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Oswald (Santa Cruz) re-opened

We had our first dinner at the new Oswald, and the comments of bouncepass seem to match our experience. The old Oswald was our favorite restaurant in the area. The new one is so different it almost warrants a different name. Indeed, the old one was cozy and intimate - the new one is much larger and noisy, partly because of the bar scene but also the restaurant itself. A number of dishes on the menu have the same name but again, as bouncepass has already mentioned, they do not seem to match the high quality, complexity, and care that they did in the previous place, even though (we were told) they have the same chef and kitchen staff. The old restaurant was truly unique - the new one seems to be a cookie cutter of dozens of "hip", "in" restaurants. We could just as easily have been in San Jose or Orange County. Given the difficulty in getting reservations, the new Oswald will probably be more financially successful than the old one.

Next week, we'll head back to our more recent, and still, favorite - Au Midi in Aptos.

Feb 08, 2009
jerryff in California

Shadowbrook Restaurant Capitola

FYI, Sestri is now closed.

Jan 25, 2009
jerryff in California

Oswald's new location: Santa Cruz

Oswald's has reopened. It is on the corner of Soquel and Front Sts across the street from Long's. It is in the same location where the Garage Sports Bar used to be. I haven't eaten there yet, so I can't say how the new place compares with the old one. Same phone number.

Jan 22, 2009
jerryff in California

Help getting started with a visit to Napa

We just returned from six days in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We had five dinners and all were at least good. Here are our rankings for the five -

1) Redd - Yountville - definitely the best meal of the trip
2) Santi - Geyserville - best Italian restaurant we've eaten at, though definitely not standard Italian fare
3) Bouchon - Yountville - a little crowded and noisy but excellent food and service
4) Charcuterie - Healdsburg - small bistro with good food that tasted a lot better than the menu made it appear
5) Angele's - Napa - Interesting, another place a little crowded and noisy. Best visited when you can sit on the patio along the river.

Pacific Grove and area in Oct?

Chadwick Gardens is a very small but interesting plot just adjacent to Merrill College at UCSC. I think a visit to UCSC is worth it, because I doubt if there are many university campuses anywhere else in the country located in as beautiful and dramatic a setting. I don't think I would drive all the way from PG to UCSC just for Chadwick Garden, however.
There are many good restaurants in the Santa Cruz area, but honestly, none of the caliber of the top places in PG, Monterey, or Carmel. Linwood at Chaminade has a great view but very mediocre food. An inexpensive and "typically Santa Cruz" restaurant is the Crepe Place on Soquel Ave. An outstanding Japanese restaurant is Masaka at Mission and Bay on the westside, just down the hill from UCSC. A very good Mexican restaurant downtown is El Palomar.

Sep 25, 2007
jerryff in California

Michael Mina mediocre experience

Perhaps our dining experiences are more limited than many who have posted here, but our experience at Michael Mina's several weeks ago was outstanding. Both my wife and I felt it could well have been the best restaurant meal we've ever had. But then we have never been to either the French Laundry or Boulevard. But we have been to Aqua several times, and what we liked at MM was that every dish we ordered was prepared three ways. True, we liked some of the preparations better than others, but on each dish there was at least one, and usually two or even three, that were fantastic. I think people who choose the dishes prepared only one way are really missing a great experience.

Concerning the service, it seemed to us as if there was always someone there when we needed them but not when we didn't - exactly what one would want. I don't mean to sound like a polyanna but I would hate for someone reading this thread not to try MM because of all the "mediocre" comments posted.