There's meticulous attention to detail in every flakey layer of Capitola Coffee Roasters and Patisserie's baked goods. The team creates their pastries by hand each morning, but the process starts even earlier. They first source real butter, unbleached flour, and other organic ingredients when possible. Then they mix the dough, which in some cases chills for 20 hours. Each passing minute infuses the future treat with more texture and flavor. Only then is it ready to turn into a breakfast bun, croissant, or danish. As the day goes on, the oven welcomes other desserts: bread pudding, apple pies made with organic fruit, or perhaps a flour-less chocolate cake. Oftentimes, the deservedly proud bakers post photos of their current creation on Facebook.
Outside this kitchen, aromas of tea and fresh-roasted coffee dance their way through the air. Baristas mix and pour all sorts of caffeinated drinks, including cappuccino, lattes, and chai tea. They often add house made whipped cream or flavored syrups for extra flavor. While Capitola Coffee Roasters and Patisserie still emphasizes breakfast, the shop serves sandwiches and soup, also known as liquid sandwiches.
Sailboats skim across Monterey Bay under a sky dotted with gulls. This is the typical scene diners see at Wharf House Restaurant, whether they’re gazing out the dining-room windows or lounging on the rooftop deck. The coastal panorama perfectly complements the plates of prawns, crab, snapper, cod, and other freshly caught fish that ground the Wharf House's menu. Even breakfast is inspired by the sea: salmon scrambles, bay-shrimp omelets, and crab florentine help guests muster the energy to endure an afternoon of lounging on the beach. In addition to seafood dishes, the kitchen crafts filet mignon and grills chicken breast for hearty evening meals.
The dining room reflects the establishment’s penchant for the oceanic with life preservers, glass fishing floats wreathed in netting, and even an antique scuba-diving suit from the days before humans evolved their very own gills. In the summer, classic rock and blues artists entertain diners on the upstairs patio.
Sweet Pea's Cafe & Catering specializes in crepes for breakfast and lunch, accenting their café food with coffee from North Coast Roasting Company. Breakfast stretches from open to close, boasting eggs benedict crepes and fluffy farm-fresh omelettes wrapped around avocado or apple sausage. Savory crepes enclose fillings of salmon or brie, while sweet crepes are stuffed with Nutella, strawberries, or a light combo of lemon and sugar. Gluten-averse patrons can comfortably enjoy both gluten-free crepes and gluten-free sandwiches stacked on Udi’s breads. At the Capitola location, paintings and other work from local artists populate the walls of the cozy café.
Even though Severino?s Bar & Grill is located thousands of miles away from Beantown, the menu still boasts a cup of chowder that won the Santa Cruz 2011 Clam Chowder Cook-Off. This lauded chowder shares the menu with a wide range of shareable bar bites, burgers, and grilled entrees prepared by Chef Antonio and his team. Guests relax and nosh in the restaurant's spacious dining room or out on the patio, which overlooks a pond swimming with unchowdered koi.
Burgers, breakfasts, hot dogs, and other classic diner dishes get a vegetarian spin at Dharma's Restaurant. The kitchen staff stocks the pantry with as many organic ingredients as possible, including grains, fresh vegetables, and soy-protein products that have not been genetically modified or ever seen by cows. For breakfast, organic tofu is scrambled with thai curry spices, kalamata olives, or pesto. Whole-wheat buns embrace burgers formed from tempeh or spicy tofu and topped with vegan cheese and soy mayo. Chefs create a map of international flavors by sautéing baked tofu with thai peanut sauce or salsa, or simmering the cubes in curry and serving with papadam. Most items have vegan alternatives available, and a separate menu highlights gluten-free recipes.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.