Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jan 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Fanni Goes West

dining_mammaluciaThe energetic owner of Caffe Lucio brings Italian specialties to Mamma Lucia's on Mission Street

Just a few signs remain that this restaurant last housed a Kentucky Fried Chicken; the comfortable red booths and the black and red counter. But with a touch of butter-yellow paint, soccer playing on two flat screen televisions, the aroma of tomato sauce and photographs of Mamma Lucia's food, Lucio Fanni of Caffe Lucio and al dente, has turned it into an Italian Cafe. Here, the chicken tortellini soup is made from scratch, the soft loaves of bread with tiny air hole-bubbled interiors are house-made, and doggie treats are sold to patrons' pets.

The menu is written on large blackboards behind the counter where we placed our order before gathering plates and silverware from the neat stacks and finding a table. Since signs on each table reminded us to bus our own tables, I was pleasantly surprised that our order was brought out to us.

Although both rossa tomato sauce pizzas and bianca pizzas with olive oil are featured, there is much more to Mamma Lucia's. Pastas ($8 to $13) range from rigatoni with homemade meat sauce and Fettuccini Alfredo to Crab Cannelloni and Daniela; eggplant, ham and mozzarella rolls baked in marinara. The grill turns out half chickens with salad or fries and Italian sausages with mozzarella in marinara.

Local Organic Greens Salad ($3.75/$5.75) with a wedge of tomato came mixed with a choice of dressings including raspberry vinaigrette and the house special, which is pleasant, light vinaigrette. The House Special Salad ($5/$7) added endive, red radicchio and sweet slices of anise-like fennel bulb. Salads can be dressed up with goodies such as goat cheese toast ($3) and wild smoked salmon ($4).

Panini ($7.50) is served only at lunch on slices from the house-made loaves. Thin, salty slices of Prosciutto Crudo (cured rather than cooked) were thickly piled with peppery fingers of arugula inside the heated roll. I'll soon return to try the grilled portobello with smoked mozzarella. These sandwiches are also served with a small salad.

I have come to appreciate the simplicity of a Neapolitan-style pizza, thin-crusted and lightly dressed. And I always start with a cheese pizza to best taste the qualities of the sauce and cheese. At Mamma Lucia's the 12" Marinara ($12) can be upgraded to a Margherita, embellished with four large leaves of fresh basil for $2 more.

A film of tomato sauce peeked out from beneath a thin sea of mozzarella to reach the silky surface of the outer crust. The crust was just lightly browned, but so thin that it was cooked to perfection. The simple flavors were harmonious and pleased the pizza goddess.

I'll soon try a bianca pizza, specifically Tutto Bene ($13) with marinated portobello, smoked mozzarella and truffle oil.

In addition to Italian Gelato ($4/$6), desserts include the Triple Chocolate Dream cake ($5.50) with creamy chocolate ganache, which can be enjoyed with espresso, cappuccino, latte or mocha made with 100% Arabica beans.


Mamma Lucias, 1618 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 458-2222. Beer and wine. Cash only, ATM on-site. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit mammaluciapizza.com.

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.