Ever since I’ve been in Santa Cruz, there’s been the Bagelry. Completely without designer pretensions, this welcoming kitchen, deli, and dining spot offers fresh traditional bagels with delicious toppings for breakfast and lunch. I’ve been a fan for decades. The lush garden patio adjoining the main downtown location is one relaxing reason. I feel like I’m inside a Gauguin as I sit amid the tropical vines and flowers, inhaling my favorite bagel creation du jour and drinking excellent Santa Cruz Roasting Company coffee.
For years, one of my favorite lunches here involved tomato basil soup. Yes, the soups here are spectacular. Just last week, Jack and I found a new favorite made by the Bagelry kitchen—a rich creation of potato, spinach and artichoke. Seasoned with onions and oregano, this soup could have given lessons. And then there’s the hummus and eggs breakfast, or the Flamingo—a pale pink orgy of blended lox and cream cheese. Everyone has her favorite bagel. For a solid decade mine was the raisin bagel, now it’s the poppy seed. Jack is hopelessly devoted to the Bagelry’s jalapeño bagel, which he loves topped with the house tuna salad. A homegrown treasure, the Bagelry offers clean, uncluttered seating under the Cedar Street location’s muraled walls. Original artwork hangs along the far wall at the cozy Seabright store, where somehow there’s always more room inside for eating, conversation, reading, and hanging out with friends, than it looks like there would be from outside. Incredibly friendly staffers at both locations offer samples, make suggestions, and work hard to give you exactly what you want. Nobody leaves the Bagelry in a bad mood (unless they want to).
For not much money you can sit down, spread out, eat a freshly-prepared meal, have a great cup of coffee (or one of the hundreds of juices and sodas shimmering in those refrigerator cases), and feel good about it. But back to the Duke. It’s been my passion for a long time. Here’s why: the bagel of choice (today it was sesame seed) is frosted with cream cheese, apple sauce, and a huge handful of cashews. This full-figured item is presented open-faced, so that I can admire all those cashews before sinking my teeth into its textural intrigue. Who even offers us apple sauce anymore? I love apple sauce and the Duke is my favorite delivery system for the old-fashioned jam alternative. All of this (I confess I cannot actually finish an entire portion …) for under $5. Listen up: while the Bagelry—founded 40 years ago!—is still with us, get on over to whichever one is closest to you. And don’t miss the wonderful soups! Liberal hours of operation, starting at 6:30 a.m. weekdays.
Cat & Cloud meets Companion
The morning scene here gave my gal pal Kate and I some serious caffeine last week at my very first visit to the new Abbott Square Market. Always a fan of Companion pastries, I chose a textbook almond croissant to go with the exceptional Cat & Cloud house coffee. Kate’s discerning palate required a mocha. But she had to settle for a herd of miniature marshmallows on top instead of the whipped cream she craved. Who knows? C&C might soon add whipped cream to their menu. Laid out with a variety of seating possibilities, the sleek interior reminded me of Pike’s Place in Seattle. California industrial design gives the labyrinthine interior a crisp edge and challenging acoustics. I’ll definitely be back for more java, and a cocktail at the gorgeous Front & Cooper bar.