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Oct 25th
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The Best of Santa Cruz County

The Best of Santa Cruz CountyWelcome to the 2010 Best of Santa Cruz Readers' Poll, in which you the reader voted for the area's most popular shops, dining spots, arts and entertainment, and so much more. This year’s voting attracted more than 4,000 online voters and features more than 150 little-known facts about all of the winners. There's more: Take note of our Critics' Picks, too, where GT scribes ponder the Best and Worst around town. It's our most extensive collection—ever!—of what's best in the county. Dive in ...
Best of Santa Cruz Shops>
Best Arts, Entertainment & Nightlife>
Best Food & Drink>
Best Health & Fitness>
Best Professionals>
Best of the Rest>
Critics’ Picks>
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Our Ocean Sanctuary

Our Ocean Sanctuary

An inside look at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s plans for a new Exploration Center and what it can mean for Santa Cruz
What does it mean to have a sanctuary lapping up on the shores of Santa Cruz? It’s a variety of things. No oil drilling, for one. Some regulations about things that can be legally taken out of the water, and more regulations about things that can’t be legally tossed into it.
But what the sanctuary designation is really about is spreading the word. It’s a fragile ocean out there, and it needs protection. Even in an environmental stronghold like Santa Cruz, that word sometimes doesn’t get out. Let’s face it. For most residents and visitors here, the sanctuary may not mean much—except for the satisfaction that you don’t have to stare out at oil platforms.
“Most people never have the opportunity to experience the ocean beyond the shoreline,” says Paul Michel, superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. “There’s a lot to discover and learn about Monterey Bay, and it’s important to bring these unique features to the public in an engaging way.”

 

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Eating for the Environment

Eating for the Environment

Reducing meat consumption may just help solve the world’s environmental problems

“Eighty percent of Americans, in polls, say they are environmentalists … And yet, most of us have remained unaware of the one thing that we could be doing on an individual basis that would be most helpful in slowing the deterioration and shifting us toward a more ecologically sustainable way of life.” – Excerpt from “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins

To mark the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990, bestselling author John Robbins made his rounds on the talk show circuit, appearing on major shows of the day like Donahue and Geraldo. Robbins made waves by urging Americans to change dietary direction in his 1987 book “Diet For a New America,” which remains a big seller today. He would go on to become one of the world’s leading experts on the relationship between diet and the environment.

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From Here to Haiti

From Here to Haiti

Bob Gillis carved out quite the niche for himself with his enterprising geodesic dome tents. Now, the tents are helping victims devastated by the Haiti earthquake.

Haiti. Burning Man. The North Face backpacking company. Each shares an unlikely connection: one Santa Cruz tent company and the inventor behind it. It’s hard to believe that cutting edge, durable tents now being distributed to many homeless Haitians were born out of a forest in Aptos.

When Bob Gillis sold his first patent for a small tent design to The North Face in 1975 for $500, he didn’t know it would forever revolutionize backpacking tents from being A-frames to the geodesic dome shapes seen around every campfire today. Nor could he have guessed that more than three decades later, after blooming because of a little festival known as Burning Man, his Santa Cruz company, Shelter Systems, would end up providing tent refuge for thousands of Haitians.

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Riders of the Sea Spray

Riders of the Sea Spray

How three young Hawaiian princes first introduced surfing to Santa Cruz—and to the mainland of the Americas

By all accounts, the middle week of July in 1885 was a glorious one in Santa Cruz. Tourists from throughout the Central Valley were flocking to the bustling seaside community to escape the sweltering summer heat of the interior. The city’s hotels and boarding houses were bulging with visitors, and so, too, were the bourgeoning businesses along Santa Cruz’s fabled waterfront—the Dolphin, Neptune and Liddell bathhouses, and the beachside Free Museum.

The South Pacific Coast Railroad had been completed in 1880—linking Santa Cruz not only to the far reaches of the state, but to the entire country—and, suddenly, summertime tourism was emerging as an important piston in the city’s economic engine.

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House of Straw

House of StrawOne Capitola couple lives the good life—in a home built primarily from bales of straw!

If you think back to your childhood, you may remember the wisdom found in the story of the Three Little Pigs. The story tells of three little pig brothers who decide to build houses. The first little pig builds his home out of straw, the second pig out of sticks and the third (and most intelligent) pig out of bricks. When the Big Bad Wolf comes a knocking, he huffs and he puffs and he blows down the first two flimsy houses. Straw and stick piglets are forced to run for cover in their more insightful brother’s brick abode lest they be devoured by the bacon-craving wolf. But technology has changed since this popular children’s tale of yore, and huffing puffing wolves hardly roam the streets of Santa Cruz County. In fact, now it is perfectly safe, acceptable and ecologically sound to build a home out of straw as local couple Kristin Jensen Sullivan and Mark Sullivan have successfully done.

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Pirate Radio

Pirate Radio

One thing is clear: pirate radio is illegal.  We take a look back at 15 years of  nonviolent civil disobedience.
My first encounter with pirate radio was when I was 16.  I was visiting a kibbutz in Israel, and while we picked potatoes or assembled irrigation piping, we’d listen to rock ’n’ roll coming from what turned out to be a pirate radio station.  Between songs a deep voice would announce: “From somewhere in the Mediterranean this is The Voice of Peace.”  Like Radio Caroline off the British coast in the ‘60s and ’70s, these were renegades that broadcast without government approval, outside of capitalist culture.

Pirate radio stations—on land or at sea— have long been a part of social justice movements worldwide by promoting positive change and artistic creativity through an independent media.  In 1995 a group of activists in Santa Cruz continued the legacy by establishing Free Radio Santa Cruz at 89.3 on the FM dial.  Like The Voice of Peace, FRSC also broadcasts from unknown locations, though reporters and government agents have periodically found their way to the DIY station.  (Join FRSC in celebrating 15 years of unlicensed, commercial-free radio at 7 p.m. Saturday March 27 at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. A donation at the door is requested for an evening that will include speakers and live music.)

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Food & Wine

Food & Wine

Inside:
Oak Tree Ristorante
SmoQe
Soif Wine Bar & Restaurant
Cava
Vino Prima
Vinocruz

Plus:
Nightlife
11 Sexy Foods you just have to sink your teeth into

 

 

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66 WORDS

66 WORDS

Editor’s Note: Highs, lows, blows and woes. Behold: The 66 Words Short Story Contest. This year, we were inundated with entries. Take note of the ones that made the top of our list. Watch for more to be added over time.

No Trace, No Disgrace
During a small dinner party, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. It was welcoming with fresh daffodils and a vanilla candle burning. When done, I flushed and all was well except one little stinker that lingered. Flushed again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Heard knock on door … panic. No wastebasket, darn. What to do? Took that floater and stuck it in my pocket. Went home early.
—Stephanie Hoffman

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
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Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher