Dining Reviews

Dining for a Cause

diningChef’s Dinner, Live Earth Farm Dinner and Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Coming up is the Chefs’ Dinner 2014. On Sept. 18, from 6-10 p.m. in the convivial Holy Cross Annex, those who love to dine together for good causes will have a lot to enjoy. Benefiting the important work of Second Harvest Food Bank, five smartly executed courses will be paired with just the right wines from local vintners. Yes, this does sound like something you want to get in on. Following a champagne reception and silent auction (starting at 6 p.m.), dinner begins at 7:15 p.m. You’ll probably want to break out some serious party clothes for this one. All sales and event contributions will not only benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank Food for Children program, they’ll also be matched by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.

Who’s cooking? Well, Muriel Loubiere from Au Midi for one. Damani Thomas from Oswald; Scott Cater from Paradise Beach Grille; Steve Wilson from Cafe Cruz; Michael Clark from Michael’s on Main;  and Thomas Vinolus from Bittersweet Bistro. In other words, some of your favorite culinary stars. Tickets are $250 per seat, $2,000 for a table of 8. This is a chance to do the right thing. And enjoy every delicious bit of it. Check the Second Harvest Food Bank website for more details.

Discovery Dinner

Figuring if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, the folks at Live Earth Farm are hosting their sixth annual organic Farm Dinner on Sept. 20, from 4-8 p.m. to support its Discovery Program. Chef Jonathan Miller of “Eat Right at Home” will whip up the menu from the farm’s own produce, and the multi-course dinner will be paired with local wines from Storrs, Birichino, Zayante and Alfaro, ending with sundaes from The Penny Ice Creamery (these folks never sleep). Expect a great al fresco celebration of farming and harvest in the Pajaro Valley. It all kicks off with fresh appetizers, live music, a silent auction and a display documenting the colorful history of the Pajaro Valley. The children’s cob oven pizza and garden party is a big favorite. The day ends with a chance to gather around a campfire—nothing digital in sight. (Especially if you can pocket your iPhone for a few hours.) Through Live Earth Farm’s Discovery Program, local kids get hands-on with organic growing. The program aims to raise $40,000 through its Sept. 20 fall fundraising event, to support farm visits, transportation costs, and garden supplies for the 1,500 students who will visit Live Earth Farm in 2014. Tickets at liveearthfarm.net.

Gourmet Grazing on the Green

Saturday Sept. 27, is Gourmet Grazing on the Green in Aptos Village Park, from noon to 4 p.m. Your $65 ticket gets you some quality sipping—Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Alfaro Family Vineyards, Beauregard Vineyards, and tons of other great local wineries and breweries—plus munchies from the Crow’s Nest, SunRidge Farms, Chaminade, and others. Purchase tickets at sccbg.org or New Leaf  Community Markets. Tickets include admission to the event, souvenir wine glass and a day of food, wine and beer tasting. Benefiting the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, Gourmet Grazing on the Green celebrates local community, great food and drink, and LIVE MUSIC. (I did that just to underscore the rockin’ soundtrack to the day’s grazing events, which features more than 75 local wineries, eateries and breweries. Event sponsors Coke Farms and New Leaf Community Markets will keep the day’s chefs stocked with locally grown produce and products.

Wine of the Week: Kermit Lynch has imported us a complete Côtes du Rhône 2012 for $12.99 at Whole Foods. And the Downtown Santa Cruz Wine Walk is Sept. 14, starting at Abbott Square, 3-6 p.m. Get a glass and a pass ($30), and taste at various pouring locations.

PHOTO: Local chefs plate salads at last year’s Chef’s Dinner, which benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank. SHAWN HATJES

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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