.Humble Rumble

Westside Santa Cruz plays home to a destination tasting district and a craft brewery ready to up its reach

A funny thing happened down in Paso Robles this past weekend: Santa Cruz kept surfacing.

The first wave hit while I toured Tin City, Paso’s industrial-style tasting room-brewery-restaurant district. A group of Westside businesses aims to emulate Tin City’s well-branded appeal with the debut later this month of a new name for its own cluster of tasting spots, foodie hubs and breweries, designed to let visitors know there’s more than enough flavor to warrant a specific trip.

“A neighborhood oasis,” says Barry Jackson of Equinox, one of the group’s participants, and one of the Westside vintners collaborating on the Surf City Wine Walk 1-4pm this Sunday, June 9 ($50/advance, $55/day of, winesofthesantacruzmountains.com).

Big Basin, Bottle Jack, David Bruce, Madson, Margins, Rexford, Santa Cruz Mountain, Silver Mountain, Sones, Ser, Stockwell and Wrights Station—each with tasting rooms in the Swift Street area—all flow.

Back in Paso, at the rarefied event that is the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest, Santa Cruz stood out amid a curated group of brewers from six continents. Sante Adarius Ales wow’d with a miraculously smooth 14+ ABV brown ale; Private Press Brewing spread word and tastes of its barrel-aged gifts; and Humble Sea impressed with brews like Walk the Dank double IPA.

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Humble Sea’s star turn to the south comes as it extends regional reach to the north: Its latest outpost will take over the former Wines of California Wine Bar on San Francisco’s Pier 39 as soon as next month, complete with 100 seats, a large patio and a yet-underdetermined restaurant/purveyor partner.

So a Humble season that’s already sizzling at a half dozen locations—the original Westside flagship, Alameda Point, Pacifica, the made-for-the-summer Santa Cruz Wharf beer garden, and Felton, which relaunched recently with Bread Boy Co. doing smash burgers—approaches all-out en fuego.

AMIGO NUMBER THREE

There are two types of taquerias in el mundo: Those with salsa bars and those without. Those with the generosity and game to extend the type of homemade lineup Los Pericos does—tomatillo, molcajete, sinus-triggering “orange” salsas among them, to go with crackling fresh chips—achieve a level of community cred hard to achieve without it. That’s one reason (see also: California super burrito) the Pericos flavor flock is growing. (Pericos is “parrots” in Spanish.) As the OG spot in the heart of downtown Surf City (139 Water St., Santa Cruz) creeps toward two decades, and #2 holds it down in the valley (531 Corralitos Road, Watsonville), the third sibling of the family-owned operation just debuted in Aptos (36 Rancho Del Mar). So bring on the namesake Pericos tacos in all their buche brilliance and carnitas charm. taquerialospericos.com

RAPID RATIONS

foodtrucksagogo.com Food Trucks A Go Go roars on 5-8pm Fridays at Sky Park in Scotts Valley through Labor Day with live music, wine-beer garden action and snacks from the likes of Epoch Eats, Kuki’s Bowls, Parker Presents Oysters and Tacos El Chuy, …Another Friday institution also pops this week, as it has for two decades, with First Friday Art Walk throughout the area, firstfridaysantacruz.com…Two Santa Cruz Westside Farmers Market pop-up breakfasts cometh July 27 (by chef Brad Briske of Home Restaurant) and Aug. 10 (Diego Felix of Colectivo Felix), boosting the market’s educational/food access efforts, santacruzfarmersmarket.org…William Carlos Williams, take us to the horizon: “In summer, the song sings itself.”

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