"Try This" is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Food: Mobo Sushi
An udon noodle appetizer with tahini sauce, Tropi-Maki roll, and a Futo Maki roll are sure winners at Mobo Sushi in downtown Santa Cruz. The popular business has been serving a wide selection of sushi, including a wealth of house originals, since 1988. Their address is 105 River St. in San Lorenzo Park Plaza (the same parking lot as Trader Joes). For information call 425-1700.
Drink: Peet’s Coffee
At Peet’s Coffee on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz they take their hot chocolate to another level by creating a special design into the milk foam. If you’re lucky you can fetch a table at the window there and get a nice view of the foot traffic in downtown Santa Cruz. I always get their small hot chocolate, which is plenty for me. It’s always served fresh and hot. Visit peets.com for a complete menu.
Fun: Antique Street Faire
The Santa Cruz Antique Street Faire unfolds the second Sunday of every month on Lincoln Street and adjoining parking lots. Dozens of vendors keep the variety wide and interesting. There’s plenty of nearby metered parking and, if you can walk a handful of blocks, there’s free neighborhood parking on surrounding streets not too far away. This event runs year-round. In the event of rain, the Faire runs on the third Sunday. For information call 476-6940.
Food: Betty’s Eat Inn
Betty’s Burgers is a small chain of restaurants in Santa Cruz. The business currently has three locations, with another in the works in Aptos Village. When I’m in downtown Santa Cruz I love to stop for a bite at Betty’s Eat Inn on Pacific Avenue. The eclectic decor and friendly staff always make for an enjoyable experience. Their burgers, of course, are the main draw—but they have plenty of other delicious choices, such as the “Mac Daddy” (homemade macaroni and cheese with bacon) or the “Rough ’n Ready” salad (featuring sliced almonds and dried cranberries). My favorite item to order is their sweet potato fries. Paired with the restaurant’s signature dipping sauce, the fries are a side that goes with pretty much anything.
My colleagues at the R-P and I like to pick up lunch at one of Watsonville’s many fantastic taquerias. Often its La Buena in the Overlook Shopping Center, since it’s so close to our office. I switch my order up from a few small tacos to a chicken quesadilla—with all the fixings, of course. I also love to grab a Jarritos soda. The popular Mexican soda company offers a multitude of fruity flavors. I have not even had half of the flavors they make. My favorites that I have tried are Mandarin and Pineapple. I think the people at La Buena know immediately to reach for a bottle when I walk through the door…
Fun: Mt. Madonna State Park
Santa Cruz County is known for its great hiking spots, but I feel like not many people are aware of Mt. Madonna State Park. I grew up visiting the park, just off Highway 152. The turnoff is right after the (abandoned) Mt. Madonna Inn. I went camping at this park with the Girl Scouts and my family for years. There are beautiful views of the Pajaro Valley, as well as trails that take you underneath majestic redwoods and over slow-moving streams. And of course, the Miller ruins. The ruins of the estate of Henry Miller, one of Gilroy’s founders, still remain nestled in the park. I love walking around the stone foundations and steps, imagining what it was like so long ago.