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Apr 24th
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

In and around the Lake

In and around the Lake

Live Oak’s Lago di Como wows diners with its Italian specialties

I have heard nothing but praise for Lago di Como since it opened in December, so I made time to visit before its grand opening on Jan. 28 (5 to 9 p.m.). Once the word gets out about the authentic Italian cuisine, courtesy of Italian-born Chef Giovanni Spanu, reservations may become scarce.

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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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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 17

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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