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Jul 30th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Let's be Friends

Let's be FriendsIn the car, I munched on a slender French-style baguette. The flavor and crispy crust took me back to a breakfast table in Montbéliard, where family members tore off sections of fresh loaves, smeared them with unsalted butter and strawberry preserves, and dipped them in bowls of milk-laced tea.
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Wine Reviews

The Organic Wine Works

The Organic Wine WorksBountiful Blush 2010

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to bring out the picnic wines. And by that I mean the fruity Rosés, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. As the weather warms up, people tend to gravitate more toward Rosés and white wines than the heavier reds.
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Dining Reviews

What Freedom Brings

What Freedom BringsFreedom's El Azteca has plenty of surprises on its menu, including healthy ones

We headed into the hills above Freedom Boulevard in need of some amazingly delicious honey from Pacific Crest Apiaries. Hungry as well, we noticed a stack of business cards for El Azteca, located just down the road, and asked co-owner Dana Mumm about it. She gushed about the family and the food, and suggested we try grilled shrimp soft tacos, which aren't on the menu.
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Dining Reviews

Fill Me Up

Fill Me UpThe owners of the Chevron gas station on the corner of Park Avenue and Soquel Drive have taken the notion of a quick stop to the next echelon.

A recent remodel added a car wash and a delightful Victorian-inspired building which houses AJ's Market and Natural Foods.
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Wine Reviews

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

Hunter Hill Vineyard & WineryBarbera 2010 and Center Street Grill  

With our bottle of Hunter Hill Barbera in hand, we head to Center Street Grill for dinner. I often take my own wine to restaurants—especially if I have one I really want to try—and pay the corkage fee. Center Street Grill is a restaurant we visit on a regular basis. I lived in Greece for 13 years, so I particularly love the Mediterranean-influenced food prepared by owner Danny Voutos. Voutos is of Greek descent, so he grew up appreciating olive oil-based cuisine, and flavoring food with fresh herbs and spices.
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Dining Reviews

Ancient Maize

Ancient MaizeA pre-Colombian soup of Mesoamerican shelled corn continues to nourish and warm us centuries later

The Aztec and other ancient cultures in Mesoamerica gave us many things. For instance, the words chocolate and avocado originated in the Nahuatl language, as did pozole [poh-soh-ley].
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Dining Reviews

Deals on Meals

Deals on MealsIt's a one-man-band in the kitchen at Chubby's in Scotts Valley. Owner and Chef Dino Saabedra took the small skillet in hand, and with a deft flick of his wrist my eggs were airborne to achieve over-easy perfection.
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Wine Reviews

Byington Vineyard & Winery

Byington Vineyard & Winery2010 Rosé Saignee

High in the Los Gatos hills and along the winding Bear Creek Road is Byington Winery. I have been there many times and always find it a pleasurable experience. The occasion this time was a picnic organized by a friend, which included wine tasting and a guided tour of the vineyard and very interesting cellar where events are held.
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Dining Reviews

Emerald Isle

Emerald IsleDe Laveaga, the Golden Gate Park of Santa Cruz, offers hearty, fresh meals with its recreational opportunities

The familiar road wound past weathered cacti, fir trees and the sixth fairway where five young deer grazed. I approached the green, seven iron in hand. It had been four months since I last felt its smooth metal brush the damp grass. My hip had been broken and subsequently replaced, but finally crutch-free, I had come to celebrate with breakfast at De Laveaga Restaurant, home to the only sport I am still permitted to play.
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Wine Reviews

Loma Prieta Winery

Loma Prieta WineryPetite Sirah 2008

Last week I wrote about a red blend for Valentine’s Day, but as the year’s most romantic day approaches and you’re still looking for something downright voluptuous, then Loma Prieta’s Petit Sirah fits the bill.
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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.