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Oct 01st
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Fresh and Fired-up

Fresh and Fired-up

Watsonville’s Cafe Ella celebrates the bounty of local produce with homemade recipes
his week thousands of us will travel on East Lake Avenue towards the Santa Cruz County Fair. Huge hogs raised by 4-H kids, rides, carnie games, and exhibits of local artisans are sure to draw crowds. Nevertheless, what if you’re just not a fan of fair food?

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Dining Reviews

Balcony Banquet

Balcony Banquet

As the official season of summer draws to a close, I have my fingers crossed for a month of warm fog-free fall days. But to hedge my bet I set out to enjoy a summer dinner at 515 Kitchen and Cocktails.

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Wine Reviews

Dancing Creek Winery Chardonnay 2009

Dancing Creek Winery Chardonnay 2009

It’s always interesting to come across a brand new winery, and Dancing Creek Winery is one of the latest to open up. Formed very recently by Jim and Robin Boyle, the husband and wife duo were the featured winery at Vinocruz for a tasting one afternoon, and my husband and I went there to try their wines. I tell the Boyles how much I admire the amount of work it takes to get into commercial winemaking. They agree wholeheartedly, but tell me that their winemaking journey has been a labor of love.

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Dining Reviews

Frozen in Place

Frozen in Place

Penny Ice Creamery gives Santa Cruz its first taste of locally made from-scratch ice cream after much anticipation.

The Penny Ice Creamery brings the popular concept of seasonal to ice creams and sorbets in downtown Santa Cruz.

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Dining Reviews

Packing Heat

Packing Heat

A decade after its demise, India Joze Restaurant is back as a bright and cozy cafe on Front Street. Chef Jozseph Schultz has been an integral part of the local culinary scene after closing the popular restaurant. He has been busy catering, selling high-intensity propane wok burners, leading food-based tours, and teaching classes at UCSC, Cabrillo, and, more recently, New Leaf Markets.As before, the menu at India Joze is inspired by a wide array of international

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Wine Reviews

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

The 2008 Gold Stripe Chardonnay is a take-anywhere, eat-with-everything kind of wine. It’s drinkable, delicious—and very reasonably priced at less than $15. Ventana Vineyards is a successful, popular winery. Their wines are always in demand, they can be found in most wine stores and supermarkets, and the label boasts that they are “The most award-winning vineyard in America.”

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Dining Reviews

Borne from Original Sin

Borne from Original SinOriginal Sin Desserts, Bakery and Café moves its creative menu
and decadent edibles to downtown Santa Cruz


What was Capitola's loss has become Santa Cruz's gain as Original Sin Desserts Bakery and Café moved into the Culinary Center on Front Street.
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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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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

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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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”