In the evenings, the setting sun casts its rays on a vibrant, standing-room only crowd on the deck of Caffe Pergolesi. But on a fall morning I discovered a sea of tranquility.
The dozen or so patrons included retirees discussing football, an occasional studying student or businessperson channeling Cruzio's free wifi, and a constant stream of acquaintances choosing from the caffe's long list of caffeinated beverages.
I, of course, was on a mission to judge the food, which I found to be substantially improved compared to my last, albeit distant, visit. Sitting in what may have been the parlor of the caffe's 1886 Victorian home, I felt free to reflect. Wear on the silver painted door moulding, identical to that in my own old home, revealed generations of changes the room had seen. This room, and what remained of the entry hall, retained the concave cove at the top of the walls. Portions of the ceiling's original plaster cake decorations were joined by modern replications.
I savored a small cinnamon-scented Chai ($2.75) while waiting for a slice of Quiche ($4.50) to reheat. On the flaky crust, lined with earthy greens, were layers of meaty mushrooms. Flavorful cheese topped with strips of bell pepper and crumbled herbs made this restaurant's quiche the best in recent memory.
Local bagels ($1), croissants ($1.50), muffins and scones ($2.25) were popular on this morning. The Cinnamon Roll ($2.50), its flaky, raisin-studded dough braided high like a bun, was drizzled with a sweet white glaze. Later in the day, perhaps, palm-sized cookies ($1.75) will fly off the shelves, and then bottles of Santa Cruz Aleworks IPA or Bonny Doon wine will be enjoyed on the deck. I will return on a Friday morning.
Caffe Pergolesi, 418 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 426-1775. Beer and wine. Open daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit theperg.com.
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