The Gathering

dining_westsidecoffecoWestside Coffee Company offers an amiable environment and tasty food with their array of Java and tea

Espresso used to be so simple. A quick stop at a Parisian Café yielded a dark, hot, aromatic beverage served in a tiny, white demitasse cup with a cube of sugar. In minutes we were back

on the sidewalk attending to remaining errands.

At Westside Coffee Company the coffee beverages are worth lingering over with neighbors or Wi-Fi-enabled laptops. The store has been in business for more than 15 years, but now has a brand new owner and friendly, efficient baristas.

Pastries ($2.25) are baked in-house every day. The one-inch thick slice of moist, nutty banana bread was dense and crumbly and not too sweet.

It paired perfectly with a 12-ounce Mexican Mocha ($3.25) made with a shot of organic espresso. It was hot, creamy, and bittersweet; rather like how I imagined Willy Wonka’s chocolate river would taste, but with the addition of cinnamon and other sweet spices.

One morning I arrived early enough to snag the last blueberry muffin. Still warm, the fluffy, plump, sugar-topped cake was stuffed with healthy berries.

A popular breakfast item is the Eggy Bagel ($3.95). Eggs cooked with cheese and green onions were sandwiched between soft, hot halves of a garlic-studded bagel with thin slices of tomato and romaine lettuce. The Hummus Bagel ($3.45) was spread with spicy bean purée which was flecked with bits of sweet carrot.

In addition to lattes, chai and a brew bar, Westside Coffee offers icy summer treats. The Iced Green Tea ($1.50/$2) has a pleasant fruity flavor. Açai Supercharger is a beautiful purple smoothie, blending the flavors of three berries with soy milk and raspberry sherbet for sweet-tart refreshment. Brightly colored, freshly squeezed orange juice is mixed with Odwalla OJ ($1.75/$2.75). Italian and French Sodas are made with carbonated water and flavored syrups, some of which are sugar-free.

As the fog cleared, an overhead skylight brightly lit the room. The selection of sandwiches on the Westside lunch list was appealing, and each of them can be ordered as a half. The Smoked Salmon Special ($6.95/$4.95) featured an open-faced warm, toasted bagel with cream cheese, perfectly smoked salmon, rings of red onion, and sliced tomato.

Other choices included a bagel BLT, egg salad and tuna salad.

Westside Coffee Company, 849 Almar Ave # H in the Safeway Shopping Center, Santa Cruz, 427-1300. Open from 5:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays and from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends.


Saturday, June 25is an ideal day for a nosh on the Santa Cruz wharf. Stroll around with clam chowder bread bowls from Stagnaro’s or Dolphin, sweet treats from Marini’s, or gelato at Riva Fish House, and you’ll be treated to a colorful collection of Woodies assembled for your enjoyment.

My favorite part is the finale, when a parade of vintage cars leaves the wharf. The free bicycle valet makes riding a traffic-avoidance snap.

17th Annual Woodies on the Wharf, Saturday June 25, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Free admission. Visit cityofsantacruz.com.

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