Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 18th
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Dancing Creek Winery

dining dancingPinot Noir 2009—A Wine to Dance To

At the Pinot Paradise event back in March, I tasted some very good Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Dancing Creek Winery’s 2009 Pinot ($27) was one of them. This plummy dark brew, made from grapes grown in Corralitos, has delicious flavors of pomegranate, prosciutto, dried cherries, and mint julep.

Although Jim Boyle is a serious winemaker, he has a playful attitude about all that he does.  He and his wife Robin like to enjoy themselves and want everybody who visits their winery to have a fun time. As it says on the Pinot Noir label, “This wine is a stately dance with plenty of pomp, circumstance and elaborate finery. Open a bottle tonight and dance the night away!” Take your partners, winos!

Dancing Creek Winery, 4363 Branciforte Drive, Santa Cruz, 425-3561, (408) 497-7793. Tasting room open Saturdays noon to 5 p.m. The winery’s next event will be the Scotts Valley Art & Wine Festival, Aug. 10 & 11.

Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky

Casey Cowden (no relation) called me recently to let me know that his fledgling company, Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky, has really taken off. Cowden said his product is now all over town and beyond—check the website for all locations—and he has just signed a contract to start distributing nationwide. 

Cowden’s Salmon Jerky is handcrafted in Santa Cruz. “Within 24 hours of a catch I put it into my secret gluten-free marinade,” Cowden says. “It marinades for 14-16 hours, and then it goes through a smoke process, and then a cooling process. It’s then vacuum sealed, packed and distributed out.”

Cowden sells his salmon jerky in 3 oz. packets, and he also does custom orders for special events and corporate functions. “Basically jerky can be served on a nice dinner table or can be eaten on the run,” he says. “It’s the healthiest snack you can possibly get, and it’s ready to eat. Hikers and bikers love it.” Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky comes in two flavors—teriyaki and spicy teriyaki. Visit and follow them on Facebook.

If you want to taste Cowden’s salmon jerky, then head to Pono Hawaiian Grill on Wednesday nights when he passes out free samples (he also sells his jerky at Pono). Or check them out at a street faire on June 23 at the end of 41st Avenue and Portola Drive where he will be setting up a booth. Cowden is thrilled that his product has really taken off, and he thanks the public for all their support. When Cowden is not working, he loves to be with his family and 6-month-old baby girl—Cassia Rebecca. 

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