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Apr 20th
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Beyond Beef

dining aptosburgerAptos Burger Company is approaching it's 11th birthday. It's located in the Rancho Del Mar shopping center, which will undergo big changes after its recent purchase by Safeway.

The shop features handmade burgers with grass-fed beef ($4.95 to $5.25). Also available is a vegetarian black bean chipotle patty. Add about $2.25 for a combo, which includes choice of salad, fries, onion rings or soup. The kids' menu ($3 to $6.95) includes a grilled cheese combo with fries and self-serve soda as well as chicken strips, burgers, and fish nuggets.
 
Hot dogs and sandwiches ($3.95 to $6.95) include teriyaki, BBQ or pesto chicken. A smaller version of the Cheese Steak ($6.95), the Chaquito ($5.50), featured meaty bits of sirloin tip with mushrooms and a dearth of grilled onions, cradled in a crisped hot dog bun and topped with melted cheddar. I chose a side salad for the combo plate and was pleasantly surprised. A large bowl was piled high with ultra fresh mixed greens, tomatoes, thick cucumber slices, walnuts, dried cranberries and artichoke hearts. A goodly amount of sweet raspberry vinaigrette was served on the side.
 
The salad was so good I took a House Chicken Salad ($9.25) home to accompany dinner. Greens were topped with a chopped up whole grilled chicken breast, thick chewy bacon, soft slices of avocado, and hard-boiled eggs; definitely a meal in itself.
 
Unexpected are the fish offerings. Deep fried cod or calamari sandwiches are joined by fish or calamari and chips. I opted for the combination fish and calamari ($9.95) with seasoned curly fries. Two dense, smoothly battered pieces of white cod were piping hot, as were 10 or so curled segments of calamari steak. They were served with herbed, horseradish-laced cocktail sauce, and pickle-laden tartar sauce. | KP

Aptos Burger Company, 106 Rancho Del Mar  Aptos, 688-1282. Beer and wine. Open daily at 11 a.m., and closing at 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sundays. Visit aptosburgercompany.com.

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Sugar: The New Tobacco?

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