EATERS DIGEST: wines that seduced Grazing on the Green; Uncork Corralitos celebrates the producers of Pajaro
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Happy Friday! It’s been another busy week for the Santa Cruz County culinary scene.
We have more new restaurants to look forward to. This week, I caught up with Poke House owners Henry and Peter Wong to talk about their new egg-themed breakfast, Yolked, coming to Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz in November. Scrumptious Fish & Chips fans can find the food truck near the cement ship in Aptos on weekends through next month, and a new cookie shop opens in Soquel on Friday.
Gourmet Grazing on the Green was held last Saturday and as always I was impressed with the outstanding local wines, beers and bites from some of the best makers in the county. I particularly enjoyed a few wines from relatively new wineries Ferrari Ranch Wines, Charmant Vineyards, and El Vaquero Winery.
And this weekend, head to Corralitos for the first Uncork Corralitos, a tasting event showcasing the wineries, cider houses and breweries of the Pajaro Valley. You also have six more days to enjoy Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which ends on Wednesday.
Yolked, a new breakfast/brunch, is coming next month to the north end of downtown Santa Cruz. The theme is – you guessed it – eggs, with dishes like breakfast sandwiches made on homemade brioche buns, a fried chicken sandwich, and a loco moco with Japanese curry and an egg with dish. This is the second restaurant on Pacific Avenue for the brothers Henry and Peter Wong, which opened Poke House five years ago. The Yolked menu will also include Japanese matcha and refreshing fruit teas made with real fruit, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice. “The motto is, we’re all good eggs here,” says Peter, and the duo hope their fast-casual restaurant will provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere worthy of a breakfast joint. Find Yolked at 1411 Pacific Ave. and more information on yolkedcafe.com.
The Scrumptious Fish & Chips food truck, run by Britons now residing in Aptos Tim and Helen Korinth, makes some of the best fish & chips in the county. Now on Saturdays and Sundays through November, you can find Scrumptious at Seacliff State Beach across from the Cement Ship from noon to 6 p.m. or when it sells out. The food truck will have its own private picnic area so you can enjoy beer battered rock cod and authentic British fries overlooking the bay. Don’t forget the curry ketchup!
On Friday, Soquel has a new place to satisfy his sweet tooth: Capitola Crispy Cookies, a local franchise of national chain Crumbl Cookies, will open at the Soquel end of 41st Avenue, in the same mall as Beverly’s Fabric & Crafts. Although the store isn’t in Capitola, maybe they couldn’t resist the alliteration? “Soquel Crumbl Cookies” just doesn’t sound the same, I guess – the new store will feature soft, chewy cookies in rotating flavors like Dulce de Leche, Chocolate Cupcake and Triple Berry Cobbler. Congratulations to the local owners Cary Marsel and Collette Lewis. Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
As always, I had a great time sampling local produce at Gourmet Grazing on the Green in Aptos last Saturday, and was particularly excited about several wines I tried at relatively new local wineries.
Ferrari Ranch, owned by Liz and Dave Ferrarionly a few years old but runs one of the oldest vineyards in Corralitos with the help of a local winemaker Prudy Foxx. His 2018 Chardonnay is an elegant bridge between old-school oaky Chardonnays and the less oaky, acidic versions that are popular now. Ferrari’s version is sharp and crisp, with 20% French oak that complements its medium body beautifully. You can make an appointment to visit the Ferrari Ranch at ferrariranchwines.com.
I also loved the 2020 pinot noir rosé from Charmant Vineyards with its nose of ripe tangerines and earthy, expressive pinot noir. Eugene and Julie Theron bought their “charming” wine estate in Jim and Judy Schultze of the Windy Oaks estate. It was formerly called Diane’s Block under that label, and Foxx also helped maintain it. The Therons plan to open a tasting room on their property inside a renovated barn in the spring. Stay informed via charmingvineyards.com.
Finally, I am always impressed by the wines of the father-daughter team Dean and Alex Prikazsky from the El Vaquero winery in Corralitos. The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc hits you right on the nose with a big dose of tropical fruit – yuzu and pineapple – followed by a bright fruity core that’s just a little grassy. The 2019 Merlot had wonderful structure and soft tannins, while the 2016 Cabernet Franc was earthy, lean and elegant. El Vaquero Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday in downtown Corralitos. More info on elvaquerowinery.com.
Many of Santa Cruz County’s best wineries, breweries, and cider houses call Pajaro Valley home, and this Saturday they’re banding together to raise money for a good cause. During the first Uncork Corralitos from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop in downtown Corralitos, sample locally made wine, beer and cider from 12 wineries, two cider houses and three breweries rooted in the region. Food can be purchased at My Mom’s Mole and Saucey’z, and music will be provided by Jazz the Dog, featuring lap steel guitarist Patti Maxine. Uncork Corralitos is hosted by the Rotary Club of Freedom and all proceeds will go to Pajaro Valley Shelter Services for Women and Children in Watsonville, a non-profit organization that helps families emerge from homelessness and become self-sufficient. Tickets are $40 at the event and in advance via Eventbrite.
Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is back for its 14th year. During SCRW, customers will find special prix-fixe menus ranging from $25 to $55 for three courses – entree, entree and dessert – at participating restaurants. The event started last Wednesday, October 19 and will continue until next Wednesday, October 26. No passes or tickets are required – you can view all 23 participating restaurants and their menus at santacruzrestaurantweek.com and in this week’s issue of Good Times.