During two separate incidents, friends raved about The Clubhouse Kitchen, whose mission is to serve “comfort and quality all on one plate.” Having just opened its doors three days before, it is the fourth restaurant in this location in as many years. But its predecessors didn't serve weekend breakfasts, and in the Seabright neighborhood, morning meals are extremely popular.
We arrived during the first official Saturday shift prepared for the occasional glitch, which fortunately failed to materialize. The French Toast ($8.99), thick slices of soft-crusted baguette soaked in a cinnamon batter, was cooked to a golden brown with custard-like centers. The bacon was just what I craved: smoky and fully cooked but still soft and chewy.
The Santa Cruz Scramble ($6.99) with bacon, Jack cheese, green onions and chilies, was topped with pristine slices of avocado. (I would have cooked the tomatoes less for better color.) It was served with soft, lightly seasoned home fries and a house-made biscuit: a scone-sized disc, hot and lusciously crumbly.
The Biz ($9.50), I first thought, was just plain weird. A golden quarter of fried chicken perched atop a Belgian waffle accompanied by two eggs and sausage gravy. I regretted not taking a leap of faith as I enviously watched others alternately drizzling white meat with maple syrup on that thick waffle, and dipping the next shred into chunky gravy. The kitchen soon announced that they were down to the last bird.
Later in the day the sandwich menu includes the usual suspects, but each with a twist. Grilled Cheese ($6.99) is a triple-decker combination of pepper Jack and Cheddar cheeses with tomatoes on sourdough bread. The Rockin' Reuben ($7.99) included dark, nicely seasoned house-cured beef, melted Swiss and sauerkraut. The shimmering griddled light rye bread bore toasty spots, and the side of smooth, pink Russian dressing was riddled with pickles.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Smokin' Tuna ($6.99), served between two large oval slices of farmhouse-style wheat bread. The wet tuna salad, which contained crisp celery and red onion, was covered by thin slices of tomato and topped with frilly lettuce. The smoked fish added a satiating depth of flavor.
The half house salad, We Got the Beets ($3.50), was huge. A mix of lettuces was topped with a patchwork of vegetable goodness including sweet beets, shredded carrot, cucumber and house-made croutons.
For the under-10 set, Little Kylie's Specials ($2.95 to $4.95) include mini servings of pancakes, waffles, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.
Clubhouse Kitchen, 415 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-2582. Mon. Wed., Thurs. 11am-3pm/6pm-8pm. Tue. 11am-3pm/6pm-10pm. Fri. & Sat. 8am-3pm/6pm-10pm. Sun. 8am-8pm.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, New Leaf Community Markets celebrates its 25th year with giveaways, food and body care samples featuring 40 vendors, birthday cake, Full of Life pizza, Niman Ranch hot dogs, and children's activities including face and pumpkin painting.
Since 1985 New Leaf has donated $1.5 million to local schools and
New Leaf Community Markets’ 25th Anniversary, Saturday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz. Visit newleaf.com.
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