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Jul 24th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

In and Out

In and Out

When I was younger, an occasional buffet meal was an opportunity to gorge myself on the less healthy foods that I rarely saw at home. Like piles of bacon and a table-full of desserts. Now I appreciate buffets as a quick lunch stop. The new Thai Village restaurant in the King's Village Shopping Center offers a small, fresh buffet ($8.95) that was well-attended by local Seagate employees last week.

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Wine Reviews

Clos Tita

Clos TitaCabernet “Gironde” 2006
Practically the whole of Santa Cruz knows by now that talented local chef Jake Gandolfo is appearing on the MasterChef cooking show series on Fox TV—on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. until mid-September. By the time this article comes out, he may have proceeded to the next food preparation challenge, or he may have been eliminated. But whatever happens, he’s certainly had his share of 15 minutes of fame—and demand for his cuisine is escalating.
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Dining Reviews

Go with the Garlic

Go with the GarlicWestside's Phoenix Asian Restaurant serves huge portions from its long menu
I tend to avoid Mission Street this time of year, but there I was, and realized one of the Chinese restaurants had changed hands, albeit more than a year ago. Now named Phoenix Asian Restaurant, it's known for its huge selection of lunch specials for about $6.
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Dining Reviews

A Bit Far Afield

A Bit Far AfieldIt seems that everyone in Santa Cruz has ties to Fresno, me included. Driving home from that Central Valley town, rows of tall corn, orchards of pistachios, and trailers laden with ripe tomatoes make it hard to ignore hunger pangs. But if you can make it past Casa de Fruta to San Felipe Road, you're just minutes away from what's billed as the best tri-tip in San Benito County.
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Wine Reviews

Otter Cove Wines

Otter Cove WinesGood Bottle of Riesling
Six of us went camping in Big Basin State Park recently. It’s a short drive from Santa Cruz – and there’s nothing like a good dose of fresh air to boost the appetite. And sitting round a campfire under majestic redwoods is simple pleasure at its best. We all gathered on Friday evening and pooled our food and drink for that night’s dinner. I had taken a bottle of Otter Cove Riesling 2007, Santa Lucia Highlands – a nice light wine to go with a late afternoon meal under the redwoods.
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Dining Reviews

Here's the Beef

Here's the BeefMalone's in Scotts Valley offers gargantuan burgers and outlandishly fresh salads
In 1980 Scotts Valley had fewer than 7,000 residents, and small planes still landed on the runways of its airport. During that year three decades ago, Malone's Grande Grille first opened its doors, serving the biggest burgers you'd ever laid eyes on.
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Dining Reviews

Sweet August

Sweet August

It seems that there is a national day set aside to celebrate every food on the planet. But why are strawberry ice cream and apricot awareness days in January, and why is there a dog biscuit appreciation day at all? August's list makes more sense. It's National Peach month. Boxes at local farmers markets are brimming with these fuzzy fruits, just-picked and juicy.

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Wine Reviews

DaVine Cellars

DaVine Cellars

Rosé 2008
A few weeks ago, I wrote about MJA Vineyards and its offshoot—DaVine Cellars. When I went to the Swift Street complex to check out this brand new winery in the area, I bought two bottles—a Cabernet Sauvignon, which I have already written about, and a Rosé. Rosés are making much more of an impact than in days of yesteryear, when a lot of folk would not give them the time of day. Now, Rosés are in demand, especially during warm summer weather.

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Dining Reviews

Song of the South

Song of the South

Having heard that the Cypress Lounge had added Cajun flavors to their streamlined menu, I was keen to check it out. When we arrived just after 7 p.m., instrumental jazz musicians were playing their final song. The music was loud for anyone expecting a subdued dinner, but not for those noshing with friends. We were excited to find the elusive Santa Cruz Aleworks IPA on draft ($2 Tuesday happy hour all night) in all its ultra-hoppy glory.

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Dining Reviews

Sharing the Kitchen

Sharing the KitchenGilbert's on the wharf gets a new look, a new name, and adds a cafe
You can see the difference before you even enter the restaurant, as windows on the sidewalk look into the open kitchen. What was known as Gilbert's on the Wharf is now Gilbert's Firefish Grill, alluding to the new mesquite grill, which brings a unique technique to the Municipal Wharf's culinary repertoire.
You'll still find fried calamari, lightly breaded sand dabs, and Fisherman's Pasta, but the fresh catch can now be grilled. How's that  for healthy?
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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.