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Apr 24th
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Dining Reviews

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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Dining - Dining Reviews

Northern Bites

Northern Bites

Tasty recipes and charming service are customary at the Panda Inn

For 30 years, the Panda Inn has served specialties of Northern Chinese cuisine from its location in the Deer Park Center in Aptos.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Comfy Cafetal

Comfy Cafetal

Three large blackboards showcase the surprisingly large menu, which ranges from freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, bagels, and breakfast burritos, to soups, salads and sandwiches. You can even get a sugar cone filled with Marianne's ice cream.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Naturally Delicious

Naturally Delicious

Pizzeria Avanti fires up its new oven for a taste of New York

Although Ristorante Avanti moved to another location on the same street, it left pieces of itself behind. Pieces of pizza that is, as well as a couple of their popular salads.
Now, Pizzeria Avanti continues Avanti’s long-observed tradition of using local organic produce, naturally raised meats and sustainable seafood, as well as in-house baking of bread.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Food & Wine Spring 2013

Food & Wine Spring 2013

As Santa Cruz emerges from its wintry slumber, the sights, sounds and sumptuous flavors of our vibrant home come alive with the sunshine of spring. There’s plenty to keep you and your appetite busy, but if you need some inspiration, take note of the tasty ideas on the following pages. We have bites and sips that will satisfy you no matter the mood you find yourself in as the weather warms up. Feeling stressed? Slow down with a traditional tea ritual at Hidden Peak Teahouse (page 52), or unwind over a pint of organic brew at the mellow new beer hotspot Discretion Brewing (page 44). Enjoying an adventurous streak? Try a Beer Float from The Picnic Basket (page 34), or consider stopping by the Young Farmers and Ranchers annual Testicle Festival (page 59).

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Green Getaway

Green Getaway

Shops, theatre and fine dining await near Santa Cruz. What can we learn?

Sometimes I need a quick getaway that’s actually relaxing. Palo Alto fits the bill, especially when I can relax on Public Transit and stay in a beautiful hotel relatively inexpensively.

The downtown entertainment section is roughly two blocks wide, bisected by University Avenue, which runs perhaps 10 blocks west of the El Camino.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Spring Food & Wine Sneak Peek

Spring Food & Wine Sneak Peek

GT's Spring Food & Wine magazine hits stands this Thursday, April 4. In the meantime, here’s a small taste of the folks and local flavors featured in its pages. All photos by Keana Parker.
See entire Food & Wine Spring 2013 issue >
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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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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 24

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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