Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Fresh and Fired-up

Dinning_CafeEllaWatsonville’s Cafe Ella celebrates the bounty of local produce with homemade recipes
his week thousands of us will travel on East Lake Avenue towards the Santa Cruz County Fair. Huge hogs raised by 4-H kids, rides, carnie games, and exhibits of local artisans are sure to draw crowds. Nevertheless, what if you’re just not a fan of fair food?

Cafe Ella is hidden in a modern two-story office building across East Lake Avenue from historic Tuttle Mansion, a massive, elaborate, barn-red Victorian. With abundant availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, Café Ella’s mission is to provide nutritious, homemade fast food using preservative-free, natural, and local ingredients.

On my first visit, after placing my order at the counter, I chose a table beside a trickling fountain on the shaded patio. Mini Pizzas ($9.50) come with either a half salad or a cup of soup. I waited for mine while sipping a delicious mango-enhanced iced tea. The salad, which I had selected from the list of daily specials, arrived first. Baby spinach leaves, tossed in flavorful chili-lime vinaigrette, were topped with creamy crumbles of French feta, candied almonds, sliced radishes, and sweet fresh white corn kernels. I never imagined that raw corn was so flavorful.


My Margherita pizza passed by on its way to the outdoor wood-fired oven where it would spend just four minutes. Made in the Neapolitan manner with a thin crust, thin coating of tomato sauce and not overly loaded with fresh buffalo mozzarella, it included thin slices of fresh, fat tomatoes and torn fresh sweet basil. Although I would have cooked it hotter or longer to further crisp the center of the pie, I ate every piece.


Another wood-fired oven specialty is the Gooey Gorgonzola Garlic Bread ($3.75). The aroma of warm minced garlic wafted from the slice of multigrain sandwich bread. This time the perfectly crisped bread was topped with browned and bubbly blue cheese and sautéed, sweet onions.


From the wood-fired oven also come chicken wings, open-faced sandwiches, baked pasta and pastrami. The Messy Hot Pastrami ($6.75) lived up to its name. Lean and nicely seasoned beef was layered between toasted multigrain bread with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, avocado and Ella’s secret spread, which seemed to include whole grain mustard. It was served with herbed Cole-slaw in a pesto-like dressing.


The ingredients for panini sandwiches can be either served in wraps or pressed and grilled between bread. The Pavo Mia ($6.75) included thin slices of roasted turkey breast, caramelized onions, baby cornichons pickles, Swiss cheese, and organic greens with the Ella spread.


There was a nice selection of desserts, including bread pudding from Ella’s sister restaurant in Hollister, as well as carrot cake from Kelly’s Bakery.
Breakfast entrees include panini, croissant sandwiches, waffles and wraps, with numerous pastries, breads and biscotti to choose from. Beverages include a full selection of smoothies, teas, espresso and coffee drinks as well as freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and fresh lemonade.


Cafe Ella,7334 East Lake Ave. #1, Watsonville, 722-0480. Serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday. Visit cafe-ella.com
Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by antonio carerra, November 01, 2010
mmmm manana panini microwaved eggs mmmm

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”