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Apr 15th
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Here and There

dining_scpizzaSanta Cruz Pizza Company offers eat-in, take-out, bake-it-yourself pies and more

Santa Cruz Pizza Company is a family-run restaurant that resides in the busy Victor Square shopping center near Scotts Valley Market. With televisions and a menu that offers more than pies, it's the perfect destination for a family night out.
Surfboards with beer logos ride the vivid blue walls surrounding tables and upholstered booths with roughly hewn seatbacks smoothly varnished to reflect soft light.
Sandwiches ($6.50 to $7.50), which are served on house-made focaccia bread, include Mama's Meatballs and Philly Cheesesteaks. Plates of pasta ($5.95/$9.95), fresh from Santa Cruz Pasta Company, are served with either marinara or Alfredo sauces and garlic cheese bread.
For snacks, the Kickin' Cajun Wings ($6.05 per half pound) sauces range from regular to hot to BBQ.
An antipasto salad plate ($10.50) is one of the four salads, with meats, cheese and veggies. The Spinach Salad ($4.45) with a side of balsamic vinaigrette included crunchy herb-encrusted croutons, salty feta cheese, bacon crumbles, rings of red onion, and mushrooms, which in the heat of the summer were sliced a bit prematurely. Five additional dressings are available.
In addition to traditional house-made marinara, pizzas are sauced with pesto or garlic ranch. Unique are made-to-order slices from 18-inch pies ($3.60), and they also feature Chicago-style deep dish pies (starting at $17.50) and 10-inch gluten-free pizzas.
SC's Classic combinations ($14.75 to $25.17) for 11-, 13-, and 15-inch pizzas range from Garden Pesto Delight with artichoke hearts, to the stacked Meat Combo with five types of meat.
The small 11-inch traditional, thin crust pizza ($10.50), its rim a puffed, airy, perfect circle, with a thin, chewy, browned underside, was spread lightly with a flavorful herbed tomato sauce and lightly topped with mozzarella.
I've made numerous pizzas in my life, from the dough rising on top of my mother's refrigerator, to my lazy own from the bread machine and even lazier Boboli over charcoal. But Take and Bake ($3 discount) was new for me. The 15-inch box just fit into my refrigerator. The made-to-order pizza with fresh house-made dough on an oven-proof paper plate was wrapped in cellophane, which the neatly printed instructions reminded me to remove for cooking. The pizza can be cooked on an oven rack or pizza stone. It was a really big pizza, larger than my stone, so I left it on the plate until the last three minutes of cooking, as suggested for a crisper bottom crust. The delicious Combo Deluxe ($22.17), minus linguiça and bell peppers, included neatly arranged salami, pepperoni, fennel seed-studded Italian sausage and Canadian bacon over a bed of mozzarella, strewn with salty black olives, pieces of onion, chunks of tomato, mushrooms and more cheese. Its rim was nicely browned and crisp. Next time I'll track down my bigger stone and remember to cornmeal it so I don't have to remove the hot half-baked pizza from its paper plate.
Specials include $6 drafts and a slice, $1 cheese or pepperoni slices on Mondays and $2 drafts on Fridays.

Santa Cruz Pizza Company, 18 B Victor Square, Scotts Valley, 430-0793. Beer and wine. Open daily: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday noon until 9 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit santacruzpizzacompany.com.
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