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Jun 30th
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Food & Drink

Dining Reviews

What Freedom Brings

What Freedom BringsFreedom's El Azteca has plenty of surprises on its menu, including healthy ones

We headed into the hills above Freedom Boulevard in need of some amazingly delicious honey from Pacific Crest Apiaries. Hungry as well, we noticed a stack of business cards for El Azteca, located just down the road, and asked co-owner Dana Mumm about it. She gushed about the family and the food, and suggested we try grilled shrimp soft tacos, which aren't on the menu.
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Dining Reviews

Fill Me Up

Fill Me UpThe owners of the Chevron gas station on the corner of Park Avenue and Soquel Drive have taken the notion of a quick stop to the next echelon.

A recent remodel added a car wash and a delightful Victorian-inspired building which houses AJ's Market and Natural Foods.
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Wine Reviews

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

Hunter Hill Vineyard & WineryBarbera 2010 and Center Street Grill  

With our bottle of Hunter Hill Barbera in hand, we head to Center Street Grill for dinner. I often take my own wine to restaurants—especially if I have one I really want to try—and pay the corkage fee. Center Street Grill is a restaurant we visit on a regular basis. I lived in Greece for 13 years, so I particularly love the Mediterranean-influenced food prepared by owner Danny Voutos. Voutos is of Greek descent, so he grew up appreciating olive oil-based cuisine, and flavoring food with fresh herbs and spices.
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Dining Reviews

Ancient Maize

Ancient MaizeA pre-Colombian soup of Mesoamerican shelled corn continues to nourish and warm us centuries later

The Aztec and other ancient cultures in Mesoamerica gave us many things. For instance, the words chocolate and avocado originated in the Nahuatl language, as did pozole [poh-soh-ley].
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Dining Reviews

Deals on Meals

Deals on MealsIt's a one-man-band in the kitchen at Chubby's in Scotts Valley. Owner and Chef Dino Saabedra took the small skillet in hand, and with a deft flick of his wrist my eggs were airborne to achieve over-easy perfection.
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Wine Reviews

Byington Vineyard & Winery

Byington Vineyard & Winery2010 Rosé Saignee

High in the Los Gatos hills and along the winding Bear Creek Road is Byington Winery. I have been there many times and always find it a pleasurable experience. The occasion this time was a picnic organized by a friend, which included wine tasting and a guided tour of the vineyard and very interesting cellar where events are held.
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Dining Reviews

Emerald Isle

Emerald IsleDe Laveaga, the Golden Gate Park of Santa Cruz, offers hearty, fresh meals with its recreational opportunities

The familiar road wound past weathered cacti, fir trees and the sixth fairway where five young deer grazed. I approached the green, seven iron in hand. It had been four months since I last felt its smooth metal brush the damp grass. My hip had been broken and subsequently replaced, but finally crutch-free, I had come to celebrate with breakfast at De Laveaga Restaurant, home to the only sport I am still permitted to play.
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Wine Reviews

Loma Prieta Winery

Loma Prieta WineryPetite Sirah 2008

Last week I wrote about a red blend for Valentine’s Day, but as the year’s most romantic day approaches and you’re still looking for something downright voluptuous, then Loma Prieta’s Petit Sirah fits the bill.
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Dining Reviews

Burgers Your Way

Burgers Your WayThere are plenty of options at Seabright Brewery besides award-winning beers 

It was the first brewery I had been at in Santa Cruz when it opened more than two decades ago. There have been occasional changes to the menu since then, the addition of a full bar, and on my recent visit, most of the servers wore name tags.
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Dining Reviews

Diggin' It

Diggin' It February's garden features an abundance of root vegetables, greens, citrus and pears. When it comes to eating with the seasons, this bountiful selection is perfect for a Valentine's month salad.

Beginning with beets, which as a child I encountered only as pickled, crimson disks on Italian salads, there are more tasty ways to eat them, including raw.
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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’