GCP Shoes

Regional Cookbooks - California

Presenting a different kind of cookbook...

Fabulous recipes from regional restaurants
Along with quirky reviews by the "Geezer Chicks"

More than a collection of recipes

More than a restaurant guidebook

It's an enchanting look at California cuisine

Check out our NEW featured restaurants...

Starburst Star shape to attract attention

Cookbooks you'll want
to read

For the perfect gift...
...Or the perfect addition to your cookbook collection

Join the Geezer Chicks as they explore
their favorite restaurants
one recipe at a time.

Santa Cruz Cooks!
Monterey Bay Cooks!

...because food should be fun

Heels Boots Birkenstocks
Michele's comment
Kathy's comment
Jane's comment

Kicking it off...!

Welcome to the GC Publications' first born! Santa Cruz Cooks! is a labor of love (admittedly, often less love and more labor than we had anticipated) - a collection of recipes from our favorite, uniquely Santa Cruz restaurants, coupled with a peek into the world of dining out "GC style."

But enough about the book. Wouldn't you really like to know more about us?

GC Publications is the result of friendships formed at Branciforte Elementary School 4+ decades ago when Santa Cruz was a sleepy tourist town of 24,000. We are Geezer Chicks indeed. We were all born and raised right here - and we've been pretty much eating our way around the county ever since. We remember Pacific Avenue's Delmarette and the mountains of pasta at the Santa Cruz Hotel. We remember root beer floats at the A & W, and carhops punching out (ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching) our change from those curious stainless-steel predecessors of the fanny pack. And speaking (writing?) of change, we remember when a budget-busting abalone dinner on the wharf cost $9.99.

Looking back, our best memories of that Santa Cruz childhood all seemed to have some connection to food. And fun. And friends. We realized the memories we're creating now haven't changed all that much. Sure, those few dozen restaurants have grown into a few hundred and our palates have significantly matured, but Santa Cruz is still about food, fun and friends. And what world-class food it is! So that, ladies, gentlemen and gender neutrals, is how the little twinkle in Geezer Chick Kathy's eye gestated into Santa Cruz Cooks!

Santa Cruz County is a culinary melting pot. We have some of the world's best chefs creating the best dishes right here in our own back yard. Sure, we could stay mum and keep them for ourselves, but we believe we have an obligation to share these recipes with the millions of people who eat out of cans and microwaves every day of their lives. Do you realize that today nine out of ten Americans still cook with aluminum pots? And that there are stores still selling coffee in vacuum-sealed tins? Good food is our heritage, our legacy. Many of our restaurants now sit on the very land that once grew the country's first strawberries, Brussels sprouts, oranges and avocados. When those Neocolonialists were agog over maize, we were already adding artichokes to huevos and creating the earliest-recorded frittata. And that vaunted first Thanksgiving? Santa Cruzans were already dining al fresco year 'round! Our Founding Padres were growing cilantro while your Cajun chefs were still arguing over how to spell coriander and the East Coasters were debating if Cape Cod was named after the fish or vice versa. Now, Geezer Chicks are intelligent women. We do realize outsiders might actually think they're eating well, but that's only because they've never been exposed to Santa Cruz area cuisine. Face it, everyone secretly wishes they could eat like us. And now they can.

But what does make Santa Cruz dining so exemplary? Opinions vary. One school credits the climate. Another believes the preponderance of skin-art aesthetic on fellow diners stimulates the taste buds. Still another contends that with all the wine/weed produced and consumed here, everything tastes better. (Curiously, no one has ever suggested these chefs were lured by our low cost of living.) Geezer Chicks have their own theory. Our research has revealed the Santa Cruz restaurant renaissance precisely coincided with the designation of Santa Cruz as a nuclear-free zone. Who knows what subtle toxins and taste twisters were drifting off all those ABMs onto our calamari? Crazy? So when's the last time you saw Love Canal Canapes Cookbook or Three-Mile Island Cooks Organic? We rest our case.

Whatever the reason, Santa Cruz County is home to a remarkable number of creative chefs, a wide range of dining choices and unique venues. Santa Cruz Cooks! started with a list of our favorite restaurants. Some were familiar to all three of us; others were closely held "special places" begrudgingly given up for the sake of The Book and the credibility of GC Publications. Some made the list because the food is extraordinary, some made the list because we simply love the physical place, and some offer both exceptional food and a unique dining experience. That original list was eventually pared down, but in truth, we still have our personal favorites and haven't always agreed. We are, after all, Geezer Chicks, not Borg.

As you read your way through this book, you'll notice improbably shod feathers adding their two cents' worth to the narratives. So what's up with that? Well, for all we have in common, we are three Geezer Chicks with independent opinions, favorites, memories and perspectives. But how best to identify our individual interjections? A conundrum.

We considered getting professional head shots, but decided the cost of air brushing and retouching said photos would be exorbitant.

We considered using our baby pictures. This option guaranteed a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and ensured our mothers would buy our books by the gross, but was ultimately nixed when we realized all babies really DO look alike.

Three women, each clever, each a bubble off plumb, but with distinctly different styles. Hmmmm. As we kicked this around, (can you see where we're going here?) we almost simultaneously realized we were kicking with decidedly unique footwear: Kathy, our no-nonsense corporate alpha Chick in exquisitely tooled cowboy boots; Jane, our practical, detail-minded Earth Chick in broken-in Birkenstocks; and Michele, our gregarious, "do I have time for a pedicure?" Chick in strappy stiletto sandals. The seed was planted. The feathers were then a no-brainer. Chicks, writers, quills, yadda, yadda. Presto, consensus-o: three different feathers wearing three very different pairs of shoes. And speaking their minds. What could be more logical?

It is our hope you will enjoy reading our book, dazzling family and friends with these recipes, and, whenever possible, visiting our participating restaurants.

We encourage you to embrace the essence of Geezer Chick life - good food, good fun, good friends. Enjoy!


Nancy Redwine
Santa Cruz Style
Santa Cruz Sentinel Staff Writer
Cookbook takes us into local restaurant kitchens