.Keep Trucking

Fresh heat from Evil Wings’ foodmobile and a breakout mushroom festival debuts

Make no mistake. The Diablo sauce on the scariest chicken wings in greater Santa Cruz will burn themselves into your memory. (And win you six free wings if you eat four in 2 minutes.)

But there are plenty of other things—and more important things—about Evil Wings’ food truck that stick with me, particularly the dimensions of their comfort food and the amount of fun their core crew seems to be having, which are both sizable.

The big and bold offerings include over-the-top crepes, messy burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, fried chicken sandwiches, onion rings, hard shell tacos, tortas, tostadas, quesabirria and truly “crazy” fries with carne asada, bacon and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Plus a bunch of wings sauced with everything from garlic Parmesan to mango habanero.

The XL amount of fun happens because owner-operators Irene Lopez, her chef/boyfriend Gerardo Rojo and mom/BFF/dayshift chief Irma Tapia all live to make people happy, and dig hanging as a family.

“It’s what we love to do,” Lopez says. “It’s a family business and a family passion.”

Good Times first encountered EW on a late-night dining investigation last year, which revealed a void of independently owned options. In addition to its 9am-8pm Monday-Saturday presence at Cabrillo Liquors in Soquel (5380 Soquel Drive), it now dishes 9pm-4am Friday and Saturday near the Catalyst at 1003 Pacific Ave. in downtown Santa Cruz.

Yes, until 4am, a phrase rarely heard amid Surf City restaurant talk, with the munchie-leaning menu to match.


The inaugural Santa Cruz Mountain Mushroom Festival pops this weekend, May 4-5, at Roaring Camp in Felton (5401 Graham Hill Road). The spore superstars at Santa Cruz’s own Far West Fungi fairy ring-lead the affair, with a harvest of cooking demos by chefs (like Brad Briske and The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen author Chad Hyatt and presentations from luminous researchers, experts and alt-medicine minds (like herbalist/clinician/mycology authority Christopher Hobbs), plus mycelium-inspired food, beer, wine, craft vendors, live music, shroom-centric art, kid’s zone, nature walks and DIY workshops, scmmfest.com.


May 10 brings the debut installment of 2024’s “Taste of Terroir” dinners orchestrated by the Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The season opener happens at Wrights Station Winery, with food by chef Nick Sherman of Trestles and Cavalletta and SCM wines from the likes of David Bruce, Muns, Silver Mountain and Wrights Station, Big Basin, Charmant and Cooper-Garrod. Five more hot TOT events follow, with Storrs Vineyard and Winery up next on June 22. More info and the schedule are up at winesofthesantacruzmountains.com.


Venus Spirits hosts a Mestiza traveling pop-up party May 5 with agave flights of El Ladrón añejo, venusspirits.com…Homeless Garden Project CSA shares are still available, at least until they sell out, with the season running May 17-Dec. 13, homelessgardenproject.org/csa/…Earthy souls can now relive the magic of EcoFarm 2024 and its keynote presentations and workshops from visionaries like Nicole Masters, David Mas Masumoto, Greg Asbed and more, community.eco-farm.org…The cluster of wine tasting rooms, foodie hubs and breweries on the Westside votes on finalists for a neighborhood name designed to draw visitors a la the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara or Tin City in Paso Robles, with a public announcement and website coming as soon as June 1…A closing thought from George Carlin: “The mushroom is the elf of plants, at once magical and mysterious.”


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