Congratulations to Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, a cozy brewery and tasting room just north of Gayle’s Bakery. The diminutive craft brewery (online at rusticales.com) specializing in highly-curated seasonal brews has been voted (again!) among the top 10 best breweries in the world by the annual RateBeer ranking site and app.
Founded by Adair Paterno and Tim Clifford, the brewery won its slot from a field of over half a million beers made by over 30,000 brewers all over the world. The renowned beer ranking site uses multiple categories, but prominent among those is the 100 Best Brewers in the World, a category in play for 20 years. Sante Adairius received the ranking from thousands of annual users.
Coffee: The Continuing Saga
When tracking the DNA of fine coffee jump-started by Kelly’s on the Westside, I neglected to mention the outstanding “big bang in a small package” that is Lulu Carpenter’s kiosk, situated at 930 Almar Ave., in the old Fotomat booth (a reference intended for the enjoyment of Santa Cruz old-timers). Yes, indeed you can grab a quick cup of joe from this charmingly reinvented drive-up space, thanks to the fresh roasted beans and exceptional entrepreneurial savvy of Manthri Sinath and team.
Also, I’m told there’s single drip coffee plus the beans to match available at 2712 Mission Street’s Alta Organics. So essentially you could trip over great coffee places on the Westside, should you choose to do so.
And for those of us wondering why we couldn’t enjoy the new Cat & Cloud Westside on Monday or Tuesdays, it’s because the Westside’s newest basecamp of caffeine is in the midst of a soft opening. So Cat & Cloud, perched at 719 Swift St., is currently open Wednesday-Sunday, 7am-2pm, until further notice. Now you know.
Wine & Music PreParty
Grab a glass of wine at Vinocruz to toast Cabrillo’s mighty Considering Matthew Shepard music theater production. On Thursday, March 12, the Santa Cruz Diversity Center is planning a no-host pre-concert meetup at Vinocruz Wine Bar + Kitchen from 5:30-7pm. Have an appetizer and fine locally-made wine, and meet up with your friends and fellow concertgoers before you head down to the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College—a mere seven-minute drive.
Vino Cruz, 4901 Soquel Drive, Soquel. vinocruz.com.
Only for Serious Oenophiles
Get in training for the next phase of your wine savvy with Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 classes at Soif Wine Bar & Merchants four Sundays in a row starting Sunday, March 29. Classes run from 10am-2pm at Soif. Register at soifwine.com. For more about the WSET and what a Level 2 Award means, go to wsetglobal.com.
Product of the Week
Popchips potato puffs with sea salt, around $4, are addictive in a good way. Like a slightly super-sized non-greasy potato chip, these chips are totally gluten-free and totally delicious. No frying. Here’s the deal, as one of those democratic candidates likes to say: the Popchip is a slice of potato that has been heated in a pressurized chamber, then released very quickly. That, so they say, is what makes them “pop.” So they are light, slightly puffy and the kind I love has been enhanced by sea salt, the mother mineral of all of us. If you want other flavors, fine. They’ve got Popchips with sour cream and onion flavor, sea salt and vinegar, and barbeque. Purists, like me, will stand by the sea salt variety. Try them at New Leaf and Shopper’s Corner.