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Jul 23rd
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Summer: The Prequel

dining summerCocktail of the Week: the Carraway's Envy at Motiv.

Light, filled with the perfume of summer, and a few exotic ingredients, this beautiful jade-green drink held my attention throughout an after-work catch-up with my colleague Hannah. My cocktail started with a foundation of Hendrick’s Gin—gin trumps vodka in my book— to which was added what tasted like equal portions of Pernod Absinthe and Chartreuse. Then some muddled mint, cucumber and lime. Shaken with ice, poured into a glass, topped with a fresh mint leaf. It’s $9 worth of soothing stress relief and delicious palate pampering. Motiv's upper room—the former Pearl Alley Bistro—is a great retreat if you go early enough to avoid the herds. A serious dance club scene is alive seven nights in the downstairs, but for cocktails and delicious bar food head on up those stairs (oh, if they could talk).

New Potatoes @ Westside Farmers Market

From my earth-loving informant and master gardener Orin Martin comes the last word on new potatoes. Turns out that Everett Family Farm (now farmed by former UCSC Farm & Garden apprentice program alumna Emily Parsons), is harvesting what Martin calls “the real deal.” Martin wants me to alert my readers that Saturday Farmers Market patrons will be able to take away new potatoes “dug fresh that day, or the day before—they’re not the ersatz new potatoes you see in stores, which are simply small storage potatoes.” Martin explains that “real” new potatoes are young, thin-skinned, small and almost sweet tasting—hence their skins are “really nicked up.” He suggests steaming these delicate spring spuds for 10-15 minutes—“don't overdo it”—then putting them into a bowl, adding butter, sprinkling sea salt, and grinding in some black pepper. Martin likes to chop up some fresh dill and add it to the mix. Then mash the whole thing with a fork. Sit down and eat. The potato variety Parsons grows at Everett Family Farm is called Red Gold, “and it is a creamy textured yellow flesh variety that yields 70-75 days from planting. Just about the earliest variety on the planet.” Now you know what you better not miss next Saturday at the Westside Farmers Market!

Sweets Sans Gluten

If this is what you crave, then Sweet Cheeks Gluten-free cookie dough is the answer. Sweet Cheeks Santa Cruz produces Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough that is now available in the freezer sections at Shopper’s Corner, Staff of Life, Deluxe Foods of Aptos, and Aptos Natural Foods. Sweet Cheeks guru Rose Calucchia tells us that the dough goes right from the freezer into the oven, so you can enjoy fresh, warm delicious cookies at home. And there's not one shred of gluten in the whole batch.

Route 1 Summer Farm Dinner #2

Since the June dinner is just about sold out, it's time to get a jump on the August 10 Summer Farm Dinner. I already have my reservation! The price ($100 for general public, $85 for Route 1 Farms CSA members) includes a season-intensive multi-course dinner created by flavor queens Heidi Schlecht and Amy Padilla of Feel Good Foods (founders of River Café). Wines are by legendary Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. The afternoon begins with a reception and stroll through the coastal parklands of Big Basin, a tour of the farm by farmer Jeff Larkey, and then a sit-down dinner in the Route One orchards. For reservations, go quickly to route1farms.com. Rancho del Oso (Waddell Creek) 3:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Plan on spending an unforgettable, dreamy, delicious afternoon on our incomparable Pacific coast.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

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The Maestra Returns

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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

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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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.