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Jul 28th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Not Just for Rabbits

Not Just for Rabbits

For my mother’s birthday party last month, my dad specially ordered a carrot cake from a famous Las Vegas pâtissier. It was gorgeously decorated, but inedible. Two cake layers had been halved to create four, and between each one was a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. The guests couldn’t eat it, much less agree to take any leftovers home. My dad felt so let down after his special effort.

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Wine Reviews

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2010—Big and Bold

The big fruity purple liquid that makes up the 2010 Pinot, Central Coast ($26), is bold and vivacious. Earthy flavors linger on the tongue, along with luscious ripe fruit—cherries and blackberries in particular. It’s actually a blend of two vineyards from the Central Coast region, but this lovely Pinot made by Savannah-Chanelle has all the quality and structure of a high-end single vineyard bottling.

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Dining Reviews

Neighborhood Reunion

Neighborhood Reunion

Popular Harbor Cafe offers unique house-made flavors and substantial portions

Spring arrives this week, bringing with it more opportunities for sunny mornings and breakfast al fresco. At Harbor Cafe, the patio area is so comfortable and jovial it’s as if I’m eating in a friend’s backyard.

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Dining Reviews

Sandwiches in the Sun

Sandwiches in the Sun

I admit it, I had never been to Kelly’s Bakery, although I have enjoyed her products for years from a market that stocks a nice variety of locally made loaves. When I first moved here, I playfully called them “designer breads.” This plethora of unique artisan recipes, like those I had tasted in Europe, was nowhere to be found in the suburbia from whence I emigrated.

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Wine Reviews

Copious Winery

Copious Winery

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Looking for something really luscious and exciting? Let me recommend Copious Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

With a craving for some good Italian food, my husband and I went to Ristorante Barolo in Aptos for dinner and I took along a bottle of Copious Winery’s Cab ($42). With its muscular body and earthy nutty quality, it goes really well with hearty fare such as meat dishes and a good bowl of pasta. I almost always have a pasta dish at this restaurant and the one I had this time, one of the specials stuffed with crab, was excellent.

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Dining Reviews

Pass it Around

Pass it Around

New owners of 99 Bottles add to variety of beers and edibles

Every Tuesday night for more than a decade, we enjoyed a family dinner at 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz. Of course, we didn’t let the little ones run around, but the atmosphere during Pint Night, the weekly beer gear raffle, was animated enough that I didn’t have to constantly shush them. On the wall behind one of the many rows of brewery taps is a brick with my name engraved in it. My first-grade daughter, on the other hand, once had a sink installed in her honor. (Science lesson: weight-bearing capacity of cantilevered construction.)

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Dining Reviews

So Haute, it’s Cool

So Haute, it’s Cool

Haute Enchilada’s unique café and gallery has plenty for the palate and the palette

Moss Landing is a quaint historic fishing village that lies about 25 miles south of Santa Cruz. It is a treasure trove of places to explore, including fine antique stores, art galleries, lovely little shops, and is also home to the antique street fair that takes place annually on the last Sunday in July.

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Wine Reviews

Pat Paulsen Vineyards

Pat Paulsen Vineyards

Odyssey 2010—take a wine journey with Monty Paulsen

I would say a winery has reached the dizzy heights of fame when its wine has been served in the White House. But all that was some time ago when the winery was owned and run by Pat Paulsen. As many of you will remember, Paulsen, who died in 1997, was a celebrity comedian and regularly featured on the Smothers Brothers TV shows. He might be even better known for running for president of the United States—albeit rather tongue-in-cheek attempts.

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Dining Reviews

Uphill Climb

Uphill Climb

Owners of summit-top Drive-Inn restaurant have the right attitude

The picturesque view of forested Santa Cruz Mountains is stunning from the summit-top family-style restaurant now called the Drive-Inn. For years, the property has been unable to retain a tenant but owner-Chef Ben Kralj and his fiancée Lamia Mghari have all the ingredients to raise a healthy following.

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Wine Reviews

West Cliff Wines

West Cliff Wines

Rose of Syrah 2011— a lush pink wine

What do Shopper’s Corner, Beauregard Vineyards and West Cliff Wines have in common? They all belong to the same family. Jim Beauregard owns Shopper’s Corner, and his sons Ryan and Andre are the talented duo behind their own wine labels—Ryan with Beauregard Vineyards and Andre with West Cliff Wines.

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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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.