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… Mark your calendars: Commercial California king salmon season opens May 1. Judging by the sport season — currently in full swing after opening April 2 for the area south of Pigeon Point — there are lots of fish out there. However, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife is enacting new restrictions on commercial salmon fishing that will affect how many salmon make it to the dinner table. New this year, only the area south of Pigeon Point (about 30 miles north of Santa Cruz) will be open through May and June. In a normal year, the whole coast of California would be open, says Hans Haveman, owner of H&H Fresh Fish Co. in Santa Cruz. With everything north of our area closed, he anticipates that boats from all over the state will come to fish in Monterey Bay. “It’s going to push everyone into the bay, and it’s going to be interesting to say the least.” He hopes that the intense fishing doesn’t encourage the salmon to migrate to safer waters.


The fishermen will be further restricted on the days they can fish. Rather than the fishery being open continuously, there will be a series of open days on May 1-5, 10-15 and 20-24; June 1-12; July 8-12, 21-25; and Aug. 3-12. Staggering the days fishermen can go out might be hard on smaller boats, which are further limited by weather. “It’ll be OK for bigger boats, but if it’s stormy on the days when it’s open, smaller boats will be out of luck,” says Haveman. He fears these new regulations on salmon, coupled with those already imposed on the normally lucrative crab season, could drive smaller fishermen out of business: “It’s always a compromise as far as fish and wildlife goes, but it’s not easy.”

Barring inclement weather, Haveman said he thinks H&H will have salmon available in the afternoon of May 1. The price for filet will be similar to last year, around $28 per pound, and he will also offer more affordable and no less delicious cuts like collars and bellies. Learn more about our local king salmon on the H&H website at hhfreshfish.com

Goodles, Santa Cruz's boxed mac & cheese start up, is now available at Target stores nationwide.
Credit: Via Isabel Hermelin

… Goodles, the Santa Cruz-based boxed mac & cheese brand endorsed by “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, debuted in November with a nutrient-dense noodle that aims to revolutionize the market in terms of flavor and fun. Now, for the first time, Goodles is available in stores. The company, headquartered on River Street in the space that was formerly Oasis, launched nationwide Tuesday at Target stores, including the location in Capitola. Each box of Goodles’ four varieties, which include classic cheddar, shells and white cheddar, a cacio e pepe-style mac, and a parmesan and asiago flavor, is available for $2.99.

I’ve been ordering Goodles by the mixed 12-pack case for the past few months, and it’s become the go-to quick dinner in my household. The flavors are all creamy, delicious and interesting enough for the adults. But the fact that each serving has 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and 21 nutrients from organic vegetables ensures that I never have a reason to turn to less nutritious mega-brands again — and I don’t feel guilty giving it to Marco. Plus, it’s local. Goodles revealed in a news release that it will soon release a vegan mac & cheese, so keep an eye out for that. More info about the company is online at goodles.com

To celebrate Earth Day, Staff of Life Markets will offer 10% off their bulk bins this Friday
Credit: Via Staff of Life Markets

… Do you buy from the bulk bins when you shop? Staff of Life Market’s extensive bulk bin section boasts more than 750 products at its Santa Cruz store and more than 500 at its Watsonville location, from teas, spices and herbs to coffee, nut butters, dozens of grains, rices, sugars and so much more. In honor of Earth Day this Friday, Staff of Life is offering 10% off bulk bins at both the Santa Cruz and Watsonville stores; the only catch is that you have to bring your own container. If, like me, you fell out of the habit of bringing your own bulk containers when they were prohibited during the pandemic, now is a good time to start back up. It’s one of the most environmentally friendly ways to shop — think of all the packaging you’re saving — and buying only what you need is easier on your wallet, too. Just have a cashier weigh your jars before you fill them. Bulk bins are just one of the many ways Staff of Life markets incorporate sustainable practices year-round, in addition to incorporating green building technologies and management practices that help protect local wildlife and water from pollutants. Find out more at staffoflifemarket.com

Cruz Kitchen & Taps is now open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Credit: Via Facebook

… New downtown restaurant Cruz Kitchen & Taps, which opened for dinner at the end of January, is now open for lunch Thursday through Sunday and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The lunch menu showcases chef Damien Deworken’s trademark flavors from around the Pacific with a Santa Cruz twist in several interesting-looking sandwiches. A blackened fish sandwich and a fried salami sandwich with Chinese mustard slaw caught my eye, as well as a pulled pork sandwich with kimchi cucumbers, cilantro and jalapenos on a fluffy bolillo roll. The brunch menu includes classic breakfast fare like biscuits and gravy as well as house specialties like grilled short ribs and eggs. Cruz Kitchen offers mimosas and micheladas, but I have my heart set on itw fully loaded, more-is-more bloody mary. Made with vodka-infused sake, it comes festooned with a slice of bacon, a chicken wing, a grilled cheese sandwich bite and house-made pickles. View the new menus at cruzkitchenandtaps.com.


If you live in Santa Cruz or Watsonville, you probably received a notice from your city that new compost cans are coming soon. GreenWaste customers are already allowed to add compostables to their yard waste bins. All California residents will be offered organic waste service in compliance with a new state mandate, but it will be implemented throughout the county in different ways depending on the service provider. Here’s what you need to know about how your service will be affected. We also answered some common questions you might have.


Chubbs Chicken Sandwich owners Trent Wood, Casey Long and Gabe Conroy
Credit: Kevin Painchaud // Lookout Santa Cruz.

“All of the chicken and everything that goes into our fryer is totally gluten-free.” — Casey Long, co-owner of Chubbs Chicken Sandwiches. Located inside the Santa Cruz Arts Center in downtown Santa Cruz, Chubbs’ fried chicken sandwiches are worth seeking out. Read more in Friday’s Eaters Digest.

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Netflix recently released a season of “Old Enough,” a long-running Japanese TV show, and it’s my new favorite thing. The show’s premise is simple: Children between the ages of 2 and 4 are given an errand by their parents to complete by themselves in their neighborhood. Camerapeople watch and film from afar while these very young kids take off down the street to drop off their father’s apron at his sushi restaurant, pick up their mother’s watch at a shop, leave offerings at a temple, or navigate a busy fish market. Watching these young children — practically babies — commit to their tasks and, remarkably, succeed is incredibly wholesome and heartwarming.

Amazed at what these young children can accomplish if given the opportunity, Mike and I decided to see how Marco might do. He’s not yet 1, so we didn’t have very high expectations. The other night I was making dinner and asked Mike to hand me some Pecorino Romano from the fridge. Mike grabbed the cheese, paused and looked down at our son. “Marco, take the cheese to Mommy,” he said. No reaction from Marco. “Marco, bring me the cheese,” I asked. Marco looked at me, and back at Mike, his bright blue eyes round and serious. We watched with bated breath as Marco carefully grabbed the huge half-grated hunk of Italian cheese … and immediately dropped it on the floor. Mike picked it up to try again. “Marco, take this to Mommy,” he said, pointing at me. Marco grabbed the cheese again … and tried to give it to our dog, who had come over to see what all this cheese business was about. Oh well. We’ll wait another year or so before we send him to the grocery store on his own.


… Pink Boots, an extra pale ale brewed with the 2022 Pink Boots benefit blend of hops. Earlier this year, a team of local women in the beer and cider industries on the Central Coast gathered at Fruition Brewing in Watsonville to brew a beer to support the Pink Boots Society, an organization that promotes diversity and gender equity in the beer industry. The finished beer was released on Thursday, and it’s delicious. Additions of locally pressed apple juice and prickly pear produced a blush-colored beverage with aromas of apple blossoms, a sweet-tart core and balanced hop character. Find it at Fruition Brewing now, and more restaurants and bars TBD.

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Food prices expected to spike across the High Desert and the U.S. (Daily Press)
Yelp’s eco-friendly labels help users find sustainable businesses (Protocol)
How war in Ukraine is making people hungry in the Middle East (Vox)

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Thanks for reading! Eat well, my friends.

Lily Belli is the food and drink correspondent at Lookout Santa Cruz. Over the past 15 years since she made Santa Cruz her home, Lily has fallen deeply in love with its rich food culture, vibrant agriculture...