Like most liquor stores, neon signs which announce the availability of beer shine through plate glass windows. But at Garden Liquors and Deli, a majority of customers come for the food.
During a recent lunch hour, a steady stream of large and small salads ($2.75 to $5.95) was pulled from the self-serve deli case. The wide variety included Chicken Caesar, Chef, Spinach, and Tuna Salad. Also available for a quick getaway was a selection of Saran-wrapped sandwiches, fresh fall apples, and numerous desserts— including squares of Tiramisu and wedges of multicolored cheesecake.
In addition to chili, four soups were simmering. The autumn chill disappeared as I sank my spoon into a generous regular size cup ($2.75) of thick and tasty Potato Soup. The creamy, chunky soup, flavored nicely with bacon, was flecked with parsley and carrots. The Chicken Noodle Soup held fat fettuccini noodles in a light broth.
Cold sandwiches ($2.75 to $5.75) are created-to-order on various varieties of sliced bread, sub-style rolls, or francesi. Choose from simple combinations of Peanut Butter and Jelly, to the more deluxe turkey, bacon and avocado. They even offer Liverwurst ($4.75)! In the Club Sandwich ($5.25), turkey joined bacon, tomato, and finely shredded lettuce. Both pesto and chipotle sauces ($.50) will spice up your order.
On the list of hot sandwiches, flavorful Pastrami ($5.25) included pickles and hot peppers. I could smell the spices as thinly sliced corned beef was heated for a Reuben ($5.25). Large slices of toasted rye bread were spread with sweet Thousand Island dressing, then loaded with crisp shreds of sauerkraut and corned beef, hot enough to melt the Swiss cheese. Photo Credit: Karen Peterson
Garden Deli and Liquors, 1815 Soquel Dr., (just north of Thurber Ln.), Santa Cruz, 475-9191. Deli hours Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.