Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Smooth Thai Landing at Main Beach

Sawasdee2Soquel’s Sawasdee earns great views at Casablanca Inn

I was looking forward to a Thai lunch, and an almost waterfront table overlooking the Main Beach surf on a pleasant day made this midweek jaunt even more tantalizing.

Walking a block down the Main Street hill from the designated free parking lot, the breeze bore the familiar summer scents of salt, sea and seaweed. Gulls closely followed dive-bombing pelicans in hopes of a catch, while a lone stand-up paddler glided atop the ocean’s smooth surface.

Elements of the previous Casa Blanca Bistro have remained at Sawasdee by the Sea, such as the dreamy sky blue ceiling with wisps of painted clouds. Of course the tri-level seating area which ensures a view from each table remains, but each brass bar-lined section now supports planters with arrays of attractive plastic gardens. Along two sides of the perimeter, bench seating has been added, upholstered tastefully in turquoise.

To acknowledge Sawasdee’s foray into a new neighborhood, I decided to take some risks myself, ordering dishes I had previously not tasted. Except for a half order of Fresh Spring Rolls ($3.95). Stuffed with threads of red and white cabbage, carrot, vermicelli and tiny sprouts, with spears of fried tofu and crisp cucumber, it was served with, so far, my favorite local peanut sauce; smooth, sweet , tart and a touch spicy.

For the salad course Yum Naem Sod ($8.95) is a ginger-lover’s dream come true. Long matchstick shreds of ginger were mixed with ground pork, bright julienne of carrot, thick slices of red onion, whole peanuts, cilantro and green onion. The thin dressing had a lovely lemony flavor.

My personal list of comfort foods includes Thai spicy green curry and Tom Yum Gai hot and sour soup, both of which are enjoyable at Sawasdee. But sticking to my mission of exploration at the beach, the second dish was a seafood stir-fry, Pad Ta-Lay ($18.95). Purple-tinged shoots of Thai basil were interspersed in the garlic, shrimp, fresh green beans, and squid, which had been scored in such a way that they became tubular when cooked. I added dried ground chilies and salty chili paste to spice up the dark fish sauce.

The BBQ chicken ($9.95) was healthy in both dimensions and ingredients. Turmeric-colored skinless chicken breast, was marinated in spices and grilled, and served atop lightly steamed vegetables. It was a bit dry by itself, as chicken can be, but it hydrated perfectly when dipped into the thin salty and citrusy herbed sauce.

Our server Bundit mentioned that Sweet Rice with Mango ($6.95) and Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream ($6.95) were traditional Thai desserts. Having never tasted either, I was pleasantly surprised by the latter. A trio of warm, halved bananas, covered thickly with batter and fried was a sweet complement to the peanut-topped tower of ice cream. Sorbet-like with a mild coconut flavor and a mouth-feel that was icy rather than fatty, Bundit noted it was made with coconut as opposed to dairy milk. 

Sawasdee by the Sea, 101 Main St., Santa Cruz., 466-9009. Full Bar. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 10 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


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

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


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location