Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
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Shop, Eat, Repeat

dining_cafelailaBarraged by brand names and national chains at the Capitola mall, it's comforting to find sustenance in a local cafe. Whether you're frantically filling Christmas wish lists or surfing end-of-year sales, Cafe Laila by the fountain will warm you up, tide you over, assuage your sweet tooth or fill you up with a freshly made sandwich.

For cold liquid refreshments, Cafe Laila serves various flavors of bubble tea with chewy tapioca pearls, frappuccino, a selection of iced teas and coffees, as well as sodas, Gatorade and energy drinks. Smoothie flavors ($3.95/$4.50) include Matcha Green Tea and banana-pineapple-mango.

There is also a full line of coffees and teas, and this time of the year Cafe Laila steeps holiday special mochas and lattes including gingerbread, peppermint and pumpkin pie. I relaxed with a soothing 12-ounce eggnog mocha ($4) while planning the rest of my day.

If you're hungry and in a hurry, chips, candy bars, croissants, biscotti, cartons of yogurt and pre-made deli sandwiches are just a few of your choices. If you need something more substantial, try one of the hot sandwiches ($6.95). Both Tuna Melts and Cuban Sandwiches with ham, turkey and pickles are served hot out of the panini press.

For a sweet treat, slices of Bundt cake ($1.95), or tiramisu, layered chocolate mousse and fruit tarts ($4.95) are tempting. As for the tart, sweet, rich custard filled a flaky crust. It was topped with strawberries, bright mandarin oranges, fresh blueberries and a sweet transparent glaze. With the aforementioned mocha, I was again ready to tackle the to-do list. | KP

Cafe Laila, Capitola Mall by the fountain, 462-3474.

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