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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

A Taste of Cambodia

A Taste of Cambodia

Scotts Valley’s Jia Tella’s offers diverse tastes and plenty of history

Often when dining out, I reach a satiety point, enjoy another bite or two, and take the rest of the meal home. Occasionally however, that bite or two turns into three, four, or more, as I just can’t seem to get enough of the array of unique flavors. That was my experience at Jia Tella’s, the Cambodian restaurant tucked into a corner of the neighborhood mall that houses Scotts Valley Market.

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Dining Reviews

A Little Birdie Told Me

A Little Birdie Told Me

On Sundays, Café Sparrow dishes up a delectable breakfast and brunch menu, peppered with house-made surprises in its little Aptos storefront.

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Wine Reviews

Storrs Winery

Storrs Winery

Chardonnay 2010

Steve Storrs knows how to produce a good Chardonnay. Steve and his wife Pam are making some of the best Chardonnays around, and, I’m glad to say, they’re easily available and are carried on many a store’s shelf and on restaurants’ wine lists.

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Dining Reviews

Creative passions invigorate

Creative passions invigorate

Santa Cruz Aleworks

A tantalizing smoky smell was carried by the breeze through the brewing room’s open door, drawing me zombie-like toward the source of the aroma. In the parking lot behind Santa Cruz Aleworks, Executive Chef Jeff Greer was just finishing up the day’s batch of smoked meats. Facing Pogonip in an industrial park in the Harvey West neighborhood since 2007, the brewery has recently added a delicatessen which is open daily.

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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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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

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

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.