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Pleasure principle: Original Sin Desserts, coming soon to Pleasure Point


Santa Cruz develops some new foodie meccas.

By Amber Turpin

Sweet Sin
With Verve showcasing excellent coffee and espresso, the next logical development in the nascent foodie's paradise that is Pleasure Point would be a bakery. Luckily for us, Tanya DeCell is bringing Original Sin Desserts, primarily wholesale for the last five years, to the empty space on 41st Avenue facing Portola. The Cabrillo culinary program graduate, who's always dreamed of having her own storefront, was literally driving past the space as the previous owner was dismantling the shop. "I got him in a five-minute window and just lucked out," she says. Cheesecakes of all imaginable varieties (including margarita and green tea) are her specialty, but DeCell plans to branch out to include more traditional breakfast baked goods and lunch items. Almost everything is made from scratch, even the graham crackers, and anything not made in-house will be sourced locally. One thing that means is coffee from Verve (Tanya consulted with her neighbors about which equipment and brewing techniques result in the best possible "grab and go" cup). Permits are in hand and construction is underway, so be on the lookout for grand opening events very soon. (

I recently talked with Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, who's been basking in the glory of a double gold for his Branciforte Creek 2005 Pinot Noir in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. He gave me the latest update on his exciting new tasting room, which will be located in the Bonny Doon Vineyard production and warehouse space (a stone's throw from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery). He plans to open in time for this year's Vintners' Festival in June. Next door will be another small-lot, high-integrity winemaker, Sones Cellars, known for its zinfandel and petit syrah; a "custom crush" company, Vino Tavi, will also be on-site, and Bonny Doon will join the fun down the hall with a new, closer-to-town tasting room as well. With this move, Swift Street gains even more culinary appeal than before, and Emery is working to procure domain zoning so all of the tasting rooms in the vicinity can host their own events, really making the neighborhood shine. Stay tuned for more news on this front.

The Pebble Beach Food & Wine events at the end of March were over the top, with celebrity chefs and TV camera crews bustling around the sparkling Lexus-sponsored gala. Manresa pastry chef Kendra Baker, however, brought it all back down to earth with her low-key demeanor and farm-driven creations (she is also a Santa Cruz local). Manresa sources a majority of its produce from Cynthia Sandberg's Love Apple Farm in Ben Lomond. Sandberg's goods are all biodynamically grown in sync with chef David Kinch's particular wishes. "Right now we are doing a jasmine custard in white chocolate with pea tendrils from Love Apple Farm and fried peanuts," the aptly named Baker told me while I sampled the coconut rhubarb parfait with puffed millet and rhubarb soda that she was passing out the to well-heeled crowd. If you don't have the means to snag a table at the Los Gatos gem, visit the source and pick up a few tomato starts (there are literally hundreds of heirloom varieties to choose from) direct from Love Apple Farm any weekend morning. (

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