Try This is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Food: Jack’s Cigars Sandwiches
Since The Pajaronian moved downtown to Brennan Street in July I have enjoyed the wide range of businesses and other outlets that are now footsteps away. One of these is Jack’s Cigars run by my friend Zarko Radich. On top of his huge array of cigars, cigarettes and such, he runs a nice deli. I got his turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich on a fresh roll the other day. He makes it custom for each person. Besides supporting local business, I relished the idea of walking in there, catching up with some local tidbits, and heading back to the newsroom with a satisfying lunch.
Drink: Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery
My wife Sarah and I recently stopped by Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery in Corralitos to check out their tasting room. While Sarah tried their 2017 La Playita Vineyard Estate Gruner Veltliner, I had their house filtered water. Both were grand. What impressed us was their patio overlooking the vineyards. With sweeping views of the rolling hills, the shady deck proved to be a great spot to relax, meet strangers and soak in the quiet of the Corralitos hills. They’re at 420 Hames Rd.
Fun: Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf
Whether you’re on foot, in a car or on a bike, the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf is an easy spot to catch fresh ocean air, select from a wealth of eateries and take in sweeping views of the bay and city. Built in 1914, the last of six built on the site, the wharf is 2,745 feet long, making it the longest pier on the West Coast. City officials have spruced up the wharf with large early day photos, informational signs and a few relics of the past, including an older fishing boat. They usually have a car fee but the first 30 minutes are free. The abundance of sea lions lounging about in the lower support beams makes for a great surprise if you’re showing visitors around.
Food: Jenna Sue’s Cafe: biscuits and gravy
I made the long drive to Boulder Creek for a story a few weeks back, and to make a long story short, I had to stay there longer than I intended. So I checked out Jenna Sue’s Cafe, 13090 Hwy. 9 #2, Boulder Creek. I am a big fan of places that serve breakfast; there is something timelessly American to me about bellying up to a counter next to other people starting their day.
I asked the server about the most popular dish, and she suggested the biscuits and gravy. So I got that, along with a cup of piping hot coffee. And let me tell you, both were almost worth the 30-mile drive. The food was excellent, and the coffee was even better. The place was packed with people who were chatting happily over their food, and I got the last seat at the counter.
Be advised, the restaurants I saw in this little mountain town are cash-only.
Drink: Peet’s Coffee: Javivas
On a recent hot day I went to Peet’s Coffee for one of their delicious Javivas, a blended ice drink that uses real brewed coffee. I order mine without the whipped cream, but I am not fooling myself that these things are even close to healthy. But man, oh, man: on a hot day they are the perfect pick-me-up.
Fun: UC Santa Cruz soccer games
It’s soccer season for my 8-year-old son, and he was excited to go up to UC Santa Cruz to see that school’s team take on San Francisco State. The games are free to attend, and the view of Santa Cruz down below, not to mention the Pacific Ocean, is fantastic. We as a family have gone to see the team play a few times, and it’s always fun.