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Apr 19th
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Dining Reviews

Dining - Dining Reviews

Uphill Climb

Uphill Climb

Owners of summit-top Drive-Inn restaurant have the right attitude

The picturesque view of forested Santa Cruz Mountains is stunning from the summit-top family-style restaurant now called the Drive-Inn. For years, the property has been unable to retain a tenant but owner-Chef Ben Kralj and his fiancée Lamia Mghari have all the ingredients to raise a healthy following.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games redefine ‘dinner and a show’ for downtown restaurants

Santa Cruz Warriors’ games have brought us back to downtown. A few thousand of us, that is. While our intention was to walk the mile and back, it’s easier to carpool and pay the paltry few bucks at one of the downtown parking garages. Whether we walk down Front Street or Pacific Avenue, restaurants seem to be doing a fine business both before and after the games. I’ve taken advantage of the team’s month-long road trip to check out some of the pre-game options.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Boldly Bantam

Boldly Bantam

New hotspot brings wood-fired pizza and a whole lot more to the Westside

Seeking to satisfy Santa Cruz’s seemingly insatiable desire for pizza, Bantam has fired up its wood-burning oven on the Westside, just across Fair Avenue from New Leaf Market.
An hour before closing we were shown to a recently vacated table, and the only available table. The atmosphere was warm as neighbors lingered over the last of their beverages. Lively ’80s rock music and jovial banter shared the air with savory aromas. Our server Dan was welcoming, and shared in-depth knowledge of ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Foodies on Parade

Foodies on Parade

Dishcrawl Santa Cruz creates restaurant-centric camaraderie

At Pono Hawaiian Grill, a sellout group of forty curious foodophiles was donning name tags, ordering beverages and mingling; anxious for the mystery that was Santa Cruz’s first Dishcrawl ($45) to unfold. Finally, an organizer announced that the buffet was open and we lined up to partake in the food at our first of four restaurant stops.

Dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee enjoyed taking groups of friends to sample the food at various San Jose-area restaurants, and saw the potential of turning the joy of shared culinary experiences into a business.  The company’s first expansion was into Montreal, and there are now organizations in 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Fandango Fascinates

Fandango Fascinates

Revered Central Coast culinary portal offers one-of-a-kind dining experience

Anniversaries are a lovely thing and even better when you can make them downright delicious. Such is the case this year as Pacific Grove’s eminent Fandango Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Never one to lose sight of what matters most—the meal, its preparation and the people who will eventually enjoy it—owners Pierre and Marietta Bain continue to surprise diners with an inventive blend of old-world charm and classic culinary competence.

The creative appetizer to Fandango’s current triumphs stem back to 1983 when Walter Georis had the idea to transform a unique home in Pacific Grove into a bona fide restaurant.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Fish in the Woods

Fish in the Woods

Boulder Creek’s Edo Sushi offers some nice Japanese dishes

I can pass on potatoes except when it comes to a Japanese Koroke, a snack that takes tater tots to a gourmet level of texture and comfort. Pronounced ko’-row-kay, which when spoken quickly, resembles the French food croquettes for which they are named.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

Crisp and Filling

Crisp and Filling

It was Mrs. Torres who taught my mom how to make tacos, which quickly became a family favorite. She would fold and fry corn tortillas in corn oil, stuff with ground beef sautéed with onions, top with cheese, iceberg lettuce and pico de gallo made with tomatoes, green onions, dill pickles, radishes and peperoncinis.

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Dining - Dining Reviews

In and around the Lake

In and around the Lake

Live Oak’s Lago di Como wows diners with its Italian specialties

I have heard nothing but praise for Lago di Como since it opened in December, so I made time to visit before its grand opening on Jan. 28 (5 to 9 p.m.). Once the word gets out about the authentic Italian cuisine, courtesy of Italian-born Chef Giovanni Spanu, reservations may become scarce.

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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?