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Dec 20th
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Food & Drink

Dining Reviews

Rendezvous at Rio

Rendezvous at Rio

New menu items and robust spirit invigorate Café Rio

Café Rio has always been one of my favorite places to dine. After moving to the Santa Cruz area and searching out good restaurants, Café Rio was mentioned as a fun place to eat, with sand dabs and swordfish highly recommended. And we can rest assured that these popular items will always be on the menu. When Jeanne Harrison took over the iconic restaurant as owner in 2011, she left the menu pretty much the same, but now feels that the time has come to improve the dining experience even more.

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Wine Reviews

Holiday Gifts

Holiday Gifts

Here are a few local gift ideas that can be found easily for those hard-to-by-for folk

Wine makes a wonderful gift for Christmas. One can buy wine in an enormous range of prices, so there is something to suit every budget, for sure.

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Dining Reviews

Wild, Wild West

Wild, Wild West

Geoff Hargrave of West End Tap & Kitchen adds intrigue to Santa Cruz’s Westside

The Swift Street Courtyard complex has evolved into a bustling scene where people go to enjoy good food, wine and beer and have a good time, especially on the weekends. Along with about a dozen tasting rooms, a brewery and high-end bakery/eatery can be found as well.

When West End Tap & Kitchen opened in July, this casual “gastropub” added greatly to the vibrant culinary scene. And, along with former University of Colorado friend, co-owner Quinn Cormier, we have executive chef Geoff Hargrave to thank. Hargrave’s menu features the kind of comfort food people are looking for on a casual night out.

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Wine Reviews

Guglielmo Winery Sangiovese 2010

Guglielmo Winery Sangiovese 2010

A short drive over Hecker Pass takes us to the rather warmer climes of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy—and to where many wonderful wineries lie, including the splendid Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. A family-run business for close to 90 years, it continues producing fine wine with brothers George, Gene and Gary Guglielmo at the helm.

Guglielmo makes many different wines, but I absolutely love their Sangiovese Private Reserve 2010, Santa Clara County. With aromatic notes of apricot, peach, nectarine and strawberry, and mouth-pleasing flavors of ripe strawberries and vanilla—and with its balanced acidity—it’s a delicious wine to savor on the tongue. At $18 a bottle, it’s a steal, as they say.

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Dining Reviews

Go, Girl, Go!

Go, Girl, Go!

Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig on NorCal feasts and the art of culinary creations. PLUS: Five holiday cocktails to relish

Day trips and “staycations” nourish the soul, so it’s no surprise that Sonoma continues to rank high for a delicious getaway. But for those who may not yet have the resilient girl & the fig on their culinary GPS, that’s about to change. One name you need to know as you venture toward and into 2014: Sondra Bernstein. She’s the proprieter of Sonoma’s girl & the fig as well as its enchanting winebar in nearby Glenn Ellen. With her strong adherence to farm-to-table creations, Bernstein’s imaginative fare has kept her portal thriving for 16 years now. National attention never hurts, either—the woman has been featured and saluted in numerous magazines and publications as well. She also published several bestselling books, “the girl & the fig Cookbook” and, more recently, “Plats Du Jour,” a luscious read that takes readers through seasons in the wine county. Questions abound when you meet Bernstein. For starters, how did a gal from Philadelphia wind up as one of NorCal’s most celebrated culinary royalty? Read on …

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Wine Reviews

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery is a premium winery based in Uruguay which concentrates on Tannat, a red wine grape historically grown in South West France. First introduced by Basque settlers, Tannat is now a prominent grape of Uruguay and plantings are increasing each year. 

Artesana Winery is in the acclaimed Canelones region of Uruguay, a prime location for the Tannat grape. Their artisan wines are made from 100 percent estate-grown grapes and hand-crafted by two women winemakers.

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Wine Reviews

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary last month and spent the weekend in one of our favorite nearby getaways—Carmel.

This time we stayed in a newly re-opened boutique inn called Vendange, meaning “late harvest” in French, which is very close to the town center—and it could not have been better. The place is spotless, beautifully decorated, comes with a nice breakfast, and offers a wine and cheese tasting every evening.

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Dining Reviews

Turkey Day Tips

Turkey Day Tips

Local chef Jonathan Miller offers advice for a stress-free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just days away, and for the person in charge of cooking the meal, that means one thing: pressure. Pressure to beat other shoppers to the same essential ingredients. Pressure to appease guests with different tastes and dietary needs. Pressure to cook several items simultaneously and get the timing just right.

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Dining Reviews

Cheers to Chef Anthony

Cheers to Chef Anthony

Shadowbrook’s executive chef marries creativity and innovation in the restaurant’s unforgettable dishes

A scintillating platter of food is set on the table and almost immediately one’s senses make a mad dash toward “overload.” What makes the dish stand out? The aroma? The presentation? The food itself?

Maybe all of that, but one thing is certain, when this surf and turf tower is placed in front of you, the combination of grilled flank steak, seared garlic prawns, blackened ahi tuna, jalapeño poppers, stone fruit relish, citrus aioli and fried pickled ginger is truly hard to resist.

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Dining Reviews

Vegan with a Vengeance

Vegan with a Vengeance

Best-selling vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz hits Bookshop Santa Cruz

The world today is a different place for a vegan than it was in 2003, when Isa Chandra Moskowitz started “The Post Punk Kitchen” out of her small Brooklyn apartment. Certainly, it is a different place than when she went vegan in 1989.

As a lover of cooking shows, Moskowitz lamented the absence of a single vegan culinary show on television and decided to start her own, “The Post Punk Kitchen” (The PPK), on New York’s public access channel.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire