Fabulous, elaborate meals are fun to experience and hear about on CH, but sometimes it's the little treats in life that make all the difference and deserve some praise.
SANTA CRUZ COFFEE ROASTING
My favorite place for organic fair trade coffee since I tried it in the fall. They roast their own beans to perfection and sell them in local markets and online. Every bag I've purchased has been amazingly consistent...fresh, balanced, never over-roasted.
Coffee at their place downtown on Pacific Ave. is equally great. Not a fancy shmancy menu w/ overwrought concoctions, but all the classics. While the mocha and chai are good, I most often get a cup of joe. Unlike many other places, they drip brew each cup to order so it's always fresh and you have your choice of any bean. I like them all (even decaf!), but my fave is Beethoven's Blend. Only complaint is that the space is not very cozy to linger in so I just get a cup to go.
Also downtown on Pacific, just north of the coffeehouse. Given how much I love ice cream, I don't know why it's taken me this long to finally try this place. It's a huge space for a gelato shop and the freezer cases are set far back from the entrance, so I never saw what I was missing.
Felt a little guilty for "cheating" on my beloved Marianne's (1020 Ocean St.), but I needed a change of flavor and scenery. Some of Marianne's flavors just haven't been making the cut lately and I've been bored w/ my standards. In short, Gelatomania's frozen treats are highly addictive. Dense and silky texture, intense flavor, served at the perfect temp. Gianduia (choc and hazelnut) and strawberry yogurt flavors have been standouts. Only quibble is that it can be a tad too sweet for my taste, but the amazing burst of flavor and smooth texture makes up for it. Costs a little more than Marianne's but is worth it. Not willing to say it's better than Marianne's, just different. I've never been to Italy or eaten much gelato in the states, but this stuff seems to be a bite of la dolce vita. I just ignore the cheesy name, adjoining oxygen bar, and Italian veggie menu. Anyone have a favorite flavor there?
Any other little treats to spotlight in the Santa Cruz area?