“Try This” is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
FOOD: Mariscos Los Compadres
Housed in what was previously The Appleton Grill Grill in Watsonville, Mariscos Los Compadres is sneaky good Mexican food place that specializes in delicious seafood served in heaping portions. As I always do on a first visit to a restaurant, I ordered a mess of food to get a feel for the menu: two tostadas (one octopus and the other aguachile), a fish taco and special oysters, which came loaded with octopus, shrimp and chopped veggies. I’m getting hungry thinking about the aguachile, a fresh and spicy serving of shrimp that has become one of my favorite dishes. I will be back. Many times.
I’ve started to warm up to drinks that contain tomato juice and multiple spices. A bloody mary is nice, but the taste is not quite right for my palate — a bloody maria, the same drink but with tequila, is more my speed. Micheladas, a Mexican drink that contains beer, lime juice, tomato juice and a load of sauces and spices, has turned into my go-to order while enjoying seafood concoctions from south of the border. Mariscos Los Compadres, like many restaurants in South County, has a solid michelada that’s not too spicy or tomatoey.
FUN: Santa Cruz County Fair
I’ve attended the Santa Cruz County Fair almost every year of my young life, and although some might think it’s always the same old song and dance, I always find something something new — or old — to enjoy. I love heading out to county fairs during the golden hour, when the sun says goodbye for the night and the neon lights loudly scream hello(!) over the constant hums of the rides and people. Stuffing my face with greasy food is also nice.
Food: Sawasdee Thai Cuisine
If you’re in search of quality Thai food, look no further that Sawasdee in Soquel. The small restaurant has always done well by me, with their delicious food and friendly service. I usually get a chicken curry plate for lunch, made with coconut milk, potatoes, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and other veggies. The dish comes with steamed rice and soup. The only thing that can sometimes be a hassle is parking—they have limited spots near the building.
Drink: Wargin Wines
My family recently became members of Wargin Wines. The wines are unique and delicious. Every time we stop by the winery on Hangar Way, we have a fantastic time. Owner and winemaker Mikael Wargin is friendly and knowledgeable. Their Greco di Tufo, a golden white wine with orange zest and a caramel finish, is one of my current favorites. Wine club membership comes with plenty of perks: 25-35 percent discounts, access to special events, sales, parties and more.
Fun: Cabrillo Gallery
Whenever the Cabrillo Gallery opens a new exhibit, I try and make time in my busy schedule to stop by during installation. But I sometimes find myself there even when I’m not on the clock. The gallery is a quiet yet always interesting place to visit to escape the hustle-bustle of Cabrillo’s Aptos campus. From painting and sculpture to photograph and mixed media—you never know what you’ll find.