“Try This” is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Pizza My Heart
There are few foods as easy as pizza to feed a busy family, particularly on a school night. That’s why we found ourselves at Pizza My Heart on 41st Avenue on Wednesday. A local business, PMH frequently donates percentages of their sales to area schools. The restaurant serves quality pizza with fresh ingredients, in either slice form or in whole pies. Several locations, pizzamyheart.com.
Hidden Fortress Coffee
I got a regular old cuppa joe before work the other day at Hidden Fortress Coffee in Strawberry Business Park. I’ve gotta tell you, it’s darn good and worth seeking this Watsonville gem out. Fast, friendly service and caffeine to get your day jump-started. 25 Hangar Way, Suite 270, www.hiddenfortresscoffee.com.
Open Farm Tours
I went with my family to the Open Farms Tours last week, an event that sadly only happens once a year. But for those who want more, try going up to the UC Santa Cruz farm, which is open to the public and free. With a beautiful location, educational displays and a working farm, this is a perfect family activity. For directions and information, visit bit.ly/32qmT4M
Riva Fish House: fish and calamari
My wife Sarah and I have been going to Riva Fish House on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf for decades. Their freshly prepared tasty food, the view of the Monterey Bay, passing sailboats and casual atmosphere make for an enjoyable evening out. We recently had their fish and calamari combo plate and it completely won us over. Served piping hot and crispy, the dish, paired with some of the best French fries around, has been a sure winner year after year. Riva has a full bar and also serves a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer
I recently tried a new beverage out of Costco. I’ll confess, I have not had a membership there in decades. But Sarah and I found some special offer and now we have cards. While wandering the cavernous aisles I found their Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer, a non-alcoholic ginger ale kind of soft drink. It comes in a case, tall bottles with screw-cap lids. The label says the drink is made with “natural flavors and exotic gingers.” When you drink this product ice cold it’s pretty darned good and carries quite a ginger punch, so look out. It’s made in the UK.
Day of the Dead celebrations
Every year I look forward to Halloween and especially Day of the Dead celebrations around our county. In Watsonville there’s Mi Casa es Tu Casa, the Pajaro Valley Arts’ annual exhibit inspired by Dia de Los Muertos, a traditional holiday in Mexico that celebrates ancestors and others who have died. Altars (ofrendas) are built in homes and public spaces, including the Pajaro Valley Gallery, to honor and remember the dead. These colorful altars, for me, prove to be a fantastic window into the world of those that have passed. The opening reception at the PV Gallery is on Oct. 27 from 2–4 p.m. at 37 Sudden St.