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Jul 24th
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Dining

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

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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Dining Reviews

Court Food

Court Food

Prior to the first Santa Cruz Warriors game, the only thing I worried about was food and beverage service, which sounds silly unless you know me. Turns out that when it comes to edibles, local flair is everywhere.

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Wine Reviews

Pelican Ranch Winery

Pelican Ranch Winery

Rosé of Syrah 2010: Thinking Pink


Pelican Ranch was pouring a selection of its wines at one of the Wine Wednesday events that run weekly at Seascape Resort. I was immediately impressed by the Rosé of Syrah ($21)—a beautiful blush wine that winemaker Phil Crews has every right to be proud of. Made from Syrah grapes grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this delightful dark-strawberry-colored juice is very pleasing on the palate with its abundance of dry fruity flavors.

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Dining Reviews

Simply Fresh

Simply Fresh

Local ingredients and real smoke make magic in the Wood Fire Woodie oven

Wood Fire Woodie came to be in 2007, selling pizzas out of the back of a truck. Last month, the husband-and-wife team of Pat and Mariah Flanagan settled down, opening a restaurant in Scotts Valley’s Camp Evers center.

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Dining Reviews

Griddled, not Fried

Griddled, not Fried

Tucked in at the back of an alleyway in the Rancho del Mar shopping center is a little taqueria called Sofia’s. The staff is friendly, the menu is hand-written on a white board, and they have my vote for the best chimichanga ever eaten. 

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Wine Reviews

Kirigin Cellars

Kirigin Cellars

California champagne—a delicious sparkling wine

Although we are a couple of weeks into 2013, it doesn’t mean that we should put away the Champagnes and sparkling wines. I love to open up a nice sparkler when friends come to visit, and a drop of bubbly always puts one in a celebratory mood.

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Dining Reviews

Keeping it Real

Keeping it Real

Real Thai Kitchen updates both its look and its menu

The Seabright neighborhood’s Real Thai Kitchen, which is on my short list of Thai restaurants, has seen three owners in a year and a half. The current proprietor Ratana Bowden has made some changes, one of which is fortunately not the chef, who has dazzled me with her dishes since my first visit. There is, however, a new menu and interior.

 

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Wine Reviews

Year in Review

Year in Review

Wining and dining in 2012

Now that 2012 is behind us, here is a partial list of local wining and dining I enjoyed last year. As you’re thinking ahead for 2013, you might want to visit some of these wonderful eateries and try their food and wines. Here’s wishing you all a very Happy New year. Cheers!

 

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Dining Reviews

Pizza, Pasta, Amore

Pizza, Pasta, Amore

Focaccia brings a slice of Italy to Water Street 

Grana Padano is popping up on menus around the county. This medieval cheese is made similarly to Parmagiano-Reggiano, but the cows graze a different terroir, and since it is not aged as long, I has a milder flavor.

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Dining Reviews

Lounging Around

Lounging Around

Gazing out a window from the lounge at the Dream Inn’s Aquarius restaurant on a sunny mid-afternoon, the wharf stretched out on sapphire water while seagulls had the Cowells Beach sand to themselves.

Over our heads, pendant white surfboards faced the incoming waves, surrounded by soft strains of jazzy big-band music.

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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

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

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.