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Jan 25th
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dn postedDesserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

A birthday dinner for seven of us at La Posta restaurant ended with plates of buttermilk-coconut pound cake, with roasted peaches and buttermilk gelato. And great slabs of orgasmic chocolate-cocoa nib semifreddo, with cherry compote and pistachios. Intense flavors to finish a lovely meal. It began with glasses of the appealing house red Montepulciano, and a few of the evening’s salads to share. Imagine watercress, purple filet beans cut into tiny wedges, with sumptuously moist buffalo mozzarella and roasted orange cherry tomatoes. Stupendous. My favorite entrees that evening: brilliant green chitarra verde pasta piled high with rock shrimp, summer squash, leeks, and breadcrumbs in a lively saffron sauce. Another plate of white sea bass—a thick moist alabaster square with crisp skin top—arrived on a plate dotted with padron peppers, green beans, roast potatoes and a salsa verde drizzled on the plate. Pizzas, which are $15 with a glass of wine every Tuesday night, were crisp and sassy. As usual, the house bread seduced us completely.

Pop-up at Westside Farmers Market

Coming up fast, on Saturday, July 19, the Westside Farmers Market will host another of those neighbor-friendly pop-up breakfasts, this time featuring chef Austin Kaye of Back Porch. If, like me, you’re a Saturday morning regular of this lively meet, greet and eat scene, you know that Back Porch always grabs the senses with outrageous aromas of bacon and pulled pork, sizzling on the grill, right next to all those fresh eggs ready to pack into breakfast. Obviously, Kaye has got breakfast down—but expect even more creativity at Saturday’s sit-down, al fresco pop-up. Here’s a preview: Kaye will begin with warm citrus salad sprinkled with fresh thyme and mint, followed by an el Salchichero chorizo and tomato stew topped with a soft boiled farm egg. Shelling beans, braised greens and smoked goat cheese, plus a sweet finish that involves strawberries. Get there at 9:30 a.m. and sign in; the food begins at 10 a.m. And don’t forget to bring your own plate and silverware along with your appetite. For more information call 325-4294 or visit the Santa Cruz Farmers Market website.

Flavor Flash

Last week we went wild for a spicy dish of life-altering Szechuan green peppercorns, squash and thinly sliced pork belly, all wok’d in a dazzling sauce punctuated with dried red chiles. At O'Mei—where else? We also found the jambalaya at Roux Dat in Capitola quite tasty, laced with chicken, shrimp, and the crucial bits of Andouille sausage which add the pleasant smokiness necessary in jambalaya.

Pinotage Pit-stop

If you’re a fan of the big, bold South African Pinotage varietal—derived from a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, then here’s some news: turns out that Loma Prieta Winery—the largest producer of Pinotage in the country— has discovered a lost stash of its 2010 Sierra Ridge Vineyard Pinotage. If you get yourselves on up to the Loma Prieta tasting room, you’ll be able to purchase some of this very wild berry-esque creation made from Amador County grapes and loaded with huge flavors of coffee, plum jam, brown sugar and leather. (Yes, leather.) This is one very big-shouldered dark red wine, weighing in at 14.9 percent alcohol. It cries out for partnering with grilled meats, spicy barbecue and intense tomato sauces. If you like it big, then this might just be your wine, and it’s a smokin’ hot deal at $25. The Loma Prieta Winery tasting room—open weekends, noon to 5 p.m.—sits way up there at 2,600 feet and also offers a stunning view of the foothills and Monterey Bay beyond. Time for a scenic drive?

PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

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