Vine and Dine


dining solaireSolaire Restaurant in the new Hotel Paradox  

I am so excited about the opening of Hotel Paradox. I was taken on a tour about two weeks before it officially opened by Executive Chef Ross McKee and Food & Beverage Outlets Supervisor Guy Freshwater and was greatly impressed. 

At that point, Solaire Restaurant didn’t have a stick of furniture in it, but after seeing it again for the grand opening, I can attest to what an extraordinary dining space it is.

The ceiling is astonishing. A photographer captured leafy green trees at their best in the Santa Cruz Mountains by taking pictures of them looking skyward, the result of which covers the ceiling end to end—giving one the feeling of wide-open space and being outdoors. It reminded me of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and its beautiful indoor “sky.” Solaire has a good selection of local wines on its wine list, and plans on featuring more. It’s thrilling to have such a splendid new hotel in the downtown area—and after trying Solaire’s food a couple of times already, I can verify that it’s absolutely wonderful.

Hotel Paradox, 611 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 425-7100, thehotelparadox.com.

Wargin Wines
Mikael Wargin recently started up his own wine company—Wargin Wines. I first met him several years ago when MJA Vineyards opened up its tasting room on Ingalls Street in Santa Cruz. He is still the winemaker at MJA, but now has his own label as well. In partnership with his wife Denise, Wargin will be pouring his big bold Italian varietals—in addition to Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Chardonnay—on the first Saturday of every month in the MJA facility at 328-A Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 531-8108, warginwines.com.

Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Moves to Downtown Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) has opened up a brand new location. Previously located in Aptos, they are now in a more easily accessible spot on Front Street. This is where you can pick up all kinds of information about wine-tasting trips, maps of local wineries, annual wine-related events and more. 725 Front St., Suite 112, Santa Cruz, 685-8463, scmwa.com.

Martella Wines and Michaud Vineyard Open New Tasting Room
Michael Martella of Martella Wines has joined forces with Michael Michaud of Michaud Vineyard—based in Napa—and opened a lovely tasting room at 14598 Big Basin Way in Saratoga. With the quality wines made by both Martella and Michaud, their new wine venue promises to be the new hot spot in Saratoga Village. (408) 647-2579, michaelmartella.com. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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