As a child living at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ralph DiTullio spent his Sunday afternoons brewing hearty sauces side by side with his grandfather in preparation for the family dinner. As the smell of tomatoes filled the kitchen, his mother and grandmother cut and boiled fresh pastas. On other occasions, he found himself in the cool darkness of the garage, where his grandfather smashed and fermented his own grapes to make wine. Today, nearly all the recipes at Nonno's Italian Cafe build on the hearty Italian dishes Ralph’s mother and grandmother used to make. In the small mountaintop cafe, Ralph cultivates this same sense of familial bonding with new patrons and usual crowds alike, proffering updates on current weather and traffic to callers from the valley below.
While Ralph begins each day crafting potato-filled breakfast burritos and freshly baked turnovers, his lunch and dinner menus transition into traditional Italian fare, such as pastas stuffed with cheese or topped with artichokes and meatballs. He and his culinary crew fire pizzas outside in a wood oven, stacking each with Mediterranean vegetables and barbecued meats with greater care than an artist painting a still-life jenga tower. Every Friday and Saturday, the staff fires up the barbecue for sizzling steaks and sausages. To complement both hearty and light fare, the culinary crew keeps a cellar of nearly 2,000 wine labels and up to 70 beers, replenishing their stock with selections from mostly small international vintners and brewers. They present a changing roster of these wines at weekly tastings to suit different themes and keep the wines from becoming codependent with the house crystal. While all sampling services are kept at small sizes indoors, they can spill outside to bocce-ball courts with courtside seating for up to 150.
Like many success stories, the Core Fitness tale begins when a business executive quit her job to pursue her true dream. For Nanci Mora, her dream was to become a fitness instructor. After 10 years of training and working as a trainer, she began conducting her own Pilates classes for three friends in her home. As word of Nanci's replenishing and invigorating Pilates workouts spread, her class size continued to expand in an inverse relationship to her students’ waistlines.
Today, Nanci continues to teach Pilates at her own professional studio, Core Fitness, where she and a staff of dancers, Pilates instructors, and fitness professionals teach workout classes throughout the week. Amidst the studio's earth-toned walls and towering mirrors, professional Pilates reformer machines help clients tone bodies.
The piney scents of douglas firs, white firs, and scotch pines waft through the grounds of Summit Christmas Tree Farm, an 80-acre farm located just east of Highway 17. After finding a tree of the right size and height, customers take part in a time-honored holiday tradition: chopping it down with tools provided by the farm. All that chopping can work up an appetite, which is why the Cub Scouts operate an onsite snack shack.
Almost all of the foodstuffs at Santa Cruz Local Foods hail from farms within a hundred-mile radius, making a weekly shopping trip as eco-friendly as it is convenient. After ordering online, you’ll have a box ready for either pickup or delivery the following Tuesday, packed with eight selections of the season's ripest produce, such as sweet potatoes, apples, avocados, pod-people pods, and lettuce. Bread, cheese, and olive oil might round out your pic-a-nic basketload of fresh, healthy vittles. Besides filling your body with fruit that doesn't have the waxy aftertaste of wax fruit, a box of goodies from Santa Cruz Local Foods fits your carbon footprint into the daintiest sandal and supports family farms in the community.
With a stay at Toll House Hotel in Los Gatos (Campbell - Los Gatos), you'll be close to Villa Montalvo. This hotel is within the vicinity of Mountain Winery and The Pruneyard Shopping Center.
Make yourself at home in one of the 115 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod docking stations and DVD players. Rooms have private balconies or patios. 37-inch LCD televisions and CD players are provided, while complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected. Private bathrooms have designer toiletries and hair dryers.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Take advantage of recreation opportunities such as a 24-hour fitness facility, or other amenities including complimentary wireless Internet access and concierge services. Additional features include gift shops/newsstands, wedding services, and a fireplace in the lobby.
Enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or stay in and take advantage of the hotel's room service (during limited hours). At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a 24-hour business center, audiovisual equipment, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Event facilities at this hotel consist of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. Free parking is available onsite.
At Southern Kitchen, guests may find themselves surrounded by fans in San Francisco Giants gear devouring old-fashioned breakfast and lunch food and chatting with the friendly owners, the Thompson family. Mike and Rose Thompson, both Giants fans themselves, took over the venue in 1993, recruiting their sons Mike and Ed to help them on the staff. Their down-home hospitality and comfort-food specials soon drew hungry groups to the roomy, semicircular booths, and amid the friendly chitchat, both Mike and Ed met their future wives.
This same neighborly vibe persists in the dining room today. To complement the quaint ambiance, the breakfast and lunch menus stick to delectably traditional cooking methods. Produce arrives at the kitchen daily, every egg is fresh off the farm, and baked goods—from biscuits to muffins—are housemade. Guests can indulge in chicken-fried steak and signature sausage gravy at any time of day as the kitchen never stops serving breakfast, and every weekday lunch plate includes a cup of housemade soup. Personal touches also speak to the eatery's down-home credo; for example, children can order their pancakes in the shapes of cheerful bunny rabbits or their favorite spherical planets.