Tequila & Taco Music Festival
Dining Reviews

Tequila & Taco Music Festival returns to San Lorenzo

Plus several new openings to look forward to in Santa Cruz

The fiesta at the Tequila & Taco Music Festival happens Aug. 25-26.

August means many things to many people. End of summer, beginning of school, tequila and tacos. You heard me. The mighty Tequila & Taco Music Festival takes over San Lorenzo Park in downtown Santa Cruz this weekend, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26.

Here’s what you need to know: You can purchase a two-day pass for $60, and what that gets you (besides a sunburn unless you remember your SPF 30!) is a major Tequila Sampling (Saturday only, from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.), and access to gourmet street tacos, craft beer, tons of arts and craft vendors, award-winning margaritas (all for purchase), and live music All. Day. Long!

What I’m jazzed about is the prospect of sampling the raspados (shaved ice) specialties from Exotico Tequila, which have been described to me as sno-cones with tequila-spiked flavors of raspberry lime, watermelon mint margarita, and tequila sunrise. Now that’s an adult beverage on a cone! On Saturday, dance along with Universal Language, Patron Latin Rhythms, and Adelaide; on Sunday catch Adelaide, Sambada, and Metalachi. Kids 12 and under are free. $10 admission each day, $40 for the Saturday Tequila Tasting Experience. Olé!

More info at tequilaandtacomusicfestival.com.

Changes

I’m looking forward to some delicious changes coming soon in our neck of the woods. Like the brewpub plus oasis of Southern cooking promised by Greater Purpose Brewing Company, already making plans to colonize the former Logos Bookstore space. Another idea is brewing just up the road at 1011 Cedar St.—(across from Café Limelight)—in the form of an independent bookshop plus wine salon with a working title Bad Animal, which will be loaded with intriguing texts on literature and the humanities, and include a space to drink wine, listen to poetry readings, and wander through the bookshelves. Hoping that Barceloneta, 1541-B Pacific Ave., will be up and running and serving tapas any day now (it was three years ago that the former occupant Benten closed). And, looking forward to the Aptos installment of the mighty Companion Bakeshop. Soon.

 

Happy Birthday Rita!

One of the great gals of Santa Cruz celebrated her recent birthday with a Mediterranean spread of finger foods, Italian wines, tons of fresh fruit, and a choice birthday cake. Rita’s favorite—the Orange Chiffon tube cake from Gayle’s—absolutely shredded my stereotypes about chiffon cakes, i.e. structureless, unrich, uninteresting food for people who fear calories. This Orange Chiffon baby was generously glazed with orange frosting and loaded with sensuous texture. Light, yes. But not wimpy! And the subtle perfume of fresh orange made every single bite a pleasure. A glass of Prosecco added its own touch!

Dessert of the Week

According to poet Stephen Kessler, with whom we dined last week, the Pizzeria Avanti homemade pies (sweet, that is) are the best in town. Kessler is a serious pie man. We joined him in a slice of warm fresh peach pie with vanilla ice cream and had to admit it was dee-lish. The pie was barely sweetened, and offered up fresh peaches and a flaky, delicious crust with every bite.

Class Act

The New Leaf Market folks do such interesting cooking demos. I’m keen on the upcoming Cooking with Wild Seaweeds demo happening from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Westside New Leaf Community Market. Join New Leaf’s very savvy nutrition consultant Madia Jamgochian, along with Ian O’Hollaren, founder of Seaquoia Wild Seaweeds, as they unleash edible secrets about sea vegetables, aka seaweeds. Nutritional powerhouses, seaweeds are loaded with protein, vitamins, and, my favorites … minerals. The presenters will share creative ways to incorporate fresh sea veggies—harvested just up the coast—into your kitchen, including how to make—and taste—four recipes. 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/30.

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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