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Aug 23rd
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Friend or Foe?

Friend or Foe?

It was a charming plant, a gift from my neighbor, and I could just imagine its sword-shaped emerald leaves decorating the forest floor. Atop the stalks, unusually triangular in cross section, hung four to 19 frilly, white, bell-shaped flowers, each painted with fine green lines.

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Wine Reviews

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

 

Chardonnay 2009
 
Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small family-owned winery located in Scotts Valley. When owners Berna and John Bruzzone started planting grapes in 1999, they were already running a well-established business and had plenty of work to keep them occupied. But producing your own wine is definitely a passion that can’t be suppressed, and when it comes time for harvesting and getting juice into bottle, the excitement factor knows no bounds. I remember Berna giving me a tour of their vineyards several years ago and telling me how thrilled they are to be making such excellent Chardonnay. 
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Dining Reviews

Midtown Maki

Midtown Maki

 

Akira Catering steps into the restaurant business 
 
Ever since I saw the sandwich board on the Soquel Avenue sidewalk, I have anxiously awaited the arrival of sushi to the Seabright neighborhood. Akira began first as a catering company founded by Dustin Murata and Greyson Leek who met while working at Sushi Garden in Capitola. 
 
Entering through the back door of the made-over restaurant, home most recently to Kickback Cafe, it offers a comfortable and modern atmosphere. A flock of origami cranes are painted on the soft grey wall, the ceiling is coarsely textured with roughly troweled plaster, and a 10-person sushi bar extends out from the kitchen. 
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Dining Reviews

Ahh, Sauté

Ahh, Sauté

Leftovers from a Szechwan lunch in New York were carefully preserved in my hotel room sink, surrounded by ice and swaddled in bath towels. Savoring this delicious souvenir at home left me craving some spicy stir-fry.
Uncle Kwok's in Aptos is serenely decorated in grays and blue-greens; the walls hung with large painted fans and prints of Chinese scenery.
Dinners for one, called Bachelor's Choice ($8.95 to $14.25), served with hot and sour soup, egg roll and white rice include dishes such as double mushroom chicken and Kung Pao Three Combo with beef, scallops and prawns.

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Wine Reviews

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain Vineyards

 

Rosé of Pinot Noir 2010: Think Pink!
 
At a recent visit to Silver Mountain Vineyards’ tasting room on the Westside, I tried a Rosé of Pinot Noir 2010 Central Coast which is truly delightful. Grapes for this Rosé are sourced from Tondre Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Miller Hill and Muns Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains—and the wine has a bright crispiness associated with classic Rosés. 
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Dining Reviews

Small Town Girl

Small Town Girl

Californian gets taste of the Big Apple while taking in a culinary conference

On street corners, pedestrians swiftly dance by each other on a matrix of finely spaced perpendicular paths. It was the first time my feet had felt the pavement of Manhattan.

And what better place for the assemblage of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for its 34th annual conference? This city, known for diversity and creativity in the realm of cuisine, offers a juxtaposition of two extremes.

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Wine Reviews

Sarah’s Vineyard & Wine Events

Sarah’s Vineyard & Wine Events

Nuits d’Enfer Merlot 2007 “Nights of Hell”

 I must admit that part of the attraction of trying this wine is the name of it. When a wine is called “Nights of Hell,” then it’s either going to set you on fire and give you a torturous night’s sleep, or it’s going to fill you with devilish passion and test your terpsichorean abilities to the max.

I am happy to report that neither was the case after taking a sip. I wanted to dance around only because the wine was so delightful.

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Dining Reviews

Calm after the Storm

Calm after the Storm

The Old Mountain Inn serves rib-sticking breakfasts like the ones grandma used to make

After a springtime rain in the mountains of Santa Cruz, the air is fresh, the damp earth reveals its aroma, and the weekend roads are relatively untraveled. A recent early morning drive took us to the quaint Old Mountain Inn for a filling breakfast.

A collection of live and silk plants adorn the interior while numerous skylights add light. I took time to appreciate the old photographs and the collection of doilies on the walls, some crocheted with an extremely fine hook, but all with such perfectly identical stitches.

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Dining Reviews

Eat and Meet

Eat and Meet

If preparing marvelous meals appeals to you, the Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club allows you to explore the world of food and wine, as well as the opportunity to meet people throughout the county.

The SCMGDC will hold its annual membership drive and brunch on Sunday April 15 from noon until 3 p.m. in Ben Lomond. Reservations are required for the $15 event which will include a sampling of the members’ culinary skills. Wines will be available for purchase.

A shared supper table has long been a source of building communities. What began as a club for residents of the San Lorenzo Valley has expanded to include Aptos, Capitola, Live Oak, Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon and Redwood Estates.

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Wine Reviews

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Contra 2009

 
It’s always exciting to find local wines in places out of town. My husband and I were in Palm Desert recently for the Paribas tennis tournament in Indian Wells—staying at one of the Marriott villas, complete with full kitchen. Although it’s fun to try the huge variety of wonderful restaurants in the area, we also like to prepare our own dinner now and again, so we stopped by Bristol Farms grocery store for something to cook out on the grill. 
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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.