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03.12.08

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Stouts of Heart: Scotts Valley can't wait to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, so it won't.

Dish

This year St. Patrick's Day is on a Monday. So: celebrate this Friday.

By Amber Turpin


ERIN GO BRAGH EARLY
Sadly, St. Patrick's Day is on a Monday this year, which kind of rains on the parade for those who really like to wholeheartedly celebrate their Irish ancestry (or even those of us who just want an excuse to do some Riverdancing on the tables). We can thank our lucky four-leaf clovers that the Rotary Club of Scotts Valley is hosting an event on Friday, March 14, sure to quench the thirst of folks holding off on school-night revelries. The Scotts Valley Fire Department will be assisted by Malone's Grand Grill and Mollie's Cafe to create the thematic menu. Roudon-Smith Winery will provide wines, which will not be green; there will also be plenty of more traditional Irish libations on hand. As a fundraiser for local youth and counseling programs, there will also be a live auction to add to the excitement factor, as well as music by the Stuart Highlanders and jigs galore. Call 831.430.0930 for tickets.

THE ULTIMATE
Those lucky few seated at the Cooper-Garrod Vineyards table during this year's Santa Cruz Mountain Ultimate Winemakers Dinner at the Shadowbrook were treated to the saga of Bill and Doris Cooper's grand journey from Warsaw to Paris and eventually back to an apricot orchard in Saratoga. Over appetizers like house-smoked trout with caviar, potato pancakes and crème fraîche or the baked goat cheese with pear, peppercress and cider vinaigrette, the vineyard's 2006 pre-release viognier was poured along with a multigenerational story that anchors this all-estate family-run winery. Next came what Doris Cooper calls "the jester in our lineup because it's so fun to drink," otherwise known as the excellent 2003 cabernet franc. After soup or salad and a berry sorbet intermezzo, the six special entrees of the evening appeared. Dishes such as an herb gnocchi with black truffle, duck confit, halibut with saffron beurre blanc or filet mignon with Hudson Valley foie gras were paired with wines suggested by the featured winemaker at each 12-top table filling the stunning restaurant. Among additional liquid gems offered to us was the 2000 George's cabernet sauvignon, sourced from the oldest vines on the property and planted in 1972 by George Cooper, Bill's dad, who is currently 92 and still enjoying his 28 acres. (www.cgv.com)

SPLASHY CONTEST
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is holding a special Breakfast with the Penguins contest to celebrate the reopening of the Splash Zone. This wildly interactive, kid-friendly exhibit, which has been closed for renovation and expansion since September, features impressive displays, diverse animal species and fun activities (the game of matching animals to their food is my favorite) sure to impress even the grownups. Until March 17 we all have a chance to win a VIP morning for six in which the aquarium's aviculturists (penguin keepers) take us behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the penguins' morning routine. While the penguins eat their breakfast, human food will be provided to the winners by the aquarium's Portola Cafe, the in-house restaurant that maintains a commitment to sustainably and locally sourced ingredients. The cafe is a model for the aquarium's helpful Seafood Guide and has always been ahead of the curve for environmentally conscious food choices. Go to www.montereybayaquarium.org to enter the contest.


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