A couple Santa Cruz food-related events this weekend

Paella will be available at Santa Cruz’s POPUP on Friday, Dec. 5

Paella will be available at Santa Cruz’s POPUP on Friday, Dec. 5

There are many fun food-related events in Santa Cruz this weekend; here are a couple highlights.

POPUP has two events: one today and one tomorrow. On Friday night, Dec. 5, it’s hosting “Paella with Panache” with guest chefs Jehan Hakiman of The Spanish Table, and Katie Pearce and Alexa Newman of Contigo. Two kinds of paella will be featured: Paella de Marisco with shrimp, mussels and calamari; and Paella Cazadora. A selection of traditional sides and accompaniments will also be available.
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends when the food sells out.

Hakiman grew up in Argentina watching his father help friends process and bottle their grapes in various wine regions. Eventually, he learned to make paella there, amongst other dishes in the heavily Spanish influenced landscape of his youth. Once he moved to the Bay Area, he took at a job at The Spanish Table. POPUP organizers say, “What sets Jehan’s cooking apart from others is both his incorporation of his Persian culinary techniques influenced from his own nationality, and also his unwavering beliefs in the symbiotic relationship between food and wine, adding what he calls ‘the third dimensions of flavor.’ Through the years of selling wines to some of the Bay’s most recognized restaurants, Jehan speaks poetically about the wine and food he is most passionate about, and is rarely seen without a glass in hand or a great story to tell.”

Saturday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon, POPUP will be selling hot cocoa and sticky buns, a perfect treat before doing your holiday shopping and/or for a warming snack while watching the downtown Holiday Parade on Pacific,  which starts at 10 a.m. Unfamiliar with POPUP? Chef Kendra Baker and partner Zachary Davis—the team behind Assembly, The Picnic Basket, and The Penny Ice Creamery—host rotating food vendors in this space.

Location: 1108 Pacific Ave. near Cathcart

On Friday night, Dec. 5 from 5:30-8 p.m., Homeless Garden Project is hosting its annual Holiday Store Open House and Celebration with food and drink including cupcakes from Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting. The event coincides with First Friday, and there will be work by a few artists and a dance performance in collaboration with MAH. There will be music by Rick Zeek and Rhan Wilson. At 6 p.m. a special presentation will include comments from HGP program trainee Angela, as well as Mayor Lynn Robinson and Council member Don Lane. The holiday boutique offers items including culinary products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at the HGP organic farm. I’ve bought their wonderful lavender shortbread mix as a holiday gift in the past.  Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.

Location: 110 Cooper St.

For more info on POPUP, see heypopup.com.
For more info on HGP, see www.homelessgardenproject.org.
To follow me on Twitter, see twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.