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Aug 20th
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

Discretion Brewing brings the community together through food and brews

Some 2,300 years ago, the classical Greek philosopher Plato proclaimed, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” In the millenniums since, uncountable cultures have fiddled with the recipe of ancients, creating a multitude of styles and flavors based on available ingredients.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Not Just for Rabbits

Not Just for Rabbits

For my mother’s birthday party last month, my dad specially ordered a carrot cake from a famous Las Vegas pâtissier. It was gorgeously decorated, but inedible. Two cake layers had been halved to create four, and between each one was a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. The guests couldn’t eat it, much less agree to take any leftovers home. My dad felt so let down after his special effort.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Neighborhood Reunion

Neighborhood Reunion

Popular Harbor Cafe offers unique house-made flavors and substantial portions

Spring arrives this week, bringing with it more opportunities for sunny mornings and breakfast al fresco. At Harbor Cafe, the patio area is so comfortable and jovial it’s as if I’m eating in a friend’s backyard.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Sandwiches in the Sun

Sandwiches in the Sun

I admit it, I had never been to Kelly’s Bakery, although I have enjoyed her products for years from a market that stocks a nice variety of locally made loaves. When I first moved here, I playfully called them “designer breads.” This plethora of unique artisan recipes, like those I had tasted in Europe, was nowhere to be found in the suburbia from whence I emigrated.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Pass it Around

Pass it Around

New owners of 99 Bottles add to variety of beers and edibles

Every Tuesday night for more than a decade, we enjoyed a family dinner at 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz. Of course, we didn’t let the little ones run around, but the atmosphere during Pint Night, the weekly beer gear raffle, was animated enough that I didn’t have to constantly shush them. On the wall behind one of the many rows of brewery taps is a brick with my name engraved in it. My first-grade daughter, on the other hand, once had a sink installed in her honor. (Science lesson: weight-bearing capacity of cantilevered construction.)

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Dining - Dining Reviews

So Haute, it’s Cool

So Haute, it’s Cool

Haute Enchilada’s unique café and gallery has plenty for the palate and the palette

Moss Landing is a quaint historic fishing village that lies about 25 miles south of Santa Cruz. It is a treasure trove of places to explore, including fine antique stores, art galleries, lovely little shops, and is also home to the antique street fair that takes place annually on the last Sunday in July.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Uphill Climb

Uphill Climb

Owners of summit-top Drive-Inn restaurant have the right attitude

The picturesque view of forested Santa Cruz Mountains is stunning from the summit-top family-style restaurant now called the Drive-Inn. For years, the property has been unable to retain a tenant but owner-Chef Ben Kralj and his fiancée Lamia Mghari have all the ingredients to raise a healthy following.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games redefine ‘dinner and a show’ for downtown restaurants

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games have brought us back to downtown. A few thousand of us, that is. While our intention was to walk the mile and back, it’s easier to carpool and pay the paltry few bucks at one of the downtown parking garages. Whether we walk down Front Street or Pacific Avenue, restaurants seem to be doing a fine business both before and after the games. I’ve taken advantage of the team’s month-long road trip to check out some of the pre-game options.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Boldly Bantam

Boldly Bantam

New hotspot brings wood-fired pizza and a whole lot more to the Westside

Seeking to satisfy Santa Cruz’s seemingly insatiable desire for pizza, Bantam has fired up its wood-burning oven on the Westside, just across Fair Avenue from New Leaf Market.
An hour before closing we were shown to a recently vacated table, and the only available table. The atmosphere was warm as neighbors lingered over the last of their beverages. Lively ’80s rock music and jovial banter shared the air with savory aromas. Our server Dan was welcoming, and shared in-depth knowledge of ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Foodies on Parade

Foodies on Parade

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz creates restaurant-centric camaraderie

At Pono Hawaiian Grill, a sellout group of forty curious foodophiles was donning name tags, ordering beverages and mingling; anxious for the mystery that was Santa Cruz’s first Dishcrawl ($45) to unfold. Finally, an organizer announced that the buffet was open and we lined up to partake in the food at our first of four restaurant stops.

Dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee enjoyed taking groups of friends to sample the food at various San Jose-area restaurants, and saw the potential of turning the joy of shared culinary experiences into a business.  The company’s first expansion was into Montreal, and there are now organizations in 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.