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Apr 23rd
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Cover Stories

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Food & Wine

Food & Wine

Inside:
Oak Tree Ristorante
SmoQe
Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant
Cava
Vino Prima
Vinocruz

Plus:
Nightlife
11 Sexy Foods you just have to sink your teeth into

 

 

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66 WORDS

66 WORDS

Editor’s Note: Highs, lows, blows and woes. Behold: The 66 Words Short Story Contest. This year, we were inundated with entries. Take note of the ones that made the top of our list. Watch for more to be added over time.

No Trace, No Disgrace
During a small dinner party, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. It was welcoming with fresh daffodils and a vanilla candle burning. When done, I flushed and all was well except one little stinker that lingered. Flushed again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Heard knock on door … panic. No wastebasket, darn. What to do? Took that floater and stuck it in my pocket. Went home early.
—Stephanie Hoffman

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(hitting) the spot

(hitting) the spot

Local Charles Muir is a revered Tantric teacher. But can our intrepid reporter survive his illuminating weekend of prowess and spirituality?

Years ago, I began dating a young woman I was crazy about. I desperately wanted to prove my worth to her as a lover, but it wasn’t helping my cause that I was hopelessly wet behind the ears where lovemaking was concerned. So I figured I’d give myself a leg up by reading a book about Tantric sex, an ancient form of erotic yoga based in Eastern spirituality. During my third encounter of the close kind with my new companion, I decided to try out one of the practices I’d been reading about: a set of straightforward, easy-to-follow instructions for locating and stimulating the female pleasure nexus known as the G-spot. I was wholly unprepared for the results. This idiot-simple technique, which I’d spent all of 10 minutes studying up on, sent my partner slow-motion bliss-leaping through golden meadows of eternity. Afterward, as angels, stars and butterflies haloed her head, she told me with unmistakable sincerity that she’d just had the single greatest sensual crescendo of her life. “You should write a book!” she swooned, apparently under the very mistaken impression that I was some kind of high-level sexual sorcerer. I tried my best not to shatter that illusion, but inwardly, I was dumbfounded. It was like rubbing a magic lamp and finding out that it isn’t just a story—a genie really does appear.

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Health Issue & 11 Tips for for Optimal Health

Health Issue & 11 Tips for  for Optimal Health

It's 2010 Be healthy Already
Fatigued? That's so 2009. It's a new decade.  Time for a new you.  Take note of the following locals who continue to push the envelope in todays heath world.

Inside:
Kicking Ass: Matt Reyes, Cardio Kickboxer, Sweat Factory
Going DeepJaimi Ellison, Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab
To The Point: Tracy Cone, Pearl Alley Acupuncture
Mobile to Mobile: Levi and Bill Castro, West Coast Mobility
+ local booksellers recommend health books

 

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Sithan Pat

Sithan Pat

He strives to keep Cambodian heritage alive in Santa Cruz
I sit mesmerized as I watch a young girl tear a hairy leg from a plump tarantula and pop it in her mouth. She happily chews on the crunchy thing, enjoying her afternoon snack. A giggle escapes her lips when she notices my open-mouthed expression, and she extends the bag of deep-fried arachnids toward me. My stomach churns. Should I? Didn’t I travel to the Kingdom of Cambodia precisely to collect exotic experiences such as this one? Despite my internal pep talk, I cannot bring myself to eat a dead spider, let alone pick one up. I politely decline. She shrugs her shoulders and glances away, incredulous that I would turn down such an obvious treat. Suddenly I feel just like Dorothy—absolutely not in “Kansas” anymore.

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Kick the Habit in 30 Days

Kick the Habit in 30 Days

How to break the addiction to always using cars and embrace the wild array of sustainable transportation options right in front of you Special Publication: Commute Solutions

Addiction: the condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

As Americans, we often speak of the dangers of addiction to things such as drugs, alcohol and gambling. But what about that nasty habit we’re all guilty of—our addiction to using cars?

It’s a widespread dependency. Santa Cruz County residents, in total, traveled 5,428,740 miles by vehicle every day in 2007, according to the California Department of Transportation, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing. The 2000 census reported 126,106 commuters in Santa Cruz County, but the Association of Monterey Bay Area Government projects that this figure will be 208,750 by the year 2030. That’s an additional 82,644 commuters on our roadways, and an ominous leap in our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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floral godmother

floral godmotherLinda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers works her own brand of magic for local brides-to-be

PLUS: For the complete guide to the Bridal Expo at the Cocoanut Grove click here.

Remember the fairy godmother in the Disney movie Cinderella? With a wave of her magic wand the ethereal lady turned pumpkins into coaches and mice into men, spoiling Cinderella rotten one enchanted evening by giving her everything her heart desired. In the Central Coast wedding industry, consider Linda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers your very own personal fairy godmother that will make you feel like royalty as you marry your own Prince Charming—glass slippers not included.

When you choose Country Essences Flowers to provide the buds for your nuptials, you simply can’t go wrong. Arietta has technically been arranging flowers her entire life. “I did flowers with my mother when I was a little girl,” she remembers fondly. “I helped do the arrangements at the church.” Outside of the traditional wedding season of May through September, Arietta does flowers for local businesses and corporations such as Shadowbrook in Capitola, and teaches flower-arranging classes for area country clubs, schools and women’s groups. Add that to the fact that this floral maven has owned and tended her own flower ranch for the past 40 years—doing between 60 and 70 weddings per year I might add—and you’ve got a florist that really knows her ABC’s (as in azaleas, begonias, chrysanthemums).

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Meet The NEXTies

Meet The NEXTiesIn the first awards ceremony of its kind, Santa Cruz Next honors Danny Keith, Marina Sousa, Reyna Ruiz and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz  for their standout creative efforts.

Somebody once said, “What you focus on grows,” to which I immediately wondered: “Well, what am I focusing on … internally … and how is that growing—manifesting—on the outside?” For the four individuals spotlighted on the following pages— Danny Keith, Reyna Ruiz, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz Owner and Marina Sousa—their inner callings not only led them to follow their heart’s desires but to find a way where their hearts’ desires could somehow spill back into the community and make a positive difference. It’s one of the reasons why these locals are each being awarded a NEXTie Award on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Santa Cruz. The first annual endeavor of its kind, a ceremony honoring locals whose contributions to the community boldly stand out, was birthed by Santa Cruz Next, the local organization that “seeks to enhance the quality of life” of its members and “the community at large.” There are a number of ways SCN does that but by illuminating and, perhaps, actively advancing the development of economic, social and cultural opportunities locally, it seems to strive to connect the town’s “next” generation to the greater community.  The folks on the following pages are being honored for championing such amazing efforts. Keith, who is owner of Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop, has been vigilantly raising the level of awareness on local hunger issues.

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RALLY ’round the iPhone

RALLY  ’round the iPhone

Local tekkies generate buzz with an iPhone app focused on ‘real friends’
There is a specter haunting social media. And though you may hate to admit it, your technophobic uncle somehow managed to hit the nail right on the head in his requisite New Year’s Eve diatribe on how things were better in the “good old days.”

Let’s face it, you don’t hang out with 95 percent of your Facebook friends, you will never even meet half the people you follow on Twitter and you certainly don’t care that Ashton Kutcher is waiting to get a triple venti mocha on North Beverly Drive. All the same, tweets and status updates such as these are edging out the important ones: a friend you haven’t seen in years is passing through town today; an old flame you’ve been hoping to reconnect with is heading to your favorite bar for drinks; a potential client is attending the same seminar as you. You missed all of these vital pieces of information because your high school sweetheart, who you haven’t seen in five years, just got a new lap dog.

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Top of the Class

Top of the Class

Five UC Santa Cruz innovators break the creative mold with projects destined to make a positive difference
There is a lot more going on at the UC Santa Cruz campus than you may know— revolutionary computer games, gardening that’s “hip,” ocean advocates, and a cure for cancer and solution to blindness. As a brand new decade begins, take note of five innovators whose work is already generating powerful change.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management