La Posta
Dining Reviews

Viva La Posta; Plus Gastro Gifts to Impress

Chef Rodrigo Serna shines at Seabright staple

Two lovely wines opened our dinner at La Posta, along with a plate of that fabulous bread—a fragrant sourdough and the dark hazelnut signature. Bread and wine, elemental. (With unsalted butter, of course!)

A glass of Gumphof Pinot Nero, Alto Adige 2016 ($17) justified its price. At 13.5% alcohol, this wine delivered deep plums and rich tannins. Immediately full in the mouth. A sophisticated wine. Jack was pleased with his Valle del Acate Frappato, Sicilia 2016 ($11), a lively creation offering a fragrant strawberry nose. 

My opening dish of brilliant magenta chicories—gorgeous to look at—was richly sauced with a pistachio dressing over beets, creamy burrata and lots of chopped pistachios ($14). The flavors pushed each other into interesting textural contrasts. The sweetness of the beets against the bitter radicchio and salty pistachios. All quite wonderful. 

My companion’s appetizer showcased a thick curl of tender octopus nestled on a bed of chickpea puree ($17). Translucent ribbons of celery and pungent pickled shallot sparkled amidst a paprika salsa verde. Robust, yet all done with a light touch. Each flavor was necessary to the memorable whole. Looks like octopus is having a moment on smart menus.

For my main dish, I chose the evening’s housemade herbed pappardelle, which arrived tossed with deep green cavolo nero kale and a rich oxtail ragu ($22). We all look to La Posta to provide densely comforting yet sophisticated pastas, and this was a shining example of the kitchen’s mastery. 

Kudos to chef Rodrigo Serna, a longtime protegé of cuisinartist Katherine Stern, who is showing his skill with Italian cuisine. The ragu was luscious with ultra-tender meat, and the entire tangle of pasta arrived dripping with finely grated parmesan. Every bite a sensuous pleasure. Jack’s pretty polenta cakes were crisp with a parmesan topping, making a fine backdrop for the accompanying marinated chanterelles ($10). 

Wisely asking for half of the abundant pappardelle dish to take home, we scanned the evening’s dessert list. The immediate stand out was a ricotta-pear tart with Meyer lemon gelato ($9). And we were so right. Thin and refreshingly tart with layers of perfect, tender pastry crust and a thin filling of chopped almonds and pears under a layer of ricotta dotted with sliced glazed pears. Added sex appeal came from an orb of Meyer lemon gelato made in La Posta’s kitchen. The svelte pastry wedge was strewn with thinly sliced almonds. An inspired creation made for adult palates. We hardly spoke as we inhaled every morsel, every bit of almond, every trace of gelato.

No wonder La Posta has just celebrated its 13th year in the Seabright neighborhood. This fine restaurant continues to defy the odds with style, ambience and culinary consistency. Kudos!

La Posta, 538 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz. 457-2782, lapostarestaurant.com.

Gastro Gifts

It’s been true since the beginning of time—everybody loves going out to eat. So give your special people gift certificates to their favorite restaurants. They will enjoy themselves and thank you forever. Other no-brainer gifts for the picky palate: Venus Gin No.1 (or 2). A case of Birichino wine (any Birichino, but especially the Grenache and Pinot Noir). A bottle of Huxal Barreno Mezcal. Serious cheese: a wedge of St. Augur blue, some young Mahon, a ripe Camembert. Add a baguette from Companion. Then grab that bottle of red wine and offer to join them.

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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