Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Coastal Hideaway

dining_CascadeAt Costanoa's Cascade Bar and Grille, KOA melds magnificently with sustainable haute cuisine
I had been looking forward to our anniversary get-away weekend. In addition to the obvious, it held the opportunity to experience a trio of recommended restaurants. Driving north on Highway 1 on a Saturday morning, with bucolic farms on one side and flocks of parasurfers hovering over whitecaps on the other, cares quickly vanished.

Just two miles north of Año Nuevo State Reserve, we turned right onto tree-lined Rossi Road towards our first stop, Costanoa. We checked into our Douglas fir cabin and reviewed the day's extensive activity list. Sandwiched between face painting and burger BBQs was wine tasting at Cascade Bar and Grille.

Cascade boasts numerous accolades, including San Mateo County's gold award for use of fresh, local and sustainable products. They even pour beers from Santa Cruz Aleworks and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery. Seats at the serpentine bar were filled with people meeting people. The wisecracking bartender mischievously hid labels and bantered comically with patrons. Seasoned squash and sunflower seeds, and bowls of bright green olives were welcome with the unique sequence of pours; from Meridian Chardonnay to an incredibly meaty Martella Petite Syrah. To enhance the experience, we ordered a Cheese Plate ($10) with blue, brie, soft-ripened goat cheese and Gouda.

Returning a few hours later for dinner, the bartender Don, now dressed in black, had morphed into a welcoming and mannerly maître d' who showed us to our table where his wife Barbara would be our server. The large, open dining room was full of families enjoying a spring weekend.

We began with Jalapeño Margaritas ($9); a blend of Hornitos, fresh lime, and chili simple syrup, which hinted at the unique flavor of the popular pepper without the heat. A paddle-shaped bread board held a toasted baguette and herbed butter, which was magically replenished when empty.

Chef Michael Davis steamed Mussels and Clams ($13) in Santa Cruz Ale, adding fresh tomatoes just before serving. The seafood-flavored broth with pesto and crushed red peppers rivaled any I've tasted this side of Charleston.

Locally raised sustainable abalone ($19) was the second appetizer. Panko-encrusted in stylish brown butter, it was served with pea sprouts, julienne of squash and tart grapefruit and red onion salsa.

The charred Skirt Steak ($25), marinated in red wine, was accompanied by roasted corn and red bell peppers, smoky chard, and sweet potato chips.

Filet Mignon ($34) was absolutely tender throughout and cooked to a perfect medium rare. It was served with curly battered and deep fried red onions, thin spears of grilled asparagus, and spicy, finely puréed green cilantro-chili chimichuri.

To end the evening, we shared a snifter of Soquel's Osocalis Brandy, enjoying its caramelized, fruity aroma.

Accommodations at Costanoa include tent camping, RV parking, tent bungalows, lodge hotel rooms and cabins with fireplaces. I had chosen the latter for sentimental reasons, and although it turned out to be a duplex, the parents next door kindly kept their little ones busy outside.

Cascade Bar and Grille at Costanoa, 2001 Rossi Road at Hwy 1, Pescadero, (650) 879-1100. Full bar. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 2

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Extra Pop

Assembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired