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contents

food Forward

Liquid Therapy 24 Homeland Meals

44 All in the Family

A new Santa Cruz company, Pantry House, uses old-school methods to create fresh flavors

You haven't tried tofu until you've tried Yuriko Yamaguchi's tofu

The Arcangeli legacy continues in Pescadero

12 Teenage Dream

30 Pizza Night

8 Things in Jars

48 DIY Beer

Meet the local teen behind Tutti Toscani olive oil

Uncie Ro's builds community around pizza

A day in the life of The Redwood Coast Brewers Association

14 Livestock Lexicon

36 Gluten-Free Goodies

50 Bourbon at its Best

Fiesta Farm sheds light on misunderstood labels

Melinda’s Gluten Free creates delicious options

Learn more about bourbon—and where to find delicious cocktails made with it

20 Endless Volumes The ultimate cookbook collection

38 The Bakery Files Five bakery items to try this fall

54 Moo-Free Milk A new local cookbook reveals 140 ways to make non-dairy milk

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editor’ s note

T

his season, as we gather with family and friends to feast, we are reminded of how powerful food is at bringing people together. But food is building connections throughout our bustling community far beyond the holiday dinner table, whether it is with a group of like-minded hobbyists who’ve carved out a niche making beer (page 48), or coworkers at a local fire department who tend a garden together and collectively enjoy the harvest (page 18). It can create community with something as simple as a neighborhood pizza night featuring pizza made from fresh, seasonal ingredients (page 30), and can bridge the gap between distant countries and cultures, such as with Café Campesino’s traditional Mexican farmhouse cuisine (page 26) or a local octogenarian’s Japanese food endeavor aimed at broadening Americans’ culinary horizons (page 24). Food can connect us with our past, as evidenced at The Culinary Library in Watsonville, where food—or, rather, books about it—becomes a telling historical account and reflection of how a society has evolved (page 20). When embraced at the local level, such as with small-batch mustards from Pantry House (page 8), it helps breed a healthy, selfsufficient food system. The diverse and talented locals behind these delicious ventures are the focus of this edition of Good Times Weekly’s Food & Wine magazine. Dig in, and enjoy. Cheers,

Elizabeth Limbach | Editor

food & wine fall 2013 Publisher Ron Slack Editor Elizabeth Limbach Contributors Jennifer Simeone Josie Cowden Joel Hersch Ryan Boysen Proofreader Josie Cowden Art Director Joshua Becker

Photographers Keana Parker Jeremey Bot Advertising Director Stephanie Lutz x204 Senior Account Executive Kate Kauffman x208

Drivers Thomas Stallings Chris Geurero Guy Gosset Harold Dick Carolyn Stallings Larry Stallings

Account Executives Suzanne Welles x211 Chelsey Mosgrove x218 Rose Frates-Castiglione x219 Julia Cunningham x213 Web Manager Jeffrey Hotchkiss

Senior Designers Ian Webb Carly Gunther

Accounts Receivable Alix Crimbchin x202

Designer Julie Rovegno

Circulation Manager Pamela Pollard x 203

food & wine is published by Good Times at 1205 Pacific Ave., | Suite 301 |Santa Cruz, CA 95060 831.458.1100 | fax 831.458.1295 | www.gtweekly.com

On the Cover: Design by Carly Gunther. Photo of Maple Crème Brûlée from The Buttery by Keana Parker.

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Food Forward

Can It Isabel Freed goes back to basics with her small-batch canning company, Pantry House By Jennifer Simeone

G

JEREMEY BOT

ood food is often equated with fresh food. But for Isabel Freed, there’s no reason a strawberry picked this morning has to taste any better than a strawberry picked last year—as long as you have the right know-how to keep it tasting delicious. This summer she launched Pantry House, a small-batch canning company that produces sweet jams and mustards. “The purpose and importance of canning in American culture has been able to transcend time,” Freed says. “I’m borrowing those tried-and-true techniques, passed down for generations, that produce something that tastes good.” As Freed sees it, there isn’t much innovation left to be done with the simple canning method of the 19th century. “The canning process takes a product that would have a much shorter shelf life, adding some kind of preserving agent—whether it’s sugar or vinegar—to make a jam or a pickled product or a mustard,” Freed explains. “Preservation can make that produce last for a year, even two.” Freed, a UC Santa Cruz alumna, fell in love with canning after spending years working at farmers’ markets, interacting with garden-based learning groups, and doing a culinary senior thesis at Pie Ranch in Pescadero. “I’m really inspired by my community and by the beautiful produce that comes out of this area,” says Freed. “My friends who are growing and working with that bounty inspire the work I do, too.” The name Pantry House is meant to evoke home traditions that have maintained their meaning, even in today’s radically changed kitchen environments. “Pantries are something that every household had 50 to 75 years ago—and we still have them,” Freed says. “They have that sense of something wholesome and good; a house or home.” Freed’s dedication to “old school” methods extends to her equipment, which she deliberately keeps low-tech. Her most important canning gadgets are several large copper preserving pans and a large enamel canning pot. Stationed at the Village Kitchen in Soquel alongside other local food artisans, Freed is a onewoman operation.

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“It’s just me right now,” says Freed. “Everything I’m selling, for the most part, has gotten my individual attention.” While horseradish mustard and whole grain beer mustard are the bestselling products coming out of Pantry House so far, Freed’s personal favorite is the apple butter. Named for its buttery texture and frequent pairing with toast, the preserve is made from apples grown locally at Route 1 Farms that are cooked down from applesauce to a spread in about four hours. As a small-batch producer, Freed rotates between six and 10 products with each canning session. Whether it's the pepper jam, the tomato-basil jelly or the apricot jam, her products fluctuate with customer demands and the seasons. Ingredients are sourced from local and organic farms like Dirty Girl Produce, Santa Cruz Farms, and Live Earth Farms. These connections to the local food shed and the people behind it, Freed says, have knitted her into the fabric of a community that reaches far beyond her new venture. “I think that we’ve seen and tasted what factory farms and mass-produced food is and experienced the toll it can take on our environment,” notes Freed. “I feel like a player in a bigger movement that focuses on the merits of sustainable food that supports community.” /FW Pantry House goods can be found at the Westside and Downtown Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets and online at pantryhousegoods.com. Pantry House will have wholesale products available in the coming months at Stripe (107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz), Companion Bakeshop (2341 Mission St., Santa Cruz), and The Picnic Basket (125 Beach St., Santa Cruz).


Food Forward

JEREMEY BOT

Isabel Freed pictured at her booth at the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market.

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Food Forward

The

Homesteader’s Paradise Mon: $20 Gourmet 3 Course Meal with a Sample Glass of Wine (5pm-close)

Tues: Taco & Tequila Night $3 Tacos a la carte & Specialty Margaritas (3pmclose)

Wed: Steamer Night $14 Mussels, $15 clams or $16 shrimp

Thurs: Fresh & Local Specials showcasing Santa Cruz’s finest farms and fare

Mon -Fri:

Three to Six Happy Hour $3, $4, $5, $6 Food & Drink Specials Served 3-6pm

$10 Roadtrip Lunch Specials Served 11:30am-3pm

Brunch Sat -Sun: Bloody Mary & Mimosa Specials. Served Sat 11am-2pm Sun 10am-2pm

Gluten Free Menu Available! Voted “Best Seafood in Santa Cruz”

Mountain Feed and Farm Supply experts pick must-haves for the aspiring home preservationist

J

orah Roussopoulos has a cache of clever ways to describe Mountain Feed and Farm Supply, the sustainable living convenience store he co-owns and operates with his wife, Andi Rubalcaba. “It’s your one-stop shop for critters and crops,” laughs Roussopoulos. “Or, ‘we specialize in everything from planting a seed, to canning a jam, to hatching an egg, to raising a chicken.’” Projects under the care of the Mountain Feed staff can run the gamut from beekeeping and bread making to home brewing, meat processing, home gardening, animal husbandry, and everything in between. “Whatever you grow or whatever you can find, we have a way to get it into your mouth, either now or later,” quips Karla DeLong, Mountain Feed’s food preservation specialist and community educator. In light of the fall harvest season under way, DeLong notes that one of the best ways to enjoy the bounty of a harvest, long past the height of the season, is through canning and pickling. Sorting through the bevy of items in Mountain Feed’s inventory, DeLong hand-picked five products for those ready to extend the life of the harvest.

1) The Perfect Pickler: $19.99. This highly versatile piece of equipment can turn virtually any wide-mouth mason jar into a fermentation vessel and is ideal for small-batch pickling.

2) Ohio Stoneware Pickling Crocks: $22.99–$132.99. Available in sizes from one gallon to 10 gallons, these crocks will primarily suit those who have already experimented with pickling and want to bring it to the next level.

3) “The Joy of Pickling” by Linda Ziedrich: $18.95. Many homesteaders consider this book to be one of the most comprehensive pickling guides.

4) 21-Quart Stainless Steel Water Bath Canner: $89.99. Made to last generations, the Water Bath Canner doubles as a home canner and as a pot for other kitchen projects like stews, soups and seafood.

5) Canning Jars: $0.99–$16.99. Mountain

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Feed is known for its variety of canning jars. For those who give canned goods as gifts, the diversity of jars gives a refreshing alternative to the classic Ball jar. /FW Mountain Feed and Farm Supply is located at 9550 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond, 336-8876. Order any of the many products sold at Mountain Feed & Farm Supply online at mountainfeed.com. | Jennifer Simeone


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Food Forward

KEANA PARKER

Matt Marani, now 16, started an olive oil company at the age of 11.

Youth in a Bottle Local high schooler continues to grow his organic olive oil company By Josie Cowden

W

hen Matt Marani was 11 years old, he was helping to clean up a neighbor’s vineyard and grounds in Aptos when he spotted excess olives lying on the ground. The neighbor happened to be well-known foodie Alba Salciccia, of Tony & Alba’s Pizza fame. When Marani asked what would happen to the olives, Salciccia offered to show him how to cure them. “Alba got me interested in curing olives,” says Marani, “and she suggested I press them and make my own olive oil. Then one of my dad’s friends found out, and he said he knew how to make olive oil and we could do it together.” That was the beginning of Tutti Toscani, Marani’s own olive oil company that he formed before he was even a teenager. Now 16 and busy with high school and high school football, Marani has plenty on his plate. He takes after his father, Rob Marani, in that he loves fishing and hunting, and helping in his family’s kitchen—with mother Christy at the helm—to prepare game they have caught. Coming from an Italian-American family of six, there is always some chore to be done and meals to prepare. 12 l food & wine

“I love walking my dog and going to the beach with friends,” says the entrepreneurial teen, adding that he still finds time for his passion of producing pure unadulterated extra virgin olive oil. His products are made with such classic Italian varietals as Taggiasca, Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, and Maurino, using a friend’s press in Sonoma that was purchased from Italy about two years ago. Right after Thanksgiving until just before Christmas, Marani heads to Sonoma for olive harvest, and then presses during his Christmas break from school. He produced about 520 liters last year, and has about 50 liters still left to sell. Because of lax regulations on imported olive oil in the United States, labels that signify pure and extra virgin are often a blend of several different oils. Marani’s Tutti Toscani olive oil, however, entirely meets the standards for USDA extra virgin olive oil. Keeping the olive oil business going through high school is challenging, especially during the fall football season, but Marani says it’s important to him to make it work. “I just really want to keep all my connections, create new ones and get myself out in the market,”

says Marani, who loves both the business side of Tutti Toscani and the satisfaction of making a good product. “It’s organic, locally grown and healthy—and a lot better than most [other] fats,” he says. Marani gives a lot of credit for his expertise to his mentor Chris Banthien, who he says helped him enormously when he was starting out. Banthien has been making olive oil for years under her label Olio delle Colline de Santa Cruz, and now has more than 2,000 olive trees on her Valencia Creek Farms ranch in Aptos. Good things are ahead for Marani, whose product continues to improve. Referring to olives he’s using from both the Santa Cruz area and Sonoma, the teen says his new crop is “the best yet.” /FW Visit tutti-toscani.com for more information or email Marani directly at tuttitoscani@gmail.com. A 500-ml. bottle is $30.


Paradise Beach Grille Specials Happy Hour Monday thru Friday, 4–6pm 1/2 off Special Bar Menu $3 Draft Beers • $4 Well Drinks • $4.50 House Wine

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Live Bands Saturday & Sunday from 3–6

Monday Gary’s Rib Night Join us for a FULL rack of “fall off the Bone” Baby Back Ribs Served with Garlic Cheese Fries and Island Slaw for $18

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Wednesday Island Surf and Turf 6ozs. of Delicate Lobster with a Petite Filet Mignon Served with Drawn Butter, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables $30

Live Music on Tuesday & Thursday Nights from 6–9

“Thank you to our customers for your continued support!”

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Food Forward

Good Eggs The truth behind labels like cage free and free range, and other insights from Fiesta Farm’s Sarah Lopez

By Elizabeth Limbach

RACHEL OLMSTEAD

I

Fiesta Farm co-owner Sarah Lopez pictured with eggs from the farm’s pasture-raised chickens.

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n a matter of four years, Sarah Lopez went from a “pseudo vegetarian looking for a clean source of meat” to co-owner of a full-fledged farm, raising egg-laying hens, boiler chickens, pigs, rabbits, goats and turkeys. In 2009, while toying with the idea of raising her own chickens, a local farmer invited Lopez to participate in his turkey harvest before Thanksgiving. “That was my real coming to grips with if I am going to eat meat I need to be able to do the whole thing,” says Lopez, who also does water quality work for local farms. “It felt so clean and humane. I did that turkey harvest, and that sold me on it.” Soon after, she had a revelatory dining experience. Looking down at her plate, she saw that everything on it—including chicken from the aforementioned farmer’s operation and vegetables from her Homeless Garden Project communitysupported agriculture membership (CSA)—came from a place she knew. The clincher was reading Joel Salatin’s “Pastured Poultry Profits,” of which she says, “It’s almost cliché at this point—when you talk about pastured livestock, that’s sort of the poster child for it.” She and her husband, Aurelio Lopez, who brings a lifetime of farm experience to the table, now run Watsonville-based Fiesta Farm—roughly 30 acres with, among other livestock, a clutch of 1,000 laying hens. Locals get their Fiesta Farm products from the Westside Santa Cruz, Sunnyvale and Campbell farmers’ markets, Fiesta Farm’s CSA (which has 150 members), and from Live Earth Farm, which carries their eggs. The road from curious consumer to farmer hasn’t been easy, and it has been paved with monumental leaps in learning, as well as realizations about how misunderstood farming and food can be. “I would say that there are two sides to farming, and almost the most important side is the one that people who aren’t farmers seldom recognize: the art of what you’d call food production,” says Lopez. “People think of farming as taking care of chickens, growing plants, maybe making decisions about soil amendments and things like that. But that is all animal husbandry and horticulture. Farming is really the art of producing food on a consistent, productive basis. That’s what makes it hard: making it available every week at a certain size, quantity and quality.” > 16>


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RACHEL OLMSTEAD

COURTESY OF SARAH LOPEZ

Food Forward

<14 Another big eye-opener for Lopez came from comparing her pasture-raised products to those on grocery store shelves. Not too long ago, she was “buying cage-free eggs from the store and patting myself on the back.” But once she became a farmer, she found herself puzzled by the low price tags on products with labels like “cage free” and “free range.” What she went on to learn about these evermore-ubiquitous terms is that they don’t always mean what customers think they do. “It blew my mind,” she says. For example …

ORGANIC requirements vary in rigor depending on the certifier. The current USDA definition for organic livestock is that “producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100 percent organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.” However, the USDA has come under scrutiny for allowing factory farm-size organic 16 l food & wine

operations to play fast and loose with these rules. In its “Scrambled Eggs Report,” the Cornucopia Institute reported that some factory farm operators were raising as many as 85,000 organic hens per building. “Unfortunately,” states the report, “our research found that most industrial-scale producers are currently confining tens of thousands of hens inside henhouses, commonly only offering tiny concrete or wooden porches as ‘outdoor access’— and getting away with it.” “Organic third party certification is really useful when the farmer and the consumer don’t have a direct relationship,” says Lopez. “It helps the shopper know that at least some minimum standard was met. But the problem is the perception about those standards: people tend to project a lot of expectations onto organic that aren’t necessarily part of it. The biggest one with poultry is the extent of outdoor access. This is true of the terms cage free and free range, as well—they make people imagine chickens running around outside foraging for food; that can be the case, but [it can also mean they are] restricted to covered concrete porches.” The Lopezes decided not to become organic certified based on the fact that their customers expected more from them—and they of themselves—than organic certifiers would. For example, organic hens can be debeaked, and Fiesta Farm never considered implementing this mutilation process—their birds have enough space to roam that pecking one another isn’t an issue, Lopez explains. “When the farm and customer are in a direct relationship, the organic certification almost becomes superfluous,” she says.

CAGE FREE represents one of the biggest misconceptions people have, says Lopez. “People think cage free means chickens have access to outdoors, but it just means they aren’t in battery cages,” she explains. While it’s an improvement over being confined to movement-restricting

cages, like the vast majority of egg-laying hens in the country are, the Humane Society reports that “most cage-free hens live in very large flocks that can consist of many thousands of hens who never go outside.”

FREE RANGE means animals must have access to the outdoors part of the time, however that outdoor area doesn’t have to be very big, and the amount of time can be very short. “Industry standard free-range set up is about 25,000 [birds] per shed and all they need is a little fenced yard outside to call it free range,” says Lopez. “It’s better than a cage operation—it’s a good thing to buy free range eggs, but it’s not what people think it is.”

PASTURE RAISED, in short, “is what you thought free range meant,” says Lopez. “Pastureraised chickens are free range, but the reverse isn’t always true.” This is how Fiesta Farm animals are raised—100 birds per acre of pasture, to allow enough foraging for a healthy diet. “Many people don’t understand how quickly chickens eat through forage,” she says, pointing out that the outdoor access afforded by “free range” doesn’t allow the birds to get a significant portion of their diet from foraging. “If you have a high density of birds that never rotate, there won’t be much left for them to forage,” she says. As for the price tag, at about $3 for a serving of chicken and $7-7.50 for a dozen eggs, Lopez says Fiesta Farm “just can’t compete” with industrial organic/cage-free/free-range operations that cram birds into buildings with minimal or no outdoor access, often with automated set-ups. But the local farm continues to grow, suggesting people are catching on to the disappointing realities behind these labels and are willing to pay for products that actually match their expectations. /FW Learn more about Fiesta Farm at fiestafarm.net.


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Food Forward Firefighter Henry

KEANA PARKER

Castillo in the Big Creek Fire Station garden.

Feeding the Firehouse Firefighters at the Big Creek Fire Station put their green thumbs to work By Joel Hersch

F

irefighters have come and gone over the last two-plus decades at the Big Creek Fire Station in Davenport, but there have always been a few who take the time to nurture the station’s four garden beds. The garden, situated at the quaint station two miles up Swanton Road from Highway 1, is known as “Sam's Place” and has been a part of the station's landscape for at least 20 years. While it dates back further than that, little was known about the garden until it was revitalized in the early 1990s by a firefighter by the name of Josh Becker. Becker—who, coincidentally, went on to become Good Times’ art director, a post he still holds—took an interest in the fire department's garden, according to former Fire Captain Bill Finch, who worked at the Big Creek Fire Station at the time and recently retired from his post at the Burrell Fire Station in Los Gatos.

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With the green light from thenBig Creek Fire Captain Matt Shannon, Becker used spare wood that was stacked on the property to build the garden plots and the fence, Finch writes in an email. Becker then decided to name the garden after his grandfather, Sam Becker, who had the richest and most bountiful gardens of anyone he ever knew. The legacy of the garden’s namesake lives on at the station: this summer and fall the crew harvested kale, green beans, squash, chard, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, basil, and beets, all of which put a little something extra fresh into their regular dinners together, says firefighter Alex Pino, who has been with the station for two years. Pino says that, because they go through so much food, they often buy in bulk. Because of that, storebought produce such as heads of lettuce can often go bad before they can use it all. The garden helps curb this waste.

“Having this garden, we can just go out and pick what we need—all fresh and readily available,” says Pino. One of the team’s favorite meals featuring bounty from the garden includes roasted chicken with curry and beets, as well as sautéed chard with a balsamic vinegar glaze, kale salad, and quinoa. Roasted squash is often on the menu, too. The garden plots—two eight-byeight-foot wooden beds and two more about half the size—are situated closely together on the rural property with an encircling wire fence that mostly keeps out the deer that regularly attempt infiltration. Over the years, Sam's Place has occasionally drifted into states of neglect, but over the past year, Pino and Fire Captain Pat Griffin have gotten into the daily rhythm of giving the garden a few minutes of TLC—some watering here; a bit of weeding there—and subsequently reap the benefits.

Both men love to cook and greatly enjoy having the garden for a kitchen resource. Pino grew up with a chef mother and also worked for Route 1 Farms while in high school. Needless to say, he carries a strong passion for good food. “It's a good learning experience to manage what we eat and take care of the garden,” he says. Having the fresh veggies on hand also lends itself to a more ritual dining practice. There are only two firefighters and the captain on site at any given time, so they are fairly tightly knit. “The fire service is a family, and we live together 72 hours a week,” says Pino, who earned his degree in sustainability at Goddard College in Vermont, where he wrote his thesis on the sociology of food in society. “I see these guys almost more than I see my wife, so meal time is really important to us. It's a time for us to decompress around the table. And food is an important part of that.” /FW


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Steve and Pat Dunlap in the The Culinary Library.

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JEREMEY BOT

Food Forward


Food Forward

At The Culinary Library, a mother’s passion, a daughter’s stewardship and years of American gastronomy are written on the walls By Elizabeth Limbach

P

am Dunlap opens the door to what was intended to be a small restroom in her parents’ storage building. The door barely makes it, brushing past the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that line the three interior walls. Dunlap feels around behind a row of assorted books for the out-of-sight light switch. A soft overhead light comes on, illuminating a closet-size trove of antique cookbooks. Spanning 1864 through the 1950s, there are rows of worn, pre-20th century, leather-bound volumes and a selection of vintage red-and-white checkered copies of the classic Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. Dunlap extracts a delicate, yellowed pamphlet from 1916 titled “Wholesome Cooking Without Waste.” Its pages contain no measurements, just small descriptions of each dish—long-lost meals like jugged rabbit, pigeon pie and creamed calf brains. “It’s interesting to see the history of the United States through food,” Dunlap says. “You can see how things changed from the very basic to the more elaborate around the turn of the century, to the ’20s where there was a sort of health food craze—lots of things with prunes and peanut butter and that sort of thing— into The Depression, when there was nothing.” The diminutive room serves as the “antiques closet” in a little-known local library that boasts of around 8,000 cookbooks. The Culinary Library, as it’s called, was the life’s work of Dunlap’s mother, Jean Fortenbery. Fortenbery, who passed away at age 86 in 2010, began amassing cookbooks while traveling the country as a microwave saleswoman in the 1970s. She’d pick up a local cookbook, perhaps put out by the region’s PTA or a nearby church, and adapt recipes from it for her demonstrations of the new, mysterious and magical contraption. Years later, as a food colum-

nist for the Register Pajaronian in Watsonville, readers pitched in—often donating a late relative’s entire cookbook collection. Meanwhile, Fortenbery, often with Dunlap in tow, made a hobby of purchasing cookbooks from garage and estate sales. The library evolved unintentionally as a result of the growing collection. After the Loma Prieta earthquake destroyed her parents’ Watsonville rental property in 1989, Dunlap’s father rebuilt the home and the couple moved in. What began as a standalone addition for storage soon had bookshelves lining the walls. Aisles of interior bookshelves were eventually added, and the restroom was converted to make more space for books. In one corner sits a wide filing cabinet, its drawers stuffed with alphabetically arranged manila folders filled with countless cooking pamphlets that came free with refrigerators and ovens. “It was my mom’s love and passion,” says Dunlap, who, with her husband Steve, bought the home from her parents in 2001 and converted it into a bed and breakfast, The Freedom Rose House, which was operational until two and a half years ago. The library has endured the changes, but, especially now that the bed and breakfast is closed, is rarely used by anyone outside of the family. “I know you can get anything online, but I still like to come down and use the books,” says Dunlap. “You can just keep pulling books out until you find what you want, or find something by accident.” Past visitors have also come to track down old recipes used by their mothers and grandmothers. Toward the end of her life, while battling Alzheimer’s disease, Fortenbery bought cookbooks compulsively. After she passed, Dunlap tackled the task of organizing the library, which was jam-packed

and in no particular order. “It’s my life’s ambition to get a handle on this,” she says. Although she eventually hopes to have the library catalogued, she’s made big strides so far. Books are arranged by subject and sub-categories— within the baking section, for example, index cards on individual shelves demarcate areas devoted to cookies, cakes, breads, and so on. “I feel very close to her when I come down here and work on things,” she says. One whole stretch of wall is devoted to a 1970s series of ultra-specific pocketbooks with titles like “The 9-by-13 Pan Cookbook” and “Crêpes Suzette.” Another segment is broken up by country—shelves that span the globe’s cuisine from Spanish and Scottish to Lebanese and Mongolian. There’s even a section just for men, where an eye-catching book spine reads, “Help Mr. Food, Company’s Coming!” In an otherwise ordered library, two small stacks of books, on an old rocking chair and end table, haven’t been filed away. “Those are books I’ve picked up even since she’s passed away,” says Dunlap. “When I see old or unusual books I think ‘I’ve got to put that in the library.’” Anyone is welcome to visit the library, and need only to call to arrange a time. Although they do not lend out books—for fear of them not being returned—there is a copy machine at hand. “If you stop and think about the reasons people collect things,” says Steve Dunlap, a backdrop of wall-to-wall books behind him, “one is because it’s a subject matter they really care about, and secondarily, and just as importantly, they want to share it with other people who have the same interests. That’s what Jean did. That’s all she wanted to do—to have the whole world come in, kick back, and look through her cookbooks.” The cherished collection—created with love and fervor over so many years, and infused with Fortenbery’s touch—would appeal to bibliophiles, foodies, historians or even the simply curious. “It’s my mom’s legacy, and I’d love to have people use this,” says Dunlap. “That would have made my mom really happy.” /FW gtweekly.com l food & wine l 21


Food Forward

Fighting Holiday Hunger Second Harvest Food Bank’s holiday food drive addresses spike in local hunger during the winter

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uring the winter months, many families in Santa Cruz County are hit by a financial double-whammy—seasonal jobs in agriculture and tourism dry up just as gas and electricity bills surge with the onset of cold weather. To offset the devastating effect this can have on a family’s ability to feed itself, the Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) sponsors an annual holiday food drive to help locals who might otherwise go hungry during the holiday season. Steve Bennett, development director at SHFB, says this year’s goal is to raise enough food and donations between October and January to provide 3.5 million meals to county residents. As the second largest food bank in the country, SHFB provides

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meals to 55,000 local residents a month—almost a fourth of the county’s total population of 266,000. During winter, the number of families receiving assistance shoots up roughly 20 percent to 66,700. Bennett says that in addition to helping SHFB cope with heightened demand during the winter, the holiday food drive traditionally generates 80 percent of total yearly dollar donations—making it an integral part of SHFB’s continued year-round operation. SHFB accepts volunteer requests and financial donations through their website, and physical donations at their warehouse. SHFB will also be rolling out a new program for businesses called Campaign in a Box, which is designed to streamline the process of setting up a company-wide food drive.

Bennett says that because of its efficiency— SHFB is able to provide four full meals for each dollar donated—and its commitment to providing only healthy food, donating to SHFB is a great way to give back to the community. “I would encourage folks and companies to get involved because by doing a food drive they’re actually investing in their community,” Bennett says. “They’re helping to maintain a healthy work force and keep healthcare costs down in the long run.” The 2013 SHFB Holiday Food Drive starts Tuesday, Nov. 12 with the annual Holiday Food Drive Kick Off Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. For more information, visit thefoodbank.org. To learn more about Campaign in a Box, visit thefoodbank.org/campaign-in-a-box. | RYAN BOYSEN


Branching Out

Food Forward

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, local businesses leave the nest

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launched its first satellite into Berkeley, where Santa Cruz’s famous vegetarian diner fare quickly began drawing Bay Area herbivores into its orbit. New Leaf Community Markets has also branched out, opening locations throughout the South Bay (in Half Moon Bay, San Jose and Pleasanton), after first opening its doors and aisles to Santa Cruzans in 1985. Pizza My Heart has a similar story. Since opening its first tiny pizzeria in Capitola in 1981, the familyowned company now has more than 20 locations in the Bay Area, from Berkeley to San Jose. Speaking of family, Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub now has a sister in San Jose, after opening its first Downtown Santa Cruz location in 1996. Just one year earlier, in 1995, the Britannia Arms pub brought the best of British food and drink to Aptos. While the original location is now closed, new sites have since sprouted in Capitola and across San Jose. | RYAN BOYSEN

ust six years after opening a combined café and roastery in Pleasure Point, Verve Coffee Roasters now has a total of three Santa Cruz locations and soon plans to spread its wings once again and fly south—this time to the City of Angels. Verve’s coffee is already sold as far afield as New York and Pittsburgh, but the new Los Angeles location, which is set to open in mid-2014, will be its first brick-and-mortar outpost outside of Santa Cruz. Verve has generated quite a buzz amongst caffeine connoisseurs in the short time it has been around. They’ve been profiled by publications from the New York Times to Zagat, and earlier this year became the first-ever coffee roasters to receive a StarChefs Rising Star Award from SF Eater. Verve follows in the footsteps of many other edible businesses that began in Santa Cruz County and have since expanded beyond local borders. In 2008, the iconic Saturn Café unveiled a franchise program and

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JEREMEY BOT

Eats & Treats

HOMELAND CALLING In the kitchen with Japanese food maven Yuriko Yamaguchi by elizabeth limbach

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he expansive kitchen counter in Yuriko Yamaguchi’s Watsonville home is strewn with intriguing food. Small bowls and plates with various designs hold dishes that Yamaguchi has been eating since she was a child, growing up on a rice farm in Kyushu, Japan. The childhood favorites she has made are vegan by default—in her homeland, dairy was uncommon (she didn’t try butter until high school), and meat was for the rich. Some were foods traditionally eaten for the 49 days following a relative’s death. “We were poor farm people,” she says, a teakettle beginning to whistle nearby. Yamaguchi and her seven brothers grew up eating miso soup and rice for breakfast and bento box food for lunch. “We ate every day same thing, but we didn’t know any better so we didn’t ask for anything else,” she says, gesturing to a dish

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called okara. “We didn’t know it had all of the fiber and protein in it.” Now 80 years old, and having lived stateside since 1959, Yamaguchi is launching a small food business, called Buzen, so that Americans can experience these healthy and delicious Japanese foods. These are dishes that aren’t often found in Japanese restaurants in the United States—Yamaguchi knows this well, having previously owned two Japanese restaurants in Santa Cruz County and one in San Jose (all also named Buzen). “Japanese restaurants are not really, really Japanese,” she says as she fills an ornate teapot with looseleaf green tea and hot water. “They are so Americanized. I’m old, so I’m from old school, and this is how we used to eat.” The okara is a light, dry, almost grain-like dish made from tofu and vegetables, and seasoned with Mirin

and soy sauces. Generous helpings of okara are followed with bowls full of shiraae, a truly unusual (to this American author) and delightful dish made with tofu, sesame, miso and greens. It has a thick, creamy texture and a rich, savory flavor with a hint of tartness. Bean sprouts, tofu fried rice, stuffed pockets called inari and pickled plum, or ume, round out the offerings. “I want to introduce this to all of the American people,” she says. “No one knows about this, only old Japanese people. Even young Japanese people don’t know it.” Anyone who has crossed paths with Yamaguchi over the years has likely tried her food. Since retiring from the restaurant business, Yamaguchi has continued to cook Japanese food for friends and family. Around the holidays, she says she makes more than 2,000 gyoza to give as gifts. (“A lot of families make

cookies and fudge—we make gyoza,” says her daughter, Kathy Kerby.) After some urging from family to make her extensive hobby of cooking for others into a real business, last year Yamaguchi signed up for a business class through the El Pajaro Community Development Corporation in Watsonville, which launched a commercial kitchen incubator for food artisans like Yamaguchi earlier this year. “I used to make it for everybody for free, now they have to pay!” she laughs. She prepares to demonstrate how to make her signature dish, gyoza, which she sells in both tofu and turkey varieties. A tablespoon of filling is added to the dough, which is then gently and expertly pinched closed into perfect pleats. She situates the gyoza on a heated, oiled pan and, once they’ve browned on one side, adds water and covers to boil.


Eats & Treats

Clockwise

JEREMEY BOT

starting top left: Ume, shiraae, and tofu gyoza.

“I want to bring tofu gyoza to people, but the problem is, when I mention tofu to American people, they go like this, ‘bleckhh!’ They don’t like tofu. But I say, ‘you haven’t tasted my tofu.’”—Yuriko Yamaguchi “I want to bring tofu gyoza to people,” she says, “but the problem is, when I mention tofu to American people, they go like this, ‘bleckhh!’ They don’t like tofu. But I say, ‘you haven’t tasted my tofu.’” Launching a food business adds to Yamaguchi’s already full plate. She’s also a real estate agent with Monterey Bay Properties and an avid tennis player (and says she’s been doing both “for a hundred years”). That evening,

after feeding this curious reporter more than her fair share of Buzen cuisine, Yamaguchi cooked for 25 people for a catering job she had. “Twenty four hours not long enough,” she says, shaking her head. While she’d rather make Italian fare if she were cooking for herself, she feels called to bring the simple and nutritious foods from her homeland to the local community.

“I like to cook everything else but Japanese,” Yamaguchi says. “Japanese, I just try to introduce to people. Because American people eat too much not good stuff, understand what I’m saying?” /FW Buzen items are available at AJ’s Market in Soquel or by ordering from Yamaguchi at yurikoyz@aol.com or 359-7005.

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Eats & Treats

KEANA PARKER

Dina Torres inside Café Campesino.

Flavors of Home Café Campesino serves up traditional Mexican dishes using local, organic ingredients By Ryan Boysen

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t just 80-square-feet, Café Campesino is proof that good things come in small packages. However, Dina Torres, owner and head chef of this tiny Mexican food kiosk on Pacific Avenue, says what makes her eatery stand out isn’t its lack of elbow room, but rather the elbow grease she puts into the traditional, authentic dishes served. “When I first came to Santa Cruz I couldn’t find Mexican food that tasted like it really came from home,” says Torres, who grew up in the North-Central Mexican state of Querétaro and moved to Santa Cruz in 1999. “So I wanted to make food with pure flavors, not commercial flavors. I wanted to make food that was natural and handmade, and my 26 l food & wine

inspiration was my family recipes.” While growing up, Torres went back and forth between a city and a large ranch her father owned. Later in life she traveled across Mexico and married a man from Oaxaca, inheriting his family’s recipes in the process. Torres says all of those settings and experiences come together in the wide variety of dishes offered at Campesino. The menu features classics like gorditas and patcharelas (a close cousin of the taco) with handmade tortillas and the choice of potatoes, nopales (cactus), chicken or rajas (slow-cooked peppers) as fillings. Torres also shows off her rural roots with dishes like Calabacitas, a cornucopia of sautéed squash, corn, onions and tomatoes topped with crumbly Mexican cheese and tangy sour

cream. All of her dishes can be made vegan or vegetarian, and are accompanied by beans and roasted potatoes. Aside from the light, complex flavors in Torres’ cooking, Café Campesino also stands out among the Santa Cruz Mexican food scene for its commitment to using organic, locally sourced ingredients. That decision came about, Torres says, as the result of a sobering realization about how her diet affected her health. “I started thinking about my health more as I got older,” Torres says. “I had some pains, and I thought they might be connected to food, so I started looking into it. I realized that all these non-organic vegetables are just loaded with pesticides, and once I stopped eating them I felt much better.” She says her long-term goal is to

make Café Campesino’s menu 100 percent organic. Currently she says roughly 70 percent of ingredients are organic, but close to 100 percent are purchased locally, including produce from farms in Watsonville and olive oil from The True Olive Connection in Santa Cruz. Cooking has been an integral part of Torres’ life ever since she first started helping her mother out in the kitchen at the age of 8. The decision to merge her passion with her profession, however, didn’t come until much later. In 2002 Torres was working as a kids counselor at the nonprofit Barrios Unidos. One night, Torres invited her friend David Levin over for dinner on a first date. Although Levin had never really cared for > 28> Mexican food up until that


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KEANA PARKER

Eats & Treats

night, the meal—enchiladas verdes and a tomato noodle soup known as fideo—changed his mind. “He was expecting heavy dishes full of sour cream and cheese,” says Torres, “but that’s not how I cook. After he tasted it, in that moment, he said, ‘Dina, you have to open up a restaurant.’” That night Levin left with a second helping of enchiladas and, a few months later, the two agreed to become business partners and open up Café Campesino. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the enchiladas verdes are now Café Campesino’s best-selling dish. Sitting at one of the small metal tables that surround it, Torres recalls Café Campesino’s tumultuous first few years. Besides the difficulty of learning how to work with two people at a time in the kiosk’s cramped quarters, Torres also spoke next to no English when she first started. “I tried doing the register at first—that didn’t work out,” Torres says with a laugh. “A customer came up and my other cook said ‘Howdy.’ When the food was ready I brought it out and started yelling ‘Howdy! Howdy!’ because I thought that was his name.” Torres and Levin have since worked out most of the kinks in the kiosk’s day-to-day operation, and she says these days things are running quite smoothly. Torres has known her whole life that she’d always cook, but when asked how she ended up doing it in Santa Cruz of all places, she answers with just one word: “Destiny.” That, and the friends who persuaded her to move here in the first place. “It just worked out,” Torres says. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy opening up every day, and sharing my food and my passion with our customers. I really feel like we’re a part of Santa Cruz now—our customers are a part of my story and I’m a part of theirs.” /FW Café Campesino, 1130 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-5979. Open Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Eats & Treats

KEANA PARKER

Denis Hoey (left) of Odonata Wines pours for Roland Konicke (right), of Uncie Ro’s Pizza, during a West End Pizza Night.

A Slice of Santa Cruz Uncie Ro’s brings local ingredients and residents together, one slice of pizza at a time // By Ryan Boysen

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ocal ingredients bursting with flavor, a sense of community, and full bellies coupled with smiling faces. For Roland Konicke, the man behind Uncie Ro’s Pizza, that’s what it’s all about. Five years ago, Konicke and his wife Jennifer started selling their handmade pizzas at the Downtown Santa Cruz farmers’ market. Now Uncie Ro’s take-and-bake pizzas can be found all over the Central Coast, sold in stores from Whole Foods to New Leaf. And while they’re still a regular fixture at local farmers’ markets, Uncie Ro’s has also begun organizing its own weekly community pizza nights. A New York native, Konicke moved to Santa Cruz nine years ago and began working at the organic Four Sisters Farm. He developed an intense passion for the produce grown in Santa Cruz County, but realized that the life of a farmer wasn’t for him. Raised in an Italian family, cooking was in Konicke’s blood, though he’d never done it professionally. But when he tried to think of a way to put his newfound zest for local produce to use, his instincts as an Italian and New Yorker told him just one thing: make pizza. Fresh, artisanal, New Yorkstyle pizza. And somehow, it worked. “I kind of threw myself into the fire there,” Konicke says with a chuckle as he tosses dough in his booth at the downtown farmers’ market.

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One hundred percent of the produce used in Uncie Ro’s pizzas comes from local farms Konicke got to know while working at Four Sisters. Its peppers, for example, come from Happy Boy Farms, while all of its meat comes from local butcher el Salchichero. Konicke makes the mozzarella himself, and uses high-quality imports for the rest of his cheeses. His wife, Jennifer, makes all of the dough by hand. “To us it’s just the only way,” Konicke says. Some of Uncie Ro’s pizzas are sold year round. Most of other pizzas, however, are seasonal, shifting toppings and sauces as different locally sourced ingredients become available. The Potato Leek pizza, for instance, is a winter favorite. Fresh white sauce topped with mozzarella, aged provolone, potatoes, leeks, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms, and garnished with parsley and sprinkled cheeses, make this hearty pie perfect for chilly evenings. Until recently, because Uncie Ro’s doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront, most of their pizza was sold by the slice at farmers’ markets or sent to store shelves as take and bakes. But when Jeremy and Erin Lampel, old friends of Konicke’s from New York, opened Companion Bakeshop in 2011, it seemed like a ripe opportunity to try something new, especially considering Companion had something Konicke did not: an imposing wood-burning stove. So began the weekly West End Pizza Night.

Every Tuesday from 4 to 7:30 p.m., Konicke cooks up whole pies made fresh to order at Companion, which are served with wines from the adjacent Odonata Wines. Konicke says the weekly event became such a hit that he decided to duplicate it on the other side of the county. He knew the owners of Everett Family Farm, in Soquel, from his days at Four Sisters, and after some talking they decided to hold a second community night at the farm itself, each Friday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. “It turned out to be incredibly successful,” Konicke says. “We had a crazy amount of families there, maybe 30 or 40, kids running everywhere and people setting up picnics on the lawns. It seemed to be a thing that our community in that area really responded to.” Uncie Ro’s has since acquired a portable woodburning stove of its own, and also does catering gigs in addition to the weekly pizza nights. Konicke says that while the long-term plan is to find a permanent location for Uncie Ro’s, for now just cooking up fresh pizzas around the county with his new toy is all the satisfaction he needs. “It’s just so much fun, because it’s so primitive,” Konicke says, keeping a watchful eye on a pizza that sits inside the stove. “You’ve only got about a minute and a half between perfection and incineration in this thing.” /FW


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gtweekly.com l food & wine l 31


EAT LIKE A PRO

Five local chefs reveal their personal favorites from their own menus By Josie Cowden

1 JALAPEÑO POPPERS $12.95 // Imura

John Kim, chef at Japanese restaurant Imura in Watsonville, delights in the process of creating Jalapeño Poppers. He likes to make them rather spicy, which some of his customers prefer. The poppers are comprised of Kim’s blend of tuna, sesame oil, Sriracha hot sauce, shichimi (Japanese chili powder), chopped ginger, cream cheese, and, of course, jalapeño—using all fresh ingredients. He rolls the jalapeños in flour and tempura batter, and then deep fries them. “These poppers go well with beer, sake and even with sodas,” Kim says. /FW

KEANA PARKER

Imura Japanese Restaurant, 1994 Main St., Watsonville, 761-8799, imurasushi.com.

DUCK 2 A LA APRICOT “One dish I love doing,” says Shadowbrook Executive Chef Anthony Kresge, “is Duck a la Apricot. It’s a pan-seared maple leaf duck breast, with a risotto arancini that looks like an apricot after you deep-fry it. Arancini is a pretty famous small bite generally served on the boats going through the Straight of Calabria on the way to Sicily. I wanted to form a risotto ball that was like you had an apricot on the plate but it’s actually risotto when you bite into it.” Served as an entrée, Kresge also makes his own duck prosciutto for this dish. “Inside the arancini, you’ll find bits of the duck prosciutto and taleggio cheese,” he says. “We sous vide the duck breast, then we pan sear it and cut it on the bi and place it over the arancini. It’s served on a bed of sautéed summer greens and an apricot-liqueur reduction. To finish the plate we give you a ribbon of freshly sliced duck prosciutto.” Kresge uses open-range farmed duck, dried apricots and greens from local farmers. /FW Shadowbrook Restaurant, 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, 475-1511, shadowbrook-capitola.com.

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KEANA PARKER

$12 // Shadowbrook


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3

KEANA PARKER

4 BEET SALAD

$12 // Oak Tree Ristorante For Sebastian Nobile, head chef at Oak Tree Ristorante, the beet salad he serves has a special place in his heart. “It was my mother’s recipe,” he explains. “I have it on the menu because of my mother.” The dish starts with oven-roasted beets, which are slow cooked in red wine with chopped scallions. At Oak Tree, the goal is to “do everything ourselves,” from the cookies to the jams and sauces. Fittingly, then, the salad is dressed with Nobile’s own Italian dressing—a mix of balsamic vinegar, cold pressed olive oil, oregano, salt and hard-boiled egg. “I cut the egg in six pieces, smash the yellow part and mix this with the vinegar dressing and it becomes yellowish,” Nobile says. “And I mix my own greens—wild arugula, baby frisee, dinosaur kale, red dandelions, butter lettuce and raddicchio. It gives it a stronger flavor.” Finished off with a couple of slices of cucumber and carrot, the beet salad “is amazing and people love it,” says Nobile. /FW Oak Tree Ristoorante, 5447 Highway 9, Felton, 335-5551, oaktreeristorante.com.

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SOUP

OF PISTOU $8 // Au Midi Au Midi co-owner Muriel Loubiere says she is reminded of growing up in Provence, France when she cooks this special vegan soup, which is made from white beans that are soaked overnight. Loubiere then adds onions, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and pine nuts all into a big pot and cooks it “until done.” When diving into her beloved menu item, Loubiere suggests opening a bottle of rosé wine. “Then relax, complain about the world, and don’t forget to laugh,” she recommends. “And leave it to the French to be vegan, when vegan was not cool …” /FW Au Midi, 7960 Soquel Drive, #E, Aptos, 685-2600, aumidi.com.


CRAB & 5 SHRIMPSTUFFED AVOCADO

KEANA PARKER

$9 // Johnny’s Harborside Johnny’s Harborside’s Crab & Shrimp-Stuffed Avocado takes the honor of being Chef Evan Lite’s preferred menu item. It is also one of his own creations. “We hollow out the avocado, fill it with an Asian-style crab and shrimp salad, and then we drop it in tempura flour and fry it,” Lite says. “When you’re done frying it, it looks like a whole avocado. The thing I love about this appetizer is that it’s such a palate teaser—with all the textures of creamy, crunchy and then the sweetness of the crab.” Lite says the shrimp the restaurant uses is from a sustainable shrimp farm. “It’s a healthy dish because it has a very light batter,” says the chef. Lite also offers it without the batter or gluten-free, with a batter made with rice flour. /FW Johnny’s Harborside, 493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz, 479-3430, johnnysharborside.com.

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KEANA PARKER

Eats & Treats

Melinda Harrower of Melinda’s Gluten-Free.

The Gluten Free Laboratory -

Melinda Harrower tests the boundaries of gluten-free baking By Jennifer Simeone

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hen Melinda Harrower realized that she could control her rheumatoid arthritis with a gluten-free diet, she

changed her eating habits. Much to her chagrin, sticking to that diet and keeping her joints happy meant giving up many of the foods she loved. “After spending a lot of time and money hunting down gluten-free things that I liked, and finding that most of it was pretty mediocre,” explains Harrower, “I started developing my own recipes.” Harrower’s story isn't unique. Frustrated with the limitations of their diets in a world saturated with gluten-laden foods, many gluten-free eaters rely on themselves to create meals they actually enjoy. But baking without gluten is no cakewalk, as Harrower knows. While a lot of skill goes into making a great gluten product, she says it takes even more innovation to bake a delicious gluten-free alternative. “You’re dealing with a completely new and different chemistry with gluten free than you are with gluten baking,” explains Harrower. “I often call my kitchen a laboratory—I feel like a mad scientist because I’m combining all these seemingly incom36 l food & wine

patible products to make something work.” In 2010, armed with finely tuned recipes, Harrower decided to support her fellow gluten-free eaters by launching her own bakery, Melinda’s Gluten Free. Even without the use of wheat, barley, rye, and most oats, Harrower still has a number of flours and starches at her disposal. Her baked goods include balances of high protein rice, quinoa, and almond flours with corn and potato starches. Years of practice have given her products textures that can result in them being confused with their gluten counterparts. “Once you get it right, there’s this complete joy that comes from what feels like winning a chemistry challenge,” laughs Harrower. Harrower and her baking partner, Hannah Balliet, are constantly churning out new and interesting treats like the recently developed chocolate cinnamon Bundt or citrus ginger pineapple pound cake. These are sold alongside the standard cookies, muffins, and loaves of bread at Aldo’s Italian Bakery in Soquel, which has been their home base since March. As part of the recent partnership with Aldo’s,

Melinda’s now has a separate gluten-free baking space in the building, and the opportunity to sell individual products. Their customer base has also expanded in the wake of Balliet’s recent victory on Lifetime’s new competition series, Supermarket Superstar. Balliet took home the win on the show’s “Natural Foods” episode, which aired in August, for her gluten-free espresso-chai whoopie pies. “The show has been fantastic for piquing people’s curiosity,” says Harrower. For those just intrigued by gluten-free baked goods, Melinda’s promises high quality artisanal treats. And for those who eat gluten-free for their health, Melinda’s ensures that their products are always safe for the gluten intolerant. “The vision has always been to create a product that brings people joy,” says Harrower. “By taking people who are marginalized by their diet and making them excited to eat again.” /FW Melinda’s Gluten Free is located in Aldo’s Italian Bakery, 4628 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 687-9098. For more information and custom orders, visit melindasglutenfree.com.


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Essential Indulgences Traditional, gluten free, dairy free, raw—we found it all in our tour of local bakeries to find this fall’s five must-try treats By Elizabeth Limbach

Cashew Cream Cups Simple, raw ingredients—most of which are organic—are all that go into these little cups of creamy joy. Creator Lynne Karst of Red Hawk Farm has ensured that, with flavorful varieties including chocolate chocolate, orange cardamom (pictured here), lemon cream, pumpkin, and chocolate peanut butter, partakers get a satisfying dessert experience without any guilt. /FW Find these goodies at the Capitola, downtown and Westide New Leaf Community Markets. $4.25/$2.25 mini. Redhawkfarm.com.

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Tofu Pie Whether you crave health-conscious sweets or are a major tofu skeptic, this luscious, creamy dessert will win you over. It’s been a Staff of Life staple for more than 20 years for a reason: the dairyfree, whipped cheesecake-like filling is heavenly and rich, and complemented perfectly by the tart fruit topping and crumbly crust. Price ranges from $2.95 for a generous rectangular slice to $13.50 for an entire pie. Staff of Life, 1266 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8632, staffoflifemarket.com.

Apple Tart KEANA PARKER

with Caramel Sauce Gluten-intolerant folks don’t need to miss out on delicious sweets. That’s the idea behind Melinda’s Gluten Free, which operates out of Aldo’s Bakery in Soquel Village. Baked delights like this fall-appropriate apple and caramel tart give gluten-free baking a good name. See page 35 for more on Melinda’s. $4. Melinda’s Gluten Free at Aldo’s Bakery, 4628 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 687-9098, melindasglutenfree.com.

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Maple Creme Brulee It’s no secret that The Buttery dishes up seriously mouthwatering desserts. This crème brûlée (pictured on the cover of this magazine) is no exception. But the fall-themed treats don’t stop there: take note of the Pumpkin Roll (pumpkin spiced cake with a caramel whipped cream filling, topped with vanilla whipped cream, caramel drizzle and pumpkin seeds), Pumpkin Flan, and Pumpkin Cheesecake. Find these and more at The Buttery, 702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020, butterybakery.com.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Retail price for the 8-inch cake is $26. Order directly from Black China by calling 457-2068 (birthday and wedding cakes are a specialty), or find items at all local New Leaf Community Markets and Whole Foods. Blackchinabakery.com.

KEANA PARKER

It wasn’t until 20 years ago—10 years into Black China Bakery’s business—that the local bakery developed its now-famous vegan cake recipe. Today, vegan desserts make up 90 percent of what the wholesale bakery does, says current owner and daughter of the original owner Katelin Brightman. The dreamy, dense chocolate cake—with its decadent, dark chocolate frosting—has stood the test of time (and taste buds) and emerged as a local favorite.

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Liquid Therapy

By Josie Cowden Hunter Hill: Pinot Noir 2012 Winemaker Vann Slatter made 335 cases of this gorgeous Estate Pinot Noir—so there should be ample time to get some before it sells out. After barreling one year in French oak, we have a lusty primo Pinot with a spicy bouquet. Full-bodied and awash with rich fruit and deep cherry overtones, this impressive wine can be enjoyed with spicy foods, meat and salmon. ($40) 7099 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, 465-9294, hunterhillwines.com.

Equinox Sparkling Wine: Brut Reserve 2001 With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to be thinking about popping the cork with some excellent sparkling wine. And Equinox fits the bill. Made in the méthode champenoise-style by expert winemaker Barry Jackson, these are superbly well-crafted celebratory wines to open up on special occasions. Equinox’ flagship “bubbly” is the Brut Reserve. ($60) 427 Swift St., Santa Cruz, 423-3000, equinoxwine.com.

Muccigrosso: Sirah-Syrah 2008 Produced and bottled by Muccigrosso Vineyards, with winemaker Michael Muccigrosso at the helm, this lovely blend of 60 percent Petite Sirah and 40 percent Syrah is full of dark fruit and bursting with flavor. This will pair well with rich holiday foods, or just pour a glass and enjoy a well-made wine. ($30) 421450 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos, (408) 354-0821 or (408) 761-5030, muccigrosso.com.

Soquel Vineyards: Nebbiolo 2010 This 2010 Nebbiolo won a double gold in the 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s wine competition, and ’tis no wonder. This is simply an awesome wine. Made from the luscious Italian Nebbiolo grape—grown in the Luna Matta Vineyards, Paso Robles—flavors of violets, tar, truffles, and prunes are prominent in this gorgeous hefty-structured nectar. ($50) 8063 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, 462-9045, soquelvineyards.com.

Myka Cellars: Malbec Rosé 2012 Myka Cellars (formerly called Mica Cellars) is turning out some excellent wines lately, not the least of which is a delightful strawberry-pink 2012 Malbec Rosé. Winemaker Mica Raas’ blend of 85 percent Malbec and 15 percent Sangiovese results in a delicious rosé that goes well with seafood or tangy soft cheese. ($20) 18 Hangar Way, Ste. C, Watsonville, 288-5921, scwinemakerstudio.com.

Wargin Wines: Big & Beautiful 2010 This wine is a blend of 75 percent Moltipulciano, 12 percent Zinfandel, 7 percent Mouvedre and 6 percent Alicante Bouschet, which winemaker Mikael Wargin deems “a voluptuous blend of Italian varietals comfortable in their own skin.” It’s a bold mouthful of flavor that is chock full of fruit, vanilla, oak and cranberry that will pair well with Italian food. ($16) 18 Hangar Way, Ste. C, Watsonville, 531-8108, warginwines.com and scwinemakerstudio.com.

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Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery: Grüner Veltliner 2012 I love this Austrian varietal made by winemaker Richard Alfaro. The Grüner Veltliner is crisp and dry, but with a nice little zing of lime and grapefruit. The grapes are from the only CCOF-certified organic Grüner Veltliner vineyard—La Playita—in California. It has an appealing applestraw color and is an interesting and different wine to serve up for friends. ($30) 420 Hames Road, Watsonville, 728-5172, alfarowine.com.

Burrell School: Estate Chardonnay 2010 Winemaker Dave Moulton’s Estate Chardonnay is a deal for $24. Beautiful in the glass, and even better on the tongue, this pale lemony-colored wine is well integrated with both fruit and oak and fills the mouth with fresh bright flavors. Every wine at Burrell School has a “school” theme—and this one is called “Teacher’s Pet.” ($24) 24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos, (408) 353-6290, burrellschool.com.

Storrs Winery: White Riesling 2011 This is a lovely refreshing Riesling produced by Steve and Pamela Storrs, with grapes from the Viento Vineyard in Monterey. Aged in stainless steel tanks, this pale-strawcolored wine has aromas of peach, apricot and orange, comes with a burst of apricots and honeysuckle in the mouth, and has a crisp bright finish. Keep an eye out for the opening of the Storrs’ new tasting room soon. ($16) Old Sash Mill, 303 Potrero St., No. 35, Santa Cruz, 458-5030, storrswine.com.

Pelican Ranch: Gewürtztraminer 2011 Gewürztraminer, with its dry character, is an excellent accompaniment to spicy food. This one made by Phil Crews at Pelican Ranch is a very aromatic Gewürtz with lychees and fragrant roses on the nose. Moderate acid and a rich body make it a good wine to go with Thanksgiving turkey and all those hefty sides. ($22) 102 Kennedy Drive, Capitola, 426-6911, pelicanranch.com.


Doctor’s Orders

Salamandre Wine Cellars’ Wells Shoemaker balances his winemaking passion with his dedication to healthcare reform By Josie Cowden

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hen physician Wells Shoemaker is not busy with his full-time job in healthcare, he is making wine. And good wine, at that: his label, Salamandre Wine Cellars, won double gold for its 2009 Pinot Noir in the 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Commercial Wine Competition, gold for its Malbec 2009, silver for its Primitivo 2010, and silver for its Pinot Noir 2010. Shoemaker and his business partner, dermatologist Dave South, run the small Salamandre Wine Cellars operation from Shoemaker’s home in Aptos. Now no longer in practice as a pediatrician, Shoemaker is on the forefront of healthcare reform. He is co-leading Gov. Jerry Brown’s “Let’s Get Healthy California” workgroup on the health system redesign. Although his involvement in changes to healthcare means travel to Los Angeles, Sacramento, Minnesota and other places, he makes sure he’s home at harvest time to crush grapes—which mostly come from prime vineyards in Corralitos and Monterey County— for his Primitivo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Shoemaker started making wine in 1977 with a group of four doctors who enjoyed the challenge. But he was the one who carried on making wine, and in 1986 teamed up with South, who works in Watsonville. Shoemaker’s signature wine is the robust Primitivo. “If I were to go on my very last hike into the wilderness and I were only strong enough to carry one bottle of wine, it would be the Primitivo,” he says. “It’s intensely berry flavored—with black pepper and a wonderful concentrated flavor. We always pour that last when we have tastings. People know about it and are waiting for it. It’s like a clash of cymbals.” While Shoemaker’s wines are available at Vinocruz, Shopper’s Corner, and many other local outlets, the winery does not have a brick-andmortar location for wine-drinkers to visit. It does, however, host occasional tasting events. The invitations for these special events often come with a salamandar-themed poem by Shoemaker, such as: “Time to explore the mountain meander / Time to ignore the feckless flatlander / Time to adore the new Salamandre.” /FW gtweekly.com l food & wine l 43


Liquid Therapy

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Sante Arcangeli Family Wines opens a tasting room just north of town By Josie Cowden

175 WEST CLIFF DRIVE, SANTA CRUZ 831.460.5012 | JDVHOTELS.COM/AQUARIUS FREE VALIDATED PARKING 44 l food & wine

J

ohn Benedetti’s new tasting room in Pescadero opened up at the beginning of August, and business has been brisk ever since. Benedetti is right at home in this little coastal town about 35 miles north of Santa Cruz. His grandmother owned a department store there and his family owns a bakery, Arcangeli Grocery, which was built by his grandfather, Sante Arcangeli, in the 1920s. When Benedetti is working late he will sometimes spend the night in a little apartment above the bakery in the building that was formerly the family home where his father, grandmother and great uncle Alfredo were raised. “I sleep in the bedroom that was Sante Arcangeli’s before he died,” Benedetti says. “And when I’m in there, I can see my tasting room. It’s pretty neat. It’s like the full circle of my family history.” Benedetti’s new tasting room has a cozy welcoming interior, and an impressive new bar made from one big slab of redwood. “It’s a really small space that we’re in, but it’s very personal,” he says, adding, “My favorite thing to do is share wine with people.” Benedetti’s brothers Mike and Don run the bakery, and are the fourth generation to take over. His nephew Christopher—representing the fifth generation of this close family—also helps out. As a nod to their long genealogical traditions, a wine is coming out soon that will be available only at the bakery called Five Generations, a Chardonnay from a vineyard in Bonny Doon and one in Corralitos. Benedetti initially co-founded the brewery Sante Adairius in Capitola with now-owner Tim Clifford, and then decided to open a tasting room to showcase his family wines. “But I still brew beer,” laughs Benedetti, whose tasting room manager, Luke Felix, is also assistant winemaker. “I just brewed a keg for us all to drink when we’re making wine. We > 46> grew the hops in it, too.”

John Benedetti



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Liquid Therapy volunteers regularly, he is passionate about supporting locally owned businesses. “Our broker is forbidden to sell our wine to chain stores,” Benedetti says, adding that shopping local means that $.70 of each dollar spent stays in the local community. “It can only be found at independent, locally owned businesses. I make so little wine and it’s very precious to me. It’s a labor of love, for sure, and I don’t want it to be found on Safeway shelves.” Whether the winery can survive with this approach remains to be seen, he says, but he wouldn’t try it any other way. “It’s worth the experiment,” he says. “I want to survive that way.” /FW

JUNNEEN LEE MCCOMBS PHOTOGRAPHY

He started making wine in 2008 and credits Ryan Beauregard of Beauregard Vineyards in Bonny Doon for being a huge help as a mentor. “He makes the kind of wine that really influences me a lot,” says Benedetti. “I’m spread out pretty far right now,” Benedetti goes on. “My wife Melanie and I are based in Corralitos, but I currently make my wine at Candice Wozniak’s Redwood Ridge Estate property on Summit Road, so I do a lot of driving.” A new baby son, Lucca Sante Benedetti, keeps him even busier. “Lucca was born on June 24, and our tasting room was licensed three days later,” Benedetti says. “I had to build it shortly after that with a brand new baby. It was just crazy.” Bendetti’s family roots are in Pescadero, as well as in Santa Cruz where he grew up. As one of the people who got Think Local First off the ground, for which he is still on the board and <44

Sante Arcangeli Family Wines, 216-A Stage Road, Pescadero, 406-1262, santewinery.com. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.-ish. Check ahead on the website and on Facebook when the winery is open to the public.

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KEANA PARKER

Liquid Therapy

David Lehrian brewing Oatmeal Stout. 

H

ome brewer David Lehrian is hard at work on his latest beer, standing on a small step stool so that he's level with the tallest kettle in a three-tier brewing rig. Powerful burners mounted in the aluminum scaffolding under each of the stainless steel pots—the contents of which feed down to the lower one through connecting tubes—produce a dull roar under the midday sun at Lehrian’s property. Lehrian works as a software engineer in Monterey but lives on a hilly plot of property in Royal Oaks near the Santa Cruz County-Salinas border. He has been making his own beer since 1993 and is president of The Redwood Coast Brewers Association (RCBA), a group of about 25 home brewers from across Santa Cruz County. As he works, Lehrian describes the entire beer-making process, from the cultivation of barley in the fields, all the way through the enzymatic process that produces the simple sugars needed for brewing, with great enthusiasm. Like a kid with the best science project is class, he revels in the nuances and complexities of home brewing. “If it was easy to make,” he says, “they'd call it wine. This is a little more complicated.”

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The top “sparge” kettle, which stands at about 10 feet to allow gravity to pull the liquid down through each brew stage, is full of 180-degree boiling water. The water will run down into the middle “mash tun” kettle, which is full of grain. The sparge water then runs through the grains, where it becomes “sweet wort,” and down into the bottom boil kettle. “It's mostly malt sugars,” he says. “We'll boil this and then add hops at intervals, and it will become the beer.” That sweet wort makes its way down into a whirlpool, through cooling plates, turning the liquid into “cold wort,” and finally down into a ground-level, conicalshaped fermenter. Once the beer is in the fermentation container, Lehrian will “pitch” the yeast, which basically means adding it into the liquid. This batch of beer will become about 12 gallons of Oatmeal Stout when the fermentation process is completed in two to three weeks. Bill Moller, a resident of Ben Lomond, has been a member of RCBA for about 20 years and has been brewing with Lehrian for eight. He wears sunglasses, a broad sunhat, and a T-shirt with a mushroom

drawing that looks like something from a Grateful Dead album cover. He is a retired railroad conductor now growing apples on his mountain property, which he uses to make his own ciders. Lehrian directs Moller to adjust temperatures and operate the sparge valves through the brewing process. Why do these individuals go through the trouble of brewing their own beer? “Well,” Moller says. “It's way better. “Actually,” he goes on, chuckling, “sometimes it's not that great. But you'll drink it anyways because it's your own beer.” He adds that Lehrian's brews are generally quite excellent: “Dave's got it down with checking the IBUs [International Bitterness Units] and the bitterness of the hops.” Catherine Gunderson, another member, arrives a couple of hours into the brewing process wearing a wreath of dry, green hops around her head, which she grows at her community garden plot in Capitola. “You can smell them—they smell like pot,” she says. “They're in the same family.” As an avid crafter and hobbyist, brewing beer at home is a natural fit for Gunderson.

“I'm kind of an ADD crafter,” she says of a variety of hobbies. “I'm a fanatic. With the brewing, I love the camaraderie.” Lehrian says that other than when he's out having dinner with friends and family, he doesn’t buy beer. And why would he when he has so much of his own great craft beer right at his fingertips? In his living room, he has three home brews and a cider on tap out of a kegerator—a smoked porter, a summer ale, and a London ale. When the brewing process is complete, and other group members have finished their brewing in other parts of the county, everyone in the association congregates with all of their fermented creations for a big party, often at Lehrian's house. The communal showcases happen once a month. “The beginning of it starts off pretty mellow, just seeing what everyone's got,” he says. “And by the end of it, it pretty much devolves into drunken debauchery.” /FW Learn more about The Redwood Coast Brewers Association at redwoodcoastbrewers.org.


Red Fang by Boulder Creek Brewery The Red Fang—named for its deep burgundy hue and the bite it packs with its 7.2 ABV—is a seasonal red rye ale. With a tasty spice to its body, hints of caramel malt, and a pineyhops aroma, the Red Fang should be enjoyed with this brewery's spicy pulled pork sandwich, a truly delicious pairing, according to the brewer. The beer has a pleasant, lingering bitterness—70 bitterness units (IBUs)—though it doesn't cling to the palate and is still very refreshing. Pints $5.50; happy hour pints $3.50.

Steamers Lane by Uncommon Brewers This California common-style beer, brewed with lavender blossoms and named for Santa Cruz's most historic surf spot, is a golden amber lager. With a 4.3 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), the beer is crisp and sweet, boasting a toasty malt flavor and even body. It gives off a light floral scent that lingers in the aftertaste. Try the Steamers Lane at Surfrider Cafe. Pints $5.50; happy hour pints $4.50.

Scenic Stout by Discretion Brewing This strong-flavored, roasty, jet-black brew is the first traditional export stout Discretion has put on tap. The Scenic Stout has a bold flavor and a strong dose of alcohol—a 7.4 ABV—which is balanced out by its smooth texture and hints of chocolate. The beer is essentially a seasonal, stronger version of an oatmeal stout. Stop by Discretion's Tap Room for a taste. 10 oz. pour $4; 16 oz. pour $6; 64 oz. growler $15.

Fresh Hop Black IPA by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Brewed with fresh Hallertaur and Cascade hops fresh off the vines at Lindencroft Farms and the Homeless Garden Project, this dark beer can only be brewed during the fall season, following the summertime harvest window. The Black IPA has a 7 percent ABV and 70 bitterness units, giving it a full, satisfying flavor that is greatly elaborated by the young, green hops. It blends the malts of a traditional IPA with organic black patent malt. Pints $5; happy hour pints $3.50.

Kolsch by Santa Cruz Ale Works On those warmer days that pepper the fall season, a light, medium-bodied, but still prominently flavored brew isn't just the beer-drinker's best option—it's the only option. The Kolsch, a tasty ale made with malted wheat, and Mount Hood and Noble Tettenanger hops, is traditional to Cologne, Germany. It has an effervescent straw color, goes down easily, and has a crisp, clean finish. This brew is low on bitters—just 27 IBUs—and has a 5 ABV. Pints $5; happy hour pints $4. | Joel Hersch

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Liquid Therapy

American Spirit This fall, we’ve got bourbon on the brain. By Ryan Boysen Last year, Americans drank more than 40 million gallons of bourbon—a 22 percent increase since 2003, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Bourbon runs the gamut in terms of strength: according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, it ranges from 80 to 160 proof.

Although bourbon can technically be made anywhere in the United States, the spirit is most closely associated with Kentucky, where 95 percent of it is produced. According to the Kentucky Distiller’s Association, right now there are 4.9 million barrels of bourbon aging in Kentucky—more than the state’s total population.

The Bourbon Heritage Center explains that almost all major bourbon producers can trace their roots back more than 200 years. Evan Williams and Jacob Beam, for instance, first set up shop in the 1780s.

National Bourbon Day is slated for June 14, 2014.

KEANA PARKER

Bourbon is said to have gotten its name from one of two places: Bourbon County, Kentucky, the traditional home of bourbon distillers, or Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, where it was first sold and consumed en masse.

Bourbon has a unique and complex flavor all its own, but many mixologists also experiment with bourbon infusions. The Red Restaurant and Bar currently offers several drinks made with a thyme-infused bourbon, and other flavors are in the works, says bartender Rory Diller.

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Liquid Therapy

THE BOURBON TRAIL: Seven of the best bourbon cocktails local mixologists have to offer

1 2

Süda: The Mad-Hattan, $11 Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is mixed with blood orange, Vya’s Sweet and Vya’s Dry Vermouth and Benedictine before being poured into a flaming Fernod Absinthe wash. Louie’s Cajun Kitchen and Bar: Bourbon Flights, $12-$15 Flights feature a shot each of three different bourbons selected by region and characteristics. Louie’s, which has more than 55 types of bourbon in stock, offers six separate flights in all.

3

Booka: Nisene Marks Manhattan, $12 Peach Street Small Batch Bourbon, Bittermans Xocolatl bitters and a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

4

Solaire: The Derby, $9 Bulleit bourbon with a dash of grapefruit juice and honey—simplicity perfected.

5

Motiv: Ugly Rose, $8 Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon mixed with lillet, Benedictine, bitters and lemon zest, poured over a flaming absinthe wash. Garnished with lemon twist and zest.

6

Café Cruz: The City, $9 San Francisco’s Cyrus Noble Bourbon mixed with Carpano Antico sweet vermouth and bitters. Topped with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

7

Red Restaurant and Bar: Sazerac, $9 Bulleit bourbon mixed with peychaud bitters, simple syrup and an absinthe wash. Garnished with a lemon twist.

Lou Caviglia, the owner and namesake of Louie’s Cajun Kitchen and Bourbon Bar, says the best part about Bourbon’s American origin is the lack of expensive import duties. This allows bars such as his to offer outstanding bourbons at reasonable prices.

BREAKFAST

LUNCH Lunch

Breakfast… served all day The Basic Breakfast The Basic Tofu Creative Omelettes Multi Grain Cereals French Toast

$6.95 Our Burgers are the Greatest! 1/3 pound, char-broiled and served on a grilled homemade $7.75 sour roll, with mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion; choice of home-fries, fresh fruit or potato salad Starting at $8.75 $8.95 Pepper Bacon & Cheese Burger $10.75 $3.95 Gourmet Burger $10.95 $6.50 Patty Melt $9.75 1/2 order $3.95 Catalina Veggie Burger $8.95

Pancake Breakfast 1/2 stack pancakes, two Sandwiches

eggs any style, and bacon, sausage (link or *turkey • *BLT • *ham • *avocado patty), or ham $9.50 grill any of these & add cheese *grilled cheese Fruit Pancakes 1/2 stack $6.95, full stack $9.50

Sourdough Pancakes Sourdough Waffles

1/2 order (3) $4.75, full order (5) $6.50 $5.25

Ahi Tuna Melt

$8.95 $0.75 $7.25 $9.50

Chowders & Chilis Cup $2.85, Bowl $4.35

Brunch Specialties Mike’s Mess Three eggs, mix it up with bacon, Fresh Salads mushrooms & our famous home-fries; top it off with Imperial Chicken sour cream, tomatoes & green onions. Served with your choice of homemade breads, toasted. $11.25 Greek Salad “Junior Mike’s Mess” (smaller version) $9.25 (Sub. any omelette ingredient for bacon–$0.75) Spinach Salad

$7.50 $7.25 $7.50

Tofu Mess $11.25 “Junior Tofu Mess” (smaller version) $9.25 Zach’s “Bennie” Three poached eggs served on an herb roll, topped with cream sauce & crumbled bacon; our home-fries on the side. Or try Traditional Creamed Eggs, served with the eggs boiled & sliced. $10.25

Artichoke Frittata

$9.25

Corned Beef Hash & Eggs

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Chili & Eggs

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Spicy Italian Scramble

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Our quaint chalet is surrounded by beautiful redwoods and filled with Bavarian folk music, a warm fire, and friendly service.

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LUNCH DAILY 11:30-2:30

PATIO DINING

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Liquid Therapy

Milking It In her new book, ‘Milks Alive: 140 Delicious and Nutritious Recipes for Fresh Nut and Seed Milks,’ local Rita Rivera unveils her secret to creamy, delicious nondairy milk By Elizabeth Limbach

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Rita Rivera demonstrates how to make nut milk at Staff of Life in October. 

JEREMEY BOT

S

eated in the window of a local eatery, Rita Rivera peers down at her chai latte with disappointment. The restaurant’s house-made almond milk appears to have been strained poorly, and nut particles swirl slowly in the beige beverage. “I’m very particular about my milk,” she says, watching as a thick layer of sediment settles at the bottom of her glass. “I think one of the reasons my milks were so popular and I did so well was that I put a lot of care into straining the milks.” Rivera gained a reputation as the local nondairy milk maven while selling fresh almond milk, coconut milk and more at local farmers’ markets under her brand, Milks Alive. She stopped selling at the markets to pen her first recipe book, and the finished product, “Milks Alive: 140 Delicious and Nutritious Recipes for Fresh Nut and Seed Milks,” is now available. U.S. demand for nondairy milk has ballooned in recent years, marked most recently by the emergence of almond milk as the preferred milk alternative. According to Bloomberg Business Week, it now represents 55 percent of the market—more than the once-favorite, soy milk. But for the growing segment of the population that buys nondairy milk—as well as those who are curious about it—Rivera wants to inspire them to try making their own. In addition to being fresher (without the additives used to increase shelf live), she says the flavor is no contest. “The best analogy is to talk about canned vegetables versus fresh vegetables—you just can’t get around the taste,” says Rivera, who started the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery, now the 418 Project, in 1993 and still teaches dance today. There are no soy milk recipes within the pages of “Milks Alive,” but the 140 recipes included span from more familiar bases like almonds, coconuts, and hazelnuts, to truly surprising ones, like peanuts and sunflower seeds. Whether it’s a plain recipe (“Simple Peanut Milk”), a green fix (“Wheatgrass Kale Apple Almond Milk”), a sweet treat (“Toffee Sunflower Milk”), or something relaxing (“Lavender Honey Cashew Milk”), Rivera offers a stunning range of recipes for each featured nut and seed. Smoothies and milkshakes are also included. To make the most of the recipes, Rivera recommends investing in good equipment. “If you’re making nut milks regularly, and it’s something you really want to adopt, it really pays to get a good high-quality blender—something that’s two horse power or more,” she says. “You can do it with a blender that’s less than that, but it just doesn’t break up the nuts that well.” And, as Rivera knows, the key to good nut and seed milks is to get them as creamy and sediment-free as possible. (She worked with an engineer to design a counter-top press that makes this process even easier, and is currently on the lookout for a funder to back the project.)

Smooth, creamy milks are also accomplished by straining with a high-quality nut milk bag or cheesecloth, she explains. “There are a lot of bags on the market that I don’t think are very good,” she says, returning her attention to the barely drunk chai latte before her. “You need a good bag to avoid this [sediment].” Rivera’s journey to milk whiz began about 12 years ago while visiting a friend in Big Sur. “She was getting into raw foods and all of these nut milks, and spent the whole weekend playing around with all of these different milks, mostly almond milks,” recalls Rivera, who, at the time, had never heard of such a thing. “When she first told me about it, I thought ‘Are you joking? You’re going to make milk out of almonds?’ I was so blown away.” When she returned home from the weekend trip, she found herself craving that fresh almond milk, and launched into a research and experimentation phase to learn more about raw and vegan foods. The result was something she hadn’t expected: “I decided to take dairy out of my diet and literally within 10 days, all of the allergies I thought I had disappeared,” she says. “It was one of those life-changing moments, because who knew?”

From there, she became hooked on making non-dairy milks, experimenting in the kitchen for hours on end with endless combinations of ingredients (something she still does today: “I go in the kitchen and I feel a little bit like a mad scientist.”). Neighbors and friends began requesting the drinks, and soon Rivera was selling her “Milks Alive” products at farmers’ markets, where she says “it took on a life of its own.” Her decision to stop selling at the markets and instead focus on the recipe book came from a desire to reach more people with her Milks Alive recipes. By sharing her knowledge, she aims to help others awaken to the healthy lifestyle she discovered after someone shared fresh, homemade almond milk with her. “My hope,” she says, “is that people become more educated about what they’re eating, what they’re consuming, and how they’re feeling in their bodies.” /FW Learn more about “Milks Alive: 140 Delicious and Nutritious Recipes for Fresh Nut and Seed Milks,” including where to buy it, at milksalive.com.


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Food&Wine Events Administrative Services) will discuss the drive and its impact. $20 per plate. Holiday Food Drive Kickoff, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, 423-2053, thefoodbank.org/holiday-food-drive.

I A Taste of Santa Cruz Get lost on cloud nine with the ambrosial fare of more than 30 local wineries, breweries and restaurants. A fundraiser benefiting local affordable housing programs, this heavenly cornucopia is put on by the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors. Tickets are $40 each. A Taste of Santa Cruz, 5:30 – 9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, 423-2053, atosc.com. Holiday dinners at Chaminade are a culinary haven for those without plans.

I Holiday Food Drive Kickoff Luncheon Help jumpstart Second Harvest Food Bank’s annual Holiday Food Drive and score a great meal to boot by attending this informative fundraiser at the Cocoanut Grove. All proceeds go to

the Food Drive, which is able to provide four healthy meals per dollar raised in order to serve Santa Cruz County families in need during the winter months. Co-chairs Ken Kannappan (CEO, Plantronics) and Sarah Latham (UC Santa Cruz Vice Chancellor of Business &

I Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Days Explore the beautiful wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains and sample the unique wines produced here. Each passport entitles the bearer to free tastings and tours at participating wineries as well as admission to local

wineries generally closed to the public. The next Passport Day is Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the following will be Saturday, Jan. 18. Once purchased, passports may be used on any Passport Day, which occur the third Saturday of January, April, July and November each year. $45 per passport. Learn more at Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, 725 Front St., Ste. 112, Santa Cruz, 685-8463, scmwa.com/event/passport-days-2013.

I Holiday Dinners at Chaminade For those who don’t have plans for the holidays, or would rather kick back while someone else does the cooking, you’re in luck. Chaminade Resort’s Linwood’s Bar & Grill hosts a sumptuous, buffet-style feast on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, featuring festive décor and a world-class spread. $49.95 for adults, $16.95 for children 6 through 12, children under 6 eat free. Thanksgiving and Christmas day buffets from 12 to 6 p.m., Christmas Eve from 5 to 9 p.m. at Chaminade

Located in the renowned artisan village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Vendange is the first wine themed Inn in all of Carmel and Monterey County. The Vendange Carmel descends from a strong heritage of wine, providing a romantic ambiance of luxuriousness and charm. With 18 unique guest rooms and suites, each room is named after a local winery, giving guests the opportunity to learn more about the premium wines the area has to offer. These partnered wineries design their own rooms in their own creative manner, providing guests with a memorable and fun experience with each stay. Combine attentive hospitality and expert service with access to Carmel Beach, exquisite shops, and world class restaurants and you’ll see what makes Vendange a once in a lifetime experience.

E-mail Reservations@vendangecarmel.com

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Tel 831.624.6400

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Food&Wine Events Resort and Spa, 1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, 475-5600, chaminade.com/santacruz_restaurants/holiday_events.

I 7th Annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival The choicest chocolates of every conceivable form and flavor await you at this delectable local favorite. Some booths also offer wine pairings with their confections. All proceeds go to scholarships awarded to re-entry students at UC Santa Cruz. $15 gets you six samples of chocolate (or wine, for $5 extra, if over 21). Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival, 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, 423-2053, cocoanutgrovesantacruz.com.

I The Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project’s DIYine and Harvest Events Throughout November and December, The Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project will host several olive and persimmon harvests, which give participants a chance to harvest and preserve both

fruits. In February, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History will host DIYine: A Celebration of Homebrewing, a fundraiser for the Fruit Tree Project that will feature homebrewed concoctions ranging from Elderberry wine to Earl Grey soda and everything in between. $20-$50 sliding scale admission for DIYine. Harvest events range from $5 to $10. DIYine, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, Museum of Art & History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. Several harvest events occur during November and December. Learn more at Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, 703 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-0667, fruitcruz.org.

I 33rd Annual Clam Chowder Cook-off & Festival Sample exquisite chowders made by chefs from all over Santa Cruz County as they go for the gold in this fundraiser benefiting Santa Cruz City Parks and Recreation. Free admission, tasting kit $9. Clam Chowder Cookoff & Festival, 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, 423-5590, beachboardwalk.com.

Orin Martin teaches a fruit tree pruning workshop at UC Santa Cruz.

I Winter Fruit Tree Workshops at the UCSC Farm & Garden What’s a homemade pie without a homegrown filling? Get the most out of your fruit trees by attending these fun and informative events. Held throughout January and February, workshops cover all aspects of growing and caring for fruit trees, from pruning and irrigation to selecting the varieties best suited to the Central Coast. $30 for general public, $20 for Friends of the Farm & Garden members, $5 for current UCSC students. Events held throughout January and February, at UCSC Farm and Garden, UC Santa Cruz, 4593240, casfs.ucsc.edu/communityoutreach/calendar-of-events.

I Love Apple Farms Classes and Tours A pioneer in organic and sustainable farming techniques, Love Apple Farms is a beautiful bastion of culinary knowledge. Throughout the winter months, Love Apple offers classes on everything from Winter Vegetable Gardening to Bread-Making and Vietnamese Pho. Docent-led tours of the entire farm are also available. Classes range from $60 to $120. Tours are $18 for adults, $9 for children. Love Apple Farms, 2317 Vine Hill Road, Santa Cruz, 588-3801, growbetterveggies.com. | Ryan Boysen

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Balsamic Vinaigrette with Pantry House Mustard

Vegan “Egg” Nog Ingredients: 2 cups filtered water 1/3 cup cashews 1/3 cup macadamia nuts (do not soak) 2 tbsp. coconut milk 3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar 1 tbsp. fresh avocado 1/4 cup banana, fresh or frozen (optional) 1/3 tsp. vanilla extract 1/3 tsp. cinnamon 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Ingredients: 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. lemon juice 2 tbsp. honey 1 tbsp. Pantry House Horseradish Mustard or Whole Grain Beer Mustard 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper From Pantry House owner Isabel Freed. See page 8 for the Pantry House story.

From “Milks Alive: 140 Delicious and Nutritious Recipes for Fresh Nut and Seed Milks” by Rita Rivera. See page 54 for more on Milks Alive. Blend water, macadamia nuts and cashews. Strain. Pour milk back into a clean blender. Add remaining ingredients. If you don’t have a 1/3 teaspoon measurement, use a heaping 1/4 teaspoon. Blend well. Makes 16 ounces.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and mustard. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a jar with lid in the refrigerator indefinitely. Whisk before serving.

Brownie Pudding Cake 1 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (use a good quality powder) 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup milk 2 tbsp. cooking oil 1 tsp. vanilla (use high quality) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

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This recipe, from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, is courtesy of Pam Dunlap, whose mother, Jean Fortenbery, created The Culinary Library in Watsonville. (See page 20 for full story). “It's one that my mom made for me and my siblings,” Dunlap says, “and I make it today for my kids and grandsons. It's probably not all that unique … but it's my favorite.” In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Stir in nuts. Turn into a greased

8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder, gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Pour liquid mixture evenly over batter in pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 30 minutes or until cake appears done. Serve warm or chilled (warm is best with a good vanilla ice cream) in individual dessert dishes. When you make it the second time, try substituting hot coffee in place of the boiling water. Makes 8 servings.


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Chicken Teriyaki Bowl w/ Glass of House Wine

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BURGERS and SANDWICHES ALL SERVED WITH YOUR CHOICE OF SWEET POTATO FRIES, HOUSE CUT FRIES, SLAW, GREEN SALAD OR CAESAR Add Bacon, Avocado or Shitakes $2 THE HULA BURGER 10 / 11 add cheddar, blue, jack or jarlsburg 1 CAJUN BURGER 11 / 12 KIMO’S BROKE DA MOUTH BURGER 13 / 14 BLACKENED AHI STEAK SANDWICH 13 / 14 BIG SUR VEGGIE BURGER 11 / 12 TRADER VIC’S FISH SANDWICH 13 / 14 CALAMARI SANDWICH 11 / 12 POLYNESIAN CHICKEN SANDWICH 12 / 13 LUAU PORK SANDWICH 12 / 13 NEW YORK STEAK SANDWICH 13 / 14

SALADS MANGO CHICKEN CAESAR 13 / 14 CAJUN AHI CHOPPED CAESAR 15 / 16 CAJUN SHRIMP CHOPPED CAESAR 14 / 15 SAMURAI BEEF STICKS SALAD 13 VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS 11 served with a mixed green salad COCONUT SHRIMP ROLLS & SALAD 12

TACO PLATES SERVED WITH RICE AND BEANS substitute organic brown rice $1 SOUTH SEAS FISH TACOS 13 / 14 SHRIMP TACOS 13 / 15 CUBANO PORK TACOS 12 / 14

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FRESH FISH PICK YOUR FAVORITE FISH AND PREPARATION: AHI 18 • ONO 17 • MAHI 17 HAPU 14• TOFU 13 BLACKENED LEMONGRASS ENCRUSTED COCONUT ENCRUSTE JAWAIIAN JERK add 2 MACADAMIA ENCRUSTED add 2 HULA’S PAN-FRIED BLACKENED WASABI FISH SPECIAL add 2

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Food Wine Fall 2013  

Good Times Weekly’s biannual guide to local food and wine in Santa Cruz County, spotlighting food artisans, DIY canners and beer homebrewers...