This is the same thing that Guy Fieri said when he rolled into Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Diner was recently featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (DDD). It is a New Jersey-style diner on the main strip in Santa Cruz. When I heard that they not only had classic diner food but killer Vietnamese Pho (soup) and spring rolls I just had to check it out for myself.
I was up in the Bay area and decided it was as good a time to see what the deal was. My friend Nathan joined me on the trip. Nathan says he is a fan of the blog. That may be true but I do know he benefits greatly when he joins in on a Saturday Night Foodies’ adventure! It is safe to say we pigged out and made sure we tried a number of items. Some were outstanding and some were not. The place was packed and had a nice long wait by the time we left.
We tried the Vietnamese Spring Rolls which came with a spectacular peanut sauce. The spring rolls are almost what you would expect, lettuce, rice noodles, shrimp and mint. Only difference was these had a little pork too. The star of this dish was the definitely the peanut sauce. This was not a store-bought sauce but had to be homemade. The sauce had a richness all it’s own with a little kick and some peanuts for texture. One of the best peanut sauces I have ever had, if not the best.
Next was Nathan’s main course. Santa Cruz Diner offers breakfast all day long and there is a ton to choose from. So he made his own “Chicken and Waffles”. Sweet Coconut Waffle and fried chicken basket was his way of putting this together. Maybe in the future they will offer it as a single plate. It worked out well for us because I got to try some of it as well. The waffle looked like a Belgium waffle you would get in any diner except……. It was green! Yes, they added green food coloring to the mix. The flavor was unreal. It had some sweetness with a little touch of coconut. Little funky, little crunchy and super tasty!
The fried chicken basket came with fries. The chicken did not seem like something they did in-house. Actually I felt I recognized the style of frozen chicken from my old cooking days. Not bad but nothing special. The fries were nothing to write home about either. Everything was cooked correctly but that is about it.
I ordered the chicken Pho. This is made with homemade chicken broth, breast meat and the bowl was huge! Yeah, who would figure it? It came with all the fixings, basil, bean sprouts, fresh jalapenos, sriracha and hoisin sauce. Was this the best Pho I have ever had, no, but it was very good. Living in Orange County there is no shortage of spectacular Pho restaurants. That being said, this one could hold its own.
Last but not least, their biscuit and gravy. If you read this blog regularly, then you know I cannot pass up an opportunity to try homemade biscuits and gravy. They knocked it out of the park with this. The biscuit was big, spongy and perfect. The gravy was silky and very flavorful. I need to come back and just try some of their breakfast items. I bet the rest are just as good.
Well that was all we had. We almost had to be rolled out of there. If you are in the Santa Cruz area and don’t know what you want to eat or if you are looking for some good diner fare, make sure you check out the Santa Cruz Diner. They have a huge menu that should be able to satisfy any craving!