Pull over and eat: At the Truck Stop, chef Fran Grayson cranks out soulful, street food–inspired dishes from her shiny 1976 Chevy catering truck. You won’t want to miss her Venezuelan arepas, stuffed with eggs, ham, and cheese, much of it sourced from nearby farms. $; 831/621-7361 for location schedule.
Your new summer staple: The Penny Ice Creamery does a killer float. It’s one scoop of basil ice cream—made with fresh herbs from Route 1 Farms down the road—and one tall glass of blackberry soda. Watch the former drop into the latter and smile as the slurpy, fizzy goodness unfolds. $; 913 Cedar St.; 831/204-2523.
The hits keep coming: The Picnic Basket serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with most ingredients—yep!—sourced locally. That can mean chicken from Fogline Farm seasoned with house-cured onions tucked between two slices of sourdough from the Companion Bakeshop. They call it a chicken salad sandwich. We call it the new Santa Cruz. $; 125 Beach St.; 831/427-9946.
Make it a weekend: The refreshed Beach Street Inn has that beach-meets-boutique feel, with great ocean views, and it’s close to the hustle-bustle of the Boardwalk. The bonus: barbecue area and firepit. From $199; 2-night minimum; beachstreetinn.com