To prove they've stayed true to their roots, certified organic foods must name every member of their family trees. Dine on distinguished ingredients with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of food and drinks at Pearl of the Ocean in Santa Cruz.
Voted Best New Restaurant of 2010 by Good Times Santa Cruz, Pearl of the Ocean bakes, simmers, and sautées imported Sri Lankan, local farmer's market, and organic ingredients in a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and meaty dishes. At dinner, tongues conversant in vegan vernacular can sample the kandy pollos curry, which immerses supersweet baby jackfruit in Sri Lankan spices, and can be accompanied by coconut leek sambal sauces, spicy potato, or the wisecracking buddy cops Cashew & Cauliflower ($15.50). In the tikka masala plate, chicken breasts marinated overnight and cooked in spiced cream derive powerful flavor from long-simmering resentment over losing a window office in the food pyramid ($17).
Desserts such as watalappam coconut custard entice tourist palates to stroll through their cashew-strewn valleys and ascend their yolky hills ($5.50). At lunch, patrons can consume salad rolls, a smorgasbord of sweet tempe, avocado, salad leaves, and rice noodles bundled in a thin rice wrapper, topped with mango chutney and an orange bowler hat ($8.50).
Pearl of the Ocean
Owner and chef Ayoma Wilen took the reins at Pearl of the Ocean in 2010, and that year, the restaurant was named Best New Restaurant by both the Santa Cruz Weekly and Santa Cruz Good Times. And in 2013, she garnered the Best Chef America award. Focusing on fresh, organic ingredients, Ayoma oversees the vegetarian-focused menus that outline delectable arrangements of locally sourced ingredients, including some culled from the area’s farmers markets, and Sri Lankan spices. These arrangements are manifested in dishes as colorful and complex as a 20-sided Rubik’s Cube. Pearl of the Ocean’s staff also pours a variety of libations and non-alcoholic beverages, such as the spicy chai tea, and their signature drink, Kiss of the Island Princess, is composed of Montresor Prosecco, hibiscus flower, and love potion.