Five of the six guests I had over to dinner recently are vegetarian, so I made vegetable moussaka from my Greek recipe book. This traditional Greek dish usually calls for ground lamb, but I used onions, tomatoes, potatoes and sliced eggplant instead of meat—layering it all and then adding a topping of béchamel sauce. It was pretty tasty.
After a few appetizers, enjoyed with wine our friends brought, we opened up a bottle of Silver Mountain Syrah 2008 to go with the “meaty” moussaka. Aromas of ripe plum, cocoa, white pepper and pancetta were quite exotic—and delicious dark fruit, black olive and white pepper rounded out the silky flavor. Winemaker Jerold O’Brien says this is a very sexy Syrah, and it most certainly is.
The Syrah sells for $28 a bottle or $285.60 a case—a 15 percent discount.
Silver Mountain Vineyards, 402 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 466-0559. Open Thursday through Sunday. The winery off of Old San Jose Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains is open every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Info: silvermtn.com.
Red Apple Café Now Carrying Local Wines
The popular Red Apple Café in Aptos is now carrying local wines as well as ice-cold beer in a frosty mug—a great addition to their breakfast and lunch menu. When you next order Teriyaki Chicken, you just might want a glass of Chardonnay as well. Owners Gracia and Dan Krakauer are also serving up Mimosas, Bloody Marys and other mixed drinks. A zesty Bloody Mary served with your New York Steak and Eggs or Mexican Scramble? Sounds delish! Breakfast is served all day, so what more could you ask for? Red Apple Café, 783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., #15, Aptos (upstairs in the Deer Park Shopping Center), 685-1224. Redappleaptos.com. Breakfast and lunch daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don Geno’s Market & Grill
On the very day I stopped by Don Geno’s to take a look, the new owners, Don and Connie David, and Ernest Petros, were giving away samples of food to introduce themselves to the community. Everything I tried was delicious—and they do all the slow roasting of the beef and pork themselves. Bread is from Golden Sheaf, a plus right there as it really makes a better sandwich. Don’t miss their authentic Chicago-style pizza, with an excellent thin crust, or deep dish—both with a hefty selection of toppings. The Davids and Petros plan on upgrading the market and carrying more local wines. And with its list of burgers, grinders, salads and sides, it’s the perfect spot for a juicy meat fix.
509 Bay Ave., Capitola, 476-4366. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.