EATERS DIGEST: Wines that wowed at Grazing on the Green; Uncork Corralitos celebrates Pajaro producers

Gourmet Grazing on the Green offers tastings from wineries, restaurants and breweries from throughout Santa Cruz County.
(Via Facebook)

A new egg-themed breakfast spot is coming to downtown Santa Cruz, taste Pajaro Valley producers at the inaugural Uncork Corralitos, plus a recap of last weekend’s Gourmet Grazing on the Green — it’s all on the menu for Lily Belli in this week’s Eaters Digest.

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Lily

Happy Friday! It was another packed week for the Santa Cruz County food scene.

We have more new eateries 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 spot, Yolked, coming to Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz in November. Fans of Scrumptious Fish & Chips can find the food truck by 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 last Saturday, and as always I was impressed by the exceptional 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 featuring Pajaro Valley wineries, cideries and breweries. You also have six more days to enjoy Santa Cruz Restaurant Week, which ends Wednesday.

Let’s dig in.

News

Yolked, a new breakfast/brunch spot, is coming to the north end of downtown Santa Cruz next month. The theme is — you guessed it — eggs, with dishes like breakfast sandwiches made on homemade brioche buns, a fried chicken sandwich and loco moco with Japanese curry and a fried egg. This is the second restaurant on Pacific Avenue for brothers Henry and Peter Wong, who opened Poke House five years ago. The Yolked menu will also feature Japanese matcha and refreshing fruit teas made from real fruit, as well as fresh-squeezed OJ. “The motto is, we’re all good eggs here,” says Peter, and the duo are hoping their fast-casual restaurant will offer a cozy, welcoming atmosphere befitting a breakfast joint. Find Yolked at 1411 Pacific Ave. and more info at yolkedcafe.com.

Scrumptious Fish & Chips serves authentic British fried fish, chips and more.
Scrumptious Fish & Chips serves authentic British fried fish, chips and more.
(Via Facebook)

The food truck Scrumptious Fish & Chips, run by British natives now Aptos residents 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 chips with a view of the bay. Don’t forget the curry ketchup!

On Friday, Soquel is getting a new place to satisfy its sweet tooth: Capitola Crumbl Cookies, a locally owned franchise location for national chain Crumbl Cookies, will open at the Soquel end of 41st Avenue, in the same shopping center 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 have the same ring to it, I guess — the new store will offer soft, chewy cookies in rotating flavors like Dulce de Leche, Chocolate Cupcake and Triple Berry Cobbler. Congratulations to local owners Cary Marsell and Collette Lewis. Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Eat this

As always, I had a lovely time tasting local products at Gourmet Grazing on the Green in Aptos last Saturday, and I was particularly excited by several wines that I tried from some relatively new local wineries.

Dave and Liz Ferrari of Ferrari Ranch.
(Via Facebook)

Ferrari Ranch, owned by Liz and Dave Ferrari, is only a few years old but manages one of the oldest vineyards in Corralitos with the help of local viticulturist Prudy Foxx. Its 2018 Chardonnay is an elegant bridge between old-school-style oaky chardonnays and the less oaky, acid-forward versions popular now. Ferrari’s version is zesty and crisp, with 20% French oak that rounds out its medium body beautifully. You can make an appointment to visit Ferrari Ranch at ferrariranchwines.com.

I also loved Charmant Vineyards’ zippy 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir with its nose of ripe tangerines, and its earthy, expressive estate pinot noir. Eugene and Julie Theron purchased their “charming” vineyard property from Jim and Judy Schultze of Windy Oaks Estate. It used to be called Diane’s Block under that label, and Foxx has a hand in maintaining it as well. The Therons plan to open a tasting room on their property inside a refurbished barn sometime in the spring. Stay in the know via charmantvineyards.com.

Finally, I’m always impressed by the wines from Bob, Dean and Alex Prikazsky at 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 bit grassy. The 2019 Merlot had wonderful structure and supple tannins, while the 2016 Cabernet Franc was earthy, lean and elegant. El Vaquero’s tasting room is open Thursday through Sundays in downtown Corralitos. More info at elvaquerowinery.com.

Events

Many of Santa Cruz County’s best wineries, breweries and cideries call the Pajaro Valley home, and this Saturday they are banding together to fundraise for a good cause. At the inaugural Uncork Corralitos from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alladin Nursery & Gift Shop in downtown Corralitos, enjoy locally crafted wine, beer and cider from 12 wineries, two cideries and three breweries rooted in the region. Food can be purchased from 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 benefit the Pajaro Valley Shelter Services for women and children in Watsonville, a nonprofit that helps transition families out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency. Tickets are $40 at the event and in advance through Eventbrite.

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is back for its 14th year. During SCRW, guests will find special, fixed-price menus ranging from $25 to $55 for three courses — appetizer, entrée and dessert — at participating restaurants. The event started this past Wednesday, Oct. 19, and runs through next Wednesday, Oct. 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.

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