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Chic Cuisine: Laurie and Marcie Calloway have made their restaurant a Capitola destination.

Bayside Respite

It's no secret: Calloway's has become one of Capitola's hot dining spots

By Janet Blaser

ALMOST A YEAR AGO, the husband-and-wife team of Laurie and Marcie Calloway opened a deli on the Capitola Esplanade. They rejuvenated the tired space into a clean and lovely restaurant with a wine bar overlooking the creek and ocean, flagstone floors and a deli case running the length of one wall. Business was brisk at first, with a crew of regulars rallying around the gourmet menu expertly created by chef Marcie, a graduate of the Culinary Academy of San Francisco.

Come the winter months, and the couple decided a change was needed. Out went the deli case and cabinets full of dry goods; in came a chic eating counter, more tables, a sit-down menu and an attentive staff. It's been a couple of months now that Calloway's has been operating as a bistro/wine bar, and if you haven't already heard, it has become the hottest little place in the village. Calloway's is bustling almost every night of the week till the wee hours. An appreciative set of customers has found the granite wine bar to be a welcome respite from the daily grind, the warmth of Laurie in front of house to be genuine and therapeutic, and the expertise of Marcie's culinary creations to be continuous and consistent.

I found myself taken there by two sets of friends in the space of as many days, each of whom wanted to share their secret "new" place with me. The menu is a hard one to navigate, only because Marcie has left no taste untouched. Fresh seafood abounds, and logically so, at such an oceanfront location as this. For instance, diners will find a "fish of the day" and "another fish of the day"--every day. The menu also offers classic American comfort foods like roast pork loin, rack of lamb and filet mignon, with plate presentation that is arty, tasteful and sometimes downright gorgeous. (I've never seen mashed potatoes look so, well, exotic.) You'll also find almost a dozen pasta entrees, many with seafood, some vegetarian; and a specials menu that is not to be ignored.

One night we shared a platter of fried green tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, an unusual combination, perhaps, but an excellent starter. The previous evening I had ordered an ono special, the Hawaiian white fish, cooked just right, plump and moist under its smattering of mango salsa. Laurie stocks an impressive selection of wines, both local and imported, and is constantly adding to the collection. Most wines can be tasted before ordering a glass, half or whole bottle. My suggestion? Go to Calloway's soon, before the summer season really begins, when visitors descend on Capitola. Calloway's is located at 209 Esplanade in Capitola Village, tucked between Pizza My Heart and the Beach House. The kitchen is open 11:30am to 9pm weekdays, and till 10pm on weekends; the wine bar serves till everyone is satisfied. Reservations are recommended for parties of six or more and on weekends; call 465.9225.

Not a Slam Dunk

Looking for a magical moment with your cookies and milk? Well, thank the folks at Nabisco, who've come up with Magic Dunkers, basically color-changing Oreos. George Stotts, everyone's favorite checker at the Safeway on Morrissey Boulevard, knew I wouldn't be able to resist trying these new cookies, especially with the sparkler-like blue fireworks the package promises. Alas, not the case. While the milk will slowly turn a very pretty shade of light blue when these sandwich cookies are dunked, that's about it. And, truth be told, the way the blue food coloring seeps out of the chocolate cookie part is kind of creepy. Sigh. Oh well. Another dream shattered. In the words of my 12-year-old: "Mom, I like the regular ones better."

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From the May 17-24, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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