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Sep 19th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Boil Before Baking

Boil Before Baking

Main St. Bagels offers traditionally made, unforgettable breads

I was a lucky teenager during the time my mom was earning her degree in food sciences. Her homework assignments included perfecting pâte à choux, the pastry basis of cream puffs, and making bagels.

I was intrigued when she tossed the shaped bagels into a saucepan of boiling water before baking the eggless yeast-leavened dough in the oven. A minute or two in boiling water serves to set the crust, which not only contributes to its chewiness, but also constrains rising to achieve the familiar dense interior.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine

Vine & Dine

Pat Paulsen Vineyards Moscato 2012

A very fun wine to try that won’t break the bank is Pat Paulsen Vineyards’ Moscato 2012 (about $15).

This crisp bright wine, which has a slightly sweet finish, is a good sipping wine—or pair it with spicy foods and desserts. It exemplifies the delicious fruit and floral nature of the Muscat family of grapes—and it’s available at It’s Wine Tyme in Capitola Village. Pat Paulsen Vineyards also makes an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc for about $16 which you can try at Vino Prima wine bar at the end of the Municipal Wharf. Pat Paulsen Vineyards’ local contact is Dennis Walker: [email protected] or visit patpaulsenvineyards.com. 

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Dining Reviews

More than Fortune Cookies

More than Fortune Cookies

When a young man of Vietnamese descent inquired as to whether there was decent pho noodle soup in the area. I sent him to Asian Express in the Capitola Mall near Togo’s in the building that houses Ross. He told me later that he was quite pleased, and also turned me on to an Asian market on the Pleasure Point end of 41st Avenue.

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Dining Reviews

The Anti-Cupcake

The Anti-Cupcake

Santa Cruz resident Hannah Balliet puts her gluten-free dessert to the test on Lifetime’s ‘Supermarket Superstar’

Upon looking for ways to control her 9-year-old son’s facial and body tics and curb her own autoimmune disease, Santa Cruz resident Hannah Balliet turned to gluten-free foods. Much to her chagrin, she quickly found that few gluten-free desserts could satisfy her son’s sweet tooth.

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Wine Reviews

Beauregard Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

Beauregard Vineyards Chardonnay 2011

Winemaker Ryan Beauregard was raised around the aromas of sandy loam topsoils and fresh dew on the vines. Growing up at the Beauregard Ranch, where his great-grandfather planted the original vineyard in 1949, he remembers playing among the vines and all the different smells he experienced. “To this day, he says, “I can smell a wine in the cellar and know specifically where it came from on the home ranch.”

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Dining Reviews

Meals To Savor

Meals To Savor

Booka breathes new life into Aptos Village

When a new restaurant opens, word quickly spreads on its performance—with food, ambiance, warmth, courtesy and service all taken into account. From my first bite of food at Booka, which opened in the historic Bayview Hotel in Aptos, I detected unusual flavors with a different twist. Everything seems to come together here, and servers look the part dressed all in black with crisp white aprons and white folded napkins in their waistbands. It’s good to see this beautifully decorated restaurant doing well and the parking lot full.

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Wine Reviews

Artesana Winery Tannat 2011

Artesana Winery Tannat 2011

Artesana Winery is famous for its production of Tannat, Uruguay’s signature varietal. Although Uruguay does not always spring to mind when one thinks of wine-producing places, thanks to the country’s coastal Atlantic climate, which is often compared to that of Bordeaux, some very impressive wines are coming our way.

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Wine Reviews

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2011

Birthdays are always fun to celebrate, and it’s also a good time to open a bottle of vino or two. My Greek friend and I took our Russian friend to dinner at Center Street Grill for her birthday, and I brought along a bottle of Bruzzone Family Vineyards’ Pinot for us all to enjoy.

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Dining Reviews

Momentary Magic

Momentary Magic

Pop-Up Breakfast series creates fleeting hubs of artisan food and community-style dining

Breakfast may lay claim to the title of most important meal of the day, but now, thanks to a new Pop-Up Breakfast series in town, it can also boast of being the tastiest.

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Wine Reviews

Corralitos Wine Company

Corralitos Wine Company

Rio Del Rhone 2010
At a recent event put on by the Corralitos Wine Company in one of their vineyards next to the Deer Park Shopping Center, I tasted a superb 2010 Rio Del Rhone Rouge ($28) a Rhone-style red wine blend with grapes from Tehama County, and packing some mighty flavor. Beautifully balanced and with lots of dense fruit, this is an easy drinking wine that will pair with many different kinds of food.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

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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

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.