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Lotsa Pasta: SLV Atkins dieters, be warned:Santa Cruz Pasta Company is at the Felton farmers market.


Downtown's Khyber Pass leads to the Silk Road, and Dish examines what's new at the Felton Farmers Market.

By Amber Turpin

There's no shortage of farmers market vendors in these parts. On the contrary, competition to get into the popular markets, such as the downtown Santa Cruz market on Wednesday afternoons, is intense, and there's a very long waiting list. So it's even more exciting to see new vendors and products burst onto the farmers market circuit.

The seasonal Tuesday afternoon Felton market begins every May, and the 2008 season welcomes several fresh faces selling new goods. Santa Cruz Pasta Company, with a relatively young storefront in Scotts Valley, is now appearing here as well as at a few over the hill. Ten varieties of fresh pastas in a wide range of shapes and flavors are effectively displayed in large transparent bins, along with several types of ravioli and a handful of sauces. Green Plant Organics, based in Soquel, is offering starts for the home gardener. Terry Beech brings his knife sharpening business, Sharp Quick, on-site with an impressive and thorough mobile setup. He also presents a beautiful array of "jewelry for your kitchen" in the form of wood-handled Italian knives, corkscrews, cheese knife sets and placeware for sale, and he can even make house calls. A brand new skin care company, Haiba, uses ingredients from Africa in the Felton-based production of decadent toners, moisturizers and lip balms. And last but not least, the new Uncie Ro's pizza company brings us the perfect busy weeknight option--but more on him next week.

THEY get along HERE
The newest downtown eating establishment is finally open, serving Afghan and Pakistani dishes. The menu at Khyber Pass, all a la carte, contains familiar items like samosas, tikka masala, korma and biryani, with some lesser-known selections that sound tempting. Two tandoor ovens are turning out various meats (including quail!) and kebabs as well as hot, yeasty, chewy naan. There is also a long vegetarian section, including lobia with black-eyed peas and kadu (honeyed butternut squash with yogurt, herbs and spices). I will return to try the aushak, "leek and spring onion filled dumplings topped with homemade yogurt & meat sauce," or the creatively described jalebi, "chaotic pretzel shaped batter, deep fried & soaked in sweet syrup." The Afghani Lessi is a salty yogurt, cucumber and mint-infused version of the mango lassi. The unsweetened house chai is a classic. (831.423.3400)

The next Meet the Artist Dinner at the Davenport Roadhouse is coming up, offering an opportunity to mingle with the artists lending their work to the dining areas while enjoying a special menu. The event is much like a deluxe art opening, only you get to have a full kitchen-crafted meal and lovely local wine as opposed to Trader Joe's chips and Two Buck Chuck (not that there's anything wrong with that, sort of). On Thursday, June 26, meet two longtime Santa Cruz area women who source their inspiration from our unique locale. Pastel artist Erika Perloff and jeweler Una Gallagher will be on-site, even doing demonstrations, 6-9pm, while a special menu including gratin potato-encrusted baramundi (a sustainably farmed white fish), wood-grilled tofu ratatouille and spring pea and herb-marinated quinoa salad will be on offer. (831.426.8801)

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