.Scotts Valley’s Skypark is a Food Truck Mecca

Plus, Namaste India Bistro to open Santa Cruz location in early July and dining at home

Food trucks aren’t just a fun way to enjoy food-to-order. They kept us all going during the long lockdown when restaurants went dark. We’re damn lucky in this area to have such a wealth of culinary talent-on-wheels, especially when a few trucks get together and make it an outdoor party. For example, there’s Taco Tuesday, June 14 from 5-8pm at Scotts Valley’s Skypark. Taquizas Gabriel, Saucey’z and Mattia will be on hand cooking up authentic and highly creative tacos of all varieties. This is compelling food, inexpensive for so much handcrafted pleasure. Stop by and see how they roll. Then mark your calendar for Food Truck Friday on June 24, again 5-8pm. You can expect a major line-up of trucks, serving up your favorites, to the tune of live music, and the refreshing liquids from the beer and wine garden. Yes also at Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, in Scotts Valley.

Updates

Namaste India Bistro is set to open the first week of July in the old Vasili’s spot on Trescony, just off Mission St. on the Westside, bringing spicy Indian food back to Santa Cruz. This will be the third location for the popular Indian eatery, with others in Monterey and Los Gatos. Also set to debut this summer is the long-awaited Iveta downtown at 545 Pacific Avenue. Tucked into a luxury apartment complex, a few doors down from Big Basin Vineyards new tasting room, the new cafe makes a third outpost (after Delaware Avenue and UCSC) for Iveta entrepreneur John Bilanko. “We’re awaiting delivery of dining room furniture and final inspections from the Building and Health Departments,” Bilanko told me, adding that “staffing is still a challenge.”

On the G-F front. Staff of Life has become the go-to place for all possible gluten-free breads, rolls, bagels and buns, especially a complete line of Canyon Bakehouse products. A great selection.

Spring Porcini is currently available from the Ocean2Table folks, thanks to a successful forage up in Weed, CA forests. Nutty and woodsy, the boletus rex veris gives earthy gravitas to your spring/summer dinners. Another good reason to check out getocean2table.com.

Homespun Wisdom

Readers want to know how we dine at home when we’re not running around to this restaurant or that. Here’s how: We turn leftovers into destination meals. The addition of a sturdy GSM red wine (Big Basin, Lubanzi, Birichino), along with a cheese plate and quince paste, can transform yesterday’s quesadillas or seafood pasta into a born-again experience. The olive spread from Dalmatia, a reliable Croatian group that also makes remarkable fig and orange jam, is so versatile that it can heighten foods from breakfast to after-dinner cheeses. Bulgarian dolmas, Haig’s creamy hummus, Pop Chips puffed potato and sea salt crackers, Wildbrine beet and cabbage organic kraut. Fresh and dried fruit, roasted nuts are always on hand to dress up lunches and entree salads.

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We always keep a few cans of hearty Progresso soups on hand—minestrone, chicken tortilla, chicken and wild rice are our favorites. Patak’s Hot Mango Chutney goes on everything except fish. We use it to dress up roast chicken and braised pork tenderloin. Niman Ranch Sweet Italian sausages live in our freezer, waiting for an evening when we’ve run out of time and ideas. We keep cheeses on hand that we can pair with prosciutto for a bohemian no-fix dinner. Scrambled eggs with Canadian bacon. Always have hard boiled eggs on hand and good quality mercury-free, humanely caught tuna. Cannellini beans along with tuna and olive oil equals a quick trip to Rome. Breakfasts are adorned with a variety of jams, from peach amaretto, to Tiptree marmalade, and the fig-orange spread from Dalmatia. More soon!

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