Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
May 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Comfort Food

dining_vidaWith cozy booths, professional service and an ever-evolving seasonal menu, a visit to Vida was delightful

We often enjoy appetizers at Vida Lounge and Grill, but it had been some time since we sat down for dinner. In the meantime, Noah Thorwaldson had become the Executive Chef and the new menu was inviting. I was pleased to encounter the same level of service that I had in the past. We were greeted warmly at the door and ushered to a softly-lit booth where our server was extremely knowledgeable with respect to the ingredients, and very thoughtful.

Vida is also known for its creative cocktails, as was evidenced by full attendance in the bar area on a Saturday evening. The legendary Mojito ($7) includes Myer's rum, fresh mint and lime and sparkles with a splash of soda. Slices of cucumber and the pulp of freshly squeezed lemon juice floated on top of the Cucumber Martini ($9), made with smooth Hendrick's Scottish gin and French St~Germain elderflower liqueur. The vodka Ginger Rodgers ($7) with muddled mint and fresh lemon was seasoned with spicy pieces of fresh ginger.

We decided quickly on an appetizer of Cheese Fun-dido ($9), a showy skillet of violet flames which leapt from the surface of molten manchego and Parmesan cheeses. Occasionally scooping up a whole roasted clove of garlic to mound on the crisp bread, stretchy strings extended from the skillet to the plates. In the mouth, it was smooth and creamy, tempered with a bit of Madera wine.

In the mixed greens Dinner Salad ($7), shaved carrots and grape tomatoes were dressed with herbal citrus-balsamic vinaigrette. The plate of Romaine Salad ($9) was drizzled with thick, sweet and tart balsamic vinegar. It seemed like the entire heart of the head of lettuce was topped with chewy pieces of salty pancetta bacon, tomatoes, and razor-thin red onions and drizzled with tasty Gorgonzola blue cheese vinaigrette.

While the menu is not lengthy, it is deep and offers interesting medleys of ingredients which made our decisions difficult. Pasta dishes ($14 to $16) included truly autumnal sweet potato gnocchi with sage Carbonera. From the meat entrées ($13-$22), I was tempted by the Duck Confit with crispy polenta as well as the free range Chicken Marsala with horseradish mashed potatoes.

Knowing that Vida conforms to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch for sustainability, we felt confident splurging on fish. A rich seafood aroma accompanied the bowl of Rio de Janeiro Stew ($19). Salmon, scallops, shrimp, tender rings of calamari, and red bell peppers simmered in a silky, savory coconut brodo stock.

Scallops are sometimes harvested by dredging, a process that rakes the seafloor, damaging habitat and marine life. At Vida, five large Diver Scallops ($22), so named because they were hand-harvested, sat atop tender crimini mushroom risotto with bright bunches of al dente broccolini. The soft medium-rare shellfish were drizzled with paprika oil and sweet balsamic reduction. Warm and filling, it was the perfect prescription for a drizzly fall evening.


Vida Lounge and Grill, 1222 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-787. Full bar. Serving dinner Sunday through Thursday 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Happy hour Tuesday through Friday 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and all night Monday.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival