Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 24th
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Hopping Happy

dining bcbreweryBoulder Creek Brewery and Cafe has an expanded beer selection and a delightfully flavored menu to go with it

About a year and a half ago, Executive Chef Judd Anthony took the kitchen's helm at Boulder Creek Brewery and Cafe. Their Facebook page is constantly updated with specials, the latest brews, and key market finds that would soon find their way to the table.

The interior seemed unchanged to me, but the aromas were very interesting. A wood stove sits in the large front dining area, and in the back are two levels of seating and even a children's play area.

An impressive number of eight brews ($4.75 a pint) were listed on a chalkboard. The mildly flavored Dragon's Breath IPA had a touch of sweetness, while the Black Magic CDA, a Pacific Northwest style of ale, is brewed with Cascadian hops. The Brewery also carries a nice selection of wines ($14 to $34), many of them favorite local vintners. dining bcb

Appetizers include baskets of fries, onion rings, local calamari and hot wings. We started with Deep Fried Avocados ($9.95), their soft green flesh encased in crunchy bread coating. The creamy dip included cilantro and the unmistakable flavor of fresh jalapeños. I found that a dash of salt brought out the nutty Haas avocado flavor.

Numerous sides are offered with the sandwiches in addition to fries. The large side salad was topped with sunflower seeds and long shreds of carrot, the tart macaroni salad included bits of carrot, the homemade soup which featured floating meatballs in a rich spicy broth, was reminiscent of mom's stew.

There are a number of weekday lunch specials like the quarter pound burger and fries ($5.50), and a new list of eight lunches for $8 or less. The grilled chicken sandwich ($7.95) was served on a soft, thin bun with onions, lettuce, and carrots.

The Cubano Sandwich ($10.95) on a toasted baguette came with a side of hot jus which was spicy, salty and tart. The sandwich was overflowing with pulled pork, pepperoncini, sautéed onions and jalapeños, and Swiss cheese with a garlicky aioli.

dining bcbsaladThe IPA-marinated Chicken Avo Pesto Sandwich ($10.95) included two meaty slices of bacon, avocado, and pesto aioli with generous basil flavor.

From the list of a half dozen salads, the huge Chicken Bruschetta Salad ($13.95) is so named because familiar bruschetta toppings of diced tomato and shredded basil topped a grilled breast of chicken which was surrounded by chunks of soft, fresh mozzarella on a bed of greens and cabbages. The edges of the bowl were drizzled with syrupy balsamic reduction, and light balsamic dressing added just a touch of sweetness. Large triangular slices of focaccia were griddled and topped with shredded Parmesan and parsley.

After 5 p.m., the dinner menu (12.95 to $18.95) adds pasta, Kalua roasted pig, pork chops with Gorgonzola cream sauce, brined BBQ ribs, and seven-ounce filet with scampi.

The daily happy hour (4-6 p.m.) offers specially priced pints ($3) and glasses of wine ($3.50).
Boulder Creek Brewery and Cafe, 13040 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek, 338-7882. Full bar. Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
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