The Santa Cruz Weekly came out with their annual Gold Awards "Celebrating Santa Cruz's Best" last week and it is a 100 plus page orgy of ads, most sporting the ubiquitous label that indicated first, second or third place in a reader poll of a gazillion categories ranging from "Best Oil Change" to "Best Dive Bar". Surprisingly, (or maybe not) almost all of the awards went to downtown Santa Cruz establishments with a smattering of West Side, Capitola, Aptos and even one Watsonville winner.
Only one San Lorenzo Valley spot received first place mention - Henry Cowell's won for Best State Park! (Big Basin did not merit even an honorable mention.) There were a couple of other local mentions including Dancing Crane, the acupuncture clinic in Boulder Creek and the Boulder Creek Brewers who both placed among the top three in their categories. Ace Hardware (Scarborough's), New Leaf Markets, Taqueria Vallarta, Bay Federal Credit Union, Probuild and CVS all were mentioned due to their affiliations with a local branch downtown.
I'm not sure what to make of the relative shutout of SLV establishments; surely our dive bars rank with any in the county!