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[whitespace] No Ordinary Joze

A new orientation for Surf City landmark

By Christina Waters

GRIESBACH'S BACK! And the talented chef (formerly of Paolo's, Cafe Marbella, Goosetown Caffe) has landed on his feet again at a restaurant work-in-progress called Azur. The brainchild of Bay Area cuisinartist Chris Vizas, Azur occupies one of the most famous Central Coast restaurant sites--the former India Joze, the celebrated home of the International Calamari Festival, once perfumed by exotic Asianophile flavors and the world fusion genius of Joseph Schultz, founded back in the '70s. Vizas is busy jumping through the appropriate hoops in order to nail down a full liquor license to join the beer and wine permit already in place.

Vizas was the GM at Lulu and Zibibbo, and worked with Viaggio in Saratoga for a few years before buying a home in Santa Cruz. The old India Joze had fallen on increasingly uncertain outcomes ever since the original India Joe sold it. The new ownership bodes well for this long-standing Surf City landmark. Banquettes are being installed as part of an all-new interior design. "The guys are here right now putting in a wood-burning pizza oven and a wood-burning rotisserie oven--it'll be all Mediterranean," Vizas revealed. Think of the eclectic menu at Zibibbo: a little Moroccan, some Provence, a bit of Spain and Turkey, and a whole lot of luscious Italian stylings. Best of all is the new executive chef himself. Griesbach once made me the most perfect, voluptuous plate of pasta--simple with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and al dente angel hair pasta--I've ever had, before or since. I haven't tasted his cooking for a couple of years now. And that's a couple of years too long. So my mouth, I'll admit, is watering. With Griesbach at the helm Azur could take on all comers and wake up what is rapidly becoming a seaside suburb of Silicon Valley.

"We're gonna rule Santa Cruz," Vizas prophesied and somehow I believe him. Griesbach is one of the true bright lights of the culinary landscape. Vizas says he's aiming for a mid-November opening of Azur. Santa Cruz is in for a treat, just in time for the holidays.

Design a Fall Feast

Move over, Martha Stewart. South Bay chefs and dinner party hosts can learn all about Fall Harvest Dining and Decorating from floral decorator Donna Boehmn this Saturday, October 21, from 9:30am to 2pm. This chance to spiff up your autumn dining events--or just plain get it together tablewise--is one of those fun UCSC Extension Culinary Arts classes (held at Mon Cheri at 461 S. Murphy in Sunnyvale). Participants will create a delicious--and good-looking--luncheon, as well as learn how to decorate with pizzazz. For details about joining this one-day workshop, contact the Culinary Arts Department at 831.883.8488, or www.ucsc-extension.edu.

Strictly Orgasmic

The world of pesticide-free dining is expanding in innovative directions. Two industry leaders--Cascadian Farm, who bring you some of the most delectable frozen yogurt on the planet, and Horizon Organic Dairy, whose low-fat cottage cheese is my personal trainer's protein of choice--are adding intriguing flavors to their healthy act. Cascadian Farm is introducing 10-ounce packages of frozen, certified organic edamame--you know, those fuzzy, green, roasted soybeans you can't stop eating at sushi bars. They're at a natural food store near you right now, and all you have to do is put the frozen pods in boiling water for 8 minutes and then inhale (not literally, metaphorically). Think of it as a delicious and no-fat alternative to chips and dip. ... Meanwhile, the Boulder-based Horizon Organic group, famous for all kinds of organic dairy, egg and juice products, is unleashing a line of 16-ounce, single-serve juices, starting with Orange-Carrot juice and Lemonade. And yes, these juices are made entirely free of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides or GMOs. Do I hear Odwalla burning the midnight oil?

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From the October 19-25, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. MetroActive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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