Right about now the Santa Cruz Warriors are riding a winning recipe.
The city’s G-League basketball squad has roared into its 11th season, starting opening night earlier this month with 14 straight points and rattling off five straight victories from there.
Along the way, they’ve ensured fans get more than brisk ball movement and lively timeout entertainment. Across three home games they’ve scored 125, 129 and 121 points.
That means Head Coach Nick Kerr has the offense cooking. It also means free Penny Ice Creamery for all those attending, which happens every time the Sea Dubs score 100.
The Wave City Warriors are also looking out for those facing food insecurity. This month the organization also extended its Swishes for Dishes campaign into the 2023-24 season. For every point the Santa Cruz Warriors score this season, 10 meals will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County.
Doing the math after one recent win—a 140-126 shellacking of the Salt Lake City Stars in Utah, the Ws’ fifth straight W to start—the team will donate 1,400 meals for that game alone.
They’re back in town Dec. 1-2 to play Rip City Remix of Portland twice. That got me to thinking about—and quizzing Dubs’ employees on—good places to eat before and after the game.
Their picks, in no particular order: Jack’s Burgers, Hula’s Island Grill, Woodstock’s Pizza (open till 1am weekends), El Palomar and Pono Hawaiian Grill.
Pono, in fact, is a season partner, which translates to on- and off-site events like player dinners, and new extended hours (until 11ish or when the fan tide ebbs) on game nights.
The play involves a Late Night Grind menu with items like Spam musubi, kalua pork fries, coconut shrimp and teriyaki chicken, and drinks specials like the Island Warrior raspberry lemon drop with edible glitter and Scotts Valley’s own Hideout Black vodka, or $5 pints of house blonde ale by Narrative Fermentations for $5 each.
“We thought this would be a fun thing to give a try,” GM Brittny Beshore says. “The first two were pretty good. The next one will be even better.”
More at santacruz.gleague.nba.com and ponohawaiian.com/dtsc
Unsolicited opinion: Modest little Capitola Wine Bar and Merchants is one of those places that makes the small city vibrant. The wife-and-husband-run spot features a balance of small-batch California and worldly wines by the glass, flight and bottle, which is nice.
They dish food like smoked pancetta-pear flatbreads and secret recipe “adult” mac ’n’ cheese, plus draft local beer—and keep locals coming with weekday happy hours (5-7pm), regular live music, paint nights and craft nights, Tuesday through Saturday.
“It’s a place to gather and do fun things,” says Doug Conrad, who steers the ship with his partner Ann Marie. “It’s like the whole bar is our living room.”
ONE SOME FOR THE ROAD
Speaking of Warriors, legendary shooting guard and avid boat captain Klay Thompson popped on social media with a Humble Sea Brewing Co. branded mug, humblesea.com…Pizza Bones slangs pies at dog- and kid-friendly Madson Wines 5-9pm Mondays on the Westside, madsonwines.com…Vegetarian super spot Pretty Good Advice’s new outpost, at 1319 Pacific in the former Pacific Thai, was originally slated to open this month, but a peek inside last week reveals an open date is at least a few weeks off.
Please hit me with any tips and sips, schemes and dreams, thoughts and plots via @MontereyMCA on Instagram.