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Mar 2, 2005 11:27 PM

Corralitos Kielbasa, Capitola Hot Cross buns, Aldo’s Italian Bakery

  • k

In a sausage discussion on the SF Board, christinet says

“Best Kielbasa we eat is from Corralitos Market in downtown Corralitos in Santa Cruz County. We usually make a trip a month and stock up. Their sausages are smoked using local applewood. Terrific ham and bacon too.”

Since I’m interested in a nice kielbasa and ham for Easter, it gives me an excuse to get down to the Santa Cruz Area (I’m serious about finding good kielbasa).

Anyway this Sunset article from last year says Gayle’s Bakery in Santa Cruz has good hot cross buns. Anyone tried them? Anyone have any favorite things to order at Gayle’s. The website looks wonderful.

Also want to stop by Aldo's Italian Bakery. Sunset magazine wrote (link below) below that Aldo's makes "Traditional Italian colomba bread ... infused with almond oil and citron, then baked in the shape of a dove and dusted with powdered sugar

They seem to have a restaurant too. Anyone tried them" If you look at the menu and click on Fugasa French Toast it looks pretty darn good.

Any one tried Aldo's?

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

Sunset on Aldo's and "Edible Easter treats" (scroll down


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  1. The Corralitos Market has a meat counter where they sell an impressive array of smoked meats. You can also bring in product for them to smoke.

    Be careful as their product tends to be a bit strong on the smoke. In some cases I have 'de-smoked' the sausage by blanching it a bit beforehand.

    Corralitos is a small (read 4 corners with the market on one of the corners) town between Aptos and Watsonville. Smack in the middle of apple orchards.

    Gayle's has some of the best bread in the area, as well as great cakes. I haven't tried their cookies or many of their pastry items. Joe Ortiz wrote one of THE books on bread and his wife Gayle wrote one on cakes and desserts.

    They seem to do a bang up business with their hot food items as well. Again I mainly stop by when passing through for the bread and every now and then a cake.

    1. Wow, Krys, you sure do your research! Can't imagine what your food files look like. Let's see, I have a little to say about each of your questions.

      Corralitos Market: I have never been to the market, but have purchased some bacon and sausage from their stall at the Aptos farmer's market on Sat. (which you might also incorporate into your day trip). Agree w/ Food Tyrant that they can be heavy-handed w/ the smoke for my taste. For this reason, I haven't bought much from them recently. Other hounds have said that their store is def. worth a stop though (as they have much more), but haven't made it out there since it's a little out of the way. You have me thinking about making a visit now though...

      Gayle's Bakery: Have eaten there a couple of times, but haven't seen or tried their hot cross buns. It's a very busy, full-service kind of bakery w/ a variety of fresh breads, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and salads. A very popular lunch spot for locals. I've liked the pastries I've tried, but even though locals rave about their bread, I haven't found it quite to my liking. I don't care for their food items since most things are pre-made and pulled out from the case when you order. Find their counter service to be rather chaotic when it's busy, but a fun way to soak in the scene.

      Another bakery that I'm wanting to try is Kelly's French Bakery on the westside of town. They used to be located in downtown but moved to a bigger space in a more industrial-looking part of town. The head baker worked at Chez Panisse at some point.

      Aldo's: Linked my positive report from my one lunch there. Even though the name and heritage of the family is very Italian, the restaurant itself has very little trace of that IMO. Lunch is about seafood baskets and such; however, they did have a small menu w/ a few pastas. Agree that the fugasa french toast looks good and have been meaning to try breakfast there. Oh, maybe I'll have to stop in this weekend...for research sake.

      Aldo's Bakery: Haven't been but another place I've been wanting to stop in at. I don't seem to drive by that part of Soquel much.

      Well, hope this helps a little. I'll post any reports if I check out these places. We may not have as many treasures as the Bay Area, but I'd like to think we have some local flavor and color that is worth driving for.


      6 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        Thanks for the link to your Aldo's visit. It sounds like I have a lunch spot for my journey. The clam chowder and calamari sounds wonderful.

        No extensive research. I was looking up Hiser Portuguese Bakery when I found the Sunset article. I was really impressed by my first taste of the easter colomba I had a few years ago, so this stuck in my head. I'm sort of an idiot savant in that regard. That self awareness came recently when I recalled, word for word, a donut review from 1985 that was buried in the bottom of a food column. Everyone's got some sort of talent.

        Thanks for the info ... and any future research.

        I'm getting a lot of mixed reviews on Gayles. People either really love it or are indifferent.

        Perhaps Kelly's is the better use of my time when I go down that way.

        1. re: Krys

          I guess if I had to choose camps for Gayle's, I'd go w/ indifferent (in case that wasn't clear from my post). After I posted, I thought about how my half-hearted comments about places (aside from Aldo's) wasn't going to get you or others clamoring down to Santa Cruz this weekend. I really do love the area and some of the gems that I feel lucky to find.

          Aldo's was good though and I remember the seafood as very fresh. Kind of place that has history and character and does its best to serve simple but tasty grub to many regulars. Great to sit outside and lose oneself in the bay view.

          To give you a little more info on Kelly's, linked a recent review from the Sentinel.

          Another review can be found at:

          The Buttery is another bakery in town that I like for croissants, bread, and freshly-made sandwiches. They have one of the most beautiful websites IMO:

          While I still haven't been, you might be interested in hand-crafted chocolates at Donnelly Chocolates:

          More info to cram into that head of yours...


          1. re: Krys

            Gayles and Kelly's are similar in many ways... Joe has spread his influence around in more than one way in this town if you know what I mean. Goldensheath (Watsonville) also involved in this sordid tale, make a really good Francese.

            1. re: Pablo

              Curious to know more about your references, Pablo. Believe that Joe is the owner of Gayle's who has published a cookbook, etc. What's his connection to Kelly's and Golden Sheath? Any opinions on the food/pastries at Gayle's or Kelly's? Will grab a loaf of GS Francese next time I'm at Shopper's Corner.

              1. re: Carb Lover

                Carb Lover, it's not suitable chat for chow. Let me just say Joe has quite a reputation among the female bakers in this town! If you know anyone who has been in SC restaurant chain for a while they will know all the dirty little secrets, the place is too small. Joe is quite a character, I have worked on several projects with him in the past and have always had fun. Gayle has always been, well kind of sour/stiff IMO. She reminds me of Martha Stewart. Kelly and Mark are much more normal despite their past baking dalliances. Haven't heard much from Joe P. (Golden Sheath) since he went to Watsonville, must be keeping his hand out of the cookie jar!

                P.S. Sometimes you can catch Gayle and Joe over at Sushi on the Run, they were big lovers of Masa's when he was open in Capitola. If they are conversing with each other it's probably worth a hysterical eavesdrop!

            2. re: Krys

              "Indifferent"! that's what the service is like at Gayle's. don't know what the bubbub is about. Maybe it was better when they were smaller.
              Discovered Corralitos Mkt as I drove by---my nose made me stop! Brought home their Portuguese Linguisa and oh man, was it good!!
              Here is SLO try Ray's Own brand-- in mkts and at his place on Highway 227 south of the airport a couple of miles. Great jerky, too. not too salty.

          2. Hey Krys,
            Gayle's is another stop on our route south. We usually stock up on bear claws, ham and cheese croissants (hard to get there on time for these, Bakery major scene in early am, esp. on weekends), sweet french baguette (interesting heartier flavor than SF baguettes, more like La Brea bread, but different) and of course their gorgonzola pasta with spinach (simply addictive stuff, rich and sinful, but heavenly) and other deli items for picnics/car munching on road. Everything is good---but they are doing such huge volume now that some of the flavor has suffered. The Baker's Wife was book put out by Gayle and husband/baker Joe. Wondering if the Soquel Bakery is still in operation (it is on other side of freeway from Capitola)? They were famous for "Starter Bread" or the bread made first thing in the am when the ovens were heating up. YUMMY!! If you are a bicyclist, many rides begin or end at Corralitos Market which is a mere dot on the road (Eureka Canyon Rd.) and "center"/only building in town. Don't agree with the comment re overly smoked flavor, altho the sausages are pungent and your car's aromas will simply sing to you on the way home. P.S. My family had tradition of making chorizo every year in Watsonville and haven't found any non-homemade sausage as good with wholesome non-greasy/fatty nor overly spiced flavor as CM Kielbasa (despite ethnic differences). Other traditions in area are Manuel's in Seacliff for very staid Mexican food (Santana family also own Jardines de San Juan in San Juan Bautista), Taylor's chili dog at their age-old stand in Watsonville (50's style/bit greasy/at plaza) and all the rave reviews for newish Tepa in Watsonville (can't wait to try it). ENJOY your trip!!

            1. I can't speak highly enough of Gayle's Bakery. I have lived in the Metro DC area for 7 years now and have yet to find a bakery as good as Gayle's. I have found a few 'good' ones here but none as good as Gayle's. So if any readers from the Metro DC area plan on or routinely visit Northern CA, you have to make a stop at Gayle's (Capitola, CA). I have cook book, 'The Village Baker's Wife' (unfortunately out of print) and it is one of the best books on baking that I have come across. Try looking for it at used book stores; however, I can't image how anyone who loves food and loves to bake would let this book go.