Owner Salvador Diaz on Capitola Chaos and more
Taqueria Agave is gone from Capitola—there’s still one in Santa Cruz, so don’t fret—and in its place is Avenue Café, which opened on Jan. 1 this year. It’s a charming, home-y café, and they serve all the standard diner breakfast fair (pancakes, eggs, bacon) and lunch foods (sandwiches, burgers, salads), with some Mexican dishes thrown in the mix. We spoke with owner Salvador Diaz about the new restaurant, his recent retirement from the Scotts Valley Water District, and just what on earth a Capitola Chaos is.
Any sign of the old Taqueria Agave there?
We only kept a few things. We threw all the tables away. Most everything is new: plates, chairs, silverware, paintings. We have a local artist with their pictures on the wall. It’s a lot of change. It was a real home feel. We have a garden outside with really nice plants and flower pots in front of the door.
What kind of Mexican breakfasts do you have?
We have machaca mixed with scrambled eggs, chorizo with eggs, Huevo rancheros, you name it. Chilaquiles is one of our top sellers. It’s a standard breakfast in Mexico—deep fried corn tortilla strips mixed with eggs, topped with green salsa and beans and corn tortillas on the side.
You serve a traditional chicken fried steak?
We use a piece of flank steak. It’s breaded and grilled. It’s served with a couple of biscuits and gravy on top of the biscuits, and gravy on top of the steak. You get whole fries on the side. Once the chicken fried steak is fried, we put some condiments on it, then you add milk to the gravy. That’s what makes it nice and thick. The gravy has sausage and bacon in it. We use the oil that you get from the bacon in the gravy.
What’s the Capitola Chaos?
The chaos is a mixture of eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, bacon, sour cream. It’s almost like a torte, almost or a pancake. It’s round in shape and it’s got everything mixed in it.
What about a canasta salad?
It’s a bowl made with a flour tortilla. It’s filled at the bottom with refried beans. It has grilled chicken or grilled steak, topped with a salad: lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream and cheese. What makes it Mexican is the beans, but you don’t see this in Mexico. You actually see this more in California.
Why don’t you serve dinner?
I used to work for the Scotts Valley Water District and I was also working at Maya Restaurant. Before I started working at the water district, I worked there as a manager. When I started working for the water district, I kept a couple days as a waiter, part time. Since I can remember, I’ve been working two shifts. Not anymore. My plan wasn’t to work all day. I want to rest in the afternoon.
427 Capitola Avenue, Capitola, 515-7559. PHOTO: Owner Salvador Diaz would love to bring you breakfast. Dinner, not so much. CHIP SCHEUER