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Entries in Santa Cruz (3)


Stagnaro's on the Wharf, Santa Cruz

Stagnaro’s on the Wharf in Santa Cruz has been there since I was a kid and long before that. I remember getting an apple juice back in those days along with a shrimp cocktail. Since then, I’ve replaced apple juice with tomato juice; aka a Bloody Mary.

It was evening and dinner was in order; a simple clam chowder and fish and chips.


I’ll say, for as cliché and touristy as it is, Stagnaro’s on the Wharf in Santa Cruz served up a fantastic fish and chips. Their clam chowder was a little too thick for me though. I’m guessing they’re heavy handed on potato starch or some other thickening agent. It was good, just not great. And considering I made a scratch clam chowder a week before, less than a mile from the wharf, mine was a lot better.

Back to the deep fried fish. Mixed white fish in a crispy breading, now that was tasty. Served with tartar sauce, lemon, and cocktail sauce the mixed deep-fried plate was a straightforward as it should be. Not greasy, not heavy, just simple. I didn’t eat many of the fries, but of the one I had, they were also deep fried properly.

Stagnaro’s is part nostalgia, part history, part tradition. It’s what we love about the place, some things don’t change, both in memory and reality.

Stagnaro Bros. Seafood on Urbanspoon


Verve Coffee, Santa Cruz

I’ve had Verve Coffee a several times in Santa Cruz at a couple locations, downtown SC and 41st Ave. Each time I’ve had espresso and each time I have been very happy with the result.

The crema on top is lovely. The espresso is always served properly, in glass. The espresso is never too hot or too cold. And the espresso is served with a short glass of sparkling water. I think I’m about to cry...I love espresso.

Verve Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon


Walnut Avenue Cafe

A short walk from the iconic Dream Inn, The Walnut Avenue Café is a locals and tourists breakfast spot. I didn't feel like waffles or French toast, so I opted for carnitas, beans, eggs and salsa over tortillas. A big glob of food. A big mess on a plate. A deliciously messy glob of food on a plate.

This breakfast isn’t rocket science, haute cuisine, Mexican, American or otherwise.

This breakfast is something I might consider making at home if I cooked Mexican food the night before, drank one too many tequila, went to bed at 4am, woke up hung over to a bunch of unrefrigerated leftovers and needed to get some food in my belly as fast as possible so that the two Excedrin I took 5 minutes before don’t burn a hole in my stomach lining.

Suffice it to say, I finished my entire plate of food and was a better man for it.

Walnut Avenue Cafe on Urbanspoon