Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Mar 04th
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

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia