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Aug 20th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Lúpulo Craft Beer House

Lúpulo Craft Beer House

For a lot of people, beer food means nachos and jalapeno poppers. But Stuyvie Bearns Esteva and Noelle Marie Antolin, the owners of Lúpulo Craft Beer House, are challenging that notion.

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Dining Reviews

Like Mothers for Chocolate

Like Mothers for Chocolate

Mother’s Day delights; plus, La Posta’s assist and Discretion advised

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Dining Reviews

Foodie File: Ken Botelho

Foodie File: Ken Botelho

Ken Botelho, owner of Caffe Bene, says his coffee shop on Cedar Street has had plenty of ups and downs since it opened in 1988. But he doesn’t mind when it gets slow: in between regular customers, Botelho just picks up a book or newspaper and reads. At this point, Caffe Bene is a local institution. “I still see cars going by—the years change. The models change,” he says. “I’m still serving coffee.”

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Wine Reviews

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain Vineyards

Chardonnay 2011

Silver Mountain Vineyards owner and winemaker Jerold O’Brien has been in the business a long time, and the expertise he has garnered over the years shows in every bottle he produces.

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Dining Reviews

Richard Alfaro’s Exotic Expansion

Richard Alfaro’s Exotic Expansion

How white wines are getting him through a mid-life crisis

Driving with Richard Alfaro through his extensive vineyards in full spring green, I get a quick snapshot of what his ever-expanding winery is up to.

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Wine Reviews

Martin Ranch Winery

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011

One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

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Dining Reviews

Palate-Stretching 101

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts

As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

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Dining Reviews

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe

Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

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Wine Reviews

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne

The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

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Dining Reviews

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner

You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?

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The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

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’

 

Say Uncle

Five types of kids, and how to be their best friend
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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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.