From a business started in 1979 inside a tiny house on Mission Street, Saturn Cafe has grown into a green-certified restaurant filled with decorated tables, colorful booths, and a retro feel. Every night chefs whip up local and organic ingredients into vegan and vegetarian versions of traditional American diner staples.
In the kitchen, cooks prepare award-winning fries in trans-fat free oil that they recycle into bio-diesel fuel, and craft a BLT on sourdough with fakin' bacon. Skilled hands assemble omelets with organic eggs, red onions, and red chard, and whip up vegan and vegetarian milkshakes to wash down wheat- and gluten-free bites.
In 2009, Guy Fieri visited Santa Cruz Diner for an episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and even he was surprised by the diner's diverse selection. The kitchen staff prepares everything from American favorites such as burgers and meatloaf to Vietnamese dishes such as pho and spring rolls.
Committed to providing fresh pours, the winetenders of Gather Wine Bar uncork only 25 to 35 of their carefully curated central-coast wines each week. Knowledgeable staff can recommend a bottle for customers to pair with charcuterie plates, flatbread pizzas, and gourmet pub snacks such as bacon-wrapped dates. Alternatively, themed wine flights can provide a cross section of a single varietal or eclectic tastes from an array of vines. Live music acts and singles events create an upbeat atmosphere on many nights, and catered parties can gather small groups around a fire pit or feed 100 or more people with unlimited appetizers from the bar.
At Holder's Country Inn, pancakes for dinner is always an option?and the pancakes come in a variety of styles, too, from chocolate-infused to blueberry-topped. The restaurant serves its breakfast plates all day, a selection that also includes omelets, golden waffles, and corned-beef hash. For lunch and dinner, though, diners can choose from traditional options as well, including new york steak, pasta, and sandwiches such as the turkey avocado melt.
The burrito sits steaming on its plate at Casita Linda Mexican Restaurant. Like a bomb-squad technician, the curious diner wants to know how this thing ticks, and cuts an intricate window in the fresh tortilla casing. Tender beans, rice, and pico de gallo nestle in tangles of shredded chicken. It could have been carnitas, asada, or tender al pastor. The staccato snap of fajitas against the scalding onyx surface of the skillet interrupts the quiet and draws eyes to the menu. In minutes, the kitchen erupts with individual tacos and chipotle-infused enchiladas crowded with fistfuls of pork and beef. Plates clatter onto tables, and the comfortable silence of a meal in full swing fills the eatery as the sun beats down outside upon the red-clay tiled roof.