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Apr 17th
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

Court Food

Court Food

Prior to the first Santa Cruz Warriors game, the only thing I worried about was food and beverage service, which sounds silly unless you know me. Turns out that when it comes to edibles, local flair is everywhere.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Simply Fresh

Simply Fresh

Local ingredients and real smoke make magic in the Wood Fire Woodie oven

Wood Fire Woodie came to be in 2007, selling pizzas out of the back of a truck. Last month, the husband-and-wife team of Pat and Mariah Flanagan settled down, opening a restaurant in Scotts Valley’s Camp Evers center.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Griddled, not Fried

Griddled, not Fried

Tucked in at the back of an alleyway in the Rancho del Mar shopping center is a little taqueria called Sofia’s. The staff is friendly, the menu is hand-written on a white board, and they have my vote for the best chimichanga ever eaten. 

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Keeping it Real

Keeping it Real

Real Thai Kitchen updates both its look and its menu

The Seabright neighborhood’s Real Thai Kitchen, which is on my short list of Thai restaurants, has seen three owners in a year and a half. The current proprietor Ratana Bowden has made some changes, one of which is fortunately not the chef, who has dazzled me with her dishes since my first visit. There is, however, a new menu and interior.

 

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Pizza, Pasta, Amore

Pizza, Pasta, Amore

Focaccia brings a slice of Italy to Water Street 

Grana Padano is popping up on menus around the county. This medieval cheese is made similarly to Parmagiano-Reggiano, but the cows graze a different terroir, and since it is not aged as long, I has a milder flavor.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Lounging Around

Lounging Around

Gazing out a window from the lounge at the Dream Inn’s Aquarius restaurant on a sunny mid-afternoon, the wharf stretched out on sapphire water while seagulls had the Cowells Beach sand to themselves.

Over our heads, pendant white surfboards faced the incoming waves, surrounded by soft strains of jazzy big-band music.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Steppe Inside

Steppe Inside

Oyunaa’s brings traditional Mongolian nomadic fare with a dash of Russia to midtown 

In the 1970s, Mongolian barbecue chains spread like wildfire into strip malls across America. I recall gathering my choice of raw vegetables from a buffet and handing them over to a cook who would add meat and stir-fry it on a griddle; rather like the American version of Japanese teppanyaki without the cleaver acrobatics and flying shrimp.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Fins To The Left

Fins To The Left

The long menu at Watsonville’s Cadillac Café offers sensory satisfaction 

At any time of year, I find visiting the rural landscape rejuvenating. On a recent drive down Freedom Boulevard, cows on a hillside freely grazed on newly greened grass, while bright bundles of persimmon orbs dangled from leafless branches.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

The Other White Meat

The Other White Meat

The Lean Chef reports that the American Heart Association has designated pork tenderloin a Heart-Healthy food. According to the USDA database, a cooked 3.5-ounce serving of the tenderloin has only 1.2 additional grams of fat compared to a skinless chicken breast. It’s also well-stocked with B-vitamins.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Take a Break from the Kitchen

Take a Break from the Kitchen

Local chefs offer creative winter menus on December 25th

I was in college when my parents transferred to South Carolina, so for many holidays, it was just my grandparents and I. Although I once cooked a turkey dinner for them in my tiny apartment, on appliances older than I was, most of the time we celebrated at a restaurant. It was a treat having my grandparents to myself, watching the winter waves from the comfort of Ideal Bar and Grill.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

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.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
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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

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.