Although I occasionally crave a particular Junior burger for a buck, I gravitate toward locally owned eateries and the unique specialties created by their owners. Which is why I was happy to hear of Cafe Laila on my trip to the Capitola Mall.
At this corner cafe with a view of the fountain, the former owner of Capitola's Misk offers a variety of beverages, sandwiches and crépes.
Hot sandwiches were heated on a panini-type press. The Tuna Melt ($6.95) on huge slices of grill-marked rye bread was very juicy with slices of thin, tart pickles, tomato, and pieces of corn. The warm Cuban Sandwich ($6.95) included ham, turkey, pickles and an extremely flavorful salami.
The cafe offers free trade organic coffees, and serves flavored lattes such as banana ($3.95) or chai ($2.95), espresso ($1.60), and frappachino. Other special beverages include Turkish Coffee ($2.75), an ode to the owner's native country, and 16-ounce Smoothies ($3.95). A fat straw was inserted into the icy 18-ounce cup of sweet Peach Bubble Tea ($3.50), large enough for the chewy blueberry-sized starch pearls to pass through.
A thin, beautifully browned crêpe ($4.95) was spread with whipped cream and Nutella, the Italian cocoa and hazelnut butter, folded in quarters, and topped with strawberries, powdered sugar, and more cream.
Other specialties are packaged to go, including deviled eggs ($1.50), individual layered mousses ($3.95), cake, and cold sandwiches, such as the Turkey-Bacon Club ($4.25).
Café Laila, Captiola Mall at the fountain, 462-3474.
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