The folks at Food Network have made a habit of featuring Santa Cruz County on their shows. By our count, nine different local restaurants have made the channel on six different programs over the last few years.
Want to tour all nine? Here's the rundown:
1. Just Cake, Capitola ("Food Network Challenge", multiple Food Network Awards)
2. Ristorante Barolo, Aptos ("Restaurant: Impossible")
We've chronicled every step of the renovation of Ristorante Barolo here on Patch. Since its unveiling, the Aptos eatery has received mixed reviews. If you end up at the Bayview Hotel on a good day, the architecture and history of the building are enough to make the trip worth it. Check out the entire episode in the video section above.
3. Hoffman's Bistro and Patisserie, Santa Cruz ("Restaurant: Impossible")
Robert Irvine made over this Pacific Avenue breakfast joint a few months before coming back to serve Aptos. Hoffman's was flagged for its dysfunction before Food Network showed up, but has completely turned a corner in 2012, receiving plenty of positive feedback. See a clip from the episode above.
4. Aldo's Harbor Restaurant, Santa Cruz ("Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives")
Guy Fieri stopped by Aldo's in 2010. Known for its harbor location and ocean views, Aldo's serves up famous breakfast and lunch. The owners also operate in Soquel.
5. Santa Cruz Diner, Santa Cruz ("Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives")
Food Network couldn't pass this one up as long as they kept coming back to town. You'd have a hard time finding a diner like this — classic East Coast fused with Asian cuisine — anywhere else in the country.
6. Marini's Candies, Santa Cruz ("Road Tasted")
Back in 2006, Jamie Deen and Bobby Deen, the sons of Paula Deen, came out to the Central Coast as part of their nation-wide tour to find the best family-run food business in the country. Among their stops was Marini's Candies. There are a few locations, but they chose the Boardwalk. Open since 1915, Marini's is known for its salt water taffy and chocolate-covered bacon. See video of their "Road Tasted" episode above.
7. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz ("Sunny's Summer Eats")
Three years after the Deen boys came to the Boardwalk, Food Network was back with host Sunny Anderson as she traveled to summer festivals and amusement parks looking for the best fare. At the Boardwalk, she highlighted the corn dogs, roasted corn and plenty more of the park's 30 vendors. Check out a clip from "Sunny's Summer Eats" in the videos section above.
8. El Jardin, Live Oak ("Best Thing I Ever Made")
To be fair, the food at El Jardin wasn't actually featured on Food Network. Here's what happened: Robert Irvine was in town filming "Restaurant: Impossible" and needed a commercial kitchen where he could film an episode of "Best Thing I Ever Made" and El Jardin was chosen. Still, he called the food there "pretty awesome." .
9. Phil's Fish Market, Moss Landing ("Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and "Road Tasted")
Technically, this one is in Monterey County. But it's just outside the border, and it's really good, so we're counting it. Phil DiGirolamo defeated Iron Chef Bobby Flay in a cioppino contest in 2008 and also impressed the Deen boys on the same episode that featured Marini's. See the video of their "Road Tasted" episode above.
Did we miss any that you remember on the Food Network? Are you a big fan of any of the restaurants above? Tell us in the comments!