.Juicy Truth

Two more burgers for consideration, plus a restaurant opening and canned seafood news.

The people spoke. From a place of passion. And we listened.

Paraphrasing here, but the message went something like this: “How about a little Burger Week love for Watsonville? We have some good stuff here.”

It was fair feedback. And as it turns out, two of the better burgers I took down in the last six weeks of beefy scouting (see cover story) appear at surprising places in the town once known as Apple City.

Kong’s Burger & Cafe (15 E Beach St #101, Watsonville) tucks into a little mall complex right off City Plaza. There mom and pop Soon Ja and Sang Soon Ahn do bibimbap and teriyaki plates—and an excellent kimchi breakfast burrito—but the burgers are what have earned it cult status. (Longtime locals will remember the original Kong’s Market in Santa Cruz.)

The Kong burger is $6.99, the King Kong $9.99 with a choice of bonus beef, chicken or spicy pork on top. On Soon Ja’s recommendation, I went with the spicy pork.

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Paired with the works and a simple and soft bun, it’s fantastic and draws people from as far off as San Jose.

The other stunner also pairs beef and pork, and feels unexpected because it’s a special at a taco shop. The Al Pastor Burger at Tacos Al Fuego (45 Aviation Way, Watsonville)—ground beef with al pastor pork topped with grilled onions, grilled jalapeños, a slice of pineapple, iceberg lettuce, mozzarella, drizzled with secret avocado salsa, salsa roja and a side of fries, $15”—provided spicy, dynamic and textural satisfaction.

So add those to the list, burger believers. Combined with the index in this issue, we’re now up to 61 singular burgers to try.


Cavalletta (9067 Soquel Drive, Aptos) has finally opened. Bring on all the local produce, seafood and meats, filtered through an Italian lens, and the big, custom, wood-fired oven and the imported pasta maker. Things to prioritize include Italian chop salads, oven-roasted cauliflower, rock shrimp risotto, and sausage-potato-bechamel pizza, though the menu changes constantly with the seasons. cavallettarestaurant.com


Let’s officially adopt Moss Landing as a member of the Santa Cruz County family. It’s less than 10 miles from the border and now has a most exciting Monterey Bay fishing development in early planning stages. Dave’s Gourmet Seafood of Watsonville (159 Westridge Drive, Watsonville) is proposing a working cannery right there on the water, next to Sea Harvest Fish Market & Restaurant, in a government building that’s been empty for a half decade. In the meantime Dave’s is doing dynamite canned albacore, salmon, crab, shrimp, sardines, smoked albacore and smoked salmon, available to order online (and pick up or have delivered) and the Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College every Saturday 8am-noon. davesgourmetseafood.com


Chaminade Resort and Spa (1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz) in the hills just outside town hosts live music six nights a week, which means tunes plus scenic landscapes plus seasonal cuisine plus drinks from The View, which happens to be participating in Burger Week.…The USDA has OK’d New Leaf Community Markets’ use of EBT SNAP benefits for same day delivery and pickup via Instacart, a win for healthy food access…EcoFarm 2025 is set for Jan. 21-25. More urgently, organizers want to hear from us on what type of workshops the organic farming congregation wants to attend, ecofarm.org…Matisyahu’s appearance at Felton Music Hall (see music story) has me dreaming of in-town options pre-show: The Grove? Empire Grille (another Burger Week participant)? Trout Farm Inn? Casa Nostra? Lots of flavorful choices await.


  1. Fat Boy Burger and Grill in Watsonville is a local independent restaurant and my favorite.
    At the corner of Freedom Blvd and Mariposa Street.
    1467 Freedom Blvd, Watsonville
    They have many kinds of burgers and the French fries are excellent.
    Try it out.

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