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Aug 01st
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

A Sustainable Culture

A Sustainable Culture

The popularity of old world yogurt is surging, and it’s easy to make at home

Yogurt is a product of the ages. With a name originating in Turkey and probiotic benefits touted by the health food industry. A fondness for Greek-style yogurt has taken the country by storm, resulting in a tripling of the number of yogurt factories in New York State, and a $2 billion a year industry. What sets this Mediterranean yogurt apart is straining.

Other cultures refer to the product as “hung” yogurt. Stirred yogurt is placed in a fine mesh strainer which has been lined with cheesecloth and suspended over a deep container. Watery whey seeps out, resulting in a thicker, denser yogurt with more protein by volume. It makes a lovely base for a stiffer tzatziki cucumber-garlic dip and spread.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Good Morning Maui

Good Morning Maui

Pono Hawaiian Grill rolls out Hawaiian-style weekend brunch

Goodness, righteousness, virtuousness and fairness are some of the four-score English words that attempt to describe the Hawaiian essence of pono, whose use in the state motto translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

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Dining - Dining Reviews

A Very Fine House

A Very Fine House

Casa Nostra rolls out traditional Italian fare under the redwoods of Ben Lomond

A trio of restaurateurs with backgrounds at local favorites Star Bene and Oak Tree Ristorante have upgraded the old home of Ciao Bella and created Casa Nostra, a welcoming Italian eatery.

Adjacent to the front door, the long, clean wooden bar is surrounded by pumpkin-colored stools. At the entrance to the dining rooms, there is a new low-slung cafe door hung in the wood-covered arch. Where there once was a stage, stocky wooden tables are neatly arranged perpendicularly on a new tile floor, each set with square white plates and burnt orange cloth napkins.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

From Rough Seas to the Trees

From Rough Seas to the Trees

Former owner of Wharf Bait Shop makes a splash with Felton Italian deli

The students at San Lorenzo Valley High School may be some of the luckiest in the county since the opening of Castelli’s Deli-Café last summer. Adjacent to the school’s parking lot, the restaurant serves pizza, salads, sandwiches, desserts and ice cream novelties, in addition to caffeinated beverages made from Italian Lavazza coffee.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Country Family Buffet

Country Family Buffet

I was recently encouraged to try the all-you-can eat weekend brunch buffet at Mollie’s Country Kitchen in Scotts Valley. It’s a farmhouse-style feast, and with the recent spate of beautiful mornings, the outdoor seating is a refreshing sojourn.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

The Pleasure of Süda

The Pleasure of Süda

Eastside venue wins points for its imaginative menu, stellar service and welcoming atmosphere

Süda is a happening place. As my friend Jan and I were enjoying dinner, every table in the restaurant filled up and nearly all the outdoor seating was occupied as well. Located in the Pleasure Point area, Süda is a magnet for just about everybody hanging out in that neck of the woods.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

May Day in the Alps

May Day in the Alps

An extensive repertoire of German favorites brings us back to Tyrolean Inn

When my daughter returns to Santa Cruz from her new home in Los Angeles, she comments on how quiet it is here. It was even more so during a trip to Ben Lomond, when we set out for a sample of her second favorite macaroni and cheese. Sitting at the front of the Tyrolean Inn restaurant, the green tarp with plastic windows kept out the chill as well as the noise of an occasional passing car. A new draft beer celebrating the German spring, Maibok ($6) was refreshing, served in a hefty glass stein, but specialty cocktails are unique as well.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Step on up to the Bar

Step on up to the Bar

It’s time to dive into the healthy array of local salad buffets

Here in Santa Cruz County, we are privileged to have farm-fresh greens year-round. Making a nightly salad at home is a snap since the emergence of pre-washed greens, and vinaigrette dressing is made easily with your favorite vinegar and small spoon of Dijon mustard whisked with a bit of olive oil.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

The Pizza Grail

The Pizza Grail

Lunchtime at Mama Mia's brings tasteful twists to the classics

For more than 25 years Mama Mia's has been delighting San Lorenzo Valley residents, who rave about the pizza. I like pizza. Wood-fired, gas-fired, barbecued, thin crust, deep-dish, you name it; as long as it's well-made. But I have this memory of a pizza from a long-gone Italian restaurant in Cupertino.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Molto Bella

Molto Bella

Chef and owner Gaetano Balsamo infuses Capitola’s Bella Roma Caffe with authentic flair

Bella Roma Caffe is a very sweet spot to dine in Capitola village. This is an Italian restaurant with a really authentic feel to it—from the Tuscan hues of ochre on the walls to the little indoor statue of twin brothers Romulus and Remus, central characters in Rome’s foundation myth. It’s also very warm, intimate and inviting, with a distinct romantic vibe.

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