.Extra Pop

dining-1539-mosiacAssembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic

Listen up all you fans of exotica, esoterica, and extreme flavor surprises. Weekly rotation at the Pop-up space (next door to Assembly) will start off on Wednesdays with breads and pastries from Manresa Bread, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Ah, the exceptionally fragrant levain bread, the ryes, the shameless tarts. Also quite a convenient pit stop for you Farmers Market devotées.  On Thursdays, Mortal Dumpling seduces with its spice-and-kimchi-partnered handmade dumplings and bao, from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. And on Fridays, seriously intriguing ramen and shiitake bowls rule thanks to Lawman Ramen (BYO bowl for $1 off), 11:30 – 2pm. That’s at 1108 Pacific Ave.

Wine Harvest Dinner at Cabrillo

Plan to join culinary students of Cabrillo Culinary and Wine program as they serve a multi-course dinner of seasonal creations, paired with wines from a half dozen top Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards. The protegés of program chefs Jeremy MacVeigh, Eric Carter and director Sue Slater will offer salmon three ways, followed by a salad of apples, walnuts, Gorgonzola and arugula. An entree of braised short ribs with baby vegetables and polenta with wild mushroom ragu will be followed by assorted cookies and chocolates. The wine-tasting reception begins at 6 p.m., and the event continues until 9pm. $95. scmwa.com

First Dinner at Mozaic

Open for one month, the new Mediterranean eatery Mozaic, attractively housed inside the former Clouds downtown location, offers genuine hospitality—thanks to hands-on owners Jay Dib and Jerees Rohana—as well as beautiful murals by Russian artist Lana Loukianenko. Armed with garlicky arugula pesto and ciabatta bread, we admired the painted view of the Venice’s multi-domed Santa Maria della Salute, rendered in a clever and atmospheric trompe l’oeil mural that covers the entire back wall. Opulent central chandelier of hand-blown globes, Turkish wall hangings and warm lighting enhance the dining room, which still adjoins the action at the very well-stocked full bar. In any new dining room, there’s always lots of fine-tuning that occurs as the weeks and months go by, and we look forward to another visit once the kitchen hits its stride. We began with a shared mezze platter ($13) from the huge menu that ranges from Greek kabobs, gyros, souvlaki, to Italian pastas and many vegetarian items. We enjoyed the tightly wrapped dolmas and the feather-light spinach cheese spanikopita, made even more tangy with dips into the accompanying yogurt tzatziki sauce. The dolmas had the rich, deep haunting flavor of grape-vine leaves, which invokes for me memories of Crete. My companion, with fond memories of the year he lived in Greece, hoped for less timid spicing in both the very mild baba ghanoug and hummus. Each one needed more definition, more garlic, and some salt. A grilled half artichoke held down the generous platter, served with very grilled pita triangles. We loved one entree of lamb kabobs ($25), two skewers of tender, beautiful lamb “filet mignon,” as one owner described it. Accompanied by a very tart Greek salad and rice pilaff, the lamb was the star of our dinner. Another order of octopus ($13) arrived without enough in the way of flavor or tenderness.

I look forward to the kitchen at Mozaic inflecting its menu of wonderful Middle Eastern and Greek classics with more bold, ethnic flavors. I would also welcome menu additions of some Greek wines as well as the curiously astringent and utterly authentic retsina. We very much enjoyed glasses of Alfaro Family Pinot Noir, generous pours for $10, with our first dinner at Mozaic. We’ll be back soon to check out further progress. 110 Church St., Santa Cruz. Open daily from 11 a.m.

NEW MEDS Jay Dib, owner of new downtown eatery Mozaic.



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