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Dec 21st
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Food & Drink

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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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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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire