Thursday, June 22, 2006

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria in Capitola

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria in Capitola (10 minutes south of Santa Cruz) is a don't-miss destination for any foodie visiting the area and the local favorite for cakes, baked goods, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and blue plate dinners. If, like me, you often find yourself disappointed by expensive and mediocre deli food, this is the place for you.

Gayle's is a busy place! When you enter, take a number (a machine by the patio door) and then let your eyes feast on the glass cases in anticipatory delight as you make your selections. For our lunchtime visit, the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and communicated a calm personal focus on my food choices amidst a buzzing and, at times, almost frenetic level of people and activity. There are lots of helpful staff serving, which adds to the buzz. I hadn't noticed that all the salads were individually priced and ordered four different salads on a single plate. This involved the person serving me having to weigh the plate after each addition and calculate the cost.

Here are the four salads I chose:

Clockwise from the top, Beets with Ginger and Baby Spinach, Wasabe Potato Salad, Green Beans with Artichokes, and Mac & Cheese with Buttermilk dressing.

The beets with ginger were delicious and the baby spinach was incredibly flavorful, lightly sauteed I'm guessing. There were actual pieces of sweetened ginger in the vinaigrette and it produced a very fresh tasting salad. The Wasabe Potato Salad was
to die for! Why didn't I think of this? I have Wasabe mayo in the fridge and will be trying my own version of this - it's a great combination! The green beans were the perfect level of firmness for this salad and in a very mild lemon vinaigrette and the mac and cheese with buttermilk dressing was nice take on a classic, tasty, without being too rich. We had our lunch at an umbrella-shaded table on the outdoor patio. (There's also seating inside). Mum and I shared the salads, along with a pan baguette. The kids had fresh croissants and a big plate of fresh fruit salad.

As it was the last day of our seaside mini-break, I treated the kids to a Gayle's dessert:

Yum! The seaweed was edible (the fish weren't!)

Mum's a Gayle's regular and headed home with a sliced wholewheat sandwich loaf. I chose a rustic baguette which was the best baguette I've tasted in ages.

You'll find Gayle's at 504 Bay Avenue in Capitola. Check out their website and the menu - you'll be impressed!


Anonymous Jenna said...

Here, here! As a Santa Cruz native now living elsewhere, Gayle's is one of the things I miss about Capitola. It's difficult to beat the crowds, but worth it, especially if you get your food "to go" and eat it at the park down the street. Every time I "come home," my mother and I meet there for lunch. For a while, one of my high school buds was cooking there, so I always made her bring me something when we met for drinks later at 99 Bottles. Thanks for the fond memories of "home!"

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

What a vibrant meal. I just love those cupcakes!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Jenna,

I'm just a visitor in the area, but it was clear that Gayle's is a total stand-out. It's a model foodie place - I'm wondering why they haven't expanded. I'd love to have a Gayle's near me! My mum's a regular so I've sampled tons of their food and its all top-notch. I'm glad I could remind you of home.

Ivonne - I'm not a big cupcake fan, but Gayle's knows how to bake! I've tasted their cakes and bread re and they've been totally awesome. The kids loved the cupcakes!

The food is really wonderful - and to have this with the excellent service provided - you really can't go wrong.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Did you have their croissants? Outstanding! But I bet everything is there. BTW I have your Hula Hoops ;)

5:46 AM  
Blogger t. said...

Wow, those very blue cupcakes truly are something!
And the rest of the food does look awesome!

5:16 PM  

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