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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

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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Wine Reviews

Zayante’s Chardonnay and Hawgs Seafood Bar

Zayante’s Chardonnay  and Hawgs Seafood Bar A Good Wine and Dine Match
We all know that a good wine pairing for seafood is Chardonnay. When friends my husband and I hadn’t seen for a while suggested we meet up for dinner, Hawgs cropped up as the place to go for good seafood. With the dinner night picked out, we head over to Hawgs, and I take along a bottle of Zayante Vineyard Chardonnay to share.
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Dining Reviews

The 19th Hole

The 19th Hole

At Hollins House Restaurant, a new chef and menu complement the original vision for Pasatiempo

Marion Hollins, the U.S. Women's Amateur Golf Champion in 1921, was also the only American woman with a handicap in men's polo. In designing the championship golf course at Pasatiempo, her vision was to take advantage of the local topography, and indeed, golfers tee off across canyons, and the seemingly hundreds of bunkers hold more sand than Its Beach. Her home, now Hollins House Restaurant, looks out over the manicured first fairway and sports a new chef who also draws heavily from local and natural sources.

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Dining Reviews

Skewer It

Skewer It

A new Middle Eastern restaurant has opened on Capitola's Esplanade. Mr Kebab and Falafel is the half sister to House of Falafel over the hill, and skewered meats are their specialty.

Fatoosh, the House Salad ($3.99), topped with crunchy deep-fried squares of pita, was served on a large plate, and, as a starter, could feed three people. Strips of romaine were mixed with fresh parsley, cucumber, tomato, and a light lemon juice dressing. The mild mint tasted dried rather than powerfully fresh.

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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.”