The Netscape-friendly hunt for the perfect urban food log.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back in business.

Having beaten the mighty cancer, we decided to take a holiday on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. On one of the coldest days of the winter; why not?

We arrived just before noon and spotted La Hacienda, 303 Beach St., as one of the few spots open at that hour. (Across the street from Cocoanut Grove.) It was just as cold inside as out -- we ordered and waited for our food in our jackets and hats -- but the meal turned out to be worth it, with one complaint.

The only complaint comes in the value-per-dollar department: Burritos are $5-6 and plates, $8-11, and what you get for that amount is adequate, but not supersized. I easily finished my regular burrito, and when my smaller Dining Companion left a tiny stub of hers uneaten, I polished that off, too. But given that the Boardwalk is a tourist destination, and given that you could be eating a nasty slice of Round Table Pizza under the Giant Dipper for about the same price, it's probably worth heading for La Hacienda.

The good stuff: the ingredients in my burrito pastor were obviously fresh, the meat was tender and savory, and the regular comes with shredded cabbage, cilantro and onion -- my favorite garnish, not always available. The tortilla was grilled -- also my favorite preparation.

My smaller Dining Companion had a vegetarian burrito with avocado slices and pronounced it the best ever (based on the stub, I'd say that was an exaggeration, but not a heinous one); her dad had (and polished off) the cheese enchilada plate.

Half the Boardwalk is closed for repairs, although their web site only says "Limited Operation" and doesn't mention that means everything from the Haunted Mansion to the inlet is fenced off. We shivered our way through the bumper cars, Starfish and Cyclone coasters, then went indoors and played Skee Ball. It was perfect.