Bad Animal
Dining Reviews

Bad Animal’s New Sunday Lineup

Santa Cruz newcomer debuts brunch, Southern-style supper

Todd Parker is the chef at bookstore, restaurant and wine bar Bad Animal. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Santa Cruz newcomer debuts brunch, Southern-style supper

Last Sunday, a casually sophisticated adventure began over at Bad Animal on Cedar Street. Something very Bohemian Left Bank in the form of a new Sunday brunch. The brunch menu will be on offer from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. every Sunday at the enlightened home of louche literature, seasoned philosophy and soul-changing poetry. The emphasis will still be on California-French cuisine, says co-host Andrew Sivak, which means we can look for dishes like duck rillette hash, soufflé omelette, Croque Madame (can you say “Cafe de Flore?”), plus house-made yogurt and granola. With brunch comes a new wine list; I’m guessing something chilled with bubbles. 

On Sunday evenings, chef Todd Parker will inflect Bad Animal’s dinner menu with a Southern accent. Sunday supper will include Southern culinary staples like red beans and rice (Andouille sausage, ham hocks, bacon), and even boiled peanuts (with creole spice). I’ve learned to expect delicious surprises from Bad Animal, and the new Sunday brunch should put a definite “voila” in your attitude.  

Bad Animal, 1011 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. badanimalbooks.com.

Vine Whisperer

Queen of the vineyards and local viticulturist Prudy Foxx coaxes agricultural miracles and flavor complexity out of grapes with names like Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Grown men (and women) genuflect when she comes around their vineyards to check bud break, shading, pruning, sugar numbers, and readiness for harvest. A celebrated genius with regional grape planting, growing and management, Foxx never met a vineyard she couldn’t improve, and chances are if you’ve ever tasted a wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, you’ve tasted Foxx’s handiwork. Since the mid-80s, Foxx has helped winemakers express the finest from their vines. She’s also a lot of fun to talk to and taste wines with, which is why you want to score a reservation at the sensory tasting experience with Prudy Foxx at Soif Wine Bar & Merchants on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 2-4 p.m. 

Foxx will hold forth at this classroom-style tasting in the restaurant. Admission—$50 general, or $35 for Soif wine club members—includes cheese and charcuterie, along with the following wines: I. Brand Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc 2016; Lester Estate Rose Syrah 2018; Lester Estate Pinot Noir 2016; Beauregard Winery Bald Mountain Chardonnay 2017; Sante Arcangeli “Integrato” Chardonnay 2017; and Margins Wine Zayante Barbera 2018. What Prudy Foxx doesn’t know about grapes, wine and winemaking probably isn’t worth knowing. Come to this tasting and find out. 

Party Animal

You know about this legendary gardner’s new book, Fruit Trees for Every Garden, don’t you?

Well now you do. And to help Orin Martin of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden celebrate, there’s a book launch party at the UCSC Hay Barn on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 4-6 p.m. This free event is open to the public, and Orin will be reading and signing his books, which will be on display and for sale, beautifully illustrated with color etchings by Stephanie Martin.  Refreshments will be available, plus a pie potluck! Bring your favorite fruit pie to wow the public and impress Orin. casfs.ucsc.edu. 

Wine of the Week 

Stirm Wine Co. Riesling 2017, made by Ryan Stirm with old-vine grapes from Wirz Vineyard, Cienega Valley. Rounded, dry but loaded with dreamy flavors, this is a stunning creation. Flavors of pear and ripe lemon, aromas of lychee, with a whisper of olive. Like green taffeta. This bold-yet-delicate Riesling boasts 13.5% alcohol, still light but with gravitas enough to deliver memorable richness. Produced and bottled in Watsonville, this wine confirms a growing tide of acclaim for this winemaker. $28. stirmwine.com.

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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