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Dec 18th
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Food & Drink

Wine Reviews

Festive Times

Festive Times

Exploring the local food and wine scene

Silver Mountain Winery’s Harvest Festival
Mole & Mariachi Festival
Farm-to-Table Dinner at Chaminade
Santa Clara Valley Fall Passport Weekend
Hotel Paradox Features Flamenco Guitar Wednesdays

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Dining Reviews

Center of Attention

Center of Attention

Center Street Grill continues to win points for its hospitality and exceptional menu

I was on time to meet my friend Harriet for lunch at Center Street Grill. I found a parking spot right outside the restaurant and then noticed Harriet’s car nearby with the engine still running, but no sign of her. When I saw she is not in the restaurant either, Center Street Grill’s co-owner Marty Soliz, followed me outside, showing the utmost concern for my friend, who, it turned out, had gone into a nearby store and had forgotten to turn off the ignition or lock the doors.

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Wine Reviews

Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2011

Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2011

Located in the northern region of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Lucia Highlands Vineyard is in a prime grape-growing region. Its proximity to the cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay allows the fruit to ripen slowly, producing a luscious Chardonnay with intense tropical fruit flavors.

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Dining Reviews

Ode to Osocalis

Ode to Osocalis

Why one local distillery strives to take its time

Winding through the Santa Cruz mountains, it isn't hard to spot a vineyard. And in town, you don't have to search long to find a local brewery. But when it comes to finding local hooch, there is only one place to go. Well, actually, there are lots of places you could go, seeing as state and federal alcohol laws require liquor producers, like Soquel-based Osocalis, to sell their products through stores and prohibits direct-to-customer sales. But forget about that for now.

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Wine Reviews

Galante Family Winery Kick Ass Cabernet 2009

Galante Family Winery Kick Ass Cabernet 2009

Jack Galante wears a cowboy hat, boots and jeans, and looks every inch like he’s right off the range, which is not surprising since a cowboy theme features in everything his winery has to do with wine. I first met him at a wine-tasting event at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands last year, and we had a long chat about his winery and estate wines.

Galante is an affable guy who wants everybody to have fun when they visit his winery. He calls his wine club the “Galante Wine Gang” and his membership tiers “Foreman,” “Trail Boss” and “Wrangler” so I’m sure you get the picture. Wine club membership in the Wrangler category includes one complimentary ticket to the Annual Wine Gang Muster and barbecue at his ranch in the Carmel hills.

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Dining Reviews

A Slice of Farm Life

A Slice of Farm Life

Ag-based education gets a boost at Slice, the fifth annual farm dinner to support the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program

Does a hamburger come from a farm?

It’s a surprisingly complex question, and one that youth who pass through the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP) have thoughtfully explored. The nonprofit’s 10 different programs provide farm-based education and activities for infants through teenagers, and the questions posed—such as the aforementioned quandary about the origins of a hamburger—vary in depth depending on the age group.

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Wine Reviews

Lester Family Vineyards

Lester Family Vineyards

“Redemption” Reserve Pinot Noir 2011

By Josie Cowden When visiting Dan and Pat Lester’s property, one is greeted by acres and acres of glorious vineyards. Around this time of year, grapes not already harvested are heavy and luscious. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and it’s obvious that some outstanding wines are going to be produced from this voluptuous fruit.

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Wine Reviews

Testarossa Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011

Testarossa Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011

The Italian word for “redhead” is Testarossa. Years ago, when the co-founder of Testarossa Vineyards, Rob Jensen, was a university student in Italy, he had very red hair, so he was given the nickname “Testarossa”—now the name of his winery.

Although Jensen’s degree is in electrical engineering, a minor in the Italian language and culture led him to Assisi, a hill town perched on Mount Subasio in central Italy. An interest in winemaking was even more heightened by experiencing the wonderful wines of Italy, and by further trips to Europe’s great wine-growing areas. Rob and his wife Diana founded Testarossa Vineyards in the late ’90s on very historic property—the 19th century Novitiate of Los Gatos, where Jesuit fathers still live to this day.

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Dining Reviews

Smooth Thai Landing at Main Beach

Smooth Thai Landing at Main Beach

Soquel’s Sawasdee earns great views at Casablanca Inn

I was looking forward to a Thai lunch, and an almost waterfront table overlooking the Main Beach surf on a pleasant day made this midweek jaunt even more tantalizing.

Walking a block down the Main Street hill from the designated free parking lot, the breeze bore the familiar summer scents of salt, sea and seaweed. Gulls closely followed dive-bombing pelicans in hopes of a catch, while a lone stand-up paddler glided atop the ocean’s smooth surface.

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Dining Reviews

Have Your Cake

Have Your Cake

It occurred to me that my children may have grown up deprived. I prepared thousands of cooked-from-scratch meals, albeit with some barely edible experiments in the mix. Focaccia, pizza and even a pair of baguettes made their way to the table (mea culpa; not so difficult with a bread machine), but I don’t recall ever making them a proper strawberry shortcake.

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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