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[whitespace] Amy Weininger Java Joy: Amy Weininger of Surf City Coffee relaxes with a hot mocha.

Photograph by George Sakkestad


Riding a Wave of Caffeine at Surf City

The lovely buzz at Surf City Coffee in Soquel comes from the coffee and the beautiful accouterments

By Janet Blaser

TO ME, Sunday mornings mean big cups of coffee, fresh bagels or squishy, sticky cinnamon rolls, lots of newspapers with color comics and, if I'm lucky, warm morning sun. It's the one day of the week when it's easy to justify going out for a slow breakfast that is as much about leisure and aesthetics as food and drink.

That's what I walked into when, quite by chance, I happened upon Surf City Coffee, on Porter Street in Soquel. I had noticed the spiffy new white Southwestern-style building the night before, as I began a drive up into the nearby mountains in search of a girlfriend's birthday party. It was dark, the roads were unfamiliar, I knew I was gonna get lost ... couldn't I just stay there and nurse a cup of coffee? But no, instead, I persevered and found the party, had a good time and rewarded myself the next morning with a long, slow tête-à-tête with the aforementioned trappings, served in high style by the upbeat crew at Surf City.

I've said this before and I've no qualms about saying it again: I'm a sucker for a pretty face. And that's one of the things Surf City offers--beautiful accouterments, from the deep-purple plastic lids for its takeout cups to the sleek steel-and-beechwood bar stools hugging the maize-yellow walls to the pleasing patio out front. Somehow, even right on what is undoubtedly a busy street, this cafe has managed to create a small oasis of pleasure, using subtle touches to soothe the eye and complement a simple menu of coffee-shop fare.

Even the staff uniforms border on covetable--black-background old-school Hawaiian shirts, sprinkled with woodies and palm trees. The other Surf City location, in Aptos (9105 Soquel Dr.), has always offered high-quality logo clothing and hats, and this one follows suit with T-shirts and girls' tank tops with a more feminine, but still vintage, Hawaiian motif: a band of hibiscus flowers, a hula girl. All are available in muted beach colors, of course.

One of the nicest touches, in my mind, is the round mosaic in the middle of the floor. Composed of pieces of tile in multi-shades of purple, turquoise and ocean blues, it looks like some kind of ritualistic circle worship of eternal coffee bliss, echoing what you will most likely be feeling on your way out.

Surf City is located at 3070 Porter St., Soquel, just before the school. Look for the big flags--you can't miss it. Open early for the commuter crowd; hours are Monday to Saturday from 6:30am to 8pm and Sunday from 7am to 7pm. You can call 465.0106 for more information.

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From the October 20-27, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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