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Aug 20th
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Dining

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

Wine Reviews

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Syrah 2007: A desirable red wine for Valentine’s Day

Looking for some sexy wine to drink over Valentine’s weekend? Then I would recommend Silver Mountain’s full-bodied Syrah.

This gorgeous rich wine has the classic meaty quality of Syrah with an abundance of dried blueberries, pepper and a touch of prosciutto. With juniper and allspice on the palate, and fennel, blackberry and blueberry on the nose, this is a delicious wine to simply enjoy. Syrah is also a very easy wine to pair with a variety of different foods—especially with all the decadent stuff you might want to eat this Valentine’s weekend—chocolate, oysters, voluptuous desserts, titillating delicacies, and so on.

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Dining Reviews

Boldly Bantam

Boldly Bantam

New hotspot brings wood-fired pizza and a whole lot more to the Westside

Seeking to satisfy Santa Cruz’s seemingly insatiable desire for pizza, Bantam has fired up its wood-burning oven on the Westside, just across Fair Avenue from New Leaf Market.
An hour before closing we were shown to a recently vacated table, and the only available table. The atmosphere was warm as neighbors lingered over the last of their beverages. Lively ’80s rock music and jovial banter shared the air with savory aromas. Our server Dan was welcoming, and shared in-depth knowledge of ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques.

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Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011—From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

By Josie Cowden Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a stunning restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but also the cuisine is outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

At a recent dinner at Pacific’s Edge, I selected a Talbott Chardonnay 2010. The estate-grown grapes for this excellent wine come from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the most significant vineyards in this appellation. Owned by Talbot Vineyards, this expansive piece of land is prime grape-growing country with deep sand and gravelly soils coupled with dramatic coastal weather, which means the right amount of sun and then cooling fog.

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Dining Reviews

Foodies on Parade

Foodies on Parade

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz creates restaurant-centric camaraderie

At Pono Hawaiian Grill, a sellout group of forty curious foodophiles was donning name tags, ordering beverages and mingling; anxious for the mystery that was Santa Cruz’s first Dishcrawl ($45) to unfold. Finally, an organizer announced that the buffet was open and we lined up to partake in the food at our first of four restaurant stops.

Dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee enjoyed taking groups of friends to sample the food at various San Jose-area restaurants, and saw the potential of turning the joy of shared culinary experiences into a business.  The company’s first expansion was into Montreal, and there are now organizations in 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

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Dining Reviews

Fandango Fascinates

Fandango Fascinates

Revered Central Coast culinary portal offers one-of-a-kind dining experience

Anniversaries are a lovely thing and even better when you can make them downright delicious. Such is the case this year as Pacific Grove’s eminent Fandango Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Never one to lose sight of what matters most—the meal, its preparation and the people who will eventually enjoy it—owners Pierre and Marietta Bain continue to surprise diners with an inventive blend of old-world charm and classic culinary competence.

The creative appetizer to Fandango’s current triumphs stem back to 1983 when Walter Georis had the idea to transform a unique home in Pacific Grove into a bona fide restaurant.

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Wine Reviews

Opening and Closings in 2012

Opening and Closings in 2012

We are now well into 2013 and things should be settling down in our local wining and dining world. Many new restaurants opened last year, but, sadly, a few we loved also closed their doors. Here is a partial list of openings and closings in 2012.

Green Valley Grill, possibly the most popular restaurant in Watsonville, closed its doors in October. Fortunately two new places opened up in the area—the Beach Street Café, and the California Grill in Freedom.

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Dining Reviews

Fish in the Woods

Fish in the Woods

Boulder Creek’s Edo Sushi offers some nice Japanese dishes

I can pass on potatoes except when it comes to a Japanese Koroke, a snack that takes tater tots to a gourmet level of texture and comfort. Pronounced ko’-row-kay, which when spoken quickly, resembles the French food croquettes for which they are named.

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Dining Reviews

Crisp and Filling

Crisp and Filling

It was Mrs. Torres who taught my mom how to make tacos, which quickly became a family favorite. She would fold and fry corn tortillas in corn oil, stuff with ground beef sautéed with onions, top with cheese, iceberg lettuce and pico de gallo made with tomatoes, green onions, dill pickles, radishes and peperoncinis.

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Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011: From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a beautiful restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but the cuisine is also outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

Read more...
Dining Reviews

In and around the Lake

In and around the Lake

Live Oak’s Lago di Como wows diners with its Italian specialties

I have heard nothing but praise for Lago di Como since it opened in December, so I made time to visit before its grand opening on Jan. 28 (5 to 9 p.m.). Once the word gets out about the authentic Italian cuisine, courtesy of Italian-born Chef Giovanni Spanu, reservations may become scarce.

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.