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Apr 24th
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Dining

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

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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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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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

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.

 

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

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