Since debuting in Taiwan in the 1980s, sweet tapioca pearls have traveled the world, jockeying for the title of America’s next taste sensation upon landing in California. Made of sweet potato, cassava root, and a hint of brown sugar, each pearl is soft on the outside and chewy on the inside, much like a nerf ball filled with creamy mashed potatoes. Tapioca Express captures the gems in more than 100 frosty, fruit-flavored bubble drinks and velvety milk teas—crafted from authentic ingredients imported from Taiwan and hand-selected tea leaves—in flavors such as mango, lavender, almond, and smoky oolong. The pearlescent bubble drinks pair with a menu of Taiwanese snacks, including fried steam buns and crispy calamari rings and combo entrees such as curried chicken and braised pork ribs.
The bean barons at Second Street Café sling brewed-to-order fair-trade coffee, specialized sippables, and breakfast and lunch fare that employs fresh organic produce. Shake off nightmares of showing up fully clothed at a nudist beach with the Jump Start ($2.85–$3.25), which drops a double shot of espresso in a cup of classic joe from the nearby Verve's Coffee Roasters. A selection of bagels ($1.65–$2.95), breakfast sandwiches ($3.95–$4.95), and breakfast burritos ($3.95–$4.25) ensure a mollified morning, while iced americanos ($2.50) and lattes ($3.50) cool off humid highway hoppers.
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company provides bulk beans as well as a daily selection of more than 15 single-serving sips of delicious, locally roasted beans. Its signature BrewBar lets baristas brew a single cup of made-to-order coffee according to drinkers’ discerning taste buds ($2.25–$2.75). A simple fast cup ($1.95) allows for microroasted magnificence on the way from one ribbon-cutting ceremony to another, and bean bags filled with varieties such as the fair-trade, organic Heart of Darkness and the subtly chocolaty Moka Java ($11.95/lb. each) provide a drinkable range of color, consistency, and central-nervous-system jolts to the home-brewer. Solid treats such as vegan cookies ($2 each) or Starz cupcakes ($3.75 each) help jittery stomachs absorb caffeine kicks like a delicious bulletproof vest. Customers who are handcuffed to their computers in a wacky romantic-comedy scenario can go online to order beans delivered to their door, including the two-roast-toned, fair-trade, organic Blues Breaker and the insomnia-enkindling Zooom Brew ($11.95/lb. each).
Recently praised in a review by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, this casual eatery charms patrons with its cheery staff, rustic-colored walls adorned with trompe d'oeil frescoes, and a no-nonsense menu packed with omelettes, belgian waffles, french toast, and hearty sandwiches. The Hole in the Wall Café draws in eager noshers looking to jump-start their day with a breakfast of the savory huevos rancheros or eggs benedict. Diners can find a cozy afternoon respite at the café's miniature courtyard while nibbling on a mediterranean chicken sandwich, or evade the watchful office llama to snack on a lunchtime california cobb salad. Contact The Hole in the Wall Café for any questions regarding its menu and pricing.
Regal Bagel's bakers churn out bushels of fresh bagels every morning and serve them throughout the day with a variety of toppings. Regal Bagel's rings of dough are laboriously boiled and toasted, and come in more than 20 flavors, including pumpernickel, blueberry, cinnamon sugar, garlic, and determination ($.90+ for one, $4.75 for six, $8.25 for a dozen). While tasty enough to be eaten unadulterated, bagels can be augmented with a selection of 11 cream cheeses, such as tomato basil, strawberry, and jalapeño. Those who wish to venture further into the depths of bagel alteration can order one of the deli sandwiches, which combine disparate elements such as mayo, tomatoes, and tuna, turkey, or roast beef, and can be paired with a hot or iced coffee or tea ($5.25+).
Swan & Company's stylists artfully resurface heads of hair and primp nail beds with salon products and keen aesthetic senses. During haircuts, meticulous scissors snip and shorten any rogue strands before the remaining locks are styled into shapes that fit customers' heads. Along with cutting and styling services, the staff can cleanse complexions with exfoliating microdermabrasion, dress nails in CND Shellac polish, and de-frizz hairdos with Coppola keratin smoothing.