LILY BELLI: Eaters Digest checks in on Bread Boy’s return, 11th Hour’s expansion and Pana’s chowable arepas
Your weekly guide to news and events in the Santa Cruz County food and drink world, featuring news and reviews about S.C. Bread Boy, 11th Hour Coffee, Soif, Pana Food Truck and the Kitchen at Santa Adarius Santa Cruz Portal.
Santa Cruz’s “secret summer” is blending beautifully into cooler autumn weather. It’s the perfect time to grab a treat to enjoy outdoors, whether that’s a cold brew coffee and cannoli on East Cliff Drive, an arepa on the Westside or a crisp glass of locally fermented cider in a 100-year-old apple orchard.
As the weather continues to cool, diners will retreat inside, and COVID-cautious customers might stop eating out altogether if they can’t eat outdoors. At least one restaurant has anticipated this, and is requiring guests to show proof of vaccination before dining inside. Will others follow suit, as many other eat-in establishments already have in the Bay Area?
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S.C. Bread Boy, that cannoli-slinging son of the Eastside, has returned to East Cliff after a two-month hiatus. After losing his restaurant industry job during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pleasure Point resident Lance Ebert began selling homemade focaccia and cannoli from the back of his Vespa and quickly became a beloved fixture on East Cliff Drive. Then in July, a temporary break was imposed on him by the county health department while he got his permits and inspections in order. Now fully above board, Ebert can once again be found at the end of 38th Avenue Thursday through Sunday at 10 a.m., hand-filling homemade cannoli, perhaps dipped in Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal, and offering fat slices of fluffy, fully loaded focaccia. Get there early. Follow on Instagram at @s.c.bread_boy. Watch for an upcoming story on S.C. Bread Boy and Santa Cruz County’s cottage industry laws.
I have been pressing my nose against the glass of 11th Hour Coffee’s new Swift Street Courtyard location, in what was once Kelly’s French Bakery, for more than a year, watching them transform the interior to reflect 11th Hour’s artistic, earthy aesthetic. Now, 11th Hour has finally leaked a potential opening day of Oct. 31. This will be the second location after its popular flagship roastery/plant store/coffee retail outlet on Center Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Once they open, the Westside will officially be a craft coffee destination, with Verve Coffee, Cat & Cloud and now 11th Hour all within one block of each other.
Downtown restaurant and wine bar Soif is requiring proof of COVID vaccination to dine in, while its patio remains open to all guests regardless of vaccination status. I wouldn’t be surprised if this move played in Soif’s favor as the weather becomes colder and guests retreat indoors. I’ve heard anecdotally that requiring proof of vaccination is common at restaurants in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. Are any other restaurants in Santa Cruz County following suit? Please reach out to me if there are others at email@example.com.
Eat this ASAP
I had never eaten an arepa before I ordered my first at Pana Food Truck a few weeks ago. I actually wasn’t sure I knew what they were, but the images of a griddled maize pocket sliced open and stuffed with savory fillings and colorful sauces were enough for me to track them down and find out. To anyone else who might be equally clueless, I highly recommend you follow in my footsteps.
Arepas are a staple of Venezuelan cuisine and they are absolutely delicious, at least when prepared by husband-and-wife team German Sierra and Gabriela Ramirez, natives of Caracas, Venezuela. My favorite is the popular Pabellon, which arrives bursting with black beans, mozzarella, shredded beef and plantain. The cornmeal wrap is crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. Bites of plantain lend a perfect sweet note to the savory beans, cheese and beef, and everything is rounded out with a creamy garlic sauce. Pana Food Truck is often parked in the Old Wrigley Building parking lot on the Westside that hosts the Saturday farmers market. Follow them on Instagram at @pana_foodtruck for locations and times.
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It can be very difficult to choose among chef Todd Parker’s many delicious dishes offered at the Kitchen at Sante Adairius Rustic Ales Santa Cruz Portal in Midtown, but don’t stress too much — it’s all good. The Sriracha Shrimp Roll, piled high on a house-made hoagie and topped with strings of nori ($19) made for a delicious and decadent lunch. The chicken liver mousse toasts topped with Blenheim apricot jam and chanterelles ($14) blew my mind. And word is getting around about the Egg Salad Sando, a highly Instagrammable take on a classic, with halves of perfectly jammy boiled eggs peeking through layers of soft, buttery homemade bread ($14). Stop in sooner rather than later, because Parker and the team at Sante Adairius are in the process of securing permits to install a pizza oven and hood. Sometime next year, the kitchen will transform into Pizza Pals, a season-driven take on Detroit-style pizza. With Parker at the helm, I’m sure it will be tasty. Located in Sante Adairius Rustic Ales Santa Cruz Portal at 1315 Water St.
Food events this week
The Santa Cruz Cider Co. will be hosting a cider-making class at its apple orchard at Luz Del Valle Farm in Aptos on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. Owner and cidermaker Nicole Todd will instruct guests on how to make your own delicious hard cider and send you home with a one-gallon fermenter of freshly pressed juice to ferment at home. Todd says that the “haunted barn” and pumpkin patch will be open, too. I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a fall afternoon. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to visit its tasting room at 65 Hangar Way in Watsonville, stop by on your way out of town. Tickets $60 in advance through Eventbrite.
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The 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley is hosting a new teaching series called Sunday Family Meal that starts this Sunday, Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a delicious lunch and participate in a nutrition class that demonstrates 1440’s “food as medicine” philosophy. Guests will also have the option to purchase a larder bag of housemade goodies to take home, including freshly baked bread and pantry treats. The Sunday Family Meal series runs Sundays through Dec. 19. Tickets $35 in advance.