Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Jan 28th
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

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots