"Try This" is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
English Toffee is one of numerous selections at the walk-up counter at Marini’s Westside Candies, 332 Ingalls St. on the westside of Santa Cruz. Four generations of Marinis have been making candy in Santa Cruz since 1915. “Our candies are handmade locally, using strict quality guidelines and only the finest of ingredients,” a note on their website states. They feature salt water taffy, caramel corn, homemade fudge, nut clusters, popcorn, sodas, nice cream and a variety of other delights. They also have locations on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and 1308 Pacific Ave. in downtown Santa Cruz.
Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co.
Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. is an artisanal craft brewing company run by husband and wife team Michael Enos and Julie Rienhardt, specializing in Wild Ales. They specialize in small batch beers, with a focus on barrel aged wild ales crafted from locally harvested yeast and other locally sourced ingredients, creating a terroir, or regionally distinctive style. They commonly feature 12 beers on tap, and feature indoor and outdoor space. They are also dog and kid friendly.
A large crowd waits for the door to open at the Rio in Santa Cruz for a sold out concert of the Cowboy Junkies. The 938-seat Rio opened June 12, 1949, as part of the statewide chain of 110 Golden State Theaters. It is now described as a “veteran music venue” with 685 seats, hosting comedians and indie bands with Americana leanings. Address: 1205 Soquel Ave.
Main Street Burgers & Brews
Main Street Burgers & Brews has started to creep into my list of favorite burger stops in South County. They have a good selection of alternatives, but, as the name would suggest, their burgers are their main draw. The Guacamole Burger and Chipotle Burger are my favorites — each come in at $8.50. Both feature a 1/2 pound fresh beef patty, the works (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion and mayo) and a pleasant kick. The former has pepper jack cheese, guacamole and grilled jalapeños. The latter carries Monterey jack cheese, avocados and a house made mild chipotle sauce that completes the tasty package. Sides are extra, but I do recommend getting a 50/50 combo of garlic fries and onion rings ($6).
El Valle Produce
I love that El Valle Produce takes full advantage of what it has going for it: fresh veggies and fruit. Their juices have for sometime been one of my favorite quick pickups. My go-to is the orange, carrot and ginger mix ($5.50 for a large) that gives every lunch a pleasant, healthy ending.
Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
The completion of the 32-mile Rail Trail is still so far away — 10 years, according to Land Trust of Santa Cruz County Executive Director Stephen Slade — but if you’d like a small taste of what will be, I recommend taking a bike ride on the Monterey Bay Costal Recreation Trail, which starts in Marina and takes cyclists all the way into Monterey. The ride does not come without its challenging sections, but the beautiful views of the Monterey County coastline and the safe space it provides the riders are a treat. Additionally, Turlock’s Dustbowl Brewing will soon open a tap room near the Monterey Wharf, which is at the end of the trail. A nice ride and cool beer pair well.
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