Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria 504 Bay Ave./Capitola Ave., (831) 462-1200. Daily 6:30am-8:30pm; $. No reservations. The talent behind it all here is Gayle, who once worked at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, and her husband Joe, who once was a house painter and musician. Their story is of the little bakery that grew and grew, expanding from a tiny storefront operation to occupying the entire building. It is an unpretentious bakery extraordinaire, featuring cases laden with a plethora of soul-satisfying, made-from-scratch choices that sometimes make a person dissolve into an abyss of indecision. It’s self-service here, so pick a number and then decide what to put on your lunch tray. The red-potato salad? Yes. Christie’s coleslaw made with fresh ginger, cilantro, and peanuts? But of course. The albacore sandwich prepared with housemade mayo and on an herb-cheese roll? Most definitely. But leave room for a dessert--perhaps the moist German chocolate cake, or maybe an éclair, a pecan crocodile bar, or some other decadent delight. Sidle up to the coffee bar for a drink, and then settle down either indoors at one of the French mosaic “earthquake tables” made from crockery broken in that infamous 1980s quake, or out on the cheery enclosed brick patio. A take-home order can be prepared for pick-up after dining; don’t forget to include a loaf or two of European-style bread, a bag of the melt-in-your mouth crostini, and maybe one of the dome-shaped lavender marzipan-frosted princess cakes, too. Oh, and don’t forget the soups, or the spit-roasted meats prepared in a brick roasting oven imported from Italy, or . . .
|counter at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
|cookies and cupcakes at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
|covered patio dining at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
|"earthquake table" at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
|spectacular cakes at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
|lavender Princess Cake at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California|
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