Fresh, flavorful ingredients bring color to the menu at Cafe Limelight
Whatever your appetite, the simple but inventive menu at Cafe Limelight meets numerous needs. A loveseat and plump upholstered chairs surround a coffee table, creating an ideal ambiance for an after-work wind-down with nibbles and a beverage. Local Bargetto Rosso ($6) paired nicely with a Single-cheese Plate ($5.95) and Salami ($4.50). French Comté, called the Gruyère of France, is a classic, hard, flexible cheese with nutty undertones. The earthy, dry Molinari salami was flecked with black peppercorns. The plate included dried cranberries, large kalamata olives, points of crisp, griddle-toasted bread, and glazed cashews encrusted with tiny sesame seeds.
The traditional housemade hummus ($7/$10) is served with fresh vegetables and olives. Limelight also has a small but unique selection of microbrews ($4.50), including Organic Chocolate Stout from Berkeley’s Bison Brewing.
In Limelight’s selection of panini, it’s California meets Tuscany. The sandwiches are served with a green salad, but you can substitute a Gorgonzola or Caesar salad or cup of soup. Seated at a table for dinner, we were lucky to find Limelight’s authentic Louisiana Gumbo on the menu, as it’s usually available only on weekends. This thick, spicy stew with rice, shredded chicken and slices of tender okra in a creamy base was thickened with dark roux, a mixture of flour and butter sautéed until brown.
The BBQ Chicken panino ($11.25) on large slices of grilled sourdough bread included cilantro, crisp red onions and cheddar cheese in a lightly sweetened sauce.
The Salami panino ($9.95) on francesi bread spread with housemade kalamata tapenade was grilled crisply and oozing melted cheddar. The Gorgonzola salad, a mixture of fresh greens and slivers of red bell pepper was topped with sweet dried cranberries, hunks of blue cheese, and more sesame cashews, then drizzled with thick balsamic vinaigrette.
Limelight’s desserts are legendary. The Warm Brownie Sundae ($5.95) was served in a clear glass. The dark chocolate brownie, delightfully crisp around the edges, was topped with a large scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, a tower of whipped cream, and drizzled with fudgy chocolate sauce.
Limelight also has an attractive kids menu including grilled cheese sandwiches and peanut butter with jelly. You can also treat your dog on the patio with chewy pig’s ears or fresh roasted turkey.
Cafe Limelight, 1016 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-7873. Beer and wine. Serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays noon to 3 p.m. Visit cafelimelight.com
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Chaminade Resort hosts its second annual Farm-to-Table dinner series on Friday July 23 at 5:30 p.m., where you can meet the farmers and vintners who contributed to the evening’s menu. Views of the Monterey Bay are sensational from Chaminade’s terrace patio. Hors d’oeuvres will be served during the half hour reception, and then a four-course dinner will feature local wine and produce. Cost is $65 per person.
Additional dinners will be held on Friday August 20, and Friday September 24.
Chaminade Resort and Spa, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, (800) 283-6569 or 475-5600. Reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. Ages 21 and over.