Congratulations to Dena and Tom Hope, celebrating 30 years as founder/proprietors of Pacific Coffee Roasting Company. Tucked into a central corner of the Aptos Center complex—same one that includes the wonderful home decor mecca Outside-In—the sunny, inviting coffeehouse is loaded with comforting ambience and gleaming onsite coffee roasting equipment. I sipped an impeccably made double macchiato while soaking up the unpretentious charm of this local hangout. Patrons were reading, writing on laptops, getting together for morning coffee, and enjoying something from the irresistible pastry display. Everything roasted here is also on sale here, and the back wall of Pacific Coffee Roasting Company is lined with bins containing dozens of varieties of beans, ready to be bagged up, or fresh ground for take-away.
“We started this place when our kids were babies,” Dena says with a chuckle. “And now they’re grown men. We even have our third generation of regular customers.”
Some pastries are done in house—“muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies. And we have several amazing bakers we turn to as well, she says. Those amazing bakers provide the coffee house’s amazing layer cakes—the coconut and the carrot varieties are outstanding. “We go through an incredible amount of beans each week—we love our coffee beans,” she adds. As amazed as anyone that they have been around for so long, Dena reveals the secret of her coffee shop’s success: “it’s been so much fun,” she says. I nibbled a bit of old-fashioned New York crumb cake with my espresso and enjoyed a luxurious taste of the past. The clientele is eclectic and the baristas are friendly and helpful. Little round marble tables with seriously comfortable chairs are part of the appeal. I’ve conducted many an interview in this local landmark, and always left feeling both calmed and caffeinated at the same time. The best of both worlds. Locally owned world-class espresso. Another reason to visit—or live in—Aptos. Pacific Coffee Roasting Company, 7554 Soquel Drive, Aptos.
Muns Vineyard Tastings
Muns Vineyard is not only the home of some spectacular Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noirs, it’s also home to a spectacular view of the Monterey Bay from its Loma Prieta foothill vineyards. Saturday, May 5 you have a chance to join the winemakers at Muns Vineyard for a tasting and tour of the incredible property. If you’re interested, please make a reservation by contacting Mary Lindsay at [email protected]. Quick like a bunny! Space is limited.
A Toast for Jimmy
A gifted and generous host, Jim Aschbacher filled every room he entered with energy. His life force still resonates for all who knew him and were touched by his insistent joie de vivre. He was the bubbly in the glass, every glass, yet it is his powerful determination to live large that I recall most vividly. In the 35 years that I knew him he applied himself with playful persistence to every moment, every encounter, and every chance, to making art. Over the decades Jim and Lisa’s Oscar Night parties provided the perfect setting for the Aschbacher touch—plying us with Champagne, making sure everybody had filled out their Oscar picks, and in the course of the evening dazzling us all with his encyclopedic memory for film and TV trivia and his insightful interpretations. Jim was a serious man disguised as a jovial prankster. He was serious about wanting to make people smile, but he was most serious about his devotion, admiration, and love for his sweetheart, Lisa. He was her partner every day, in every way. Here’s to a life well lived. See you on the other side, Jimmy!