Burrata with basil? Meatballs and polenta? Or perhaps one of those lavishly-proportioned Santa Croce salads loaded with various greens, fennel, feta, hazelnuts and shaved Parmigiano? These are items that continue to tempt me, thanks to the savvy cooks at Tramonti on Seabright. Now I can succumb to that temptation in the open air, thanks to the charming outdoor deck that has recently been created next to the front entrance.
New outdoor seating at the authentic trattoria looks like just the place to spend some summer afternoons (and evenings) over pizza, pasta, and a glass of Chianti.
Sleek metal chairs and tables perch under colorful red canvas umbrellas, while a long wooden communal table is equipped with its own outdoor heaters. Fog is no game changer at this new al fresco dining scene. There are even plexiglass side enclosures to protect diners from any unwanted breezes. Tramonti folks call this new feature “a little Italian garden,” with 24 seats and a central table for private parties.
I’m told that in September Tramonti will be adding a wine and beer bar inside, as well as expanded pizza bar seating.
Tramonti and its new dining patio—located at 526 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz—is open everyday from 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (10 p.m. Friday and Saturday). Tuesday night’s neighborhood night special features an appetizer, entree and glass of house wine for $17. Dog friendly. Stop by and just say “Ciao!”
Some Like it Not
Clausthaler has come up with something that is very convincing in the way of a nonalcoholic beer (OK, 0.50 percent.) It’s called “Dry Hopped Ale” (hops are added after the fermentation process, for you beer geeks) and the result is delicious (at least in the world of NA beers), with a lovely dark amber hue and the reliably welcoming bitterness of seriously hopped beer. A note of citrus fills the malty center of this latest addition to the fairly limited field of beers senza di alcool. It joins the team that includes St. Pauli Girl and Kalibur, as decent brews that won’t fuzz your brain. Just in case that’s what you’re looking for. You know, hot day, need ice cold beer but still have work to do. Clausthaler Dry Hopped—claims to be the first dry-hopped NA beer in the world—might be your new best friend. At all the usual spots. $6ish.
Wines of Summer: The White and the Red
OK, in the expanding division of summer whites, we found a new favorite Vinho Verde from Muralhas ($18/Soif) loaded with tones of apricot, nuts and citrus. I love these light, salty, very low alcohol wines—12 percent!), and this one comes in a beautiful tall amber glass bottle. Go root around the well-proportioned shelves of Soif retail—the blush Txakolina from the Basque house of Ameztoi is also dreamy. A serious picnic wine for around $25. … And in the key of Rioja, we are mad for the Burgo Viejo ($13.99/Shopper’s) that has become our new house vin ordinaire. Weighing in at a refreshing 13.5-percent alcohol, this creation of 95 percent Tempranillo and 5 percent Graciano grapes is incredibly versatile. We find some complexity including tones of red licorice, cola, mint, and dark berries, all strung along a necklace of firm tannins. I better go out and grab a case of this lovely wine before it’s gone!
Don Quixote’s becomes Flynn’s Cabaret and Steakhouse next week, to be owned and operated by SLV resident Bradd Barkan. No more Mexican food, but there will be plenty of live music. Plans also include a menu of fresh seafoods, grass-fed meats, plus organic and gluten-free dishes. When I was a little girl, and the Felton landmark was Costello’s Chalet, I remember my grandparents dancing to live music at this durable watering hole wrapped around a restaurant. Hope it works out well!