Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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Dining Reviews

Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Tasting Away

Tasting AwayBeautiful inside and out, Margaritaville blends Mexican specialties with Californian originality 

Last year I felt horribly deprived by the relative lack of warm summer days. Earlier this month though, there was enough shirt-sleeve weather to put me in remarkably giddy spirits. After thoroughly enjoying a walk on Capitola's sunny Esplanade in the middle of January, we stopped in at Margaritaville, a restaurant I had not visited in quite some time.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Back at the Farm

Back at the FarmThere really was a farm at one time, farther up the road, which I remember for their enjoyable breakfasts. Thirty-five years later, now much smaller and located just south of Cabrillo College, The Farm still serves an abundant choice of fresh fare, made from scratch, in the middle of a chic boutique. I was surprised at the variety of tasteful gifts, from sweaters and jewelry, to cook books, cards and glassware.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

The (Local) Food Network

The (Local) Food NetworkCooking school founder serves up a tasty menu of culinary classes  

Salmon and English muffins? Check. Lemony chicken—heavy on the lemons—that’s my unfortunate specialty. God-awful scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash gone wrong, dreary pasta sauce, burned meatballs. The list goes go on and on. Those who know me are distinctly aware that I’m a wretched cook. (And they have the stories to back it up.) In fact, I’ve been banned from cooking by everyone close to me. They refuse to eat anything I’ve prepared.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Special Treatment

Special TreatmentUnique culinary touches at Zachary's have kept us coming back for 26 years

Babies know not the difference between weekends and weekdays, and my oldest awoke by 6:30 every morning. On Saturdays we'd either drive to the wharf, or put him in an aluminum-framed backpack and walk downtown for breakfast. Once, when my not-quite toddling son dragged his backpack to my bedside, sadly on a school day, I knew he was hungry for Zachary's.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Mid-day Milkshake

Mid-day MilkshakeWith Café Violette changing hands again, I wondered if they still served any of the original Middle Eastern plates. It was a sunny afternoon, and surprisingly busy for a mid-week.

This tiny cafe on the corner of the Esplanade and Stockton Avenue in Capitola serves 48 flavors of locally made Polar Bear and Marianne's ice cream. A regular milkshake ($5) made with Marianne's Raspberry Cheesecake was thick and bubble gum pink.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Chow Time

Chow TimeCowboy Bar and Grill updates staples of the Wild West  

After an energizing hike through Henry Cowell State Park, I like to refuel at Felton's Cowboy Bar and Grill, situated just one half mile north of the park's Highway 9 entrance. The servings are generous, the cocktails playfully named, and the soups housemade.

Specialty cocktails ($7 to $10) include margaritas and variations of the Long Island Iced Tea. I found the peach-colored Bolo Tai ($8) refreshing in an icy pint glass with hints of pineapple and Odwalla orange juices mixed with four varieties of rum.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Good News for Home Chefs

Good News for Home ChefsI remember my first trip to a restaurant supply store. I had been taking weekend classes at San Francisco's California Culinary Academy, and needed a bigger skillet. Two years ago I drove to Seaside for a huge stainless steel pot for the city's Chowder cook off. Now Santa Cruz home chefs have a supply store to call their own.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

King of the Hill

King of the HillFresh flavors complement the view at Linwood's Bar and Grill  

Leaves were rustling in the chill wind, but inside at Linwood’s, rays of warm sunshine streamed through the windows. Looking out across the patio perched on a hill, a fir forest rises from below, and in the midday light, it seemed to stretch all the way to the shimmering bay beyond.

To the left is an arbor on which roses and wisteria bloom seasonally; the setting for many a romantic Chaminade wedding.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

Kindler, Gentler Burritos

Kindler, Gentler BurritosVivas' taqueria menu employs local, organic produce

Offering a different twist on Mexican food, Vivas uses organic produce and beans in their south-of-the-border specialties. Adjacent to the Rio Theatre, it's a convenient place for takeout before securing a spot in the theatre's queue.

Tiles are used extensively in the décor, from the Spanish-style stone floor, to the rustic tabletops and wall— mounted boxes in which grow leafy plants. The bench seating is attractively upholstered, and the corner location allows plenty of sunlight throughout the day, while a small fountain delivers soothing sound.
Food & Drink - Dining Reviews

2011: Diversity was the Word

2011: Diversity was the WordThe 2011 year in Santa Cruz food landscape had a number of notable excitement/changes.

I appreciated experiencing the increased diversity brought to life by some new entrepreneurial families. Tran Noodle House introduced Vietnamese pho to Watsonville. This relatively simple soup of noodles and meat cooked in a well-made broth and embellished with crisp mung bean sprouts and fresh basil leaves is savory, centering, and meant to be slurped.

Pupusas with strongly fermented cheese, the national dish of El Salvador, along with pastelitos empanadas and Salvadorian tamales were introduced by Chelito's on Ocean Street bringing an array of new flavors to town.
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Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


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