Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Mar 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Thirstysomething

dn soifSoif celebrates its birthday with a new twist, Sean Venus releases blue agave spirit, and summer wines

Happy birthday Soif! Can it really be 12 years since Patrice Boyle and her cohorts hatched the plan to open a wine bar in the former Woolworth’s on Walnut Avenue? And would a place named for the barely pronounceable French word for “thirst” really catch on? Is the pope South American?

Long months driving through Italy—sipping her way through the odd Verdicchio, Falanghina, and Frappato—are what convinced Boyle, the former Bonny Doon Vineyard general manager, that alternative and unusual wines would be quite at home in Santa Cruz. In other words, the world of wines outside the boxes marked “Cabernet” and “Chardonnay.” She was right, and the rest is history.

Last week marked the official 12 year mark since that thirst-quenching opening day, but during the entire month of August those crafty Soifettes are featuring a variety of 2002 vintage wines (do the math) to taste, sip and purchase in the wine shop. Which brings me to yet another only-at-Soif phenomenon: the brand new “wine bar at the wine bar,” just unveiled thanks to wine shop mistress Alyssa Twelker. It’s a charming idea to please those eager to sip and munch while examining those intricate wine labels. I’d like to take credit for the new très petite seating for tastings and light apps inside the very wine bar itself, having pioneered that particular seating arrangement (it wasn’t exactly kosher at the time) along with my wine buddy W.G. It all started when we tried to meet for a glass of wine and found the establishment suddenly closed for a private party. Being mothers of invention, we simply took our act into the retail section itself.

Boyle, re-entering our coastal atmosphere after a tasting trip to France, gave the unusual sipping location her blessing. And voila! Now this cozy tasting area surrounded by bins and shelves of liquid temptation is a permanent fixture—open every day from noon to 5 p.m.

But enough about the seats, let us now celebrate the beautiful summer menu handiwork of Soif’s official new chef of record Mark Denham, whose culinary pedigree includes Postrio, Manresa and Chez Panisse. Denham is finessing outstanding burrata with purslane and walnuts, and such seasonal sparkle as a recent salad of Little Gem lettuce, punctuated with perfect sugar snap pea pods opened to reveal their cargo of infant peas. The greens were studded with Canary melon and topped with shaved pecorino. A smart orchestration of flavor tones and textures.

Blue Agave Spirit

El Ladrón Blanco, the blue agave spirit from Sean Venus—Santa Cruz’s only distillery, recently opened on the Westside—was just bottled and shipped out at the end of July. Start haunting your favorite liquor shop. And look forward to the first batch of Wayward Whiskey Single Malt (also from Venus Spirits), which has now begun the aging process in new charred American oak barrels. This is news worth toasting.

Wines of the Week

From the house of Roth comes the new house Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at Gabriella. Everything you want in a brilliant summer wine—light alcohol, long minerals, a touch of lemon, tropical fruit, perhaps some geranium top notes. Terrific with seafood, like the tagliatelle dotted with salmon, summer squash, and spicy Calabria chiles that we inhaled the hour before the Cabrillo Festival opener last week. Delish. Ditto on an appetizer of caponata, creamy rabbit pâté, and a mountain of soft, sweet, roasted garlic served with the never-better house focaccia. Our other top Sauvignon Blanc this week is Patianna's 2011 beauty, found at Shopper’s Corner. Data points: $13.99. 13.8 percent alcohol. Salt, lemon, lychee—a gorgeously balanced blend.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

The Magic Touch

Stage magician vs. charlatans in engaging ‘An Honest Liar’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals