Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 09th
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Summer Snacks

dn snacksTop three snack bars, guilty pleasures at Soif, Santa Cruz Beer Week, and a Pop-Up breakfast

These three crunchy, chewy, fiber, nut and fruit-laced “bars” are blood-sugar-raising packages of goodness that are totally portable and hence terrific for summer snacking. In order of my preference, let’s start with the mighty Odwalla chewy nut bar. The flavor I like best is the “sweet and salty almond” variety. It contains just about everything I crave (except for red wine)—dense with dry roasted almonds, organic oats and crisp brown rice all held together with brown rice syrup—this bar can replace lunch, if necessary, and is the ultimate mid-afternoon energy-raiser. I pack them in my car, desk, and kitchen at all times. 220 calories and $1 on sale, which is when I stock up on them. The salty sweet flavor is the big attractor here—and the crunchy chewiness (again, that delicious texture tension) keeps my attention.

OK, next let’s praise Kashi’s Honey Oat Flax “chewy granola bar” ($2). It’s smaller than the Odwalla model, but contains a mere 140 calories. Oats, wheat, barley, toasted salted almonds and enough honey to create contrast, yet not enough to cloy—this is a recent discovery that I have now added to my “emergency” snack pantry. The last of my troika is a densely packed cranberry almond version of the Kind Plus bar. It claims to have lots of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s non-GMO, and it's available at airport Starbucks as well as CVS, Rite-Aid and other not necessarily “natural” food outlets. For $2+ this will stave off hunger and low blood sugar for hours. It gives your teeth lots to do. My mother now carries them in her purse when she travels. I think she probably eats them even when not traveling. It’s summer. Go out for a hike. And bring one of these nut and granola bars with you—prepackaged trail mix, if you will.

Mondays at Soif

Yes, you do need to stop by on Mondays to feast on the live jazz by riff-meisters Hot Club Pacific, the fresh oysters, or perhaps even some pink bubbly and that rich rillettes-style ciccioli with crostini that has been knocking me out for the past two Mondays. I had mine with a glass of mineral-driven, light but not wimpy Sancerre. Perfect with the rich, unbearable lightness of tender pork cooked in its own sensuousness. Add a mini salad of tart baby arugula spiked with red peppers. You might find yourself making primal moaning sounds. Be discreet. This is a public place.


Yes, this is Santa Cruz Beer Week. On Wednesday, Aug. 6, Assembly showcases a lineup from Discretion Brewing. Thursday, Parish pours special brews, and Friday, 99 Bottles lines up an array of seasonal brews from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. And on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, Aptos Village Park hosts its fourth annual California Beer Festival. It’s summer (I already said that). Hoist a pint to quench your thirst!

Pop-Up Breakfast

If you like to cruise the Scotts Valley Farmers Market on Saturdays, then sign up now for the gala Aug. 23 Farmers’ Market Pop-Up Breakfast starring the fabulous fresh foods prepared by chef Heidi Schlecht of Feel Good Foods and Plumline. 10 a.m. - noon. For your res, call 325-4294 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More details next week.

Farm to Fork

Consider making your reservation for the Fourth Annual Farm to Fork Benefit Dinner, 4:30-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14. Tour the atmospheric UCSC Farm, find out about the apprenticeship program, enjoy a glorious al fresco meal created from the farm’s bounty. $125 includes multi-course dinner by alumnus chef Matthew Raiford, wines, and unforgettable tour. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

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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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