"Try This" is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
Prepared foods, including sourdough loaves by Companion Bakeshop, add to the variety of goods available at the Live Oak Farmers Market each Sunday. Breakfast items, Mexican food, salads, beverages, and sandwiches are typically offered. The folks at Rogue Pye offer an extensive variety of homemade fully cooked frozen pies, including lamb curry, stout steak mushroom, pepper steak, meat pit, breakfast meat, chicken pot pie, vegetarian pies and more.
Cold and colorful drinks are typically for sale at a Mexican Food tent at the Live Oak Farmers Market. The market runs every Sunday, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the East Cliff Village Center at 15th and East Cliff Drive. Started in 2000, this neighborhood market has grown to be a weekly event that largely serves the communities of Live Oak, Pleasure Point and Capitola. An extensive selection of organic produce from local farms, tree ripened fruits, dried fruit and nuts, baked goods, pastries, seafood, pasture-raised organic meats and more are featured. The market is also a hub of the clean food movement, showcasing brunch items like street tacos and cook-to order custom traditional Michoacan Mexican dishes using fresh organic ingredients.
The Swirly Girls deliver their own blend of folk and bluegrass music, garnished with plenty of harmony, at the Live Oak Farmers Market. The popular market draws hundreds of visitors every week. Live music is a standard feature, held in front of a sea of chairs and tables where shoppers can enjoy delicious, freshly prepared foods.
The orange chicken at Golden China, located next to Nob Hill in Watsonville, is one of my favorites. I often get the dish as a lunch special, which is not on the menu but they will do it if asked. The combination of sweet, sour and the bitter of the orange – and the umami from the meat and fried rice – is perfect.
Covering the soft opening of Beer Mule next to the Municipal Airport, I declined a sample of beer kindly offered by owner Kym DeWitt, as I was on duty. She instead gave me a small sample of the house-made root beer, and it was the best soft drink I have ever tasted. Well worth a try, and perfect for lunch or for designated drivers.
I love taking my family to Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, located just outside Watsonville. The 1,700-acre property offers about five miles of peaceful trails that offer all of the best of Santa Cruz County’s natural features. This includes wooded areas and freshwater marshes. Best of all, it’s a respite from the grind of city life.
Watsonville’s own Coffeeville in the East Lake Shopping Center seems to be doing very well. There is usually a line when I arrive, no matter if it’s the middle of the week or a Saturday morning. I regularly get a simple drink: an Americano (espresso shots diluted with hot water). I really enjoy the taste of Coffeeville’s espresso by itself. But sometimes I feel adventurous, which led me to try their Irish Cream latte. No, there’s no alcohol in this drink. The Irish Cream flavor has a nutty taste. For those who’d like it slightly sweeter, try a combination of Irish Cream and either vanilla or caramel. A medium latte with added syrups goes for about $4.75.
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