Dining Reviews

Shake Down

dn vinoWine and soul music, local menu highlights, brewery wins and ice cream for Aptos 

 

If you didn’t get enough soul-shaking during the solstice, Carie MacAlpine will rock you senseless when she brings her SoulShakers to the popular winery and boîte Vino Tabi on Saturday, July 19. The singer belts and croons in the great tradition of, oh, let’s say Carole King does Peggy Lee. A bluesy vibe permeates everything MacAlpine does, and her sidemen—these dudes have been there and done that—are spot on. Stop by Vino Tabi from 6-9 p.m. on July 19, grab something in the key of Pinot or Syrah, and prepare to surrender to the sexy musical spell of Carie and the SoulShakers. Vino Tabi, for those of you who just got off the bus, is located across the tarmac from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in the winery-intensive Ingalls Street complex.

Brunch Assembly

As of last week, the downtown dining room Assembly will be running weekend brunches starting at 9 a.m. The brunch menu is long on house-baked pastries and breads, and seasonal brunch favorites, all made even better by espresso drinks from Verve. Consider this: savory bread pudding with broccoli, Gruyère hollandaise and poached egg. Sounds like a weekend plan. A little later in the day, starting at 5:30 p.m., you could do worse than stop by Oswald for an appetizer of fried calamari with Meyer lemons on a bed of tiny tart greens. Add one of those cool green cocktails, the Lime Ricky (piquant with bitters and gin) for example, and groove on into summer. Or, head to Capitola and lean into a plate of spectacularly buttery, earthy wild boar spare ribs, or some blatantly addictive bacon-wrapped prawns at Shadowbrook’s never-better Rock Room. Last week when I stopped by for wine and a little something else, the seared ahi—never a cliché in this room—arrived crunchy with panko crust and three dynamite dipping sauces. The green wasabi dip got my vote.

Ice Cream Clone

That’s right, the 67-year-old ice cream palace just added a second location at 218 State Park Drive, adjacent to Aptos’ Seacliff State Beach. This is great news for beach-goers in need of a frozen creamy fix. Marianne’s fans can expect the same late-night hours as the Ocean Street shop (rare for this area of town), and, by popular demand, espresso and coffee each morning. Let that sink in—ice cream and coffee. Locally owned and operated since its founding in 1947, Marianne’s Ice Cream creates more than 100 flavors by hand, distributed in the local region, and scoops at 1020 Ocean St., Santa Cruz and 218 State Park Drive, Aptos. Why not grab the beach towels and sunscreen and run on down to State Park Drive to welcome our oldest ice cream brand to its brand-new shop?

Award-winning Discretion

41st Avenue’s Discretion Brewing just took two medals at the North American Brewers Association awards in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “Song In Your Heart” won bronze in the English-style Mild Ale category, and “Good Faith” won silver for English-style Old Ale. I’ll drink to that.

Jiggle Test

Down in 29 Palms a few weeks ago I got to sample two outrageously subtle and distinctive jellies homemade from very local, very seasonal ingredients. Mesquite bean jelly and fan palm jelly. The bean jelly had a detectable flavor note of adzuki bean, but the flavor of the palm jelly tasted exactly like the spectacular Mojave at 110 degrees. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in journalism, painting, music, woodworking, winetasting, trail running, reiki, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir.

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