Ayoma Wilen, Pearl of the Ocean
Food & Drink

Pearl of the Ocean’s Custom Wines

A Red Pearl and a White Pearl made for the Sri Lankan cuisine at Pearl of the Ocean

Ayoma Wilen, owner of Pearl of the Ocean, with her Red Pearl Cabernet and White Pearl Chardonnay. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

Some little time ago, I wrote about Pearl of the Ocean’s White Pearl Chardonnay. Now it’s time for the Red Pearl Cab.

Pearl of the Ocean’s owner, Ayoma Wilen, has had these wines specially made for her restaurant to pair with its organic Sri Lankan cuisine. On our last visit to Pearl of the Ocean, we enjoyed sampling her wines with two of Wilen’s exotic curries. And although the restaurant focuses on vegan and vegetarian food, meat and fish dishes are available as well.

Made with the finest grapes from California’s world-famous wine-growing region, “the Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with all Sri Lankan dishes,” says Wilen. She has gone to great lengths, tasting many different wines, to find a zesty Cab (Red Pearl) as well as a crisp Chardonnay (White Pearl), that match the delicious cuisine of Sri Lanka—a tea-growing island, known as Pearl of the Ocean, which used to be called Ceylon.

With a good dose of black currant, tobacco and coffee notes, and distinct aromas of cedar and toast, it’s well worth buying a bottle of the Cab ($42) to pair with the restaurant’s rich and vibrant cuisine.

Wilen partnered with the well-known Pat Paulsen Vineyards in Livermore, who bottled the wine for her, and she has “poured the same creativity and passion into each and every bottle of wine” that she pours into her food.

Pearl of the Ocean, 736 Water St., Santa Cruz, 457-2350. pearloftheocean.net.

The Pantry at the Food Lounge

After a lunchtime event at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge, I checked out their new Pantry store, where a wide assortment of local goods are for sale, including local honey, gluten-free Makse Bars, Friend in Cheeses jams, vanilla from Patricia Rain’s Vanilla Company (including Rain’s book Vanilla on the cultural history of this exotic plant), and Farm Fresh Coffee from Hidden Fortress Micro Farm—now with a new coffee shop on Hangar Way in Watsonville. The Food Lounge is at 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz. Visit scfoodlounge.com for more info.

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