.Pizza Pie Perfection

Describing the joy that accompanies truly great food and drink can be tricky. This is not a self-pity statement. (Don’t cry for me, ravioli.)

The evidence is there in the line I’ve seen (as an editor) far too many quality writers revisit: “cooked to perfection.”

That said, near perfection does find expression on a square aluminum pan at Bookie’s Pizza, nestled inside Sante Adairius Rustic Ales’ Santa Cruz Portal (1315 Water St., Santa Cruz).

And I’m not talking about the foraged mushroom pizza, though that also approximates heaven in its own right, in a uniquely airy, crispy, melty and synergistic one-plus-one-plus-one-equals-22 way.

It’s Todd Parker’s latest creation, a union of three of the best foods Goddess has given us (pizza, garlic bread and crab): the cheesy crab bread appetizer.

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My oh my it’s probably better than it sounds, somehow garlicky without overpowering the sweet and subtle crab, while bringing big butter energy—but not too much—with a nice interplay of mozzarella, pecorino and Parmesan too.

And while beer-and-pizza pairings might be exhibit A that Goddess loves us, there’s a nice alternative on tap that translates to fewer calories and more room for crab bread: Sante Adarius’ NA hop water that’s balanced, refreshing and bottomless, for $3.

Speaking of Sante, its new era as co-author of another local institution—and purveyor of perfection-adjacent brew—has begun.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (402 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz) recently re-opened after a short pause following its purchase by Sante Adarius’ Adair Paterno and Brad Clark of Private Press Brewing (332 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz).

rusticales.com/tasting-room; scmbrew.com

DOUBLE YAY

Second Harvest Food Bank is now partnering with nonprofit Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust and its Community Seafood Program to get fresh local fish in front of its participants. MBFT’s Get Hooked! Dinner Series, meanwhile—with proceeds supporting the program—rolls on with seafood empanadas, huge quantities of paella and paired wines as Colectivo Felix cooks and Madson Wines (328 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz) hosts Thursday, March 7 ($90, tax deductible). montereybayfisheriestrust.org/get-hooked-events

NIBBLES AND NUGS Early returns are outright ecstatic at Watsonville Public House (625 Main St., Watsonville), open Thursday-Sunday…Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains Grand Tasting cometh March 24 at The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, winesofthesantacruzmountains.com…I’m on a train south to a double conference coordinated by Women of the Vine & Spirits and The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Message me on IG via @MontereyMCA with anything you’d like me to find out. Fun spirits fact: Isabella’s Islay, the most expensive whiskey in the world, comes in a bottle decorated with 8,500 diamonds and 300 rubies (filled with luxury Scotch) and costs…$6.2 million. Gulp.

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