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Aug 27th
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

Accidental Tourists

Accidental Tourists

Mix together one part doctorate in cancer biology, one part high-tech strategist and two parts foodie, and, serendipitously, you get tofu misozuke, an ancient Japanese fermented tofu which is traditionally enjoyed in small tastes with a glass of sake.

The husband and wife team of Dang Vu and Oanh Nguyen developed their passion for food from the traditional dishes prepared by their families. Their company, Rau Om, is named for an herb that grows in Southeast Asian rice paddies and is used in their Vietnamese cuisine.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday

Clouds Downtown now serves a creative combination of Sunday brunch dishes, as well as three day-long happy hours

Heading downtown for brunch on a Sunday morning has always been a pleasant treat. And now you can enjoy it on Church Street, where Clouds' Sunday brunch is served with a four-piece jazz ensemble.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Holy Calzone!

Holy Calzone!

Aptos Pizza is now serving weekday lunches. Located on busy Soquel Drive, oaks and redwoods of The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park create a calming view through the windows at the rear of the tiny restaurant. 

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Occupy the Beachfront

Occupy the Beachfront

Zelda's serves locals with swift and sweet service during the off-season

It's like being on vacation this time of year. The weather is improving, and patrons of attractions and restaurants tend to be locals, and less numerous. Now is the time for us to enjoy our seaside hot spots.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Friend or Foe?

Friend or Foe?

It was a charming plant, a gift from my neighbor, and I could just imagine its sword-shaped emerald leaves decorating the forest floor. Atop the stalks, unusually triangular in cross section, hung four to 19 frilly, white, bell-shaped flowers, each painted with fine green lines.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Midtown Maki

Midtown Maki

 

Akira Catering steps into the restaurant business 
 
Ever since I saw the sandwich board on the Soquel Avenue sidewalk, I have anxiously awaited the arrival of sushi to the Seabright neighborhood. Akira began first as a catering company founded by Dustin Murata and Greyson Leek who met while working at Sushi Garden in Capitola. 
 
Entering through the back door of the made-over restaurant, home most recently to Kickback Cafe, it offers a comfortable and modern atmosphere. A flock of origami cranes are painted on the soft grey wall, the ceiling is coarsely textured with roughly troweled plaster, and a 10-person sushi bar extends out from the kitchen. 
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Dining - Dining Reviews

Ahh, Sauté

Ahh, Sauté

Leftovers from a Szechwan lunch in New York were carefully preserved in my hotel room sink, surrounded by ice and swaddled in bath towels. Savoring this delicious souvenir at home left me craving some spicy stir-fry.
Uncle Kwok's in Aptos is serenely decorated in grays and blue-greens; the walls hung with large painted fans and prints of Chinese scenery.
Dinners for one, called Bachelor's Choice ($8.95 to $14.25), served with hot and sour soup, egg roll and white rice include dishes such as double mushroom chicken and Kung Pao Three Combo with beef, scallops and prawns.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Small Town Girl

Small Town Girl

Californian gets taste of the Big Apple while taking in a culinary conference

On street corners, pedestrians swiftly dance by each other on a matrix of finely spaced perpendicular paths. It was the first time my feet had felt the pavement of Manhattan.

And what better place for the assemblage of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for its 34th annual conference? This city, known for diversity and creativity in the realm of cuisine, offers a juxtaposition of two extremes.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Calm after the Storm

Calm after the Storm

The Old Mountain Inn serves rib-sticking breakfasts like the ones grandma used to make

After a springtime rain in the mountains of Santa Cruz, the air is fresh, the damp earth reveals its aroma, and the weekend roads are relatively untraveled. A recent early morning drive took us to the quaint Old Mountain Inn for a filling breakfast.

A collection of live and silk plants adorn the interior while numerous skylights add light. I took time to appreciate the old photographs and the collection of doilies on the walls, some crocheted with an extremely fine hook, but all with such perfectly identical stitches.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Eat and Meet

Eat and Meet

If preparing marvelous meals appeals to you, the Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club allows you to explore the world of food and wine, as well as the opportunity to meet people throughout the county.

The SCMGDC will hold its annual membership drive and brunch on Sunday April 15 from noon until 3 p.m. in Ben Lomond. Reservations are required for the $15 event which will include a sampling of the members’ culinary skills. Wines will be available for purchase.

A shared supper table has long been a source of building communities. What began as a club for residents of the San Lorenzo Valley has expanded to include Aptos, Capitola, Live Oak, Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon and Redwood Estates.

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Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

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

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.