Rising to the Occasion

dining_AldosI’ve enjoyed Raisin Fugasa French Toast at Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant for as long as I can remember. But when I tasted their extra-tart sourdough bread at the Dream Inn’s Aquarius, I knew I had to visit Aldo’s Soquel Bakery.

I headed south, armed with a late morning appetite, and was surprised by what I found in this little store. In the back, as I expected, carts of bread were being readied for wholesale delivery. But the front held much more than bread.

The bakery case included large lemon bars ($1.25), scones ($1.75), éclairs ($2.75), muffins ($1.50), brownies ($1.50) and assorted cookies such as old-fashioned snickerdoodles ($1).  Breakfast Burritos ($3) or Ham and Egg Croissants ($4.75) make great traveling companions. I fell hard for the Raisin Danish ($1.50), coiled like a snake and drizzled with sugary glaze, it was as light and airy as a croissant.

At 11 a.m. pasta specials are available ($3.50 small/$6 large). Choose gnocchi, fettuccini, green tagliatelle egg noodles, or spinach and cheese ravioli. Then add marinara, pesto, mushroom or meat sauce.

Slices of pepperoni and cheese pizza are also served at lunch, as is a vegetarian tomato pizza on focaccia bread, a spinach, cheese, and rice torta, and minestrone soup. Prepared sandwiches ($4.95) include albacore tuna, ham on rye bread, and a vegetarian with provolone cheese.

And don’t forget the bread, which can be had for surprisingly little dough. You can build two-foot-long sandwiches with either the sourdough soft-crusted baguette or wide, flat, and floury francesi loaves ($2). There is also a wide selection of whole wheat breads.  KP

Aldo’s Italian Bakery, 4628 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 476-3470.  Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sunday.

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