Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 19th
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Judge Not by Size Alone

dining_HoleIntheWallThe Hole in the Wall restaurant combines international flavors to start the day out right
When I travel, it's not uncommon to search for little hole-in-the-wall restaurants where meals are surprisingly good. Such is the case in Aptos where just eight tables inside and six more outside comprise the capacity of The Hole in the Wall restaurant, sandwiched between Manuel's Mexican Restaurant and the Mediterranean.

Breakfast, which is served all day, includes Belgian waffles, pancakes and French toast with fruit, biscuits and gravy, Benedicts and even a Brazilian açai bowl with granola, fruit, yogurt, and bee pollen.

On a sunny Saturday morning we enjoyed a patio breakfast at a tall table by the bougainvillea-threaded wrought iron gate. From the speaker overhead flowed a mélange of ’70s pop, reggae and salsa. Charming young staff members worked together to keep coffee cups brimming while getting a healthy workout restocking the kitchen from an upstairs pantry.

The huge plate of Huevos Rancheros ($9.95) featured two puffy fried corn tortillas spread with refried beans, mild bell pepper and tomato ranchera sauce topped with a pair of eggs, sliced avocado, sour cream, green onion and flavorful feta cheese. On the side were lightly seasoned red-skinned potato home fries.

For the Seacliff Omelet ($11.95) I replaced the spuds with a bright cup of antioxidants ($1.95) which included kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes and bananas.  The folded egg pocket was loaded with sweet, white pieces of crab with baby bay shrimp. The killer house-made salsa with red and green bell peppers and roasted black bits lent a wonderful spicy burn.

At lunch, burgers are served with fries, and there are also quesadillas, calamari, and fish and chips. Ladies at the adjacent table were just gushing over the huge Thai Chicken Salad ($10.95) with asparagus and cashews.

I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich ($10.95), which is served with home fries, french fries, onion rings or salad. I chose the latter with house-made Thai dressing on the side. Mixed baby lettuces sat atop crisp iceberg with grated carrots, slices of large tomato and black olives. The viscous tart-sweet dressing was dotted with sesame seeds.

In the sandwich, between slices of rustic, olive-dotted bread spread with a hint of pesto mayonnaise, a thin, smoky, grilled chicken breast was joined by bright, roasted, al dente red peppers, mildly flavored, melted jack cheese, and bright emerald wilted spinach.

The Hole in the Wall, 257 Center Ave., Aptos, CA, 685-0200. Serving breakfast and lunch daily 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.★★★

Mea culpa. I got my wires crossed in my tax-day review of the new Caffe Tazzina. It turns out that Katelin Brightman (who owns and operates Black China Bakery with her mother Patricia Bowers) is not an owner of the new cafe. She was merely assisting her friend Tim O'Conner, owner of Caffe Tazzina and Pacific Espresso with the transition of licenses and accounts. My sincere apologies to all. With the recent rush of nice weather, I'm looking forward to another meal on the sunny patio.


Caffe Tazzina, 1121 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Beer and wine. Open Monday through Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday until 4 p.m., and Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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