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Apr 16th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Putting Up: Part 2

Putting Up: Part 2

They say if it can be grown, it can be canned, or "put up.” In a cabinet under my mother's stove, there was a covered pan that contained solid paraffin. Each year, she would reheat it, add some more, and use it to seal the jars of jellies made from the fruit of our trees. I later learned the simpler and more reliable hot canning method.

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Wine Reviews

Soquel Vineyards

Soquel Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2010

We picked a good day to go on a wine-tasting trip to Soquel Vineyards. The winery had released their Estate Pinot Noir Partners’ Reserve 2010 ($40) that very day, and I immediately fell in love with it.

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Dining Reviews

Mid-day Multi-course Feast

Mid-day Multi-course Feast

Surround yourself in Thai culture at Bangkok West

At Bangkok West, Thai cuisine is waiting to fuel a reasonably priced weekday lunch. It's like wandering into another world, from the meandering walkway to the ornately appointed interior with bejeweled gilded carvings, statuary, and Kalaga tapestries.

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Dining Reviews

Putting Up: Part 1

Putting Up: Part 1

Pesto pasta was a quick dinner when my kids were growing up. The sauce latched nicely into the ridges of radiatore pasta, to which I added some steamed vegetables and leftover bits of meat.

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Wine Reviews

Poetic Cellars

Poetic Cellars

Cabernet Franc 2008 – A Lyrical Wine You Will Love  

Looking for a romantic wine—and with a romantic label to go with it? Poetic Cellars fits the bill. Poetic’s labels show a picture of two lovers embracing, and every back-of-the-bottle label carries a beautiful poem by Joseph Naegele—a partner and owner in the winery along with Katy Lovell. But the true poetry appears in the wine itself. Winemaker Lovell makes the kind of wine that reminds one of a sonnet—with an ode to a lover in each sip.

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Dining Reviews

The Spice is Right

The Spice is Right

Downtown’s Laili celebrates the flavors of the Mediterranean

The final weeks of summer sift through my crossed fingers as I hope for another beautiful fall. It is the time of year when I most appreciate al fresco dining, I thought, as I relaxed on the patio of Laili, whose restaurant celebrates Silk Road flavors.

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Wine Reviews

Big Basin Vineyards

Big Basin Vineyards

Rattlesnake Rock Syrah 2008

Big Basin Vineyards is turning out some incredible wines these days—not the least of which is the Rattlesnake Rock Syrah. Made entirely from grapes grown on Big Basin’s estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2008 is wondrous nectar to be sure.

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Dining Reviews

Jazzing up Church Street

Jazzing up Church Street

 Louie's Cajun Kitchen and Bourbon Bar serves Southern Favorites with a twist 

When I enjoyed the new brunch at Cloud's Downtown last April, I had no idea that the Southern-themed menu was a foreshadowing of the makeover that was revealed this month.

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Wine Reviews

Thomas Fogarty Winery

Thomas Fogarty Winery

Gewürztraminer 2009

When looking for a bottle of wine, Gewürztraminer is not the first to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir – to name but a few – Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole. Somewhat sweeter than most wines, Gewürztraminer is often drunk with dessert – as is a Sauterne or a port wine. That doesn’t mean to say that it can’t ever be drunk with savory food.

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Dining Reviews

Munching On The Mediterranean

Munching On The Mediterranean

At Vasili's, home-style Greek classics continue to fill the house  

The annual Greek Festival from Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church is just around the corner (Sept. 14-16). I thought I'd get an early start on the celebration since home-style Greek food is available year-round at Vasili's.

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Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
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Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.