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Jun 30th
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Food & Drink

Wine Reviews

Poetic Cellars

Poetic Cellars

Cabernet Franc 2008 – A Lyrical Wine You Will Love  

Looking for a romantic wine—and with a romantic label to go with it? Poetic Cellars fits the bill. Poetic’s labels show a picture of two lovers embracing, and every back-of-the-bottle label carries a beautiful poem by Joseph Naegele—a partner and owner in the winery along with Katy Lovell. But the true poetry appears in the wine itself. Winemaker Lovell makes the kind of wine that reminds one of a sonnet—with an ode to a lover in each sip.

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Dining Reviews

The Spice is Right

The Spice is Right

Downtown’s Laili celebrates the flavors of the Mediterranean

The final weeks of summer sift through my crossed fingers as I hope for another beautiful fall. It is the time of year when I most appreciate al fresco dining, I thought, as I relaxed on the patio of Laili, whose restaurant celebrates Silk Road flavors.

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Wine Reviews

Big Basin Vineyards

Big Basin Vineyards

Rattlesnake Rock Syrah 2008

Big Basin Vineyards is turning out some incredible wines these days—not the least of which is the Rattlesnake Rock Syrah. Made entirely from grapes grown on Big Basin’s estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2008 is wondrous nectar to be sure.

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Dining Reviews

Jazzing up Church Street

Jazzing up Church Street

 Louie's Cajun Kitchen and Bourbon Bar serves Southern Favorites with a twist 

When I enjoyed the new brunch at Cloud's Downtown last April, I had no idea that the Southern-themed menu was a foreshadowing of the makeover that was revealed this month.

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Wine Reviews

Thomas Fogarty Winery

Thomas Fogarty Winery

Gewürztraminer 2009

When looking for a bottle of wine, Gewürztraminer is not the first to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir – to name but a few – Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole. Somewhat sweeter than most wines, Gewürztraminer is often drunk with dessert – as is a Sauterne or a port wine. That doesn’t mean to say that it can’t ever be drunk with savory food.

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Dining Reviews

Munching On The Mediterranean

Munching On The Mediterranean

At Vasili's, home-style Greek classics continue to fill the house  

The annual Greek Festival from Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church is just around the corner (Sept. 14-16). I thought I'd get an early start on the celebration since home-style Greek food is available year-round at Vasili's.

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Dining Reviews

A Real Deal

A Real Deal

Conveniently located at the corner of River and Water streets, Taqueria los Pericos is a tasty respite between running errands at Probuild and whatever improvement project awaits at home.

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Wine Reviews

Burrell School Vineyards & Winery

Burrell School Vineyards & Winery

Pinot Noir 2007 – Estate Reserve Principal’s Choice

A Russian, a Greek and a Brit go out for dinner and drink a bottle of Pinot Noir. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but I, the Brit, do, in fact, have friends from Russia and Greece and we go out for dinner now and again.

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Dining Reviews

Movin' on Up

Movin' on Up

Ristorante Avanti's focus on local, sustainable ingredients continues to shine at its new location

With its move a few blocks up Mission Street, Santa Cruz’s revered Ristorante Avanti gains 30 additional seats and a full bar. Even with the extra capacity, it still took three tries to get a coveted weeknight reservation. You can’t blame the place for being so popular.

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Wine Reviews

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Pleasant Valley Vineyards

Austin Craig Zinfandel 2008 —Big Red Zinfandel 

Looking for a Zinfandel that’s bold, voluptuous and deliciously good? Then let me introduce you to Pleasant Valley Vineyards’ 2008 Austin Craig Zin. Here’s a sinful Zinful if ever there was one. From the time that Craig and Cathy Handley purchased Pleasant Valley Vineyards in 1996, they have been producing some excellent wines—and the 2008 Grand Reserve Zin ($40) is one of them.

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I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’