Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jan 27th
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

 

Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

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

 

Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.