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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

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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Dining Reviews

A Real Deal

A Real Deal

Conveniently located at the corner of River and Water streets, Taqueria los Pericos is a tasty respite between running errands at Probuild and whatever improvement project awaits at home.

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Wine Reviews

Burrell School Vineyards & Winery

Burrell School Vineyards & Winery

Pinot Noir 2007 – Estate Reserve Principal’s Choice

A Russian, a Greek and a Brit go out for dinner and drink a bottle of Pinot Noir. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but I, the Brit, do, in fact, have friends from Russia and Greece and we go out for dinner now and again.

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Dining Reviews

Movin' on Up

Movin' on Up

Ristorante Avanti's focus on local, sustainable ingredients continues to shine at its new location

With its move a few blocks up Mission Street, Santa Cruz’s revered Ristorante Avanti gains 30 additional seats and a full bar. Even with the extra capacity, it still took three tries to get a coveted weeknight reservation. You can’t blame the place for being so popular.

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Wine Reviews

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Austin Craig Zinfandel 2008 —Big Red Zinfandel 

Looking for a Zinfandel that’s bold, voluptuous and deliciously good? Then let me introduce you to Pleasant Valley Vineyards’ 2008 Austin Craig Zin. Here’s a sinful Zinful if ever there was one. From the time that Craig and Cathy Handley purchased Pleasant Valley Vineyards in 1996, they have been producing some excellent wines—and the 2008 Grand Reserve Zin ($40) is one of them.

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Dining Reviews

Variety, the Spice of Life

Variety, the Spice of Life

Hearty servings, stir-fries with still-crisp produce, and a friendly atmosphere make Canton Chinese a comforting destination

It's been about five years since Canton Chinese Restaurant moved slightly up 41st Avenue to a shiny new mustard-colored stand-alone building. And just recently, the restaurant, run for years by various members of the Leung family, obtained a full liquor license.

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Dining Reviews

Three-peat

Three-peat

It was a filling afternoon meal with plenty of vegetables, protein, and even an adult beverage, with a tab that came to just $12.96.

It was the "Three and three at 3:00" Happy Hour at the Dragon Lounge at Canton Restaurant, which is offered daily and all day on Wednesdays.

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Wine Reviews

Vino Tabi Winery

Vino Tabi Winery

2008 California Red Wine Blend

Once a month I get together with my British group of women friends, and it usually the one who is hosting makes dinner for the group. My friend Joanna has gone on an organic vegan diet so the food she prepared for us all was ultra healthy with spinach from her garden and palm sugar in the dessert instead of white sugar.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

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.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.