Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 20th
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Fine Fast Food

dining_BittersweetExpressNext door to the renowned Bittersweet Bistro sits Bittersweet Express. More than a deli, this smaller sister caters to people on the go with an array of prepared and made-to-order specialties.

The long list of steaming beverages includes cappuccino, mocha chai, and white hot chocolate. In the mornings, breakfast burritos grilled like panini are filled with eggs, cheese, potatoes, onions and choice of meat.

At lunch, the handful of tightly packed tables inside were occupied, so we took a seat on the spacious front patio. Encircled by potted shrubs, healthy Peruvian lilies bloomed brightly, and numerous water bowls were filled for canine companions.

An Artichoke-Swiss Bacon Melt ($8), hot and crisp from the panini press, featured three smoky strips of bacon, their chewy ends extending beyond the long Cuban roll.  A hearty slice of melted cheese, sweet caramelized onions and herby artichoke pesto completed this satisfying sandwich.

The Chipotle Chicken Sandwich ($11) on a francese roll was served with tomatoes, lettuce, and amazingly crisp and spicy red onions. The chicken breast was covered with dark chipotle pepper sauce. A pale yellow sauce on the side added multi-dimensional flavors with its tart crème fraîche, spicy Dijon, and sweet honey. The 1/4-inch bistro fries were remarkably light.

At 3 p.m., Bittersweet's beloved pizzettas ($10-13) are available, including an exotic mushroom pie with truffle oil. The DFLC (don't feel like cooking) menu begins at 11 a.m. with lunchtime favorites like fish and chips ($16). At 4 p.m., pick up complete dinners starting at $15. Meatloaf with vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes or a half Rotisserie Chicken are just some of the good-to-go home-style meals.

Don't forget the house-made desserts and pastries. Run off with a cinnamon twist, or sit back and enjoy chocolate crème brûlée. This is fast food fit for a foodie. | KP

Bittersweet Express, 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 662-9779. Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Visit


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