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Aug 27th
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Dining

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

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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Dining Reviews

Steppe Inside

Steppe Inside

Oyunaa’s brings traditional Mongolian nomadic fare with a dash of Russia to midtown 

In the 1970s, Mongolian barbecue chains spread like wildfire into strip malls across America. I recall gathering my choice of raw vegetables from a buffet and handing them over to a cook who would add meat and stir-fry it on a griddle; rather like the American version of Japanese teppanyaki without the cleaver acrobatics and flying shrimp.

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Wine Reviews

DaVine Cellars

DaVine Cellars

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Fandango in Pacific Grove is one of the most popular restaurants in the area. It has gained a fine reputation over the years due, in no small part, to the expertise of chef and owner Pierre Bain, who runs this upscale restaurant with his wife Marietta.

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Wine Reviews

Quinta Cruz

Quinta Cruz

Rabelo Dessert Wine 2007

When Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard makes wine, he goes all out to make sure it is the very best product in every way. He is a talented and dedicated winemaker who likes a challenge—and he gravitates toward the more adventurous wines.

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Dining Reviews

Fins To The Left

Fins To The Left

The long menu at Watsonville’s Cadillac Café offers sensory satisfaction 

At any time of year, I find visiting the rural landscape rejuvenating. On a recent drive down Freedom Boulevard, cows on a hillside freely grazed on newly greened grass, while bright bundles of persimmon orbs dangled from leafless branches.

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Dining Reviews

The Other White Meat

The Other White Meat

The Lean Chef reports that the American Heart Association has designated pork tenderloin a Heart-Healthy food. According to the USDA database, a cooked 3.5-ounce serving of the tenderloin has only 1.2 additional grams of fat compared to a skinless chicken breast. It’s also well-stocked with B-vitamins.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine

Vine & Dine

Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is just around the corner and there are always last-minute gifts to buy—including the all-important little stocking stuffers. Here are a few suggestions of things you can buy locally that I’m sure your dear ones will love:

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.