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Pies, Squared : Pizza meister Roland Konicke displays his contribution to Western civilization, available at the Felton and Watsonville farmers markets.


Uncie Ro's pizza, the Fourth of July at the Little Red Schoolhouse and Cambodian food in Scotts Valley

By Amber Turpin

Now He's The Pie Guy
Roland Konicke is the genius behind Uncie Ro's, the organic take-and-bake pizzas available at the Felton and Watsonville farmers markets. Konicke's "fresh from New York family recipe" sources ingredients for each pizza straight from the markets themselves, where Konicke gathered years of experience working and selling in the local farming community. "I used to be the avocado guy," he explains. He also works on and off with Four Sisters Farm (they still provide much of his produce). Renting space at the Feel Good Foods commercial kitchen near the Sash Mill, Konicke is turning out petite pies for the Watsonville market when we speak. Toppings are seasonally bent, and in addition to his classic selections (Greek, pepperoni, etc.), each week he creates a special combination as a wild card to keep things exciting. He uses quality, aged Italian cheeses, and the sauce and dough are both handcrafted. "I'm a New Yorker who loves pizza!" he says by way of explanation. Who doesn't?

The Little Red Schoolhouse on Alba Road in Ben Lomond is celebrating its 113th (yes, you read that correctly) July 4 celebration. This is pretty much the one and only event that takes place in this tiny, ridiculously cute schoolhouse built in 1895, which now serves as a neighborhood meeting hall, library and nature museum. Alba Road community members all pitch in for this fundraiser, creating a day of music, book sales, a raffle, face painting, live auction, nature displays, bake sale, barbecue and ice cream. Such an old-fashioned show of genuine neighborly goodness appropriately brings us the real deal, foodwise--homemade baked beans, homemade ice cream, homemade pies. That's reason enough to get me up there. The SLV Orchestra starts at 11:30am, followed by a flag raising, lunch from noon to 2pm, and the auction at 1pm.

20 Ounces TO FREEDOM
An unlikely quick Tuesday night bite led to some interesting discoveries in the Scotts Valley area last week. Our only source for Cambodian food is Jia Tella's, and it has always satisfied since opening last year. However, on this particular evening, even more reasons to visit this tucked-away little treasure-emerged. For one, the eight draft beers on tap are served in large 20-ounce glasses (British standard) as opposed to the wimpy American 16-ounce pint, for just $5. An ice cream case by the counter holds tempting varieties from The Latest Scoop, a gelato company based in Berkeley that is the same source for the ever-popular and much-touted gelato at Riva Fish House on the Wharf. My combo was coconut almond crunch with dark chocolate, but the coffee Dutch Almond, Mango sorbet and even plain old vanilla bean would all have sufficed. Outside, owner Jason Revino was still hard at work at 6:30pm putting some finishing touches on the new large outdoor patio and stage area, just in time for Jia Tella's first Sunday wine tasting event with live music from 3 to 6pm. And I overheard discussion of some new menu additions that should appear on the brightly decorative board soon. (

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