Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Garden Party

dining mainstgardenMain Street Garden & Café now features Italian countryside cuisine

Farm to table doesn't get much closer than at Main Street Garden & Café. Kiwi vines shade the patio, and what's ripe on the vines in the restaurant's cheery organic garden is featured on the menu. Guests are even encouraged to wander amongst the plants.

The produce that isn't grown on-site is sourced from local organic farms. The fish is also local and sustainably harvested, and the meats are pasture-raised.

We recently enjoyed a weekend lunch by the green lawn on the sunny, dog-friendly patio. Chickens, whose eggs would be featured in frittatas, clucked in their coop. We were eager to taste the "Italian countryside cuisine" that the new ownership brought to Soquel five months ago.

It was a challenge to choose from the list of seven antipasti, insalate and zuppe ($8 to $9). Garden-grown greens were paired with ingredients like ruby red apples, lemon, and Gorgonzola. Shaved garden squash joined shelling beans, and poblano chilies in tomatillo vinaigrette. We chose an incredible salumi plate ($9) with four kinds of salami from Santa Cruz's own El Salchichero. The charcuterie boasted heavy flavors, reminiscent of Europe's finest. They were served with pickled dandelion greens with a tart, yet sweet pickle kind of flavor, and peach mostarda. Mostarda is a popular Italian condiment for meats and cheeses that pairs mustard with fruit.

Main Street's version featured diced peaches in sweet syrup with large mustard seeds that popped between the teeth. We alternately scooped it up with paper-thin slivers of flat bread and salami. The pasta ($16 and $17) is made in-house at Main Street Garden, and the day's choices were squid ink linguini, vegetarian ricottagnocchi, and our choice, pappardelle verde. These wide, flat, pale green noodles were mixed with a juicy and tasty ragout of minced pork, dry-farmed tomatoes, and garden chard and topped with fine shreds of pecorino cheese.

Crespelle ($17 to $19) are the Italians' rendition of crêpes, and each of them sounded delicious. Apples with Brussels sprouts, sheep ricotta and pecorino, or chicken with eggplant, dry-farmed tomatoes and mascarpone were both tempting. However, it's hard for me to pass up smoked salmon.

dinning mainst

Two thin, herb-flecked pancakes were rolled and topped with a light, gently flavored cream sauce, allowing the stuffing to take center stage. Main 

Street's salmon was firm, moist, and not too salty and mixed with zucchini from the garden, and sliced padron peppers. I was lucky and got a hot one.

Desserts ($3 to $8) include house-made gelato ($3), a scoop being the ideal size for satiated appetites. For once, I even passed on the chocolate flavor. Faintly green, the basil gelato was like a refreshing, sweet ball of pesto. The beautiful purplish raspberry-balsamic vinegar flavor smacked my tongue with acid, and melted into perfect sweetness.


Main Street Garden & Café, 3101 N. Main St., Soquel, 477-9265. Beer and wine. Serving dinner Wednesday-Sunday from 5:30 p.m., and lunch Saturday and Sunday from noon-3 p.m. Visit Live music on Wednesdays. Thursday, Sept. 27 is Chef's Night, and Chef Chris Carloni will offer a fixed-course menu ($40) with paired wines ($20).

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.


Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.


Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >


Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments


Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.


How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management


Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.


Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?