Welcome To Michaella’s Kitchen

dining pepperCapitola Coffee Roasters finds a comfy new home at Capitola Book Café

Capitola Coffee Roasters and Patisserie has found a new lease on life at the Capitola Book Café. Owner Michaella Olavarri, pâtissier extraordinaire, noted on the restaurant’s Facebook page recently that she has never been happier.

Indeed, she looks 10 years younger to me now, as she pops between the cash register and the panini press. The kitchen is only partially separated from café tables by Plexiglas food cases, allowing her to converse with customers as she mixes a batch of dough by hand or removes hot baked goods from her convection oven.

The refrigerated case displays an ever-changing selection of savory dishes. One morning there were hard-boiled eggs, berry-topped yogurts, and breakfast sandwiches on large slices of seeded bread with egg, cheese, tomato and lettuce.

The contents of the pastry racks continually morphed as well. Scones, pound cake, croissants, and biscotti were soon to be joined by snickerdoodle cookies, which were cooling in plain sight on a table.
dining panino
Pound cake is named for its original British recipe, which calls for one pound each of butter, eggs, flour and sugar. Sour cream or cream cheese sometimes replaces at least a part of the butter.

I selected a Cream Cheese Pound Cake ($4.95), which Olavarri said was the first recipe she ever attempted. Its crusty, heavy exterior had an almost chewy texture, and as I moved more toward the middle, it melted on my tongue. The large Chai ($3.75) with a frothy top was served in a heavy white teacup. The flavor of its spices lingered in my mouth and mingled with buttery bites of cake.

At lunchtime, we found the refrigerated case stocked with hearty rectangles of meatloaf, smashed potatoes, sandwiches, and stuffed bell peppers.

The Panino ($7.95), made with huge oval slices of sourdough bread, included deli-sliced turkey breast, greens, tomato, and melted cheddar. It was served with diced cantaloupe and bright raspberries.

Plump, symmetrical green bell peppers ($6.95) were stuffed with soft white rice, tomato, shredded carrot, and a tasty ground meat mixture and baked until the skin of the vegetable container wrinkled and its flesh softened.

dining cake

Olavarri says she uses her meatloaf recipe, which calls for natural, grass-fed beef, mild pork sausage and dark turkey meat, to stuff the peppers.

The Patisserie is an important element to the second wave of Capitola Book Café’s “Strive and Thrive” campaign. The neighborhood bookstore looks to be “the community hub for books, education, arts, culture and entrepreneurship.”

The shop is selling the work of local artists and crafts persons, hosts numerous literary events, and aims to stock books of interest to the community.

Capitola Coffee Roasters and Patisserie, at Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola, 600-5397. Beer and wine. Open daily at 9 a.m., closing at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday.


One with Nature
Route 1 Farms presents its final Summer Farm Dinner Series Saturday, Sept. 30, featuring a menu by Chef Damani Thomas of Oswald. Shortly after 3:30 p.m., farmer Jeff Larkey will lead a tour of the fields, and then the orchards, where the dinner will be served family-style. Odonata wines will be featured, along with their winemaker Denis Hoey. Sign up for the event ($90, or $80 for Route 1 CSA members) on the Route 1 Farms website. Summer Farm Dinner at Route 1 Farms, 426-1075. Visit route1farms.com for tickets, menu, and directions.


Bugs in the Redwoods
I’ve heard the clawless California Spiny Lobster referred to as a “bug” by those who catch them in Southern and Baja California. Considering their hard exoskeletons and numerous legs, I can see how they might resemble insects. They do seem to be distant cousins, as the phylum Arthropoda includes the sub-phylums Crustacea (lobsters) and Hexapoda (insects). In Maine, the lobsters have claws, and on Oct. 13 they will arrive live at Mountain Parks Foundation’s 18th Annual Lobster Feed at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The Foundation’s mission is to support “knowledge and appreciation of the natural environment and cultural heritage of Henry Cowell and Big Basin Redwoods state parks.” The Lobster Feed itself ($60) runs from 4:30-8 p.m. at the park’s Group Picnic Area #1, and includes one-and-a-half pounds of lobster with trimmings and dessert, as well as live bluegrass music. Visit mountainparks.org for tickets.

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