Picks and Pans – Santa Cruz, CA

Taqueria La Cabana

In the land of the taqueria, otherwise known as California, it seems a bit remiss to recommend any one over the other because nearly all of them serve up yummilicious grub. I would say that Taqueria La Cabana falls in the acceptable, but not outrageously good part of the yummy spectrum. Sean and I both got burritos, mine carnitas, his al pastor. The meat, rice and beans were excellent, but I could have done with out the shredded american cheese and soggy lettuce. Since the carnitas were so good I am willing to give this place the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was just an off day as far as the other fillings go. However, given that there are plenty of other options, I would definitely try another spot upon return to Santa Cruz.

Caffe Pergolesi

Possibly the best coffee shop ever, Caffe Pergolesi is located in an sprawling old Victoria home with chairs on the porch, tables on the front lawn and four rooms filled with tables and comfy couches. The staff is laid back and friendly, the coffee is great, the wi-fi is free, the food is homemade, and if you’re there later in the day (they’re open til 11pm) there’s beer, wine and, often live music. It is the ultimate hangout spot.

Lighthouse Field State Beach

If you were so inclined, you could spend hours watching the surfers in Santa Cruz and the place to do it is at Lighthouse Field Beach. From the cliffs above the ocean, we got a perfect view of the crowd in the bay and the more daring surfers out around Lighthouse Point. It was like a meditation of sorts, where all that mattered was the next wave.

Natural Bridges State Beach

After getting our fill of wipe outs and wave catchers, Sean and I walked north along the beach to Natural Bridges, where the ocean has carved arches into the sea cliff jutting out into the water. We watched the waves for a while and then had some fun clambering up the rocks to the walkway above.

Walking down the wharf and along the boardwalk

It was a bit Hitchcock-esque walking down the classic Santa Cruz boardwalk during an off-season evening. The arcades were brightly lit, loudly dinging away and totally empty. The candy shops and souvenir stands were dark and the wind whipping around the wooden roller coaster was the only sound from the amusement park. Wandering away from the eerie boardwalk, we made our way to the wharf where we were greeted only by the wary blinks of sleepy seagulls and the occasional bark from the sea lions below, our footsteps lit by the neon signs of the seafood restaurants. It was perfect.

Saturn Cafe

Bedecked in silver and pink glitter, planet-shaped light fixtures and blinking red and green lights, Saturn Cafe is a very Santa Cruz variation on the traditional diner concept. Serving all the gooey, cheesy fries, milkshakes and “burgers” you would expect out of a late night diner, but everything’s entirely vegetarian and entirely delicious.

2 comments to Picks and Pans – Santa Cruz, CA

  • Janet Rosner

    Say “hi” to Uncle John for me.


  • Abigail St. Lawrence

    Your description and photos of Lighthouse Field State Beach reminded me our Sten’s and my afternoon there when we visited Jan and Joey in February. It was mesmerizing watching those hundreds of surfers bouncing in the waves and, from a distance, looking like so many black seals.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>