Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 29th
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Italian Lesson

dining_LaPostaLa Posta attracts Seabright neighbors with unique Italian food
Like a foodie foreign language class, the servers at La Posta are kept busy explaining the menu which is riddled with less familiar Italian foodstuffs and regional specialties. Cavolo (cabbage), cacio (cheese), caprino (goat cheese), or farro (spelt) combine to make meals that you don't frequently find.

By 8 p.m. on a Friday night, the tables were all occupied by couples, groups and families. In the softly lit room, alive with conversation, a single tiny flame danced on each table like a firefly.

Being huge fans of bivalves we started with two dozen Mussels alla Triestina ($10), which is named for an Italian town. Large, creamy morsels of seafood were cooked with garlic, chilies, and a fresh bay leaf and topped with fine, crisp breadcrumbs. We soaked up the broth with dark, nutty homemade bread. We also enjoyed Asparagus al forno ($6) with thin spears roasted al dente and served with salty green and black olives.

For the main course, house made sausages were served with Umbrian Lentils ($21). Not perfectly shaped cylinders like those from a machine, these plump, hand-tied packages were stuffed with ground and coarsely chopped meat flecked with green herbs and fennel seeds. The toothsome lentils with bits of flavorful meat were joined by bitter translucent leaves of green wilted escarole, resulting in an earthy and filling meal.

Chicken Chanterelle Pasta ($16) was one of the night's specials and featured tender house-made pasta in a rich broth with the woodsy flavor of meaty mushrooms.

Desserts are also house made and I was curious about the Rosemary Olive Oil Cake ($8), wondering if this savory herb was indeed dessert-compatible. The sweet cube of airy cake with bits of rosemary was complemented by tart strawberries and creamy lemon gelato. I can see myself dropping by in the future for dessert and an after-dinner wine.

La Posta, 538 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 457-2782. Beer and extensive wine list. Serving dinner Tuesday through Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday 5-9:30 p.m., and prix-fixe family style dinner Sundays 5-8 p.m. Visit ★★★

Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club will celebrated its first anniversary with a membership drive on Sunday, April 18 at the Ben Lomond home of its founder. It was a unique opportunity to meet neighbors who love to cook.

On the first Sunday of each month, six people gather to prepare dinner together. One pair brings wine, the second pair brings wine and dessert, and the third couple, who hosts the meal, provides dinner. The following month, they'll be matched with a different group. The evening is intended to cost $50 per couple, which is a great value for a gourmet meal with wine.

Annual membership dues are $20 per person, and the club is open to residents of Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Felton, and Scotts Valley. It's a great idea which hopefully will expand to other parts of the county – any volunteers?

Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club. Call 336-8098 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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