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Made from Scratch

dining_heavenlyHomemade goodness delights diners at Scotts Valley's Heavenly Cafe

he building on Mt. Hermon Road reminds me of an old western general store. I almost expect to find Ma Barker dishing up simple, made-from-scratch, rib-sticking grub. But here at Heavenly Cafe, I found that the simple adjective does not apply, and grub is a total misnomer. Turkey burgers with feta cheese and yogurt tzatziki sauce, smoked salmon salad with salsa fresca, and walnut waffles with fresh bananas are just a sample of Heavenly's interesting offerings.

For breakfast, which is served all day, choose from omelets, Belgian waffles, buttermilk pancakes and French toast or a few Mexican specialties.

Basil-scented, and an attractive pale green, Sam's Pesto Scramble ($7.95) included cubed avocado and turkey with a touch of Jack cheese. I topped the dense house-made biscuit, split and griddled, with butter and sweet honey. The spiced red-skinned homefries were soft and cooked with bell peppers.

Eggs Benedict are a house specialty, so I went out on a limb for a half order of Crab Benedict ($8.95). It was no California-style crab cake that replaced the Canadian bacon on this Bene: you know the kind, bready and overpowered by bell peppers with hairs of crustacean-like particles. No, this was the crabbiest I've tasted lately, with lumps and shreds of real crab, barely held together and seasoned thoughtfully with specks of parsley. The interesting house-made tomato hollandaise was creamy, yet light and tart, coating a perfect dome of medium-cooked poached egg. A side of thin bacon ($3.95) was chewy, soft and smoky.

At lunch you'll find burgers, sandwiches and salads. Chicken Pot Pie ($8.95) is sometimes available. I remember the frozen version with tasteless gravy and porous cubes of a meat-like substance, made edible with copious amounts of Louisiana hot sauce. But at Heavenly, a chewy multi-layer crust topped a cereal-sized bowl of gravy seasoned with multiple flavorful herbs and loaded with vegetables, so thick I ate it with a fork. Huge chunks of chicken were mixed with green beans, peas, carrots and corn kernels which popped between my teeth. Served with a choice of sides, I selected house-made lobster bisque. The lovely apricot-colored soup was brightly flavored with seafood and lusciously creamy.

The signature dessert, Avocado Pie (.95 cents), was too intriguing to ignore. A small aluminum pie tin, thinly coated with finely textured graham crackers held soft green pudding, both sweet and tart, topped with sweet, lightly whipped cream and toasted nuts. As the server noted, it was reminiscent of key lime pie.


Heavenly Cafe, 1210 Mt. Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley, 335-7311. Full bar. Serving breakfast and lunch daily, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends. Visit heavenlycafe.com.


★★★


If you like to eat, are you also interested in writing about food? On Saturday March 26 Laura Davis will lead another Writing Retreat for Foodies. The afternoon is spent writing about food, and participants each bring a dish to share that evokes a special story.


Laura Davis – A Writing Retreat for Foodies, March 26, 1-9:30 p.m. in Watsonville. Cost is $85. For more information, or to register, visit lauradavis.net/Writing-Workshops/food-and-writing-retreat.html

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