Last Sunday, Mother's Day, we ate lunch in Santa Cruz on our way to picking strawberries (it's too early in the season to pick, by the way). Wanting to try something a little different from what I've been blogging about recently, we dropped by Cafe Brasil, set in an unassuming house with the dining area much like an expanded living room.
After waiting more than forty minutes (we arrived at 12:30), Jenny and I each ordered their tilapia, albeit with different sides. One boy got a grilled cheese sandwich and the other, ham.
The fish was so plain Jenny and I both doused our plates with Tabasco sauce. It was the first time I'd ever seen Jenny use Tabasco on anything and yet she flooded her dish with the stuff just to make things at least a little interesting. Although I recognize it's a personal preference, the farofa--a sawdust-like toasted flour mixture--did nothing to add any excitement to the whitefish which itself was starving for flavor.
The most intriguing part of our meal was the salad. Jenny and I both enjoyed the heart of palm, which added some zip visually.
Overall, Mother's Day went well, but it would have been even better if we ate somewhere else for lunch. Cafe Brasil simply wasn't worth the wait. After getting the check, though, I understood how a place like this thrives, especially in a college town. The four of us were fed for less than $30 including tax and tip.
By the way, as far as I could tell, the wait at Cafe Brasil never stops. We got out of there just after 2:00 (the restaurant closes at 3:00 on Sundays) and there were still people waiting outside. I have to give credit to the staff at Cafe Brasil. They kept a cheerful attitude the entire time I was there despite being surrounded by a big, cold, hungry (and sometimes impatient) crowd.
1410 Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060