Dining Reviews

Santa Cruz County’s Fall Foodie Lineup

Grazing on the Green, a master veggie class and imagining life sans salmon

The annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green benefit returns to Aptos Village on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Could anything be more laid back, 100% California than live outdoor music, spicy food and cold beer?

Nope. That’s why Aptos Village Park is the place to be next Saturday, Oct. 5, when the popular food, fine wine and craft beer fest known as Gourmet Grazing on the Green pops up once again. 

This festival has it all, from a shuttle service to and from Cabrillo College parking lot K, to an etched commemorative wine glass for your collection. Tickets include an afternoon of food and drink sampling and all the live music fit to rock. From Alfaro to Zameen, this event has your food needs covered. Top local purveyors like Hula’s, Friend in Cheeses, Shadowbrook Restaurant, and Ella’s at the Airport are regulars at Grazing. Wineries like Bonny Doon, Hallcrest, Kathryn Kennedy, and Storrs will doubtless be on hand, along with Venus Spirits and Discretion Brewing. But there are dozens and dozens of sampling opportunities while you stretch out on the grass and kick back. Remember to pack your hat, sunscreen and a layer or two—sunshine is expected. The event provides shaded tents, table umbrellas and chairs for guests to use. And for such a good cause. The Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group raises money to fund new research and support organizations such as Hospice of Santa Cruz. Tickets $65 adv/$70 door, minors $35, designated drivers $40/$50.


Love Apple Farm Veggie Class

From master grower Cynthia Sandberg comes a terrific workshop, Winter Vegetable Gardening, on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10am-4pm. Learn how to start and tend to a successful vegetable garden in our mild California winters. Over 30 different kinds of winter vegetables will be covered in an intensive, all-day workshop. Everyone gets to sow a flat of seeds to take home and transplant. Sandberg was for many years the exclusive restaurant gardener for 3-star Michelin dining room Manresa, and there is nothing she doesn’t know about tomatoes and other important vegetables. 

Classes at Love Apple Farms’ retail location, 5311 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley. $79, plus $10 materials fee.


Fish Hook

Continuing its Sustainable Coastal Communities salon, Soif Wine Bar is partnering with UCSC’s Coastal Science and Policy program to zero in on the topic of “A World without Salmon.” A chilling prospect that will be examined by local experts with global expertise. The dinner and discussion features National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Director and salmon expert Steve Lindley, along with Ian Cole and Charles Lambert of Ocean2table, a community supported fishery. Ocean2table will also provide local and sustainable seafood for the evening’s multi-course menu by Soif Chef Tom McNary.  

Lindley, a researcher at UCSC, and the Ocean2table entrepreneurs, will lead the discussion on the history of salmon fishing, the current state of the industry and more. The Oct. 15 event is $75 per person, plus $25 for wine pairing. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Soif at 423-2020. The evening starts off with a small reception at 6:30pm, followed by seated dinner and discussion at 7pm.


Salad Daze

Two of the area’s top playwrights are fond of specific salads. One always orders the dinosaur kale salad with grilled Fogline Farms chicken at Avanti Restaurant. The other has been seen digging into the cherry tomato and garbanzo bean-intensive Insalata Mista at Cafe Iveta. You’d do well to sample these bowls of greens with benefits.

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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