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Sep 30th
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Dining

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

Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011—From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

By Josie Cowden Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a stunning restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but also the cuisine is outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

At a recent dinner at Pacific’s Edge, I selected a Talbott Chardonnay 2010. The estate-grown grapes for this excellent wine come from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the most significant vineyards in this appellation. Owned by Talbot Vineyards, this expansive piece of land is prime grape-growing country with deep sand and gravelly soils coupled with dramatic coastal weather, which means the right amount of sun and then cooling fog.

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Dining Reviews

Foodies on Parade

Foodies on Parade

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz creates restaurant-centric camaraderie

At Pono Hawaiian Grill, a sellout group of forty curious foodophiles was donning name tags, ordering beverages and mingling; anxious for the mystery that was Santa Cruz’s first Dishcrawl ($45) to unfold. Finally, an organizer announced that the buffet was open and we lined up to partake in the food at our first of four restaurant stops.

Dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee enjoyed taking groups of friends to sample the food at various San Jose-area restaurants, and saw the potential of turning the joy of shared culinary experiences into a business.  The company’s first expansion was into Montreal, and there are now organizations in 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

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Dining Reviews

Fandango Fascinates

Fandango Fascinates

Revered Central Coast culinary portal offers one-of-a-kind dining experience

Anniversaries are a lovely thing and even better when you can make them downright delicious. Such is the case this year as Pacific Grove’s eminent Fandango Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Never one to lose sight of what matters most—the meal, its preparation and the people who will eventually enjoy it—owners Pierre and Marietta Bain continue to surprise diners with an inventive blend of old-world charm and classic culinary competence.

The creative appetizer to Fandango’s current triumphs stem back to 1983 when Walter Georis had the idea to transform a unique home in Pacific Grove into a bona fide restaurant.

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Wine Reviews

Opening and Closings in 2012

Opening and Closings in 2012

We are now well into 2013 and things should be settling down in our local wining and dining world. Many new restaurants opened last year, but, sadly, a few we loved also closed their doors. Here is a partial list of openings and closings in 2012.

Green Valley Grill, possibly the most popular restaurant in Watsonville, closed its doors in October. Fortunately two new places opened up in the area—the Beach Street Café, and the California Grill in Freedom.

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Dining Reviews

Fish in the Woods

Fish in the Woods

Boulder Creek’s Edo Sushi offers some nice Japanese dishes

I can pass on potatoes except when it comes to a Japanese Koroke, a snack that takes tater tots to a gourmet level of texture and comfort. Pronounced ko’-row-kay, which when spoken quickly, resembles the French food croquettes for which they are named.

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Dining Reviews

Crisp and Filling

Crisp and Filling

It was Mrs. Torres who taught my mom how to make tacos, which quickly became a family favorite. She would fold and fry corn tortillas in corn oil, stuff with ground beef sautéed with onions, top with cheese, iceberg lettuce and pico de gallo made with tomatoes, green onions, dill pickles, radishes and peperoncinis.

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Wine Reviews

Talbott Vineyards

Talbott Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011: From Talbott Ties to Talbott Wine

Dining at Pacific’s Edge in the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel is a wonderful experience. Not only is this a beautiful restaurant with an almighty ocean view, but the cuisine is also outstanding. The wine cellar is one of the finest on the Central Coast and features a selection from all over the world, as well as many California wines. And if you need a suggestion of what to pair with your food, one of the restaurant’s sommeliers will take care of you.

Read more...
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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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

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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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”