"Try This" is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Food: Erik’s soups
The locally-famous Erik’s Deli is known mostly for it’s “Sandwiches With Character.” I definitely love these, especially the Pilgrim’s Progress, made with turkey and avocado. But I also love the small chain’s selection of soups. In particular, their butternut squash soup. The delicious blend of sweet potatoes, onions, celery and spices, with cream and honey is extremely flavorful. You can get Erik’s soups in three sizes: a cup, a bowl or a pot, and it comes with a piece of bread on the side.
Drink: Bubble tea
At the Watsonville Farmers’ Market, stop by the bubble tea stand, where you can choose from a huge list of flavors of this popular drink. I love the Thai Tea flavor (make sure to ask for a scoop of boba at the bottom, if you’re into that). Recently I tried the strawberry-mango lemonade, which was just as good—and perhaps even more refreshing. A medium bubble tea runs for $5. The stand is cash only.
Fun: Downtown Saratoga
Last weekend my family and I took a trip to Saratoga for Passport Weekend, organized by Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. We trekked up to the popular Mountain Winery to see an amazing view of the valley below. The winery also hosts weddings, professional events, and many concerts throughout the year. Then we headed back down the mountain to the historic downtown of Saratoga. It’s a quaint village with plenty of fun shops, restaurants, and side streets to explore.
Food: Gayle’s Bakery
My family and I made a stop at the popular Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria, where we splurged on a pre-dinner dessert and ate it in the restaurant’s cozy little dining room. Just about everything behind the glass display case is delectable, as are the breakfast, lunch and dinner options. It’s also a great place to get bread and other baked goods.
Clockwise from top left, a berry tart, chocolate cake pop, a salted caramel chocolate brownie and a slice of olallieberry pie from Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria in Capitola. (Todd Guild/The Pajaronian)
Drink: Frappuccino frenzy
I don’t like to highlight corporate businesses, preferring instead to support local ones. But when a company does something right, I think it needs to be acknowledged. That’s why I feel compelled to mention the mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks, a blended ice drink that is the perfect hot weather treat for the under-caffeinated. I usually get it without whipped cream, but that option adds another layer of deliciousness.
Fun: Village bike ride
As the parents of two young boys, my wife and I are always looking for activities that cost little to nothing. That’s why we set out on a bike ride recently through Capitola Village and along the coast. Santa Cruz County has amazing bike paths, the best of which, in my opinion, run west out of Santa Cruz along West Cliff Drive, and west from the Pleasure Point area. Beautiful, breath-taking views and good exercise, although dodging the pedestrians can be challenging.