Tag Archives: Happy Girl Kitchen

Santa Cruz Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 7

Goodies from Cheese Shop 831
Photo courtesy of Cheese Shop 831

Welcome to the final installment—part 7—of my holiday foodie gift guide with information for several local businesses if you have some last-minute shopping to do. Contact me at tara@santacruzfoodie.com with questions or comments.

Also see:

Gift guide part 1

Gift guide part 2

Gift guide part 3

Gift guide part 4

Gift guide part 5

Gift guide part 6

Note: some past installments include events that have taken place, but they also mention local businesses you can still support!

I wanted to mention one non-food-related idea: there are so many wonderful artists in our County, and some rely on the annual Open Studios event to bring in a significant part of their income. Due to the pandemic, OS could not take place this year. The sponsoring organization—Arts Council Santa Cruz County—launched a great “curated directory” website to showcase visual artists and provide easy opportunities to support these creative individuals. Visit the Visual Artists Network website at visualartsnetworkscc.com.

My mother, Fereshteh Fatemi, is one of these artists—a talented jeweler—and she’s donating 10% of her sales through Christmas to Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County.

Speaking of Second Harvest Food Bank, another gift idea is to make a donation to them in honor of someone that you care about. This year, more than ever, people are relying on SHFB for food. The organization distributes over eight million pounds of food each year to children, families, vets and seniors in Santa Cruz County.  More than half of the residents they serve are kids. Traditionally, every dollar donated provides four healthy meals to someone in need. Right now, thanks to a challenge grant from the COVID-19 Local Response Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, donations are being matched so your dollars are having a double effect.

Here are a few more gift possibilities:

Captiola’s Brown Ranch Marketplace (the center with Trader Joe’s) recently welcomed the store Cheese Shop 831. Owner Jillian Pirolo was supposed to open her business several months ago but got delayed due to the pandemic. I’ve been told by one friend who shopped there that they have amazing cheese—including local, regional and international varieties—and I’ve seen on Instagram @cheeseshop831 that they have other products like olive oil, handmade cheese boards, truffle hot sauce, towels and oven mitts. Visit cheeseshop831.com.

Aptos gift shop Hammond Glass Engraving & Gifts is open by appointment from Tuesday through Saturday. They carry items like Christmas mugs,  Spode mugs, wine glasses, high-ball glasses and serving dishes. The shop has been around for 30 years, and Jessie & David Campbell bought the business in 2018. I haven’t been there myself, but I hope to check it out post-holiday-season. Visit hammondaptos.com.

Five Star Catering put together a fun Local’s Gift Box; read more and purchase online. It supports eight local Santa Cruz area businesses affected by the pandemic including Mutari Craft Chocolate, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company, Edith Meyer Wedding Cakes, and Magnolia Fine Gifts and Apothecary. They are even offering no-charge, no-contact SC County delivery. Visit fivestarcatering.com/holidayboxes.

Michelle Kneads Dough Monterey County is home to talented pastry chef Michelle Lee. A finalist on Food Network’s recent Halloween Baking Championship and a former staff member at restaurants including The C Restaurant+Bar at Intercontinental the Clement Monterey, Michelle found herself out of work due to the pandemic. She decided to get her cottage food permit and start doing pop-up “QuaranTreats.” I’ve enjoyed her food at The C and at special events, and also bought one of her yummy QuaranTreats and plan to buy more. I don’t know if she does gift cards for future treats, but just telling any “sweets fans” you know about her is a gift in itself! Visit Instagram.com/michelle.kneads.dough.

Lots of wineries and breweries are offering gift cards if you want to give your gift recipient the choice of what exactly they will receive. You can get contact info for many wineries at the Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains website. Visit winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/wineries.

A final list of stores & vendors (without going into too much detail I wanted to make sure and at least share a few more names):

Santa Cruz County

Counter Cultures Kitchen Visit IG @countercultureskitchen

El Salchichero Visit elsalchichero.com

Far West Fungi Visit farwestfungi.com/pages/santa-cruz

Farmer Freed Salts Visit farmerfreed.com

Itso & Notso Hot Sauce Visit makefoodhappy.com

Marini’s Candies Visit mariniscandies.com

Mountain Feed & Farm Supply Visit mountainfeed.com

Sushi Market Sprouts Visit Instagram.com/sushimarketsprouts

Monterey County

Carmel Honey Company Visit carmelhoneycompany.com

The Chef’s Stash (weekly local food boxes curated by chef and restaurateur Gabe Georis and chef Brandon Miller, with omnivore and pescatarian options). Visit thechefsstash.com.

Elroy’s Fine Foods Visit elroysfinefoods.com

Happy Girl Kitchen Visit happygirlkitchen.com

Jerome’s Carmel Valley Market Visit jeromescarmelvalleymarket.com

Other Brother Beer Visit otherbrotherbeer.com

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

Sous chef from restaurant Manresa joins organic Happy Girl Kitchen dinner in Pacific Grove: menu enclosed

Dish from Happy Girl Kitchen pop-up dinner

Dish from Serendipity Farms/Happy Girl dinner: charred little gem lettuces with fresh chevre, roasted beets & celeriac

Organic Happy Girl Kitchen hosts a pop-up dinner series to develop community, benefit non-profit organizations, and spotlight Central Coast farms, and this month’s event – on May 15 – features sous chef Jacob Pilarski from world-renowned Los Gatos restaurant Manresa.

For the May 15 event, Pilarski is cooking with four kids from MEarth, and the meal will incorporate lots of produce from the MEarth gardens (see menu below). The sous chef for the event is Matt Millea, the executive sous chef for popular restaurant Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. MEarth (pronounced Me-Earth) is a nonprofit located on the grounds of The Hilton Bialek Habitat, a 10-acre environmental education center established in 1995 through a partnership with the Carmel Unified School District.

Tickets begin at $55 (dinner only), and they increase depending on how much money you choose to donate to MEarth. Buy tickets online for $55, $75, or $100. Dinner starts at 6pm at the Happy Girl Kitchen Co café and shop (173 Central Avenue, Pacific Grove). Note that it’s BYOB (feel free to bring beer or wine). For more information, call (831) 373-GIRL (4475).

In 2008, MEarth was established as the Bialek Habitat’s nonprofit in order to inspire students of all ages to understand, appreciate, and protect the natural environment. Every year thousands of students, teachers, neighbors, and volunteers from across Monterey County experience and learn with MEarth at the Habitat. For more information, visit the MEarth web site at http://www.mearth.info/.

Happy Girl Kitchen leads workshops in topics like tomato-preserving, and sells organic treats like pickled vegetables online http://happygirlkitchen.com/ and at a kiosk in the San Francisco Ferry Building. Workshops are held at locations including Live Earth Farm in Watsonville.

Happy Girl also runs a Pacific Grove café and sells products at select stores (including Food Bin in Santa Cruz) and Farmers’ Markets (Saturday at Ferry Building, Sunday in Palo Alto).

Here is the tentative menu (think of it more as an “outline” – it’s subject to change depending on what’s available the day of harvest):
• Good Mother Stallard beans, preserved tomato
• Spring onions with almond, dried strawberry and saffron
• Asparagus, spring vegetable vinaigrette with green strawberry
• Roots, raw and roasted, with fava goddess dressing
• Pumpernickel bread, buckwheat honey butter and farmer’s cheese
• Fresh “Little ear” pasta with peas and green garlic broth
• Lettuces & herbs
• Strawberry tart with lemon hibiscus marmalade

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Organic Happy Girl Kitchen Co. housewarming party and sale at SF Ferry Building

A few of Happy GIrl Kitchen's beautiful and delicious products

Organic Happy Girl Kitchen Co. has a new spot in the popular San Francisco Ferry Building (an absolute mecca for foodies), and it’s celebrating with a big shindig Friday April 20. Its new location is closer to the center of the building, and HGK is neighbors with Cowgirl Creamery and Acme Bread.

The event lasts from 5-7pm with live music, HGK cocktails (think Kimchee-nis, housemade lavender lemonade, mint-marmalade mojito), and prizes. Plus you get 15% off all products, including workshop registrations, and there will be samples from Taylor’s Tonics and Nana Mae Organics. In addition to creating scrumptious products and fun pop-up events, Happy Girl Kitchen offers workshops in topics like cheesemaking and tomato-preserving.

The following morning (Saturday April 21), visit the HGK Ferry Building kiosk for a special “brunch pop-up” with b. patisserie. Note that the last b. patisserie event at the Ferry Building sold out in 35 minutes, so you’ll want to arrive as close to the 10am starting time as possible. Here is the pastry menu for that morning, which will feature HGK artisan jams and marmalades.

*Kouign Amann with Strawberry and Happy Girl Kitchen Raspberry Jam

*Sugar Brioche Tarts with Happy Girl Kitchen Plum Jam and Vanilla Cream

*Macarons with White Chocolate and Happy Girl Kitchen Grapefruit Marmalade

*Lemon Tarts with Happy Girl Kitchen Meyer Lemon Marmalade

*Orange-Passionfruit-Almond Bostock with Happy Girl Kitchen Orange Marmalade

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

SF Ferry Building: The Ferry Building Marketplace is located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street. For more info, see the Visitor Info section of the Ferry Building web site.

Good Food Awards include Santa Cruz and Big Sur winners like Happy Girl Kitchen

Pickled treats from Happy Girl Kitchen

The first annual Good Food Awards, for tasty and sustainable products, were announced last month; several Northern California producers including ones from Santa Cruz received honors. Awards were given out in categories including pickles and preserves at an Alice Waters-hosted ceremony in San Francisco.

Preserve winners included Apricot Chili Jam from Big Sur-based Happy Girl Kitchen, which makes a huge variety of yummy organic jams and pickles. You can buy this jam online as part of the “Sweet California” package which also features strawberry jam and orange marmalade. In Santa Cruz, Happy Girl products are sold at Food Bin or through Santa Cruz Local Foods. Located elsewhere?  Find out which farmers markets and shops Happy Girl products are available at the “where to buy” section of Happy Girl’s site. Happy Girl also offers workshops throughout the Bay Area; these are endorsed by Sunset Magazine, as I mentioned in my article last March.

Santa Cruz-based Plumline also won in the preserve category for its Damson Plum Jam. Plumline is a line of jams, preserves, compotes, and sauces from Heidi Schlecht, former owner of Santa Cruz’s River Café and Cheese Shop and current partner in Feel Good Foods Catering. Discover how to purchase jams including a “jam share” option ($120) where you get one jam a month for 13 months with varieties like award-winning Damson Plum plus quince, tomato chili, and pear rosemary conserve.

Good Food Award pickle winners included Arame & Ginger Sauerkraut Salad from the Ceres Community Project in Sebastopol. Ceres helps teens learn about preparing and eating healthy foods while simultaneously providing organic meals to people battling cancer. Read more about the award-winning salad, including sauerkraut’s health benefits, here.

A collaboration of food producers, farmers, food journalists and independent grocers organized by Seedling Projects created the Good Food Awards, which celebrate “tasty, authentic and responsibly produced” products and honor “outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.” From 780 entries, 130 finalists were named, and there were 71 total prizes in seven categories from several US regions. The categories were beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.

Peruse the list of other winners including ones in beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, and coffee. Coffee winners included Kemgin, an Ethiopian varietal from Oakland’s Blue Bottle Coffee. Learn about Kemgin and order here

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.