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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.

Dining Reviews

Accidental Tourists

Accidental Tourists

Mix together one part doctorate in cancer biology, one part high-tech strategist and two parts foodie, and, serendipitously, you get tofu misozuke, an ancient Japanese fermented tofu which is traditionally enjoyed in small tastes with a glass of sake.

The husband and wife team of Dang Vu and Oanh Nguyen developed their passion for food from the traditional dishes prepared by their families. Their company, Rau Om, is named for an herb that grows in Southeast Asian rice paddies and is used in their Vietnamese cuisine.

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Wine Reviews

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2009

Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs is a very popular dining destination—with four-star American cuisine and a “French Pacific Rim” influence. Friends had told us about it, so we headed there for dinner last month when we were staying close by in the California desert for a few days. I took along a bottle of Savannah-Chanelle Pinot Noir 2009 to write about—and because I love to introduce wines from our Santa Cruz Mountains appellation to out-of-town restaurants.

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Dining Reviews

Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday

Clouds Downtown now serves a creative combination of Sunday brunch dishes, as well as three day-long happy hours

Heading downtown for brunch on a Sunday morning has always been a pleasant treat. And now you can enjoy it on Church Street, where Clouds' Sunday brunch is served with a four-piece jazz ensemble.

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Dining Reviews

Holy Calzone!

Holy Calzone!

Aptos Pizza is now serving weekday lunches. Located on busy Soquel Drive, oaks and redwoods of The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park create a calming view through the windows at the rear of the tiny restaurant. 

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Wine Reviews

Clos du Bois Winery

Clos du Bois Winery

Chardonnay 2010

Founded in 1974 and located in Geyserville, Clos du Bois is a well-established winery producing large quantities of wine annually. With its very recognizable label and reasonable prices, Clos du Bois can be found easily in most stores that carry wine.

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Dining Reviews

Occupy the Beachfront

Occupy the Beachfront

Zelda's serves locals with swift and sweet service during the off-season

It's like being on vacation this time of year. The weather is improving, and patrons of attractions and restaurants tend to be locals, and less numerous. Now is the time for us to enjoy our seaside hot spots.

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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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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

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

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.”