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Feb 10th
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Food & Drink

Dining Reviews

A Very Fine House

A Very Fine House

Casa Nostra rolls out traditional Italian fare under the redwoods of Ben Lomond

A trio of restaurateurs with backgrounds at local favorites Star Bene and Oak Tree Ristorante have upgraded the old home of Ciao Bella and created Casa Nostra, a welcoming Italian eatery.

Adjacent to the front door, the long, clean wooden bar is surrounded by pumpkin-colored stools. At the entrance to the dining rooms, there is a new low-slung cafe door hung in the wood-covered arch. Where there once was a stage, stocky wooden tables are neatly arranged perpendicularly on a new tile floor, each set with square white plates and burnt orange cloth napkins.

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Wine Reviews

Food & Wine News

Food & Wine News

What’s happening on the local scene

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s New Casinos IPA Beer
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing has just launched its latest beer—called Casinos—in collaboration with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Casinos will be available throughout the Boardwalk, at local retailers and, of course, at SCMB’s very own taproom in the Swift Street Courtyard complex.

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Dining Reviews

From Rough Seas to the Trees

From Rough Seas to the Trees

Former owner of Wharf Bait Shop makes a splash with Felton Italian deli

The students at San Lorenzo Valley High School may be some of the luckiest in the county since the opening of Castelli’s Deli-Café last summer. Adjacent to the school’s parking lot, the restaurant serves pizza, salads, sandwiches, desserts and ice cream novelties, in addition to caffeinated beverages made from Italian Lavazza coffee.

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Dining Reviews

Country Family Buffet

Country Family Buffet

I was recently encouraged to try the all-you-can eat weekend brunch buffet at Mollie’s Country Kitchen in Scotts Valley. It’s a farmhouse-style feast, and with the recent spate of beautiful mornings, the outdoor seating is a refreshing sojourn.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine: Poetic Cellars

Vine & Dine: Poetic Cellars

Syrah 2006—A Well-versed
Wine and Poetry Lover’s Dream

Poetic Cellars makes the most romantic wines. With a verse or two of beautiful poetry on every label, mostly poems of love and romance, this is the perfect wine to open up over dinner with your sweetheart. I particularly love winemaker Katy Lovell’s Syrah ($28) with its voluptuous velvety textures and dark fruit flavors.

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Dining Reviews

The Pleasure of Süda

The Pleasure of Süda

Eastside venue wins points for its imaginative menu, stellar service and welcoming atmosphere

Süda is a happening place. As my friend Jan and I were enjoying dinner, every table in the restaurant filled up and nearly all the outdoor seating was occupied as well. Located in the Pleasure Point area, Süda is a magnet for just about everybody hanging out in that neck of the woods.

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Wine Reviews

Vine & Dine: Pine Ridge Vineyards

Vine & Dine: Pine Ridge Vineyards

Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2012

On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I came across Pine Ridge Vineyards’ Chenin Blanc + Viognier at a new downtown restaurant called Lulu. Superbly decorated in Hollywood-esque style and with a very hip vibe, this California bistro is one of the hottest new dining spots—and the Chenin Blanc was just the right wine to pair with some of Lulu’s Happy Hour tapas-style food. And eating outdoors in the desert’s warm night air makes a chilled white wine taste even better.

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Dining Reviews

May Day in the Alps

May Day in the Alps

An extensive repertoire of German favorites brings us back to Tyrolean Inn

When my daughter returns to Santa Cruz from her new home in Los Angeles, she comments on how quiet it is here. It was even more so during a trip to Ben Lomond, when we set out for a sample of her second favorite macaroni and cheese. Sitting at the front of the Tyrolean Inn restaurant, the green tarp with plastic windows kept out the chill as well as the noise of an occasional passing car. A new draft beer celebrating the German spring, Maibok ($6) was refreshing, served in a hefty glass stein, but specialty cocktails are unique as well.

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Wine Reviews

Vine and Dine: Manzoni Vineyards

Vine and Dine: Manzoni Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011

It’s nice to get out of Dodge, as they say, and indulge in completely different surroundings—even if it’s just an hour’s drive down the coast. My husband and I love to go to Carmel and Monterey, and over time we have stayed in an amazing assortment of interesting hotels and bed & breakfasts places.

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Dining Reviews

Step on up to the Bar

Step on up to the Bar

It’s time to dive into the healthy array of local salad buffets

Here in Santa Cruz County, we are privileged to have farm-fresh greens year-round. Making a nightly salad at home is a snap since the emergence of pre-washed greens, and vinaigrette dressing is made easily with your favorite vinegar and small spoon of Dijon mustard whisked with a bit of olive oil.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
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Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster