Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
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Same, Yet Different

dining_hotplateKickback Coffee House and Eatery slid into the Seabright neighborhood offering free wi-fi, organic coffee, and a mostly familiar menu. A bit of renovation created a comfortable space, where local art is for sale on the cleanly painted walls.

You'll recognize the long list of breakfast burritos from Kickback's predecessor Chill Out Cafe (which still operates its store on 41st Avenue) including numerous vegetarian offerings.

The hefty No.18 Spicy Bird ($7.05) is swaddled in a large, supple flour tortilla. Real cubes of flavorful roasted turkey are combined with scrambled eggs, grated potatoes, tomatoes, tart green chilies, mashed avocado and Swiss cheese with their signature spicy sauce.

For lunch I enjoyed the daily special, a Chicken Chimichanga ($7.75). Thin slices of chicken breast are rolled in a flour tortilla along with beans, onions, and bell peppers, and then fried to a crisp tanned brown. At the condiment counter I found the vinegary Kickback Sauce, which was broodingly dark and marvelously spicy.

The meal included Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, salty shreds of Parmesan cheese and crunchy herbed croutons in a classic dressing.

New to the menu are burgers, including a vegetarian Garden Burger with Swiss cheese, sprouts, garlic mayonnaise and Pale Ale mustard on a wheat roll. The beef versions use grass-fed natural Angus beef. I sipped a large iced tea ($1.75), strong and refreshing, while awaiting the Johnny Bravo ($8.95). A puffy wheat roll held chewy bacon, sweet grilled red onions, a fat slice of tomato, romaine, and melted cheddar cheese. It was served with a pile of potato chips which I dipped in fresh housemade salsa.

Kickback Coffeehouse and Eatery, 1222 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-3990. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit Kickback on facebook.

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