.Basket Case

The Picnic Basket builds on a beautiful thing by the beach

The Fancy Pants Grilled Cheese now feels more at home.

That tasty melt with sweet chili jam on Companion Bakeshop bread is one of the attentively assembled hits at the Picnic Basket (125 Beach St., Santa Cruz), which is about to celebrate a month since its rebirth-remodel-expansion made it more fancy, but also more welcoming and practical.

The overall footprint covers about twice the size of the previous Picnic Basket, with a bevy of big windows letting in ample natural light.

A second service counter focuses on gourmet coffee and Penny Ice Creamery treats from PB’s sister company, including triple scoops, milkshakes, affogatos and root beer floats.

A flexed-up grab-and-go inventory presents everything from coconut chia seed pudding to chicken-salad croissants to bowls like the Santa Cruz with edamame, citrus, mango, cucumber, avocado, toasted seeds, sunflower sprouts and baby spinach with a house vinaigrette.

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And an evolved marketplace section presents sundries like Happy Girl Kitchen pickles, Birichino wines and all the Santa Cruz craft beers—Fruition, Santa Cruz Mountain, Humble Sea, Corralitos, Sante Adarius, Discretion—a local connoisseur could crave.

“Everybody’s got a place on the shelf,” co-owner Zach Davis says.

Meanwhile, improved indoor-outdoor seating and order-ahead optionality make enjoying the Basket’s list of favorites easier, whether it’s the signature PB Reuben with Premiere pastrami and Sonoma Brinery kraut or the roasted beet sandwich with lemony chickpea spread, almond butter, pickled red onions and field-fresh lettuces.

In short, a community favorite built around the simple aim of “good food made with love” just got that much fresher.



One of the cooler homegrown foodie companies in Santa Cruz—which is saying something, but that is no hyperbole—is offering an intriguing way to earn a discount. Pescavore’s smoked tuna jerky, in all its wild-caught and sustainable glory, comes at 10 percent off for those willing to make a pledge to eat seafood twice a week. Pescavore’s website makes the pitch for why such a pledge a good idea, shouting out the health benefits (Vitamin D! Omega-3 fatty acids!) and environmental upside of responsibly fished seafood (Fewer fossil fuels! Reduced land impacts!). The kicker: The island teriyaki, smoked poke and Caribbean jerk strip packs are flat-out tasty, and convenient to pack along in your lucky lunchbox. pescavoreseafood.com


Starting July 1, under California SB 478, restaurants will no longer be able to charge service fees and will instead have to build those charges into its menu prices…Khushbu Shah, food writer and author of Amrikan: 125 Recipes from the Indian American Diaspora visits Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 23 for a free talk, register at bookshopsantacruz.com…Hop N’ Barley Beer Festival will be back at Skypark in Scotts Valley come July 13, with two stages of live music, food vendors, outdoor games and dozens of local craft breweries, benefiting the Homeless Garden Project, hopnbar.webflow.io…Summer intensives cometh at Permaculture Santa Cruz, focusing on intro and advanced design, santacruzpermaculture.com…A hero named Tom Gilbey went viral for pausing his run of London Marathon at each mile to take down a healthy pour of a mystery wine before guessing its varietal, vintage and region…Take us home Galileo Galilei: “Wine is sunlight held together by water.”


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