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Oct 02nd
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Dining

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

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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Dining Reviews

The Pleasure of Süda

The Pleasure of Süda

Eastside venue wins points for its imaginative menu, stellar service and welcoming atmosphere

Süda is a happening place. As my friend Jan and I were enjoying dinner, every table in the restaurant filled up and nearly all the outdoor seating was occupied as well. Located in the Pleasure Point area, Süda is a magnet for just about everybody hanging out in that neck of the woods.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine: Pine Ridge Vineyards

Vine & Dine: Pine Ridge Vineyards

Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2012

On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I came across Pine Ridge Vineyards’ Chenin Blanc + Viognier at a new downtown restaurant called Lulu. Superbly decorated in Hollywood-esque style and with a very hip vibe, this California bistro is one of the hottest new dining spots—and the Chenin Blanc was just the right wine to pair with some of Lulu’s Happy Hour tapas-style food. And eating outdoors in the desert’s warm night air makes a chilled white wine taste even better.

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On the Waterfront

As the wharf celebrates its centennial, a personal reflection on its essential place in Santa Cruz’s history

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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New Capitola bakery takes gluten-free goods to the next level

 

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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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”