Food & Drink

Local Treasure Sabieng Delivers Phenomenally Spiced Classics

Summer is the right time for local Thai spice

Spicy Green Curry and side dishes from Sabieng. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

In honor of the young Thai soccer players during their underground ordeal, we decided on carry-out from Sabieng Thai Cuisine. So convenient, so inexpensive—we’ve loved Sabieng since the dawn of time. One of the pleasures of bringing home dishes from Sabieng is that we can kick back and enjoy one of our favorite white wines—Birichino Chenin Blanc is our summer go-to—along with the complex spicing of Sabieng’s classic dishes.

So what do we like? Always, always a curry. In this case the wonderful Spicy Green Curry ($10.75) with its slow after-burner of spice, its thick veggies, plump shreds of chicken, and basil-coconut sauce. For balance, we split an order of the magical bean thread noodles laced with fat prawns, ground pork, lime juice, cilantro, micro-onions, red peppers, and whole cashews ($8.95). Bite for bite, I’d have to say that this dish is my all-time favorite Thai specialty. A third dish added plenty of texture excitement, roast duck (which leans toward a duck confit as far as I’m concerned) nestled on a crunchy bed of wok’d cabbage and spinach ($15.95). A little container of pickled peppers—not kidding—in a haunting black bean vinegar, comes with the dish. And we splashed it all over everything.

Creamy curry, fiery cellophane noodles and rich duck with greens. All these wonderful dishes went brilliantly with, 1) the crisp, chilled wine, and 2) Sabieng’s outrageous brown rice ($2.25) which must be the chewiest, most delicious rice on the planet. I do not say that lightly. All of the above, minus the wine, was ours for $41. Two meals, and one lunch. Sabieng’s spice-laden foods make even more sense on hot days. Don’t know why. There’s probably a physiological explanation. Doesn’t matter. Sabieng Thai RestaurantA local treasure!

1218 Mission St., Santa Cruz. 425-1020. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Not by Bread Alone

Change happens. Gayle’s Bakery no longer delivers its signature breads to local restaurants, groceries or other retail shops. Rita and I were stricken when lunch at Avanti no longer provided that outstanding francese we’d come to adore. We needed to know why. So I emailed Gayle Ortiz, founding matriarch and co-owner of the entire shebang. Here’s what she had to say.

“Like so many other businesses, we are suffering a lack of all types of employees. A combination of low unemployment and housing costs have made it difficult to find good, qualified staff, especially drivers.” She also confessed that they’ve thought about ending wholesale “for many years even though it was good to have our name out in the community. Plus, we love our wholesale accounts, some of whom have been taking our bread for over 30 years.” Ortiz acknowledged that it was a difficult decision, “But owning a business is getting more and more stressful with regulations and laws being what they are in California. So the we decided to focus on the mainstay of our business … the customers who come in the door each day.” You know where to go to get your fix of Gayle’s breads. Gayle’s!

504 Bay Ave., Capitola. gaylesbakery.com.

Ewe Tube

Love sheep? Love sheep cheese? You can help subsidize the pampered dairy sheep out at Rebecca King’s Monkeyflower Ranch. For $500 you’ll receive regular shipments of all-natural lamb, as well as a selection of aged cheeses, yogurt, feta, and fresh sheep cheeses.

Or consider a Pork Package? Or a Wool Package? Each $500-package covers the costs to feed and care for a naturally raised dairy sheep. You receive in return roughly $600 worth of farm products from July through December.


Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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