On Sundays, Café Sparrow dishes up a delectable breakfast and brunch menu, peppered with house-made surprises in its little Aptos storefront.
Santa Cruz Aleworks
A tantalizing smoky smell was carried by the breeze through the brewing room’s open door, drawing me zombie-like toward the source of the aroma. In the parking lot behind Santa Cruz Aleworks, Executive Chef Jeff Greer was just finishing up the day’s batch of smoked meats. Facing Pogonip in an industrial park in the Harvey West neighborhood since 2007, the brewery has recently added a delicatessen which is open daily.
The popularity of old world yogurt is surging, and it’s easy to make at home
Yogurt is a product of the ages. With a name originating in Turkey and probiotic benefits touted by the health food industry. A fondness for Greek-style yogurt has taken the country by storm, resulting in a tripling of the number of yogurt factories in New York State, and a $2 billion a year industry. What sets this Mediterranean yogurt apart is straining.
Other cultures refer to the product as “hung” yogurt. Stirred yogurt is placed in a fine mesh strainer which has been lined with cheesecloth and suspended over a deep container. Watery whey seeps out, resulting in a thicker, denser yogurt with more protein by volume. It makes a lovely base for a stiffer tzatziki cucumber-garlic dip and spread.
There’s always an upbeat vibe going at MJA’s tasting room on the Westside. On a recent visit, the very sociable owner Marin Artukovich was busy pouring for a roomful of oenophiles having a good time. With the help of staff members, Artukovich makes sure that nobody waits too long to sample his fine wines, while also keeping track of every person’s flight.
Pinot Noir 2009—A Wine to Dance To
At the Pinot Paradise event back in March, I tasted some very good Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Dancing Creek Winery’s 2009 Pinot ($27) was one of them. This plummy dark brew, made from grapes grown in Corralitos, has delicious flavors of pomegranate, prosciutto, dried cherries, and mint julep.
Pono Hawaiian Grill rolls out Hawaiian-style weekend brunch
Goodness, righteousness, virtuousness and fairness are some of the four-score English words that attempt to describe the Hawaiian essence of pono, whose use in the state motto translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
As one of the judges for the Dare to Pair event, held last month at Surf City Vintners, I happily plowed my way through 11 plates of food paired with 11 different wines. Each dish was prepared by students of the Cabrillo College culinary program, and the wines were from local wineries belonging to the Surf City Vintners’ group.
Although it was difficult to pick a winning dish, we five judges chose a duck confit spring roll paired with a Quinta Cruz 2009 Souzão ($24). (This pairing came in third under the People’s Choice award.)
Casa Nostra rolls out traditional Italian fare under the redwoods of Ben Lomond
A trio of restaurateurs with backgrounds at local favorites Star Bene and Oak Tree Ristorante have upgraded the old home of Ciao Bella and created Casa Nostra, a welcoming Italian eatery.
Adjacent to the front door, the long, clean wooden bar is surrounded by pumpkin-colored stools. At the entrance to the dining rooms, there is a new low-slung cafe door hung in the wood-covered arch. Where there once was a stage, stocky wooden tables are neatly arranged perpendicularly on a new tile floor, each set with square white plates and burnt orange cloth napkins.
What’s happening on the local scene
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s New Casinos IPA Beer
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing has just launched its latest beer—called Casinos—in collaboration with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Casinos will be available throughout the Boardwalk, at local retailers and, of course, at SCMB’s very own taproom in the Swift Street Courtyard complex.