“Try This” is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Food: Ambrosia India Bistro
Even though it’s been many years since Little India left the East Lake Village Shopping Center, I still miss having such a great, family-run Indian restaurant close to home. Now one of the closest is Ambrosia India Bistro, 207 Sea Ridge Rd., Aptos. Chicken Tikka Masala is my go-to dish, and I am also fond of their saffron rice. Ambrosia offers an extensive variety of naan (oven-baked flatbread) flavors. The bistro also has locations in Monterey and Scotts Valley.
Drink: Venus Spirits
Last week I was invited to Farm Discovery at Live Earth’s annual benefit dinner. While the fresh, farm-to-table dinner was delicious, I also have to tip my hat to Santa Cruz-based Venus Spirits, which was offering some unique cocktails. I tried the “Pajaro Sunset,” made with gin, chunks of fresh strawberries and tarragon. I have not yet visited Venus Spirits tasting room (427 Swift St., Suite A, Santa Cruz) but I think I might stop by after such a delicious sample. For information go to venusspirits.com/visit.
Fun: Racing at Laguna Seca
Over the weekend I attended the Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the first time the IndyCar series has been at the track in 15 years. My dad is a volunteer at the track, and was able to score me a ticket to Sunday’s race. Depending on the popularity of the event, races at Laguna Seca vary in price. Practice and qualifying days (usually Fridays and Saturday) are always cheaper and less crowded. Visit weathertechraceway.comfor an events schedule.
Food: La Perla Del Pacifico
Since The Pajaronian moved downtown, I’ve been spoiling myself with the bounty of food options that are a short walk away. La Perla Del Pacifico, a Mexican seafood spot on Main Street, was already one of my favorite restaurants in downtown and it’s moving its way up my rankings every time I sit down for a meal. My go-to is the octopus tostada, which comes layered with meat and fresh cut veggies that I douse with lemon and hot sauce.
Drink: Alvarado Street Brewery
This brewery in the heart of Monterey’s downtown has found its way into my heart with its large selection of brews. The one I want to highlight today is the Riot Punch, a double IPA that doesn’t overpower the palate despite it’s 8.5 percent ABV.
Fun: City Plaza
There’s no other place like Watsonville’s City Plaza for miles, and our recent move to downtown has made me appreciate this local landmark even more. Despite the hectic day-to-day schedule, I try to take at least one walk through the Plaza and enjoy how the towering trees and large bandstand contrast the bustling downtown traffic.