If you haven’t heard quite yet, a new hangout spot just opened up in Santa Cruz, Ca. called the Abbott Square Market. The market features 7 local eateries and has live music every Saturday night. Since I was in town, I thought I would pop in, grab some food, and give you all my first impressions.
Spend the Day at the Abbott Square Market
Upon walking in, you will immediately feel the vibrant and warm vibes from everyone. The whole market is a trendy and open-concept layout. There are almost no walls and the sellers are all connected. It sort of reminded me of the SoFA Market in San Jose, Anaheim Packing House in Anaheim, or the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. However, what sets this place apart from most market places is that it’s not a big venue, it’s partnered with the Museum of Art and History located next door, and the place emulates laid-back vibes since this is Santa Cruz after all.
Now, let’s talk about the food.
Honestly, I came into the market already expecting everything to be pricey since they were all independent eateries and the venue was modern and high end.
I was right.
However, that didn’t stop me from trying out the food because I was also paying for the experience, so whatever. Take my money.
It’s no secret that I am obsessed with a good Poke bowl, especially if it has a TON of salmon and avocado. When I heard that a poke place opened up in Santa Cruz, I was in complete disbelief and KNEW that I had to try it ASAP.
Upon walking up to the counter, a rush of first impressions came into my mind:
- Totally obvious that the place just opened
- Oh gosh they don’t have any more salmon
- SUPER Pricey ($14 for a regular bowl)
- Understaffed (the server was working at another eatery next door)
In my bowl, I got brown rice, avocado, imitation crab, seaweed salad, green onion, 1/16 scoop of salmon (they were out!), 2 15/16 scoops of ahi tuna, fried onion and jalapeno, and spicy mayo.
To be honest, the bowl was underwhelming. There was more rice than fish, no big flavors, and the price did not reflect the quality. (Pokibowl’s regular is $10 and they are more generous with their fish!) If I wasn’t so obsessed with Poke, I probably would skip this place, but since it’s the best that Santa Cruz could do, I would settle.
My boyfriend and I were still on a seafood kick, so I decided to grab something at All Aboard. I ended up getting a cup of clam chowder and the lobster roll. Both items came out to be $30. I totally expected this since I was paying for lobster. Overall, I thought the quality of the meal and the price were barely justified. This is because the portions where SUPER small. I felt like the roll was served in a hotdog bun and the chips came out of a mini ruffles bag. Also, for $6 they should consider putting the soup in a bread bowl instead.
However, the flavor was there. The roll was FILLED to the top with lobster pieces and the chips were not half as bad. The soup was also delicious and exactly what a clam chowder should look like. Was it worth the $30? Maybe not, but I’ll take it.
Milk & Wood
Now, I could not leave without having dessert, so I checked out Milk & Wood which is a create-your-own ice cream/popsicle place. I first saw this place at the SoFA Market in San Jose, so I was ecstatic that they opened up a location in Santa Cruz! This place is very similar to Popbar, but I would say that M&W is unique in a sense that the assembly is different and that they hammer on toppings! You definitely need the tray if you get a ton of toppings.
My boyfriend and I got very different bars:
- Matcha Green Tea Bar
- Crushed Oreo
- Milk Chocolate Drizzle
My Boyfriend’s bar:
- Mint Chocolate Bar
- Chocolate Sprinkles
- Waffle Cone Pieces
- White Chocolate Drizzle
Overall, the ice cream here was amazing and comparable to Popbar, if not better. The customer service was quick and amazing and they are currently holding an Instagram and Yelp promotion where if you check-in and leave a review on Yelp, you get $1 off of your bar. They are pretty active on social media, so follow them if you want to get in on their promotions. While you’re there, tell them I sent you 🙂
Where are some of your favorite marketplaces to eat? If you visit the Abbott Square Market, be sure to tag me so I can like your posts!