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Oct 13th
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In a Jam

din sushiShopping to support Friend in Cheeses, sushi cravings and Chaminade’s Farm to Table series

Today, July 2, is the day that the Santa Cruz Whole Foods market will donate 5 percent of its profits to Tabitha Stroup’s Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. The woman who never sleeps was getting ready for a “long day of lavender plum jelly” when she revealed that “the love and support I got from so many people, high school friends—that did even more for me than the money itself.” That said, Stroup, who is experiencing increasing arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome in her hands, is looking forward to being able to purchase much-needed mechanical lid-turning equipment with her share of the Whole Foods Local Foodmaker Grant. “Whatever the proceeds turn out to be,” she added, “will help me get closer to that lid machine.” And we will all be closer to an endless stream of creative tomato jams, watermelon jellies, and strawberry tarragon conserves— courtesy of Friend in Cheeses. So shop like you mean it.

We are not alone in making Sushi Totoro on Mission Street a weekly pit stop. Maybe it’s being a Californian, but I literally crave sushi. Weekly. And the sushi coming out of Totoro is looking more beautiful than ever. We always go for a hamachi or saba nigiri, intricately topped with a micro-zest of lemon. But I’ve also become a fan of Totoro's gorgeous futomaki rolls, sliced into what look like Byzantine mosaics of orange and yellow pickled daikon, bits of egg, mushroom and avocado, all framed by a thin band of sticky rice and a necklace of nori. The tekka maki with shiso leaf is my “call” favorite—I love the pungent touch of peppery shiso leaf to the sweet, sparkling flavor of maguro. Never better. Seriously.

Our top local farms and wineries get to show off at the Chaminade’s utterly romantic and scenic Sunset Terrace on each Farm to Table evening this summer. If you haven’t been up to this serene setting for dinner and drinks lately, you’ve got no more excuses. Rush and make reservations for the July 11 dinner event. Wines from Kathryn Kennedy join seasonal bounty from Coke Farm, Black Hen Farm and Ostrich Growers of Watsonville. Expect a memorable series of dishes created by executive chef Kirsten Ponza—from whom we can always expect gorgeous dishes— paired with an array of wines. Baby heirloom tomato pizzettas and Sriracha deviled eggs with tobiko kick off the July 11 menu, followed by radicchio with roasted beets and kale crisps, and stuffed padron peppers with poached egg. All leading up to a grilled ostrich fillet with strawberry demi, and finished with a dessert of almond panna cotta— the thought of which has my mouth watering—served with strawberry balsamic compote and black pepper crisp. The season continues on Aug. 15, Sept. 12, and Oct. 10. The $80 per person cost includes hors d’oeuvres starting at 6 p.m., family style dinner at 6:30 p.m., and all wines (tax and tip not included). Call 475-5600 or visit the Chaminade website for details and reservations.

Elegant and peppered with intricate spice colors, a blackberry interior haunted by bay leaves, and a long Italian plum finish, Ghostwriter 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz County (around $29 at Shopper’s) is another superb creation by conceptual winemaker Kenny Likitprakong. From his first crush at Hallcrest Vineyards in 2002 to his recent sold-out vintages of Woodruff and Aptos Vineyard grapes, Likitprakong makes wines pretty much the way he wants. And under intriguing label names such as Hobo, Banyan, Folk Machine and Ghostwriter. Don't ask, just taste.


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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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