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Feb 13th
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Martin Ranch Winery

wine glassSauvignon Blanc 2011

One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

This Sauvignon Blanc ($27) is aged in new French acacia barrels, which the winemakers say enhances it with notes of grapefruit and hues of melon with a finish of soft pear. Grapes are harvested from Griva Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco region—a site that encompasses land that was once riverbed and now a seasonal creek runs through. The alluvial soils of rock, gravel and sand imbue flinty flavors into this delightful wine—a silver winner in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition of 2013.

Martin Ranch is a beautiful winery to visit—and you’re welcome to take a picnic, too. It’s open every third weekend from noon to 5 p.m. If you’re a wine club member you can participate in their fun Bottle Your Own event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the weekend of May 31 and June 1. You can even slap on your own designed labels if you get them made ahead of time. Martin Ranch now carries its own logo T-shirts and hats—all in 100 percent cotton.


Martin Ranch Winery, 6675 Redwood Retreat Road, Gilroy, 408-842-9197. Martinranchwinery.com.

Mutari Hot Chocolate
Mutari Hot Chocolate has opened up in Andrea Mollenauer’s commercial Front Street kitchen in downtown Santa Cruz. Owner Adam Armstrong sources his ethnically traded cacao beans from Panama, where he spent two years working with rural cacao farmers and artisan chocolate makers. “We are hot chocolate perfectionists,” he says of his stone-ground hand-crafted dark chocolate, which does not list sugar as the first ingredient. For more info visit This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 530-321-6637. For info on Mollenaur’s cooking classes, rentable kitchen space and events visit lifestyleculinary.com or find her at 504 Front St., Santa Cruz.

Chocolate the Restaurant
Talking of chocolate, the lovely little eatery called Chocolate is now offering gluten-free bread and sandwiches. Quiche and other goodies are offered gluten-free, too. Their supplier is Red House Bakery in Santa Cruz. I loved a Fuego hot chocolate I had there recently – served with hot and spicy dark cocoa, organic cinnamon and chipotle chili. Chocolate is one of the downtown restaurants participating in Dinner & A Movie specials in partnership with Nickelodeon Theaters. For more info visit thenick.com. Chocolate 1255 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-9900. Chocolatesantacruz.com.


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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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