.No Fluke

An Aptos sequel for Whale City, meat-free Vietnamese and triple wine news.

With its blend of local art, commuting whales, intriguing cement plant history (you’re welcome, San Francisco) and old-school eating establishments, a place like Davenport, population 650, is pretty muchimpossible to duplicate.

The same applies to one of those establishments, Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill (490 Highway 1), which enjoys past lives as a dive bar, gas station and card room. Its working recipe of boutique bakery plus diner-grade grill plus cliff-top patio plus live music cantina is similarly singular.

Which makes the debut of Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill Aptos (7941 Soquel Drive) special.

WCBBG2’s grand opening in the former Burger—after a hefty remodel—came May 14, with the identical menu as up north, plus baked treats shuttled daily from the mothership.

That means artichoke bread, olallieberry croissants, house challah French toast, big burgers and airy fish-and-chips—without the drive up the coast, though that remains a great option too.

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Hours are 6:30am-9pm daily, whalecityaptos.com


Santa Cruz author Andrea Nguyen’s Ever-Green Vietnamese is a finalist for a James Beard award for vegetable-centric cookbooks—and it’s already made cookbook-of-the-year lists for The New York Times, Food Network and San Francisco Chronicle, among others. After popular volumes like the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings and The Banh Mi Handbook, she went more plant-based than, well, ever with Ever-Green. Its 125+ recipes include pantry hacks like vegan fish sauce, snacks like smoky nori wontons, contemporary street foods like rice paper “pizzas” and sweets like coconut-coffee pops. “Vietnamese food isn’t all about beef pho and meaty banh mi,” she writes. “It’s about agriculture.” vietworldkitchen.com.


Here comes a loaded wine weekend writ both wide (Saturday) and tight (Sunday). The farther-ranging event happens first (May 18) with Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Days. That features unique tasting experiences at 35 participating wineries (at least) like Fellom Ranch Vineyards, Muns Vineyard, Saison Winery, Thomas Fogarty Winery and Naumann Vineyards, which are rarely open—plus the passport remains valid for complimentary tastings through 2024, winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/events/passport. The next day (May 19), Downtown Santa Cruz Spring Wine Walk welcomes a dozen plus wineries like Big Basin, Birichino and Bargetto to pour at welcoming retailers in and around Pacific Avenue. A ticket transforms into a wristband, wine glass and map, though enough boutiques participate that guests can do fine wandering where the terroir takes them, no map needed, downtownsantacruz.com/do/spring-wine-walk.


You don’t have to be a Santa Cruz wine homer to appreciate Rhys Vineyards’ mission “to make great wines from California’s most exciting mountain vineyards.” But it helps if you enjoy vino, which in turn makes the opening of Rhys Vineyards’ tasting room (11715 Skyline Blvd., Los Gatos) great news. The tastings happen 10am, 1pm and 3pm by appointment Tuesday-Saturday to start, and aren’t cheap at $95, but do deliver a killer lineup of at least a half dozen organic, single-vineyard wines, namely Chardonnays (from Mt. Pajaro and Horseshoe vineyards) and Pinot Noirs (from Bearwallow, Home Ranch, Mt. Pajaro and Horseshoe). And those all flow with guidance from Estate Director Rose Lacey in Rhys’ castle-esque Skyline Vineyard home, members.rhysvineyards.com/visit/.


  1. The food at Whale City Bakery is below mediocre and the service matched that. Not planning to return any time soon.

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