EATERS DIGEST: the new Bargetto winery, Sandor Katz at the bookstore and the British chippy in Santa Cruz
Hello my friends. If you’re ready to start the weekend off with a grown-up drink, check out Westside Distillery’s new color-changing vodka Luna Sea Vodka that changes from blue to purple. In Corralitos, winemaker John Bargetto has started a new venture, Regan Vineyards Winery, which focuses on the diverse grapes of this estate vineyard.
Scrumptious Fish & Chips food truck has unbeatable fried fish, but I’m also a big fan of their loaded tikka masala fries – fusion food at its best, as far as I’m concerned. And even though I haven’t traveled abroad for a few years, a simple pizza in Mentone brought me back to Naples.
Mark your calendars for a visit from fermentation wizard Sandor Katz and the Home Restaurant’s Spring Fest, as sips and strolls dominate the next two weekends.
Fermentation nerd friends, listen up: Santa Cruz Bookstore just announced that fermentation guru Sandor Katz is coming to Santa Cruz on June 1 to promote his new book, “Fermentation Journeys.” I’ve been a fan of Katz for years – his first book, “Wild Fermentation,” opened the lid on traditional fermented foods and helped inspire a generation of foodies, including myself. His “Art of Fermentation” encouraged me to make sauerkraut for the first time and sowed a deep love for spiciness, vinegar and probiotics. It has been many years since I last saw Katz speak, and I’m thrilled to hear him share some new thoughts on this ancient method of food preservation. The Bookstore event is free and open to the public. Proof of vaccination and wearing a mask is required. Register on bookstoresantacruz.com.
Winemaker John BargettoRegan’s new venture, Regan Vineyards Winery, will focus on wines produced from its Regan Estate vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Bargetto family has been producing wine in Soquel for over 100 years and John is a third generation winemaker. He is co-owner of Bargetto Winery, while his cousins Peter and Paul Bargetto own Soquel Vineyards with John Morgan. Now John is striking out on his own to focus on producing wines exclusively from Regan, where he grows pinot noir, chardonnay, merlot and nebbiolo in soils ranging from sand to clay. The new hosts of the cellar wine tours every Sunday for $25 per person. I will know more about what to expect next week, after a visit to the vineyard and a conversation with John this weekend.
Farmer Corralitos ryan abelson, that I profiled last month, has restocked its online store with sustainably raised pork roasts, chops, ribs and mince. The store is only stocked a few times a year, so order its delicious, environmentally-raised pork products while you can at pajaropastures.com. Abelson is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified pork breeder in Santa Cruz County to offer individual cuts, and his pork is lean and flavorful. This is the first time he has run his own butcher shop and has added chorizo and Italian sausage to his lineup.
Westside Distillery Luna Sea Vodka has released a new color-changing vodka that has to be seen to be believed. The liquid poured from the tall bottles is a deep indigo, but with a squeeze of lemon and the swirl of the glass, the vodka turns bright purple. Distiller DevenWek explains that the rich blue color and magical effect is due to a plant – the butterfly pea flower. The tasteless flower naturally tints liquid and is also a pH indicator. When an acid, such as citrus, is added, it changes color. The vodka is as refreshing as it is beautiful, so light it almost evaporates off your tongue. Find it at U-Save Liquors, Mission Liquors, and Point Market in Santa Cruz and Grady’s Market and Verutti’s in Capitola. This isn’t the only notable announcement from this local spirit. Watch for an upcoming story on Wek and Luna Sea Vodka next week.
Anyone who has spent time in the UK quickly becomes familiar with its centuries-old chippy tradition. Fried fish with chips is considered Britain’s national dish, and small family restaurants specializing in this delicious combination, colloquially known as chips, can be found in almost every neighborhood. In Santa Cruz County we have our very own chippy in the form of Scrumptious Fish & Chips, a food truck owned by British expats Helen and Tim Korinthe. The light, crispy exterior of their beer-fried rockfish or Alaskan cod is a thing of beauty, and the spicy curry ketchup it’s served with is addictive (they wisely sell it by the bottle).
Come for the fish, but stay for the Loaded Tikka Masala Chips, their twice-fried thick fries topped with homemade chicken tikka masala curry. This is fusion cuisine at its finest and begs to be enjoyed with a cold pint. Find delicious Fish & Chips at county farmers markets and breweries. See where they appear scrumptiousfc.com.
I’m still swooning over the margherita pizza my husband and I shared in Mentone last Friday night. One bite of the classic pie and we were transported to the crowded streets of Naples, on a trip we took right after our engagement. The pizza was exactly as we remembered it – the bright, sweet tomato sauce with an almost soupy texture; the scented paste that has just been put in the center; the dark leopard-like spots on the crust; melted mozzarella that can only be contained by folding the pizza in half; the scent of basil when you take a bite. Enjoying such good pizza is easy, but preparing it is complicated. Kudos to pizza maestro and Neopolitano Francesco Ramunno.
Apparently wine tasting events and walks are all the rage now. Last weekend, the Pleasure Point Sip and Stroll took over the neighborhood at the end of 41st Avenue, and this Sunday, the Downtown Santa Cruz Spring Wine Walk will take place in the downtown mall from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. . More than a dozen local wineries including Bargetto Winery, El Vaquero Winery and Muns Vineyard will locate at participating businesses. This is a great opportunity to experience Big Basin Vineyards new downtown tasting room at Lower Pacific Avenue, as he is also participating in the event. Tickets are $40 in advance and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
If you want a third dose of wine and walking, head to Capitola Village Sip and Stroll next Saturday, May 7, from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are also $40 up to Eventbrite. Don’t get me wrong, I see the appeal – who wouldn’t love to enjoy some of our most vibrant neighborhoods courtesy of our excellent local winemakers? Remember to drive safely to and from these events, and consider staying for lunch or dinner at one of the area restaurants.
Grab your spot now for Home Restaurant’s Spring Garden Party next Sunday, May 8, from 2-7 p.m. Regular restaurants will be closed. Instead, chief Brad Briske and his team will treat guests to a five-course tasting menu showcasing their hyper-local seasonal cuisine. This event will also celebrate the release of a collaboration between Robbie Honda from local cider house Tanuki Cider and winemaker Michael Sones from Sones Cellars of Westside, who have teamed up to create Newtown Noir, an apple-grape fermented sparkling wine. Make your reservation at homesoquel.com.