Yogizmo is a frozen yogurt shop that uses fresh, organic ingredients and a unique yogurt machine nicknamed "The Gizmo" to create distinct dessert tastes. Imported from Canada, The Gizmo welds together Montreal-style hard tart yogurt or Marianne's homemade ice cream with fruit before heading home at day's end to its blender-children. Try the signature "Gizmo" yogurt concoction ($3.35 for small, $5.50 for large) or inspire bashful blushing in a spoon with the "topless" frozen yogurt ($2.55 for small). Frozen yogurts with one topping ($3.50 for small) and two-or-more-topping versions ($4 for small) are also available for those wishing to add to the yogurt's existing all-natural and artificial flavor-free coat. Yogizmo boasts an array of approximately 80 toppings—bury your treat under layers of Nite Owl cookie pieces, hand-shaved Belgian chocolate, flaked organic coconut, or other fruity favorites.
The seasoned bakers at Nite Owl Cookies stay up late to provide insomniac cookie cravers with natural, preservative-free dough disks. Mix and match any of Night Owl’s seven decadent flavors to form your sweet-tooth satiating baker’s dozen—chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, brownie cookie, vegan chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin.
Cafetal's menu is fully stocked with plates of breakfast and lunch fare, spun like vinyl with distinct Latin flare. Taste buds are tickled awake with the veggie breakfast burrito, an amalgam of eggs, cheese, hash browns, bell peppers, spinach, and onion rolled into a food tube with creamy avocado and spicy salsa ($5.25). Lunchers can soak up rays on the outdoor patio while enjoying a Mexican torta, a toasted Mexican sweet roll housing ham, queso fresco, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and avocado ($5.50). The café's food is coupled with an array of potables, including the Mexicano, a steamy blend of espresso and Mexican hot chocolate ($3.50+), also available iced ($3.75+), blended ($4.25+), or in a doubled-strawed beer helmet. Typists can practice one-handed surfing on the eatery's free Wi-Fi, occupying their leftover digits with a scoop of Marianne’s ice cream ($2.25).
At Conscious Creations Cafe, owner and head chef Joshua Server fills tables with unique dishes that use exclusively local, organically grown ingredients from sustainable providers. The ever-changing menu shifts every day of the week, filling its pages with dishes designed to showcase the freshest selections from farmers' markets in Salinas and Watsonville or local grocers such as New Leaf and Staff of Life. Goddess salads jumble fresh vegetables such as onions, carrots, and leafy greens into a giant bowl with tangy feta and dressing made with the tears of Athena. Emphasizing vegetarian and occasionally vegan values, the soups on the menu rotate daily depending on pantry availability. Entrees plate a combination of dishes that have included mediterranean gnocchi, tempeh empanadas, and free-range chicken satay, accompanied by a side of mashed potatoes or rice. For an additional cost, guests can complement solid fare with a glass of wine or a recycled wineglass full of beer.
Since 1975, Polar Bear Ice Cream's handcrafted their gourmet ice creams in 5-gallon batches. In 2006, the new owners improved upon their ice cream recipe by using as many natural and local ingredients as possible. An inventive roster of over 100 flavors of ice creams, dairy free sorbets, and yogurts is highlighted by varieties such as chocolate brownie batter and toasted almond, all piled up inside hand-made waffle cones, made-to-order specialty cakes, and dairy-free sorbet freezes. Polar Bear’s paws span the entire Santa Cruz landscape, the wholesome treats also available at numerous restaurants and shops.
The Penny Ice Creamery churns together organic, sustainable, and locally sourced milk, eggs, and sugar to create cool, custom temptations for all personalities and dietary preferences. Since its inception, the parlor has stuck closely to its humble hometown roots, and even caught the attention of Vice President Joe Biden, who recently gave the creamery a telephoned lick of approval. In terms of in-stock satiating wonders, homemade waffle cones runneth over with cunningly complex single-scoop flavors, including refreshing celery raisin, sweet parsnip nutmeg, and unshaven bourbon-bacon chocolate ($3.50 for a single scoop). After cooling down with a scoop, sundae, or malt, warm the face's heart with a freshly baked beignet ($5) or a helping of Earl Grey or mexican-hot-chocolate bonbons ($4), both of which have been known to end wars, move hearts, and rekindle love affairs with long-forgotten taste buds.
Named Best Teahouse in 2009 and 2010 by both the Santa Cruz Weekly and Good Times, Asana is a leafy retreat carrying more than 85 teas from around the world available for purchase either in bulk form or in SpecialTea drinks made in-house. Tea varieties span the color wheel, with a selection of white, green, oolong, black, tisanes, Puerh, and blooming teas, many of which sell for $4–$6 per oz. Asana's café also pours and purees specialty tea lattes, tea smoothies, and coffee drinks that dance upon your tongue and stream down your throat before warming you up from crust to core. Liquid libations include the Thai iced tea made with imported ice cubes from Thailand ($3.50) and the Vanilla Starry Night Latte, which includes rooibos tisane with whispers of vanilla and citrus ($3.50). The Lavender Love smoothie is a velvety valentine of lavender tisane, ice cream, banana, and vanilla extract that will make you reconsider culinary uses for other potpourri staples ($6.50).