Try This | May 3, 2019


El Valle Produce, La Buena and the Farmer's Market — oh my!

Try This is weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.

Tony Nuñez

FOOD

El Valle Produce at 530 Walker Street in Watsonville has gone through some massive changes, and I have to say I am a big fan. The produce still dominates with community staple, but a homey section of the business is now a burgeoning cafe. Last week, I gave the food a shot, and my pesto panini with turkey, avocado and onions was as fresh as it was satisfying. I paid a little more than $13 for the panini, a coffee and an apple. I will definitely be back.

DRINK

It might be a little far away, but if you ever find yourself out in Monterey or Santa Cruz, TZONE is a bubble tea, juice bar and smoothie lover’s delight. My favorite concoction is the California Journey special tea ($4.25), a sweet and refreshing mix of pineapple, peach, lychee jelly and peach bits. The avocado smoothie ($4.99) is also worth every penny.

FUN

“Avengers: Endgame,” Marvel Studios' kicker to an unprecedented run of 20-plus flicks, can be an intimidating watch. Not much in this superhero movie will make sense if you do not have some baseline knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, IT’S THREE HOURS LONG. If that sounds too overwhelming, may I recommend “Shazam!” Yes, it’s another superhero movie. But it requires absolutely no homework for one to enjoy, and it oozes heart, humor and tension.

•••

Tarmo Hannula

FOOD

food tacos LaBuena web 5-3

Chicken and carne asada tacos are served hot with fresh ingredients at La Buena in the Overlook Center (near Target). A pinch of cilantro, chopped onions, hot sauce and a wedge of lemon adds to the flavor of the double-tortilla tacos. Friendly, swift service, a varied menu and indoor and outdoor seating make for an inviting experience. Getting outside the typical Mexican menu, they also offer hamburgers, hot dogs and darned good French fries. They’re located just around the corner of the building from target and Starbucks. I’ve found parking to be a little testy because of the design of the lot there. It’s like driving into a puzzle and you have to be firmly alert to avoid being hit by rushed shoppers backing in and out.

DRINK

At La Buena, as mentioned above, these popular cold drinks are a refreshing choice to enhance your meal. Tarmarin (from left), horchata, pineapple and hibiscus are their regulars and very popular. I tried the hibiscus once and yes, it was refreshing and rejuvenating. It was sweetened and, I think, had a hint of cinnamon. The place also has a wealth of bottled and canned sodas on top of fountain drinks.

drink agua fresca web 5-3

FUN

The Pajaro Valley Certified Farmer's Market has been a popular outdoor venue at Watsonville Plaza and surrounding streets for more than two decades. From flowers, to hot corn, produce, live music, dry goods, fresh tacos, orchids and kettle corn, the market has proven to be a bustling hub of activity for shoppers in the downtown arena from 2-7 p.m. Manager Jesus Madrigal said recent changes at the market led to arranging produce and flower sellers to line the innermost circle of the market, along Peck and Unions streets, and fresh food vendors to take the outer circle. A recent grant has opened the doors for a new portable stage at the market.

•••

Johanna Miller

FOOD

I often house/pet sit in Scotts Valley, and as such have fallen in love with Coffee Cat, a coffee shop on Mt. Hermon Road. The coffee and tea is delicious, but brunch on weekends is another big draw. My favorite is the Avocado Benedict: a new take on traditional Eggs Benedict. Two halves of an English muffin are topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, but instead of meat there is avocado. I may not be vegetarian, but the substitution works perfectly for me—especially with its paprika garnish. NOTE: Coffee Cat is a partner shop of Lulu Carpenter’s in downtown Santa Cruz. You can get the Avocado Benedict there, too.

avo benedict web 5-3

DRINK

As anyone from Watsonville will tell you: we have the best Japanese restaurants in the entire county, from Miyuki Restaurant on East Lake Avenue to Imura Japanese Restaurant on Main Street. Food aside, however, I always end up getting a specific drink when I visit either establishment: a small bottle of sparkling sake. The sweet, bubbly drink pairs perfectly with my meal, whether I’m having a bowl of udon or a boat of sushi. The sake comes in a variety of flavors (peach, lemon, etc.) and will delight even people who normally avoid strong sake brews (like me).

FUN

JSM Organics will be hosting a special event this weekend: Spring on the Farm! JSM Organics, located at 135 Maher Road in Royal Oaks, invites you to come sample strawberry varieties straight from the plant. Design your own flower bouquet, enjoy live music, food and a children’s art station. Owner, farmer Javier Zamora will be present to chat with guests and lead tours of the farm. The event is free but you must RSVP. Visit JSM’s Facebook page for details!

•••

Editor's Note: Have suggestions for future entries? Let us know at [email protected]