Lago di Como wows diners with its Italian specialties

I have heard nothing but praise for Lago di Como since it opened in December, so I made time to visit before its grand opening on Jan. 28 (5 to 9 p.m.). Once the word gets out about the authentic Italian cuisine, courtesy of Italian-born Chef Giovanni Spanu, reservations may become scarce.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

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