Category Archives: Restaurant

How Jenna Sue’s Is Like a Visitor Center

I know we have our new visitor center open at the north end of downtown, but there is an unofficial one that has had their doors open for almost a decade.

It doesn’t take more than a visit or two for any regular patron at Jenna Sue’s (where my gallery is lovingly on display) to witness/participate in group conversations with out-of-towners. A nice couple from Long Island sat down at the bar and became the center of attention from staff and patrons as they were offered great food, directions to some county sights-to-see, and within short order were partaking in sharing photos of family and places.

Several other things happened behind the scenes though that when they do happen, my sensitive emotions can be affected. A fellow patron sitting across the room saw my camera and walked over to tell me some beautiful things about my work and what she thinks of my pictures. It was the second time in half an hour that someone either wanted to hold my camera or offered beautiful words about what they saw in my work. Admittedly I got a little wispy. But attention immediately turned to Lori as she offered some chocolate-dipped strawberry samples to the visitors…

As the couple got to hear from other patrons about where to go and what to eat (which once I received my astronaut plate – the lady immediately said we are getting that!) my conversation naturally turned to the fire service, of which this gentleman had been on FDNY during 9/11. As with every single fire personnel or resident of NY that was there on that day, physical health is an issue. I sometimes feel there is not enough stated in the world about the long-term health effects of everyone in the city that week.

But here in Boulder, two tourists were given some short and long term trip ideas nearby before they leave to go back east – and I was reminded how amazing our home is as the enthusiasm being worn by all of us bullet-pointing an endless list of what’s here that is beautiful, was clear.

Couldn’t pass up on showing the latest little addition to the bar; probably one of the best card holders one will see adorning a local counter. And thank you to the amazing ladies that work there for doing all that you do.

Redwood Sandwich in Scotts Valley (SLV Residents though)

This new sandwich shop in a town where several chains already dot the landscape has found their latest loyal customer…and in the simplest of fashions: by serving great food at affordable prices and by doing the grunt work themselves. Ben and family have set up digs in the Camp Evers complex facing Scotts Valley Drive and Mt Hermon Road.
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The menu has the basics covering the spectrum of healthy and fan favorites with just-right-sized sides and kids offerings.
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The decor is uncomplicated with a natural wood motiv, flat screen and canvas hangings and lights.
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The wood burning fireplace/oven adds just the right feel for those wanting some authentic flavor on some of their meats.
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Ben and his wife used to operate a bagel shop in San Francisco for years, but decided to venture out on their own; buying a home in the SLV and starting from scratch a business in Scotts Valley going against the most recognized names in the business. Terrifying I am sure, as I remember my days starting the movie store, but those years were some of the best I will ever have helping the crowds share my passion, and I see that look on their faces here of being right they want to be…

I have tried several sandwiches and salads and am very satisfied with portions, flavors, ideas and hospitality. I could gush further about this place but if you see my truck in that lot, you will know why.
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Roses of Intimacy

A frequent disbursement of my garden occurs during the flowering seasons – but without boring the masses of my thrills in paying it forward and being responsible for creating smiles upon the feminine divine with my simple actions, let me just say: I hand out roses to provide a genuine moment of intimacy between people that is defined outside the physical/biological realm; Just genuine platonic caring and happiness through a brief shared moment. This sign adorns my garden summing up the situation…

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This particular rose found its way to a lady who I saw as having difficult times personally – so I took it to her place of work and gently gave it to her. She cried quietly and shared that no man had given her a rose in over four years. What is wrong with this world??? Simple acts of genuine sharing could make even one person’s life brighter for a brief time…but add those times up and suddenly you could have a whole life being filled with love.

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Then I got a little crazy and shared several roses from work (on my dinner break) with the beautiful staff at Mint Cafe in Scotts Valley. Michelle and the staff there are such amazing and vibrant ladies (and yes; there is the owner Ed – not beautiful in the feminine sense but he has kept me in check through my years of continued loyalty to his establishment and offers direct yet sage advice when needed). Watching all of the lady staff light up in a restaurant definitely makes the food taste better by the way.

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I refer some to this blog in hopes of convincing them that my motives are genuine – and they are. Please accept these gifts I share in hopes that your day and maybe even week goes just slightly better than planned because a fellow man offered a rose of intimacy merely so the whole world could be brighter for a brief second….thank you for listening.

Dametra in Carmel (Middle Eastern)

Finally back to getting a restaurant review up here…I only learned of Dametra’s 1000+ reviews on Yelp and the 93%+ ratings on every other website you search after eating here (referenced by word-of-mouth while dining in Scotts Valley).

Dametra is truly the amazing experience everyone writes about…I have been searching for 20 years to find a chicken shawarma even close to what I had during my tenure in Saudi Arabia…and finally I did. Convenient location on Ocean Avenue, decor is relative, but even had the food been average – the genuine gratefulness of the owner makes this our go-to place in Carmel for lunch or dinner.

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Charmian had an excellent gyro, we shared a delectable Greek Salad beforehand, but the deal was made when I placed the sauce into my shawarma and the memories flooded back to a beautiful time in my life so long ago.

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Even the tea was done right. The owner shook everyone’s hand that entered and his regulars received hugs like family. When he and I spoke outside we exchanged some loosely remembered Arabic on my part with a refresher class from him on annunciations.

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Side notes: The wine I saw poured were the most generous portions I have seen in any restaurant; wish more were like that. The time of food arriving at any table was perfect, the free samplings of dessert were offered to everyone equally and the workers truly made it appear as if they loved being there – thank you so much!

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Pat’s Pit BBQ in Felton

Have been seeing this guy set up shop during this mild summer of ours – finally thought to give it a try as he occupies the Quik Stop I frequently use.
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He is very personable and operates a simple and smooth operation and he offers easy enough selections: pulled pork, ribs or meat. I chose the brisket with mild homemade BBQ sauce. It was just what I needed to keep my Sunday program uncomplicated. The sauce was amazing – I even tried the “hot” stuff and for the sensitive mouth I have (yes I know most of you think otherwise that know me) it was not offensive (it was actually quite good).
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The gas station manager insists that Pat’s BBQ is the best this side of Texas – he was very insistent about that and was recommending the food to his gas station customers without hesitation.
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He got the trailer/smoker from Oklahoma – brought some special secret wood to cook the meat upon – and voila – you have a simple and great little roadside stand for the Valley folk. $6 got me my sandwich, coleslaw is a little extra. The BBQ sauce has no corn syrup and made it taste like I would be back again.
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Vino Prima – A great example of how to make a place fun…

Having finally made the time to enjoy the wine and food – and in this case partake with the fun people who frequent the establishment…I was given a very fair chance to objectively review the “wine on the Wharf”.
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Larry and Stacy have worked very hard to make their wine bar successful and it shows. The Internet reviews are deservedly high, and after spending a busy night there listening to music, having a great glass of wine, sharing crackers, cheese and some samples of good food from next door’s restaurant (which they have worked out a nice agreement with the Mexican restaurant to bring over whatever appetizers desired with a seamless billing system) – I hope even a small word from my blog helps people find this comfortable bar and (in my opinion) the best wine/dine place on that tourist-laden wharf for locals to spend a few dollars.
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The goat cheese plate was just right and the crackers were not overbearing; then I found out about being able to order the food from next door by an amazing troop of boisterous and amazingly nice people who sat next to me – (you all know who you are and I hope we get to meet again) – so I dabbled in their crab quesadilla too.
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The music was good, the background noise just right even with a crowd – and the staff was always smiling.
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Following are some outtakes and funnier moments as they transpired – not my best work but these things happen fast and I do not have time to adjust the settings…thank you to everyone for their patience in my shooting style…
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I cannot even repeat the jokes I learned from this group…fair to say with all of the accents and stories of sheep and goats – there had to be some Scottish rub in the group. I recall bulging eyes and talk of ball size permeating the unprepared neighbors’ ears – but at the end of the night when everyone is smiling – I knew I had come to the right place.

I hope to visit again sometime soon…thank you Stacy – I foresee a future where you will someday say yes — and everyone will agree to what we all already know of that smile and those eyes…
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Tramonti – truly the migliore or maybe primo

I can’t speak Italian – but the lady I attend Tramonti’s amazing meals with can…so even though my almost 11-year old daughter rewards the lost-in-translation look with utmost gratitude after eating another fantastic meal under VG’s friendly attitude and fine-tuned aptitude…I can’t help but wish my writing and photography passion could convey the thanks I feel in eating there.

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After eating there many times – and each time feeling so welcomed and like I was sitting at a second home complete with kitchen and wine – this episode made me and those I love – feel like family by you guys sharing secrets of how the food that tastes so damn good is cooked. Look – if you can satiate the palates of a young girl and a finicky lady with articulate taste buds way better than mine – then you deserve the accolades. Thank you so much guys for making our meals memorable and share-worthy.

Tonight was crowded again (even for an off night – so yes the word is out at how well you cook) – but amidst all of it…your young baby and shining new mother added to an environment that was already filled with happy customers and a line of hungry people… all knowing the time spent talking with you outside the restaurant would show rewards via a future of full stomachs by properly prepared plates and blissful desserts…

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Sorry for the verbose appreciation – but you impress me so much with your authenticity and sincere love of the restaurant – thanks again.

Love: Steve, Charmian & Tianna

Stanley Tucci, the Brewery, beautiful ladies, a “new boyfriend”, Valley history & a wailing quintet

To clarify – when I showed this pic to several people after taking it – including the man himself, it was agreed that Stanley Tucci’s twin was in the house, even though it was just Judd working the room…sadly enough his relative and co-worker had to make the youthful statement of “who is Stanley Tucci?”
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As I was writing heartfelt prose to someone, I watched Judd stop at a table where I recognized him speaking with our local supermodel (and an amazing lady to all that know her) and her mom. It is no mystery where Shelby gets her smile – as any BCE parent will tell you that even after her mom walks our school’s steep hill every day to pick up the chitluns, she still beams that huge smile and talks like she could walk another 10 miles no problem.
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I am always akin to catching random moments so the fact that I actually captured both of them without their prizewinning grins surprised me…but anyway…I sauntered over to them and had a great talk of times past and mutual friendships. Always my love of being at the Brewery; you never know who you will see but when you do – it reminds you how much this town holds so many special folks.
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The beer flows from competent hands in this one-brewery town, and I hope to be a welcome patron for times to come, and as I have said before to those that follow my writings in the local paper and here – having the chef walk around the floor and shake hands with the customer is a lost art form these days. For those that recall Valley history, the last man to do that regularly with his customers was Bill Mills at the River House…a great cook and a soft-spoken gentleman to this kid and many others back in the day.
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Thank you again ladies for sharing your time – and your honesty. Some of the snippets I am known for writing when heard in the Brewery tonight included such fare as: “I opened a new boyfriend”, “computer stupid” and “my husband bought me my new boyfriend”. Between those out of context soundbites and listening to Veronica and Zach’s continuing blissful domestic existence in BC…I had a decently uplifting night…thanks to all of you!
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As the weekly wailers strummed their sad ballad, I was reminded that no matter how much happiness one gets to feel when hiding in the BCB, there is always a note of remembrance at how much life can be filled with ups and downs, and you can only hope that these small slices of life here help keep you on the path of least wailing.

Casa Nostra Round 12; Lots of ladies and one Octopus

As a disclaimer and to get it out of the way – I had the tortellini special – and loved it.
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But the guys wanted me to try their “awesome” octopus special. I reluctantly said yes – but asked for the staff to partake in the dish because I felt I couldn’t pull it off…especially since I had never eaten it before.
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I was pleasantly surprised…I have to say it was not what I expected and I actually ate a few bites…here are the ladies trying..
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And for the other ladies I was there with – here are a couple of shots. The rest are on the SLV Steve Facebook feed…if you can’t find them or want bigger copies let me know…fun night!
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Vino Prima on the Wharf

Had a chance to shoot some dancing pics here last night – and I am sad to say I have missed going to this place the last four years of it being open. They have a great location upstairs, the wine selection is varietous and the owners are so approachable and fun to talk with.

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The pics on display (always what I look for first – even if it is a wine bar) have some nice wraps and local flair.
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A well-known coffee shop in Los Gatos has this same idea of the art being painted on the wall that looks like a real view when pictured just right – love the idea and this one turns out looking into the bay – but you wouldn’t know it.
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I talked with Stacey (one of the owners) and her sincerity in answering my interview style questions upon just meeting her – was refreshing. She has a natural flair for serving the wine and snacks they have there, and I look forward to my return and partaking in some of their fun and drink. The belly dancing is there every First Friday and they might be adding another session in two weeks…
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That top one is so true…If you look close on the right side of the pic – the belly dancer appears to be in front of an open window…I see so many chances for fun shoots at this place…

The dancing shots will be on my SLV Steve Facebook page…