Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Aug 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Magic at Main Street

dn pastaGood service and inventive culinary fare invigorate Soquel’s Main Street Garden & Café

Arriving at Main Street Garden & Café on a busy Friday night with my husband, I looked over a bottle of local featured wine displayed on the counter. The hostess asked me if we would like to try some. This simple gesture of hospitality was a good start to a very enjoyable dining experience.

Restaurant owner Mauro Zanella then appeared and suggested we try one of his favorite wines, an Italian blend called Rosso Fuoco 2011 ($11 a glass), a smooth and irresistible nectar which we ended up ordering in advance to have with dinner, no matter what our entrees. Although the wine list is very small, Zanella assured me that each wine was carefully chosen to go with Main Street’s very Italian countryside cuisine.

Finally seated at our table for two, house-made focaccia bread was brought and some delicious olive oil and vinegar. The incredibly good house-made bread, with its sea-salt crunchiness, was easy to demolish in no time and we quickly requested more.

The restaurant still has the same lovely ambiance and cozy interior it had when it was called Theo’s, and now a variety of art available for purchase hangs on every wall. I was glad to see that the new chef, Chris Carloni, reaps the benefits of all the produce grown in Main Street’s amazingly bountiful garden, ratcheting up the restaurant’s cuisine with tasty stuff such as borage, spinach, wild arugula, escarole, radishes, parsley, nettles, turnips, chard, kale, chicory, and much more—all harvested from their property out the back.

My soup-loving husband immediately ordered the Butternut Squash ($6) served with apple chutney. Arriving piping hot, this truly delicious soup was made even more so with the sour/sweet bite of chutney. More focaccia bread was needed …

Roasted Broccoli ($7), with garlic confit, anchovy, chile and saba (syrup made from grape must) was my choice—simply splendid. Biting on salty anchovy, garlic cloves and hot chile with each forkful of broccoli added a terrific burst of flavor. When Zanella came over to see how I liked the dish, and I told him I had just started it, he said, “Take your time, I’m here for 20 years.” In his “retirement,” he chose to open a restaurant with his “life partner” Tara Pesta, and it shows that he relishes what he does.

Hubby requests Beef & Lamb Meatballs ($19) for his main course, served with white cheddar polenta, broccoli and tasty Italian pecorino cheese made from sheep’s milk. “The meatballs are excellent and the polenta’s to die for,” he enthuses, offering me a bite of this wonderful creamy concoction.

My Baked Whole Trout ($22) came with cauliflower, capers, garlic butter, garden arugula and breadcrumbs—all of the latter adding a distinctive to the tender trout, especially from the pungent zing of the large capers. We eat more of that good bread …

And what would an Italian restaurant be without pasta? We shared a perfectly prepared Tagliatelle ($16) with porcini, garden nettles, leek confit and pecorino, even though in Italy pasta is usually eaten before one’s entree. Wood-fired pizza is offered, too – one with asparagus, fennel and fava leaves, which sounds delicious and I have to try another time.

Never able to resist dessert, we order Spent Grain Bread Pudding with almonds and whipped cream ($7), which turns out to be deliciously unusual with its wholesome grainy texture and crunchy almonds. 

When Zanella, a native of Venice, comes over again to check if all is well as I sip on my excellent cappuccino, he explains that he wants his restaurant’s cuisine to be like that found in the Italian countryside – fresh, seasonal, local and tasty. His goal is to showcase this kind of food in his restaurant and for his customers to enjoy an unrushed experience. I would say that he’s hit the nail on the head. 


Main Street Garden & Café, 3101 N. Main St., Soquel, 477-9265. Mainstreetgardencafe.com.


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

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

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual