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Aug 02nd
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Food & Drink

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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Wine Reviews

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Contra 2009

 
It’s always exciting to find local wines in places out of town. My husband and I were in Palm Desert recently for the Paribas tennis tournament in Indian Wells—staying at one of the Marriott villas, complete with full kitchen. Although it’s fun to try the huge variety of wonderful restaurants in the area, we also like to prepare our own dinner now and again, so we stopped by Bristol Farms grocery store for something to cook out on the grill. 
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Dining Reviews

Scrumptious Send-off

Scrumptious Send-off

 

Downtown's Oswald continues to combine flavorful seasonal ingredients with appetizing presentations 
 
This wasn't the first time my son has said goodbye to Santa Cruz. Going away to college, from my perspective, was significant, but landing a job with a promising career path and securing an apartment in San Francisco, I consider monumental. 
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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover