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Jul 30th
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Dining

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

Dining Reviews

Go, Girl, Go!

Go, Girl, Go!

Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig on NorCal feasts and the art of culinary creations. PLUS: Five holiday cocktails to relish

Day trips and “staycations” nourish the soul, so it’s no surprise that Sonoma continues to rank high for a delicious getaway. But for those who may not yet have the resilient girl & the fig on their culinary GPS, that’s about to change. One name you need to know as you venture toward and into 2014: Sondra Bernstein. She’s the proprieter of Sonoma’s girl & the fig as well as its enchanting winebar in nearby Glenn Ellen. With her strong adherence to farm-to-table creations, Bernstein’s imaginative fare has kept her portal thriving for 16 years now. National attention never hurts, either—the woman has been featured and saluted in numerous magazines and publications as well. She also published several bestselling books, “the girl & the fig Cookbook” and, more recently, “Plats Du Jour,” a luscious read that takes readers through seasons in the wine county. Questions abound when you meet Bernstein. For starters, how did a gal from Philadelphia wind up as one of NorCal’s most celebrated culinary royalty? Read on …

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Wine Reviews

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery Tannat-Merlot 2011

Artesana Winery is a premium winery based in Uruguay which concentrates on Tannat, a red wine grape historically grown in South West France. First introduced by Basque settlers, Tannat is now a prominent grape of Uruguay and plantings are increasing each year. 

Artesana Winery is in the acclaimed Canelones region of Uruguay, a prime location for the Tannat grape. Their artisan wines are made from 100 percent estate-grown grapes and hand-crafted by two women winemakers.

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Wine Reviews

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

Twisted Roots Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary last month and spent the weekend in one of our favorite nearby getaways—Carmel.

This time we stayed in a newly re-opened boutique inn called Vendange, meaning “late harvest” in French, which is very close to the town center—and it could not have been better. The place is spotless, beautifully decorated, comes with a nice breakfast, and offers a wine and cheese tasting every evening.

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Dining Reviews

Turkey Day Tips

Turkey Day Tips

Local chef Jonathan Miller offers advice for a stress-free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just days away, and for the person in charge of cooking the meal, that means one thing: pressure. Pressure to beat other shoppers to the same essential ingredients. Pressure to appease guests with different tastes and dietary needs. Pressure to cook several items simultaneously and get the timing just right.

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Dining Reviews

Cheers to Chef Anthony

Cheers to Chef Anthony

Shadowbrook’s executive chef marries creativity and innovation in the restaurant’s unforgettable dishes

A scintillating platter of food is set on the table and almost immediately one’s senses make a mad dash toward “overload.” What makes the dish stand out? The aroma? The presentation? The food itself?

Maybe all of that, but one thing is certain, when this surf and turf tower is placed in front of you, the combination of grilled flank steak, seared garlic prawns, blackened ahi tuna, jalapeño poppers, stone fruit relish, citrus aioli and fried pickled ginger is truly hard to resist.

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Dining Reviews

Vegan with a Vengeance

Vegan with a Vengeance

Best-selling vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz hits Bookshop Santa Cruz

The world today is a different place for a vegan than it was in 2003, when Isa Chandra Moskowitz started “The Post Punk Kitchen” out of her small Brooklyn apartment. Certainly, it is a different place than when she went vegan in 1989.

As a lover of cooking shows, Moskowitz lamented the absence of a single vegan culinary show on television and decided to start her own, “The Post Punk Kitchen” (The PPK), on New York’s public access channel.

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Wine Reviews

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2012

Ventana Vineyards Chardonnay 2012

Ventana Vineyards’ wines are pretty well known on the Central Coast—their wines can be found all over. And with a brand new label, they are easy to spot on wine store shelves.

The labels are designed to tell the story of Spanish explorer, Gaspar de Portola, who came ashore in Big Sur in 1769. He proceeded inland through what is now called the Ventana Wilderness and looked upon the fertile Salinas Valley through a gap formed in the Arroyo Seco Canyon. The explorer called the gap ‘La Ventana,’ the Spanish word for window. These easy-to-read new labels show exactly what the wine is—in this case an estate-grown Chardonnay, 2012 vintage from Arroyo Seco Vineyards in Monterey, and all sustainably produced.

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Dining Reviews

Sips To Savor

Sips To Savor

Katie Fox of Vino Tabi Winery helps fuel Santa Cruz County’s unique culture

The first time Katie Fox stepped onto United States soil, she was 11 years old. Born of American parents in Hitachi, Japan, she grew up speaking Japanese and English, and is completely at home in both cultures. After returning to Japan for a time, Fox eventually attended UC Santa Cruz and took a wine chemistry class there in her senior year, never imagining then that this would be the start of her winemaking career.

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Wine Reviews

Villa del Monte Winery

Villa del Monte Winery

Pinot Noir Reserve 2011. Wine Events.

During Restaurant Week at the beginning of October, when participating restaurants offer three courses for $25, I met up with a couple of friends at Booka for dinner. One of my friends particularly wanted to go to this fairly new Aptos restaurant because her son is a chef there.

I took along a bottle of Villa del Monte Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Santa Cruz Mountains William Vincent Vineyard to share. We all had different appetizers and main courses, but the very drinkable Pinot paired nicely with everything. My friends also ordered cocktails from the bar, but I wanted to simply enjoy the well-made Pinot. Smooth and silky, it’s bursting with red fruit and characteristic earthiness. Aromas of spice, leather and caramel and some vanilla and spice in the mouth add to the overall pleasure of drinking this impressive wine ($34). We all loved it.

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Dining Reviews

The Next Culinary Adventure

The Next Culinary Adventure

Beverlie Terra takes a new position at Cabrillo College

When Beverlie Terra started her position recently as instructor with the Cabrillo College Culinary Arts program, she did so with a wealth of cooking experience under her belt. After 26 years at Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz, Terra is now putting her expertise into a whole new journey as a chef. 

“It was time for something new,” Terra says. “I always knew that I had more career ahead of me, and I felt I needed to explore that.”

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

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

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Worth Her Salt

Emily Freed’s sensuous salts, plus spirits and salmon

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.