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Dining

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

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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Wine Reviews

Comanche Cellars

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010

I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.

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Dining Reviews

Foodie File: Yan Flower

Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

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Dining Reviews

How Great Thou Artisans

How Great Thou Artisans

A whirlwind tour of the latest from Santa Cruz’s culinary crafters 

Artisanal update! Once I finally turned my attention away from the pumpkin tea cake and almond biscotti, I discovered the baguette sandwiches ($6) at Companion Bakeshop. Long slender baguettes perfect enough to make a Francophile weep are topped with various temptations all week long. There’s a sensuous veggie version, and another for us carnivores, such as last week’s model packed with Brie and el Salchichero’s divinely authentic salami.

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Wine Reviews

Caraccioli Cellars

Caraccioli Cellars

Chardonnay 2009

One of the nice things about visiting the tasting room of Caraccioli Cellars in the heart of Carmel is being able to order little plates of munchies to go with the wine.

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Dining Reviews

Soif’s Magic Touch

Soif’s Magic Touch

Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar is still the go-to place for one of the best culinary experiences in Downtown Santa Cruz

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Dining Reviews

Magic at Main Street

Magic at Main Street

Good service and inventive culinary fare invigorate Soquel’s Main Street Garden & Café

Arriving at Main Street Garden & Café on a busy Friday night with my husband, I looked over a bottle of local featured wine displayed on the counter. The hostess asked me if we would like to try some. This simple gesture of hospitality was a good start to a very enjoyable dining experience.

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Foodie File: Maharaja

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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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.