Mexican Fare & Free Transient Dinner Theater at Cafe Campesino: Santa Cruz

One of the yelp reviews says, “Ignore the hippies and enjoy the food!”  We did notice that the owners of the Cafe were very aware of the Saturday night rowdiness and were attentive to the interesting dinner theater performance occurring around us.  They said it was particularly rowdy that night, I don’t doubt it.

This is not your big burrito, beans made with lard, oil drenched nachos kind of Mexican spot.  Cafe Campesino is a bit different than your typical Taqueria.  It is located in a small kiosk on the sidewalk in downtown Santa Cruz in front of New Leaf Grocery Store on Pacific.  It serves such dishes as Mole, Cactus, Gorditas, and Frida Kahlo Spicy Tomato Soup.  We had the Mole Plate, the Tinga Plate (Chipotle Sauce on Chicken with Potatos and Beans), Frida Kahlo Soup (Tortilla Soup) and a Pollo Big Taco with Spicy Guacamole, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Even though this is a casual kiosk, all of the dishes are lovingly presented on ceramic plates.

Tues.-Thurs. 11:30am-7:30PM
Wed.-Sat. 11:30PM-9:00PM
Sun.- 12-7PM
Closed on Mondays

1130 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4581
(831) 425-5979

Lesley: I really liked my tortilla soup because of it’s temperature, crunchy chips, and avocado and sour cream on top.  The soup was especially nice on a cool fall evening as you order your meal at the kiosk and sit at tables outside on the street.  I felt full and healthy after this dinner.

John: The Mole plate was delicious because of the Mole.  The chicken was not cooked with the spice, so if you are unlucky to get a bite of chicken without the sauce you would be disappointed with the lack of flavor.  Thankfully, there is a proper amount of sauce waiting for you to mix it with the chicken, beans, queso, and hidden tortilla/crepe-like savory thing hidden under the chicken and sauce.  The Mole was fantastic, with a good amount of heat, multi-layered flavor, and a just right amount of chocolate/cocoa to round it out.  If you’re escaping Silicon Valley in Santa Cruz, try the Mole.

Also, the people performing on the street were quite amusing that evening, expounding on a variety of topics ranging from race relations to the fallacy of organized religion.  When we left, I thanked them for the evening’s entertainment, to which they replied that we should come see them in Berkeley.  Perhaps we will, I hear there’s good food up that way.

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