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The Un-Cuisine: Raw foods entrepreneur Roxanne Klein comes to Santa Cruz this weekend.


Raw foodie Roxanne Klein heads to New Leaf to stump for a new line of packaged foods.

By Amber Turpin

Raw, Uncensored
New Leaf is putting on its annual Health Fair this weekend at all three Santa Cruz locations. On Saturday from 1 to 4pm, highly acclaimed raw food chef Roxanne Klein (will be at the downtown store signing her cookbook Raw (co-authored by Chicago celebrity chef Charlie Trotter) and offering samples of her new, all-organic Roxanne's Fine Cuisine line of raw and living foods. Roxanne's, the now-closed Larkspur restaurant, created a buzz within the food world for its caliber of culinary feats, and not just by raw foodies (hence the alliance with Trotter). Klein has since developed this 34-product wholesale line, launched in late January, featuring items like sprouted granola, Nutmilk Cheez and Rox Kreme ice creams, all in eco-friendly packaging (think soy-based inks, recycled materials, banana leaf fiber, etc.). Our very own Café La Vie also has a somewhat new wholesale sweet and savory selection, available at the Wednesday farmers market in downtown Santa Cruz and area natural food stores. The raw food extravaganza continues with another inspired visitor, Robyn Boyd, and her book Rawsome Recipes. Boyd will be leading a workshop at Café La Vie on Feb. 24.

Baked Bliss
Winter is for baked goods, and I have surely been enjoying some lately. A longtime favorite standby is the homemade cinnamon roll at Linda's Seabreeze Cafe in Seabright. What used to be only a weekend breakfast special now holds a secure spot on the daily board, sharing space with a rotating selection of muffins. The moist, buttery pastry is smeared with an inner core of cinnamon and a dusting of tiny pieces of walnut. Yes, this could easily pass for dessert, but it is not at all sickly sweet or covered with pasty white frosting like some other versions. On days when I want to hold off on the cinnamon roll to keep it special, I might go for the daily muffin. Mango macadamia nut is quite good, and I hear the apple crumb is a standout as well (831.427.9713)

Crab Champion
The fifth annual Wine and Crab Taste-Off on Jan. 20 put a competitive edge on a meandering food and wine opportunity. More than 350 consumer critics and several professional judges cast their ballots in four categories after sampling crab-centric dishes at Ma Maison, Ristorante Borolo, Theo's and Michael's on Main. The results are finally in, and it seems Ma Maison has come out on top. Industry judges gave Ma Maison highest marks for overall experience, presentation and dish. Patrons were seated and served tableside a curried Dungeness crab cocktail with pear, radish, cilantro and pistachio oil, as well as crab-stuffed mushrooms with French Cajun spice, Gruyère and beurre blanc. Both dishes stood out even more with the Cooper-Garrod Viognier (Randall Graham clone ... yes, he actually has his own clone). The pros' "Most Creative" nod went to Michael's on Main for the blue crab pot pie and crab-stuffed, twice-baked potato with Fiscalini cheddar sauce and tarragon oil. The consumer critics gave Theo's "Best Dish" for a mini crab melt with white cheddar, green onion and watercress and a crab slaw with seared ahi tuna medallions. Public results in the other three categories were as follows: Ma Maison got "Most Creative," Michael's on Main won "Best Presentation," and the two tied for "Best Experience."

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