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May 27, 2007 06:12 AM

Fish Markets in Santa Cruz?

My son is moving to Santa Cruz this summer and wants to get his duck (and fish) in a row. We went to Ranch99 Market to buy fish yesterday and he was bemoaning the fact that he woulnd't be able to get fresh fish in such a small town.
Anyone have any good news for him? And any rec's for interesting markets beyond fish?

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  1. Unfortunately, we don't have anything like 99 Ranch down here. Believe me, I've been wishing...

    That's not to say there isn't fresh fish to be had though! My fish "market" of choice are the commercial boats at the R, S, and T docks at the yacht harbor. John on the boat "Gayle" is my main man for Dungeness crab in the winter and wild salmon in the summer, but if he's not there or is sold out, then I see who else is selling. Here's my latest purchase:

    I assume your son wants a more conventional market. While I don't shop there, most seafood-loving friends like Staff of Life for their seafood selection. H&H sells wonderful fish at several of the farmer's markets, but I find them pretty expensive so only buy as an occasional splurge. New Leaf market has some seafood options too. My general market of choice is Shopper's Corner, but their fish section is not appealing compared to their meat and chicken. It's a great store in general though! All of these places have websites, so google for more info.

    We are also getting two Whole Foods markets (one in Santa Cruz and one in Capitola) scheduled to open in 2008. Maybe 99 Ranch isn't too far behind...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      My regular grocery store is also Shopper's Corner, even though I live on the other side of town. I go there a couple times a month, stock up on meat, flirt with the butchers and get enough veggies to last me at least a week. Now that I live in Soquel, I'm going to have to try out Deluxe. I've never been there, but I hear it's this area's Shopper's Corner.

      As far as fish, their fish isn't that great. I like their prawns, though. One thing I can say is that I decided I was going to go to Shopper's Corner regularly after I asked a butcher if I could eat the fish raw (I was making sushi), and he said not to. When a butcher is honest, that's a good butcher. Whenever I want to eat sashimi or I'm making sushi, I ask if the fish is fresh enough. They've also gotten me pieces from the back. The butchers are great!

      I also get saba (mackerel) from Yamashita's Grocery in Watsonville on Union. It's a tiny mom-and-pop Japanese grocery story. I call in advance and tell them I want a whole saba filetted. It's about $7 for a whole fish.

      I've also had maguro from Whole Foods, and it's good. I plan to go there for sashimi once they open.

      Carb Lover, where will the Whole Foods in Capitola be?

      1. re: mixmastermidori

        Whole Foods in Capitola will be located on 41st Ave. where the Ralph's space used to be, right next to Longs. I have no idea why they're opening two stores in the area at the same time, but they are multiplying like mad lately.

        Yes, the butchers at Shopper's Corner are great. Your flirting comment made me laugh. Sometimes the seafood looks pretty decent, but I'm almost conditioned to just overlook that little corner of a seafood case. I've purchased their shrimp recently and agree that it can be good.

        Yamashita is a nice little store to stop into when I'm in that area. I buy frozen unagi there among other Asian staples, which makes a quick dinner w/ rice and some sauteed greens. I feel lucky when I happen to come on the day when they get their shipments from the tofu shop and mochi shop in San Jose.

        Now that you're in Soquel, have you checked out Sunnyside Produce and The Fish Lady on Main? I was kinda disappointed in my one visit to TFL so haven't returned, but wonder if they have anything good lately. Sunnyside can have some decent stuff but I'd rather shop at one of the farmers markets. They do carry Manuel's salsa there though...

        1. re: Carb Lover

          I think the butchers enjoy flirting. :)

          I'm kind of anti-Whole Foods, especially since we already have several natural foods stores. I may go for fish, but their prices tend to be higher than our local natural foods stores, and Shopper's Corner has a decent selection of organic produce.

          I always forget to get unagi. Thanks for reminding me. And I also can't remember when they get their tofu. I like that I don't have to drive over the hill, even though Mitsuwa is a great store.

          I've been to the Fish Lady in the past, but I've never bought fish there. The only thing I've gotten is their marinated tri-tip, which is outstanding. It's probably the most flavorful and most tender tri-tip I've ever had. I'll have to give their fish a try sometime. ;) Actually, now that I think about it, I did buy some lump crab there once to make a crab souffle. That was great...

          I also have to stop at that produce place. There's also one right across from Gayle's, isn't there? Seems like I've passed two produce stands in the area. Seems like a good habit to get into to stop there when I haven't been to Shopper's in awhile.

          1. re: mixmastermidori

            Thanks, all for the replys! He will be better armed to shop when he moves up. He's 21 and will be poor, so probably not the Whole Foods type of guy (even though he relishes what I bring home from WF's). But the smaller markets will be good starts. I'm sure when he gets into the scene he will learn more about where to shop for value!

            1. re: mixmastermidori

              Oh, flirting must be in their job description. They are a nice bunch of guys. I will continue to shop at SC as my regular market even when the WF opens. I will check out WF, of course, but will only buy specialty items like cheese or items that I can't find elsewhere.

              Last time I checked, Yamashita got their tofu shipment on Thurs. and you can reserve ahead if you'd like.

              Yes, there's a produce stand across from Gayle's but I've never stopped in. Looks like the same concept though. Sunnyside had some great manila mangoes once, which aren't that common around here.