Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 07th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Real Thing

dining_RealThaiHomemade recipes draw raves at Real Thai Kitchen
Hidden behind a Blockbuster store in the Seabright neighborhood, Real Thai Kitchen carefully prepares nearly one hundred dishes from the tropical paradise of Thailand.

The popular weekday lunch buffet ($8.95) included coconut milk soup, rice, salad, Old-fashioned Pad Thai, tempura, and a selection of curries and sautéed dishes with meat and/or vegetables. We ordered from the menu, feeling more like having leftovers than over-eating.

My favorite soup here is Tom Yum, in a cup ($3.95), bowl ($7.95) which serves three or four, or a flaming maw fai donut-shaped pot ($10.95). Strips of white chicken were bathed in a tart and spicy broth seasoned with lemongrass, kaffir leaves and the eucalyptus-like rhizome galangal. Fresh mushrooms and tomato wedges were added before serving.

We dipped hot skewers of Chicken Satay ($7.25) in mild, sweet and savory peanut sauce. A pair of Fresh Spring Rolls ($3.95) was stuffed with thin strands of noodles, organic tofu, and vegetables; their bright colors visible through translucent rice paper wrappers.

The orange sherbet-colored Thai Iced Tea ($1.95), seasoned with star anise and topped with sweetened milk, was refreshingly decadent.

Thai salads are topped with grilled beef or deep-fried catfish with mint, cashews and green apples. I enjoyed the Ground Pork Salad ($9.45) which was loaded onto a large plate. Spicy white meat with slivered bamboo shoots, red onion, cilantro, flaked and whole dried Thai chilies and peanuts was drizzled with tart, spicy lime dressing, and served with sliced hearts of romaine lettuce.

Rather than relying on prepared curry pastes, Real Thai makes theirs from scratch with fresh leaves, and fruit from the kaffir lime tree. The nutty sweetness of brown rice goes exceptionally well with the curries, which are made to order with varying levels of heat. I like my Thai spicy, and this Kitchen doesn't disappoint. Bright Yellow Chicken Curry Breast ($9.45) held chunks of sweet potatoes in a smooth coconut milk sauce.

House specials include Spicy Basil Duck, and juicy marinated and grilled barbecue chicken. For dessert, the coconut ice cream is a treat.

Real Thai Kitchen, 1632 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-2559. Beer and wine. Serving lunch weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays at noon. Dinner nightly at 5 p.m. Closed Sundays. Visit ★★★

The last time I tended to tomatoes in my garden, they ripened to a beautiful crimson color, and were absolutely tasteless. This year I'm going to enjoy the same heirloom varieties enjoyed by diners at Manresa, a renowned Los Gatos restaurant (whose chef was just nominated for a Beard Award) which sources its produce from Ben Lomond's Love Apple Farm. The Farm's annual sale of more than a hundred varieties of tomatoes is underway three days a week, and April is the month to transplant them (except in colder mountain regions: wait until May.)

The Farm also provides information on raising healthy and productive plants, offers classes from building the best tomato cage to container vegetable gardening and chicken-keeping, and maintains an incredibly informative website.
Love Apple Farm, 9299 Glen Arbor Road, Ben Lomond. Plant sale Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday through May 30, 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. Visit

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


The New Tech Nexus

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


At Clothes Range

FashionART’s 10th anniversary show introduces a new generation of designers on the edge


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired


Wargin Wines

The wine world is buzzing about this Pinot Gris