"Try This" is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
A hot chocolate with a fancy leaf design drawn into the steamed milk can be ordered at Mr. Toots Coffeehouse in Capitola Village. This casual cafe has been in its same upstairs location, overlooking Soquel Creek and the picturesque Capitola Venetian Hotel for decades. The coffeehouse offers indoor and balcony seating, frequent art exhibits, pastries and other baked goods, and a full coffee and espresso menu. They are located at 231 Esplanade, right next to Margaritaville.
Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting is a charming spot on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. They make delicious cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats. But another specialty they offer is the chance to experience High Tea. English High Tea traditionally includes tea, along with bread, vegetables, meat and cheese. Buttercup Cakes also gives you a breakfast item (crumpet or scone) before the savory meal, with toppings (lemon curd, jam, etc.) as well as a mini cupcake for dessert. Each person receives their own small pot of tea.
The cost of High Tea is $25—but you can also get a smaller option, with just tea and breakfast items, for half that price. Your own personal waiter/waitress, as well as a drink server are attentive, friendly and always willing to accommodate any food allergies or issues. I recently took my mom out to Buttercup Cakes for Mother’s Day High Tea and it was worth every penny.
To make a reservation ahead of time, call 466-0373.
Wargin Wines, located on Hangar Way off of Airport Blvd., is always a treat to visit—both for the friendly, welcoming atmosphere and of course, the tasty wines. I no wine expert, but I’ve tried many from Wargin and liked a good deal. Recently I went tasting there and was impressed by the 2016 Barbera, as well as their sweet 2014 Late Harvest Petite Sirah El Dorado. Owner/winemaker Mikael Wargin is often on hand to explain the wines and share his enthusiastic passion for what he does. I also enjoy their unique, fun, old-fashioned label designs.
This year I bought a season pass to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The classic seaside amusement park is always a good time, but it can be a hassle in the summer to enjoy with the throngs of tourists pouring into the area. I plan to get in as many trips to the park in the spring as I can, and then visit it more towards the end of the summer and into the fall. A number of free events, including their free summer concert series and movies on the beach series are great ways for everyone to enjoy the space during the peak season. A season pass goes for about $80.
I love the tacos at La Fuente Taqueria, located in Plaza Vigil in the heart of downtown. The place is always busy, but I almost never have a problem getting a seat either in the small space or in the sunny courtyard outside. Try the chori-queso, which is Mexican sausage cooked with cheese. I also like the alambre tacos, which is beef with bacon. Whatever you get there, however, it is sure to be fresh, piping hot and delicious. Tip: Every ednesday Taco Day at $1.10 each.
The On the Porch Pale made by Discretion Brewing, located at 2703 41st Ave., Capitola, is some of the best beer I have tasted. I always get a growler filled for when I host dinner parties, and it goes quickly. Visit discretionbrewing.com
One of the most thrilling activities a human being can experience is jumping out of an airplane flying more than 10,000 feet above the ground. I have gone skydiving about 15 times, and loved every one of these experiences. Imagine taking off in a small plane, knowing you will not be landing in the plane. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea; It is one of the best things I have ever done. Visit gojump-america.com for some inspiration.
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