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.
Although Jessica James officially created Fluff Cupcakery in 2010, that wasn’t when she started baking. Having grown up with a mother who was a cake decorator, Jessica took to baking like a duck to water, and she’s been practicing the are since before she knew how to cook. This passion naturally grew into Fluff Cupcakery. There, she offers five unique flavors of cupcakes every day. She also keeps her menu extra fresh by rotating in two to three different cupcakes varieties every day. Fluff Cupcakery stays open until 5 p.m. during the week, and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, but has been known to close up shop early if their cupcakes have sold out or they’ve used all the flour in California to make one Rose Bowl-sized cupcake.
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.
Paradise Tans accommodates customers of all shade preferences with a fleet of tanning beds that deliver four levels of tan. Among these beds is the Beauty Angel bed, which stimulates collagen to diminish signs of aging, skin blemishes, and floating halos. The staff also offers custom airbrush spray tans, administered by hand for an even, natural-looking bronze.