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Cream of the Crop: Marini's has just unleashed seven new ice cream flavors on the universe.


Gigantic pecan sandies and seven new ice cream flavors from Marini's.

By Amber Turpin

A certain someone keeps bringing me cookies, much to my continual protest, every time he picks up his post-lunch coffee at The Buttery. I'm trying to limit my daily sugar intake, but these gigantic pecan sandies must be touted. This should hardly be news to most locals, already aware of the Buttery's longstanding (almost 20 years) status as a go-to location for all things yummy. This cookie in particular, though, is a standout specimen. At once dense with an ideal ratio of chew in the middle, it is also feather light and crisp on the edges with a border of perfectly toasted pecans. Smack in the middle is a star of dark chocolate ganache, taking the salty sweet butter cookie to a much deeper level than can be adequately described in words.

Friday, June 20, marks Long Marine Lab's 23rd annual Whale of an Auction gala event. The party taking place at UCSC's Porter College will feature live music by the Dr. Steelgood Trio, wine, champagne, an oyster bar, caviar and smoked salmon stations, as well as a full buffet dinner, and silent and live auctions. All proceeds benefit the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, providing interactive education, research and outreach in promotion of ocean health and working to spread the magic that this underwater world holds.

On June 6, Marini's unveiled seven new ice cream flavors via the most effective marketing tool ever--free stuff. The new line is all about locality, a theme perfectly mirrored in the mixed bag of Santa Cruzans pouring into the downtown door. Starting with a base of local, rBGH-free Polar Bear ice cream, the flavor names and most ingredients are sourced from right here. Pacific Cookie Co. contributes cookies and dough for "Night & Day" and "Pacific Double Header." Local celebrity The Great Morgani lent himself, or at least his name, to a rich coffee flavor with chunks of chocolate, English toffee and espresso beans. "Oh, the Morgani showed up! Excellent!" said owner Joe Marini as the masked performer stepped onto the scene. And as if this premier wasn't enough, a complete Willy Wonka-style contest has begun with golden stickers, sugar manic kids, winning flavor titles and a behind-the-scenes candy factory tour with Mr. Marini himself. His favorite (and mine) is "Fault Line," dark chocolate, milk chocolate and Mexican chocolate stripes. On June 11, all young recipients of the huge golden sticker were invited back for another free scoop, this time of the mystery flavor, and a shot at guessing what it is. Fourth of July weekend is when the contest winner will be announced, the prize being a free scoop per week for a whole year. The eight varieties went through beaucoup testing, but the one called "Vegan's Nightmare," crafted of maple ice cream with chocolate covered bacon pieces, may have been disqualified too soon for this town.

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