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Aug 22nd
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Dining

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

Wine Reviews

Bernadus Winery

Bernadus WineryChardonnay 2009 

One of the most impressive weddings I have ever attended was at the Bernardus Lodge recently. Not only were the bride and groom an extremely handsome couple, but also they had planned each detail so carefully and thoroughly that the whole event was truly a fairytale affair.

The Bernadus Lodge is a gorgeous facility to hold a function, and well worth a visit. It’s a beautiful premier resort nestled on verdant acres in Carmel Valley—complete with luxurious spa, tennis courts, ballroom, function space and vineyard.
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Dining Reviews

Chow Time

Chow TimeCowboy Bar and Grill updates staples of the Wild West  

After an energizing hike through Henry Cowell State Park, I like to refuel at Felton's Cowboy Bar and Grill, situated just one half mile north of the park's Highway 9 entrance. The servings are generous, the cocktails playfully named, and the soups housemade.

Specialty cocktails ($7 to $10) include margaritas and variations of the Long Island Iced Tea. I found the peach-colored Bolo Tai ($8) refreshing in an icy pint glass with hints of pineapple and Odwalla orange juices mixed with four varieties of rum.
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Dining Reviews

Good News for Home Chefs

Good News for Home ChefsI remember my first trip to a restaurant supply store. I had been taking weekend classes at San Francisco's California Culinary Academy, and needed a bigger skillet. Two years ago I drove to Seaside for a huge stainless steel pot for the city's Chowder cook off. Now Santa Cruz home chefs have a supply store to call their own.
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Wine Reviews

Mica Cellars

Mica Cellars 2009 Zinfandel

Happy New Year! Here’s to a good 2012—complete with an abundance of fine wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

You might want to start with a bold and luscious Zinfandel made by Mica Raas of Mica Cellars.

Born and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Raas has an intimate knowledge of the micro terroir, soil and climate that the area has to offer. “Winemaking is an art and not a science, and true perfection in winemaking is only obtained by careful management of microbial chaos,” he says.
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Dining Reviews

King of the Hill

King of the HillFresh flavors complement the view at Linwood's Bar and Grill  

Leaves were rustling in the chill wind, but inside at Linwood’s, rays of warm sunshine streamed through the windows. Looking out across the patio perched on a hill, a fir forest rises from below, and in the midday light, it seemed to stretch all the way to the shimmering bay beyond.

To the left is an arbor on which roses and wisteria bloom seasonally; the setting for many a romantic Chaminade wedding.
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Wine Reviews

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain VineyardsAlloy 2006—Central Coast Red Wine

Jerold O’Brien has been in the wine business for a long time. As owner and winemaker at Silver Mountain Vineyards, the expertise he has garnered over the years shows in every bottle of wine he produces. His was probably the first certified organic vineyard in the county—back when hardly anybody knew the meaning of the term. O’Brien’s estate-grown Chardonnay grapes are all organic, and the wine produced from this quality fruit is simply superb.
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Dining Reviews

Kindler, Gentler Burritos

Kindler, Gentler BurritosVivas' taqueria menu employs local, organic produce

Offering a different twist on Mexican food, Vivas uses organic produce and beans in their south-of-the-border specialties. Adjacent to the Rio Theatre, it's a convenient place for takeout before securing a spot in the theatre's queue.

Tiles are used extensively in the décor, from the Spanish-style stone floor, to the rustic tabletops and wall— mounted boxes in which grow leafy plants. The bench seating is attractively upholstered, and the corner location allows plenty of sunlight throughout the day, while a small fountain delivers soothing sound.
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Dining Reviews

2011: Diversity was the Word

2011: Diversity was the WordThe 2011 year in Santa Cruz food landscape had a number of notable excitement/changes.

I appreciated experiencing the increased diversity brought to life by some new entrepreneurial families. Tran Noodle House introduced Vietnamese pho to Watsonville. This relatively simple soup of noodles and meat cooked in a well-made broth and embellished with crisp mung bean sprouts and fresh basil leaves is savory, centering, and meant to be slurped.

Pupusas with strongly fermented cheese, the national dish of El Salvador, along with pastelitos empanadas and Salvadorian tamales were introduced by Chelito's on Ocean Street bringing an array of new flavors to town.
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Wine Reviews

Equinox Wine

Equinox WineSparkling Wine for New Year’s Eve

The countdown to the end of 2011 has begun. As we plan our New Year’s Eve festivities, most of us have Champagne on our shopping list. After all, there’s nothing that compares to a fine glass of bubbly to celebrate going into a brand new year. And it doesn’t have to be French. An excellent Champagne (or sparkling wine as it has to be called if it’s made outside of the Champagne region of France) is made right here in town by expert winemaker Barry Jackson of Equinox Wine.
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Dining Reviews

Side by Side

Side by Side

Chinese Village and Bamboo Garden add different twists to favorite dishes

For some time I’ve marveled at the coexistence of two adjacent Chinese restaurants on Capitola Road. The atmosphere in each is distinct, from the decor to the seating, and although the three quarters of the two menus are similar, I found the preparation styles, ingredients, and flavors very different. The lightly cooked fresh vegetables at both establishments were excellent.

In the Chinese Village parking lot, median strips were planted with Asian herbs. Inside, owner Sally Wong, still wearing her apron, was enjoying her mid-day meal at the counter. Her experience in the kitchen spans many decades. The restaurant, which opened in 1976, has been at its current location for about15 years.

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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

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

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.