Giuseppe Vitagliano, owner and pizzamaker at Tramonti

New and lively, Tramonti has already won the tastebuds of Seabright locals with its large portions, delicious pizzas and can-do service. When Rita and I had lunch at Tramonti last week, we found all of the above—and more. Yes, Tramonti is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, noon to 2:30pm. Pizzas are quite tasty here, she assured me—again, big is the game plan. Generous portions served by very well-trained, friendly staffers. We shared a ham, cheese and egg stuffed Calzone Tramonti that looked, I kid you not, exactly like Vesuvius from the air, with a light toasted crust and its “cone” emitting steam. ($12) Housemade potato gnocchi in a dreamy fontina, gorgonzola cream sauce was lavish. For my money the hit of our lunch was an insalata Santa Croce (Santa Cruz in Italian) that involved an addictive mix of arugula, radicchio, kale, carrots, celery and toasted hazelnuts—with lots of feta and parmigiano, all tossed with fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing. Okay get this: for $7, two of us got full on the “small” salad, and still had enough to take home for two more servings. Seriously. It was an impressive and bountiful salad. And if you can wrap your head around this—there is a bigger version for three dollars more!  Bring the soccer team.

Tramonti pizzas are truly free-ranging, from biancas with walnuts and pears, or grape tomatoes and arugula, to bold pizze rosse topped with tomato sauce and Italian sausage, or four cheeses, veggies, anchovies and oregano—that's the Siciliana, and I'm going to have it next time I go. Pizza crust here is absolutely delicious. Our terrific salad arrived with a few strips of fired pizza crust on the side that were as full-flavored as any designer crackers.  Tramonti is located across the parking lot from La Posta, and across the street from Engfer—sort of a Bermuda Triangle of pizza. And the entire Seabright neighborhood is overjoyed. If you go in the evening, remember this sleek, textile-free interior, can get quite sonic. Tramonti—528 Seabright Ave., SC 831.426-7248 –

Cigare Chef Lands in Palo Alto: Ryan Shelton, formerly of Le Cigare Volant Restaurant, emailed to tell me what he calls “exciting news.” Last week, Shelton was tapped to be chef at the Palo Alto Grill, the new American steakhouse at the former Miyake site on University Avenue. Palo Alto Grill owners are Bruce Schmidt and Luka Dvornik, formerly of Lavanda, also on University Avenue. And Shelton says that the new dining room “will be specializing in contemporary California cuisine and hopes to open by the end of February.” Could be a reason to drive over the hill. At any rate, those of us who admired Shelton's handiwork when he was at Le Cigare Volant wish him success.

Bower Power:New Leaf Community Market customers have donated over $7,000 at the cash register for relief efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October. Proceeds will go to two New Jersey Food Banks and the American Red Cross. You go Leaf!

Blueberry Hill on the Hill: Oh yes you can grow your own blueberries here in Santa Cruz, says UCSC Farm field production manager Liz Milazzo. “By paying attention to a few important factors they can be a great addition to your garden.” Sign up for the upcoming workshop. “Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden,” on Saturday, February 16, from 10 am to 1 pm at the UCSC Farm. $30 for general public, $20 for Friends—register @