Shadowbrook Orange Rolls: The Tastiest Treat You’ll Never Eat

ShadowbrookSunday Brunch at Shadowbrook.

It used to be a thing.

Nowadays they just point you to the Crow’s Nest for Sunday Brunch.  Nothing against the Crow’s Nest, but count me among the many who haven’t been able to get over Shadowbrook’s decision to stop offering brunch.

Forget that there isn’t a better atmosphere than the sun drenched Greenhouse dining room for a mid morning feast.  Put aside those cravings for the eggs benedict, the Ruben sandwich, and morning mimosa’s.

This is about the orange rolls.

Ted Striker never got over Macho Grande.  I’ll never get over the orange rolls.

If you were lucky enough to go to brunch at Shadowbrook then you understand.  Unless you’re one of those anti-sweet/anti-pastry weirdo’s that I just don’t get.

Here’s how it would go down.  Your server would start by bringing you a complimentary mimosa.  Sunlight would be flooding through the greenhouse windows.  Bright, beautiful Sunday morning in Capitola.  Then you would do the brunch dance – do you want breakfast or lunch?  For me that meant eggs benedict or the Rueben sandwich.

NOT shadowbrook orange rolls

Not Shadowbrook Orange Rolls, but kinda similar. Photo Credit: Jilly Strasburg

Meanwhile, you can’t focus on the menu because you know that somewhere nearby is the bread guy.  But today, at Shadowbrook, he isn’t just a bread guy.  He’s The Orange Roll Guy.  The man!  He would work his way through the dining room, delivering the single best pastry on the planet to each person in the restaurant.

The Shadowbrook orange roll wasn’t really a roll.  And it wasn’t a sticky bun either.  It was sort of a hybrid.  It was a sticky sweet roll with orange zest mixed into the dough, and a gooey candied orange coating.  They were always hot out of the oven, as if the server snatched them from the oven and sprinted directly to your table.  And soft, oh boy.  So soft.

The Orange Roll Guy would cycle through so you could always take a second, or third, or…

It’s been 5 painful years since I last binged on Shadowbrook orange rolls.  Shadowbrook stopped serving brunch in 2008 to accomodate more Sunday weddings.  The most important day in someone’s life vs. an orange roll in my belly?

Tough call.

About Ethan Oates

Ethan Oates fell in love with Santa Cruz while visiting as a child. He has lived in Santa Cruz since the mid '90's, and is happiest when spending time with his family.

  • Linda O says:

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree!!! I still check their website from time to time to see if brunch is back. I suspect that there must have been an issue with the brunch chef…I had called some time ago to see if I could get their orange roll recipe (since they openly display some of their recipes) and the person on the phone got a little up-tight, started to say something cryptic about the chef, then buttoned up (I just don’t buy the “Sunday weddings” thing).
    If we could only find out where this chef took his orange rolls…
    But indeed mimosa brunch at Shadowbrook was magical!
    Thanks for sharing and reminiscing.

  • Michael says:

    Try these 😉

    Been going to Sunday brunch forever… I bet the chef got the recipe here.

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