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Dec 21st
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Food & Drink

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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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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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire