Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Food for all Reasons

dining_ElPalomarSeafood, tequila and merriment are specialties of El Palomar
Whether you're looking for a romantic dinner, a cheap late night snack, or a lively cantina atmosphere, downtown's El Palomar has got you covered. And with upward of 70 tequilas, you're bound to find something you like.

The cantina was brightly lit by the midday sun through translucent corrugated ceiling panels. Lively Latin music and numerous plants, including an agave, gave the space a tropical feel. The thick, warm tortilla chips crunched lightly, laden with smooth and spicy salsa interspersed with minced cilantro and onions. On weekdays you'll find a special lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Two-item combinations ($6.95) include a tostada with beans and shredded lightly seasoned chicken on a crisp corn tortilla topped with cabbage, salsa fresca and sour cream. The Sope is similar, except the ingredients were stuffed inside a puffed-up house-made corn tortilla.

The huge Palomar Special Burrito ($8.75) was topped with thin tomato ranchera sauce. It oozed melted cheese when cut, and was stuffed with whole beans, chunks of charbroiled chicken breast a la parrilla, and bits of minced red and green bell peppers. It was served with a small salad of cabbage, cucumber and salsa fresca. In a similar preparation, the fried chimichanga is filled with either the chicken or grilled skirt steak, and includes guacamole.

The darkened dining room with its tall, vaulted, deco-painted ceiling is lined with comfortable, colorful booths. The recipes have been handed down through generations of the Espinoza family. Hailing from the Michoacán state of Mexico, which means "place of the fishermen" in the ancient Nahuatl language (the same tongue that gave us the words avocado and chocolate), seafood dishes are their specialty. Two Enchiladas de Camarones ($17.95) in corn tortillas were filled with firm, plump shrimp sautéed in tomatillo and a vibrant orange-red mild ranchera salsa and topped with cabbage and a big dollop of smooth guacamole and sour cream. The orange-hued rice had an interesting almost-smoky flavor. Tortillas on the side were precisely speckled and elastic, emitting the wonderful aroma of fresh masa.

For something really budget-friendly, El Palomar's Taco Bar is the place to be. It's often busy; especially on Tuesdays' College Night when the tacos are just $2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Meat selections include carne asada and seafood for both tacos ($2.25 to $3.25) and burritos ($5 to $6.50). I dug into a basket of hot chips with salsa, watching the staff quickly make tortillas during a short wait at lunchtime. A thick corn tortilla was spread with refried beans and topped with large chunks of smoky, tender carne asada beef with crunchy cabbage, cilantro and tomatillo salsa.

Happy hour runs Monday through Thursday with $2 tacos and beers, $3 burritos, and $3.50 margaritas. On Fridays between 4 and 6 p.m., appetizers are halfprice.


El Palomar, 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575. Full bar. Open daily at 11 a.m. with weekday lunch and Sunday brunch until 3 p.m. Weekday dinners from 5 p.m. Serving all day on weekends. Taco bar until 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 Friday and Saturday. The bar is open until 1 a.m. Visit elpalomarcilantros.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival