I arrived at Brown's Ranch Marketplace as a batch of chicken was pulled off the mesquite charcoal-fired grill. I expected good things from Crown Café, owned by Scotts Valley Market, with an Executive Chef who studied in Paris at le Cordon Bleu under Julia Child. A friend says it’s the only good sandwich place in town.
A cold case was stocked with olives, juices, fruit and meal-sized salads. The Traditional Cobb ($6.95) with mixed greens was topped with blue cheese, tomatoes, bacon and hard-boiled egg. Made-to-order hot ($5.99 to $8) and cold ($6.99 to $7.99) sandwiches, wraps ($4.99) and Panini ($6.49), along with more salads are made to order behind the counter.
My first happy encounter was with the Smoke Stack ($6.99). The smoky flavor of Boar’s Head turkey breast was evident in this warm sandwich served on a Francese roll with crunchy bacon, crisp lettuce, cheddar cheese, and pesto mayonnaise.
A soft, fern-green spinach tortilla blanketed a pound of Chinese Chicken Salad ($4.99). Chicken breast was mixed with cabbage, peanuts, cilantro with sesame and five-spice dressing flecked with chili flakes.
House-corned beef delivered from the market is the centerpiece of The Irish ($6.99). Served on swirled rye bread, shreds of the lean beef were layered with tangy cabbage and carrot slaw, anchored by Swiss cheese.
The scent of rosemary was evident in the warm focaccia of the Chicken Rustica Panino ($6.49). Inside, rotisserie-cooked chicken melded with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil and melted mozzarella.
Besides sandwiches, the Crown's catering menu includes tapas, sushi, beverage service and a dessert bar. | KP
Crown Café Deli and Catering, 3555 Clares St., Ste. G, Capitola, 475-5992. Open daily from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Visit crowncafecatering.com.
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