Flying South for Brunch

dining_NuevoSouthwestGrillBright and lively describe both the atmosphere and food at Nuevo Southwest Grill

Weekend brunch at Nuevo Southwest Grill offers both creative south-of-the-border-themed entrées and familiar fare as well. Choices ‘From the West’ ($5.95 to $9.50) include smoked salmon served on flatbread. ‘From the South’ ($7.25 to $8.95) you might select the shredded meat Machaca.
A raised platform gives tables farthest from the large windows unobstructed light. There is a free and open feeling here, with high ceilings supported by beams. Contrasting turquoise trim adds a pleasant vibrancy. A covered patio is also available for seating, and a couple of tables by the sidewalk are filled on sunny days.
My glass of tropical iced tea ($1.75) hinted refreshingly of fruit and was always quickly refilled. In the Nuevo Scramble ($8.50), bright multicolored corn tortilla strips were mixed with Cajun sausage, cheese and three scrambled eggs to create a flavorful, but not incendiary combination. An ice cream scoop of chunky, fresh, and unblemished guacamole and salsa fresca with chipotle added a kick and even more color to this filling dish. A surprising and delicious offering is Nuevo’s Flatbread Breakfast ($8.50). A moist, seasoned flatbread spread with apricot jam was covered with a flat omelet, sweet dried apricots, bacon, and melted jack and cheddar cheeses.
One of the daily specials we enjoyed was Chile Verde with Eggs ($9.25). Large pieces of flaky pork cooked with mild green chilies were served with choice of black or pinto beans, and eggs in your preferred style.

Nuevo Southwest Grill, 21490 East Cliff Drive (at 15th), Santa Cruz, 475-2233. Beer and wine. Serving brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., lunch Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. ★★★

It’s time to make reservations for a special meal out on Nov. 21. On this day, holders of Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passports will enjoy free corkage on bottles from member wineries at Ma Maison, Michael’s on Main, Sanderlings and Café Max at the Hilton. Aldo’s and Vino Prima wine bar will also offer 10 percent discounts to passport holders.
The passport ($40) entitles you to visit local member wineries on four dates each year, and is valid until you have visited every one of the 50 wineries. Some wineries only host the public on passport days, and others have treats like barrel tastings. Passports are available from SCMWA, or at the wineries on the day of the event.
Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, Passport Day, Saturday Nov. 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 685-8463. Visit scmwa.com.

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