Dining Reviews

Crop Bumper

diningUCSC hosts 20th Fall Harvest Festival, plus impressive airport eats and an Olive Festival

Few of us need much of an excuse to wander the atmospheric 30-acre organic farm up at UCSC. But if you need one, there’s the 20th annual Fall Harvest Festival coming up, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. This autumn festival comes fully loaded with live music—marimba, reggae, bluegrass—workshops, tours, produce sampling, and even hay rides. Come up and press apple cider, pick sunflowers, enter the pie-baking contest and savor locally sourced treats. Of course you’ll also be able to explore the garden’s many herb varieties, and learn how to get your own garden ready for fall and winter. Admission is free for UCSC students, kids 12 and under, and members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden; general admission is $5, which is pretty cheap if you ask me. For directions to the UCSC Farm, visit casfs.ucsc.edu/index.html. Free parking will be available at the Campus Facilities and Barn Theater parking lots, as well as a free shuttle. For more information call 459-3240 or email [email protected]

Airport Fare

Thanks to a timely tip from frequent flyer Lucas Hurwitz, I am now a confirmed Virgin America devotee. When we flew out to Philly a few weeks ago, we encountered the posh VA terminal at SFO for the first time. Whoa! Now this is what an airport should look like, we thought, as we sat down for a seriously fresh-cooked breakfast at the terminal’s Lark Creek Inn eatery. Tons of space, spiffy stores, loads of workspace for laptops and comfortable couches to hang out on, this spacious terminal has it all. On the way back, when we had way too much time on our hands (it’s a long story), we sampled Virgin America’s Vino Volo concession. I figured it was too much to hope for—delicious food and wine worth drinking. But there it was, right in front of us. We started out with a flight of reds—a Montepulciano-Sangiovese blend from Italy, a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a Shiraz-Grenache from South Africa—all delightful, and a fun way ($17) to wile away the time. My fresh kale salad arrived tossed with dried blueberries (a tartly intriguing alternative to dried cranberries), almonds and topped with roast chicken breast. The light dressing involved lemon and ginger. It was delicious. Ditto to the Cuban pulled-pork taco Jack had ordered. The Vino Volo menu ranges from olives and cheese boards all the way up to pasta and entree salads. The stylish lunch provided yet another reason to fly Virgin America in the future.

Oil Slick

If you love olive oil, you might consider heading down to Hollister on Saturday, Oct. 11 to enjoy an oleaginous gathering of growers, purveyors, and artisans known as the San Benito Olive Festival, where regional chefs will demonstrate delicious ways to use olive oil—from tapenade to puttanesca. The action happens at the old Bolado Park fairgrounds, eight miles south of Hollister, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with music and plenty of demos, tastings, and samples of olives and oils from lots of local growers. Yes, there will be craft beers and regional wines for purchase, as well as bottled olive oils, of course. General admission for adults is $20; VIP admission, which grants access to the wine tasting area, is $35; and admission for children (5-12) is $10. Tickets are available online at Eventbrite.com.


PHOTO: An array of homemade pies at last year’s Fall Harvest Festival. CASFS

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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