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Jul 30th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

A Sustainable Culture

A Sustainable Culture

The popularity of old world yogurt is surging, and it’s easy to make at home

Yogurt is a product of the ages. With a name originating in Turkey and probiotic benefits touted by the health food industry. A fondness for Greek-style yogurt has taken the country by storm, resulting in a tripling of the number of yogurt factories in New York State, and a $2 billion a year industry. What sets this Mediterranean yogurt apart is straining.

Other cultures refer to the product as “hung” yogurt. Stirred yogurt is placed in a fine mesh strainer which has been lined with cheesecloth and suspended over a deep container. Watery whey seeps out, resulting in a thicker, denser yogurt with more protein by volume. It makes a lovely base for a stiffer tzatziki cucumber-garlic dip and spread.

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Wine Reviews

Serene Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Serene Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

There’s always an upbeat vibe going at MJA’s tasting room on the Westside. On a recent visit, the very sociable owner Marin Artukovich was busy pouring for a roomful of oenophiles having a good time. With the help of staff members, Artukovich makes sure that nobody waits too long to sample his fine wines, while also keeping track of every person’s flight.

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Wine Reviews

Dancing Creek Winery

Dancing Creek Winery

Pinot Noir 2009—A Wine to Dance To

At the Pinot Paradise event back in March, I tasted some very good Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Dancing Creek Winery’s 2009 Pinot ($27) was one of them. This plummy dark brew, made from grapes grown in Corralitos, has delicious flavors of pomegranate, prosciutto, dried cherries, and mint julep.

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Dining Reviews

Good Morning Maui

Good Morning Maui

Pono Hawaiian Grill rolls out Hawaiian-style weekend brunch

Goodness, righteousness, virtuousness and fairness are some of the four-score English words that attempt to describe the Hawaiian essence of pono, whose use in the state motto translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

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Wine Reviews

Quinta Cruz

Quinta Cruz

Souzão 2009

As one of the judges for the Dare to Pair event, held last month at Surf City Vintners, I happily plowed my way through 11 plates of food paired with 11 different wines. Each dish was prepared by students of the Cabrillo College culinary program, and the wines were from local wineries belonging to the Surf City Vintners’ group.
Although it was difficult to pick a winning dish, we five judges chose a duck confit spring roll paired with a Quinta Cruz 2009 Souzão ($24). (This pairing came in third under the People’s Choice award.)

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Dining Reviews

A Very Fine House

A Very Fine House

Casa Nostra rolls out traditional Italian fare under the redwoods of Ben Lomond

A trio of restaurateurs with backgrounds at local favorites Star Bene and Oak Tree Ristorante have upgraded the old home of Ciao Bella and created Casa Nostra, a welcoming Italian eatery.

Adjacent to the front door, the long, clean wooden bar is surrounded by pumpkin-colored stools. At the entrance to the dining rooms, there is a new low-slung cafe door hung in the wood-covered arch. Where there once was a stage, stocky wooden tables are neatly arranged perpendicularly on a new tile floor, each set with square white plates and burnt orange cloth napkins.

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Wine Reviews

Food & Wine News

Food & Wine News

What’s happening on the local scene

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s New Casinos IPA Beer
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing has just launched its latest beer—called Casinos—in collaboration with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Casinos will be available throughout the Boardwalk, at local retailers and, of course, at SCMB’s very own taproom in the Swift Street Courtyard complex.

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Dining Reviews

From Rough Seas to the Trees

From Rough Seas to the Trees

Former owner of Wharf Bait Shop makes a splash with Felton Italian deli

The students at San Lorenzo Valley High School may be some of the luckiest in the county since the opening of Castelli’s Deli-Café last summer. Adjacent to the school’s parking lot, the restaurant serves pizza, salads, sandwiches, desserts and ice cream novelties, in addition to caffeinated beverages made from Italian Lavazza coffee.

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Dining Reviews

Country Family Buffet

Country Family Buffet

I was recently encouraged to try the all-you-can eat weekend brunch buffet at Mollie’s Country Kitchen in Scotts Valley. It’s a farmhouse-style feast, and with the recent spate of beautiful mornings, the outdoor seating is a refreshing sojourn.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine: Poetic Cellars

Vine & Dine: Poetic Cellars

Syrah 2006—A Well-versed
Wine and Poetry Lover’s Dream

Poetic Cellars makes the most romantic wines. With a verse or two of beautiful poetry on every label, mostly poems of love and romance, this is the perfect wine to open up over dinner with your sweetheart. I particularly love winemaker Katy Lovell’s Syrah ($28) with its voluptuous velvety textures and dark fruit flavors.

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

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

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.