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Aug 28th
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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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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.