.Flavor Forward

A community win for the Santa Cruz Warriors, and how Laughing Monk plays ball

We are the champions…again.

The Santa Cruz Warriors were just named the 2023-24 National Basketball G League Franchise of the Year, for the fourth time, and for the third since 2020.

It’s a nice nod, because it involves a lot more than winning on the floor (where the Dubs had the third best record in the league).

The Wave City Ws also accumulated league-leading ticket sales, record partnership revenue, an 18-game sellout streak to close the season, 1,200+ volunteer hours from SeaDubs players, coaches and front office folks, with $94,300 raised for local nonprofits and 60,830 meals extended to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County through the Swishes for Dishes program.

“This award is a celebration of our collective effort, dedication and synergy as a team, and we are honored to share this recognition with the entire Santa Cruz community,” says SCW President Chris Murphy.

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The team’s playbook also involves a roster of restaurant partners like Pono Hawaiian Grill (120 Union St.and 3744 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz), Poké House (1543 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz), Mad Yolks (1411 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz) and Woodstock Pizza (710 Front St, Santa Cruz).

Another partner enjoys big signage at SCW games, but sits more tucked away on the backside of a business park-like complex in Scotts Valley. Laughing Monk Brewing (262 Mt. Hermon Road, Unit 103), isn’t the kind of place you stumble across, but it is worth a pilgrimage.

It does a brisk bit of business by way of craft drafts, a full bar, a solid menu with signature salads, bourbon burgers, and IPA onion rings stacked almost as tall as SeaDubs point guard Kendric Davis, who made 2023-24’s G League All-Rookie Team.

But it’s the roundup of daily promotions that best reflect a spirit of community shared with the Warriors.

Martini Monday means $5 St. George cocktails shaken or stirred 5-7pm; Taco Tuesday slangs $2 street tacos and $10 margaritas; Thirsty Thursday splashes $12 beer flights and $2 off pints; Prime Rib Friday dishes $25 plates with two sides; Saturday pulls in live music and weekends translate to brunch with $25 bottomless mimosas. Meanwhile the noon-4pm happy hour knocks $2 off house cocktails and pints, with $12 flights too, to go with deals on small plates like wings, curds and beer can nachos.

Game on. scottsvalley.laughingmonkbrewing.com.


Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains won’t quit with the events, which is helpful because savvy swirlers can’t quit them. Next up: Surf City Wine Walk 1-4pm Sunday, June 9, along Swift Street in Santa Cruz. Wristband, glasses and a map ($55 day of) await at pouring locations Big Basin Vineyards, Bottle Jack Winery, David Bruce Winery, Equinox Wines, Madson Wines, Margins Wine, Rexford Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Sones Cellars, Stockwell Cellars, Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery. Full belly start and post-stroll dinner in neighborhood recommended, winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/events/surfcityww/


The Santa Cruzer has roared back to life with $1 rides from downtown Santa Cruz to the wharf weekends and holidays noon to 8pm through Labor Day, with stops at Del Mar Theatre (1124 Pacific Ave #4415), Locust Street Garage (124 Locust St.) and  Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center (35 Pacific Ave.)…The Pig Roast for Whiskey Folks at Venus Spirits (200 High Road, Santa Cruz) is back for its second installment on June 8, $40 per, venusspirits.com…Bonny Doon Vineyard is the first U.S. company to use a recyclable paperboard bottle, and its Carbon…Nay! Provençal-style blend is selling quickly in Whole Foods outposts…The coolest idea from the world of food and drink I’ve seen this week—maybe this year—comes from Wilmington, North Carolina: Ruff Draft combines a dog park with craft beer bar…Happy World Otter Day!


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