Working as I do all over the county, I’m constantly seeking little places with reasonably priced eats where I can get some work done. It seems the food writing muse is more apt to appear in the presence of sustenance. Additionally, the regulars at each of these establishments tend to represent a different slice of Santa Cruz that is equally nourishing.
One such place is The Coffee House, off the beaten path amidst the light industrial and medical businesses that line Commercial Way. A few months ago it became part of the Live Oak Cafe and Bakery family which is owned by Kathleen Rawson. Her easygoing husband Bill, a boisterous barista, makes everyone feel welcome.
I felt like I had walked into someone’s kitchen where neighbors were enjoying breakfast and stories. From hiking the John Muir Trail to four-point bucks, fishing, and swims around the long gone Pleasure Pier, the conversation was affable and interesting.
It’s a small store but an attractive patio offers alternate accommodation. The seats of the bentwood chairs are upholstered in plastic-covered canvas coffee bags, and the walls are covered with coffee-themed memorabilia.
The Coffee House serves hot and iced specialty coffees based on Java Bob’s beans, and a wide selection of Torani syrups is available for special flavoring. A short menu includes made-to-order bagel and English muffin breakfast sandwiches ($2.95 to $4.95), while the refrigerator holds prepared sandwiches, salads and breakfast burritos from the sister store.
I had been craving a BLT. Bill was serendipitously out of bread, so my sandwich ($5.95) was served on a fat Live Oak Bakery croissant. Between the fluffy layers of buttery pastry were three thick slices of soft, salty bacon, leafy romaine and plump tomato slices.