Venus Pie Trap brings New Haven-style pizza to Aptos

The words “Pie, Coffee, Pizza” on the front of this sparkling white seaside cafe say it all. Yes, Venus Pie Trap (mega points for clever name) indeed specializes in all of the above, plus a variety of bagels from Perforated rollpastries from Manresamince pies and quiches (from Edith’s Pie from Oakland) and homemade pizzas of the New Haven variety, like in Connecticut. And what exactly is New Haven style pizza, you might be wondering. (I did.) Well, according to the internet, that means rustic, cheese-free, easy-to-eat, thin-crust pizza.

Melo and I met at one of the black wrought iron cafe tables out front, took a moment to enjoy the sun and beautiful little white clouds cruising the beach in Rio del Mar, then ordered what amounted to brunch. Through an alliance with 11th hour coffee, Venus Pie Trap offers fair coffees, including an outstanding macchiato ($3.25). We shared a warm and fragrant Motz ($18) pizza topped with a thin mozzarella, provolone, pecorino, romano glaze and tomato sauce. Very easy.

Our Caesar salad ($12) arrived in a clear plastic container, with the dressing in a separate plastic container. Not thrown. Obviously intended for a picnic on the beach. In fact, as we watched people walk in, grab a coffee or a pastry, and head down to the beach, we realized that the whole concept here is really about takeout. We were happy with the beer garden vibe, but next time we’ll aim for a lunch on the beach.

For dessert, we each ordered something different from Edith’s extensive selection of pies. Mine was a large slice of coconut cream pie unnecessarily topped with whipped cream, which was a bit too sweet. Melo’s buttery chocolate nut pie was a sin in itself, like a thick pecan pie made with nothing but walnuts and laced with dark chocolate. Delicious inside, although the crust was tough. We later found out it was one of Edith’s headliners called Scribble Pie.

Entrepreneur Sean Venus, whose cocktail and kitchen outpost Aptos sits right next to the Pie Trap, believes that “pies should be enjoyed all day.” I couldn’t agree more. But I look forward to one of Manresa’s scrumptious pastries and another of those terrific macchiatos on my next visit.

Venus Pie Trap is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with pizzas starting at 11 a.m. 113 Esplanade, Aptos. venuspietrap.com.

harvest festival

The Watsonville version of our original health food pioneer life stick wants everyone to come to the very first Organic harvest festival Saturday, October 1, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Just browsing this amazingly well-stocked store is excuse enough for a visit, but if you want more reasons, here are a few: The free festival will showcase super-fresh, all-organic crops and produce from the best growers in Santa Clara to Monterrey; there will be live music, samples, tastings, food sales (including juicy cheeseburgers and pulled pork sandwiches from the staff) and wine/beer tasting for $3. Even better, you can meet your local farmers from Coastal Products, Earthbound Farms, Pinnacle Farms, Jas Family Farms, Lakeside Organic, and much more. “We’re looking forward to a great day at our 1st Annual Organic Harvest Festival,” says the owner of Staff of Life Gary Bascou. “We want to showcase the farmers growing right here in the Tri-valley.”

Life Stick, 906 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville. staffoflifemarket.com.

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