The word is that Oswald is definitely still in the pipeline. Yesterday there were two trucks out front, at the corner of Soquel and Front Sts., plumbing guys doing something to the interior. So that looks promising. When? Well, you might think about Thanksgiving in a new setting. . . . The word is good on the new Khyber Pass, where Afghan and Pakistani cuisine share the billing. Flavor-wise this makes good sense and since I love the mint-inflected foods of Afghanistan, I’m getting down there very soon. . . . Gorgeous foods, casual setting — that’s the off-beat, high contrast ambience of Fusion at Pearl Alley, where the trained hand of chef Robert Morris (formerly Blacks Beach Cafe) is making plates so pretty you can hardly bear to take a bite. . . . And lunches at Soif now provide a sophisticated downtown setting for smart plates to match the smart pours. Soif does lunch Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 2pm. 105 Walnut Ave in Santa Cruz.