It was a busy morning on the deck at River Cafe. Patrons enjoyed beverages from the organic coffee bar with Wi-Fi, a fresh flat of strawberries was delivered, and employees delivered large catering dishes.
Vegetarian breakfast burritos and frittatas ($6.50) with seasonal vegetables were ready to be heated, and could be embellished with Italian pork sausage ($1 and $1.50). I chose the frittata, cooked in a casserole like a crustless quiche. Airy egg custard was topped with greens, soft, crumbly goat cheese, and grill-marked tomatoes. It was served with smoky salsa and slices of sweet oranges.
I also enjoyed a scone ($3), which was crumbly, riddled with poppy seeds, and had a pleasant lemony flavor. The side of house-made jam was tart with crushed berries.
Beer from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Kombucha tea are both on tap. There are often pastries from Gayle’s Bakery, as well as a selection of desserts made in-house.
Mid-day, the lunch combo ($10.50) included one of the day’s seasonal half sandwiches and a side. Rotating side dishes include grilled baby zucchini, potato salad, or Insalata Caprese with basil and sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. I chose a mixed green salad with soft butter lettuce and leafy greens, vinegar-marinated red onions, cucumber, long curls of carrot, and a gentle balsamic vinaigrette. The BBQ Pulled Pork and Cabbage Panino on a roll had enough tangy sauce to require many napkins.
Soft, melted brie oozed from large slices of sourdough bread in the Turkey Panino ($10.85) which included roasted turkey and a touch of Mendocino mustard. | KP
River Cafe, 415 River St., Suite K, Santa Cruz, 420-1280. Beer & wine. Open Mon.-Sat. 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., on Sun. for 10 a.m.-3 p.m brunch. Small plates with beer & wine on Thurs. and Fri. from 5:30-10 p.m. Visit riversantacruz.com.