Dining Reviews

Cafe and Floral Boutique Flower Bar Blooms Downtown

This is the home of destination croissants

Noha Gowelly (left) and Sharon Schneider are owners of the newly opened Flower Bar in downtown Santa Cruz. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Surrounded by artisanal chocolates and long-stemmed ranunculi, I am consuming the lightest, most tender croissant this side of Paris.

I am at the new multi-genre cafe and floral boutique named Flower Bar, currently occupying the venerable old Sentinel Printers slot on Cedar Street, thanks to the vision and resources of founders Sharon Schneider and Noha Gowelly

Half of the handsomely sleek black interior is devoted to the materials of custom floral arrangements, from fully created displays ready for a wedding to vibrant individual stems—currently roses, lilies and ranunculi abound. The other half of Flower Bar offers classic marble-topped tables and curved cane back chairs at which to consume the house espresso drinks.

But don’t stop there. Fresh apple muffins baked on the premisses were being set out when I spied the croissants of which my friend Simone had raved. Yes, I’ll have a croissant ($4) with butter and honey please, and a macchiato ($4.25). Flower Bar calls itself a boutique flower shop and cafe. I call it the home of destination croissants. These were absolutely gossamer, featherlight tissue of buttery transparency. Unspeakably good. 

There will be more and more to sample on the menu as the weeks roll by at this attractive downtown spot next door to Gabriella Cafe and across from The Penny Ice Creamery. But the croissants are the place to start. For one-stop gift shopping—Mother’s Day is coming up—Flower Bar has flowers, chocolates, and champagne to please the moms on your gift list. 

Open Wednesday-Sunday, 9am-6pm. 912 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. flowerbarsantacruz.com.

Change Has Come

Hustle on over to India Joze, like I did last week, for some of the greatest cooking anywhere … because, India Joze will only be at 418 Front St. for a few more months. 

“Anywhere from two to seven months,” Jozseph Schultz told me a few days ago, at which point the building will be demolished to put up an apartment complex. But that’s not the end of the spicy story. “After that,” Schultz revealed, “we are planning a monthly pop-up restaurant in the spring of 2022 at our Happy Valley home, and catering is still a priority.” 

Bottom line: Joze will still be around, but in a vastly transformed shape. I repeat: Make plans to dine at or carry-out from India Joze soon. Or miss the priceless flavors whipped up by master chef Schultz.

West Cliff Blush

Andre Beauregard has done it again. The maverick winemaker, who also selects the wines for Shopper’s Corner, has created a highly drinkable right-this-minute blush rosé from old vine Carignane and Mourvedre—West Cliff Rosé 2020. From the Sandy Lane Vineyard in Contra Costa County come the grapes, enough picked from the 100-year-old vines to create 250 cases of light/medium alcohol (13%) wine. A complex and forward bouquet of peaches and raspberries, this wine cries out for a warm afternoon. Splash some into a goblet of ice cubes and enjoy. $20 at Shopper’s Corner.

Humble Sea Brewing Co., having established an insanely devoted following on the Westside, is expanding its reach and will soon be housed at Felton’s renovated Cremer House. Look for Humble Sea Tavern coming to the San Lorenzo Valley in the early summer. 

Meanwhile, mark your calendar for the weekend of May 22-23, when the mighty Santa Cruz Mountains Vintner’s Festival once again holds forth in the flesh so to speak. Great wines, lots of extras, and a chance for vintage discovery. $45 for one day/$80 for two days—good for up to four wineries per day.

Learn more at winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/events/vintners-festival.  

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