Lily Belli on Food: Pizza Series update, apple-palooza in Felton and TikTok queasiness
Heads up, foodies: I’m now sending alerts every time I publish a story. Sign up for texts from me here. Thanks to those of you who’ve already subscribed and offered your thoughts! And catch up on my recent work here.
… Earlier this year, I fell in love with Pizza Series’ Detroit- and New York-style pizzas, which were then available via a pop-up in Scotts Valley. In May, I found out that owners Matt Driscoll and Maddy Quesada had found a permanent home for Pizza Series at the recently closed Tony & Alba’s on Mount Hermon Road, where Driscoll plans to add wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas to the menu. At the time, he hoped for a late-summer opening. Now, Scotts Valley residents will have to wait until November or December, but it’s for a very good reason.
Driscoll told me this week that he and Quesada, his fiancée and business partner, will be taking some time off in order to resolve some of her long-term health issues. Quesada has suffered for almost two years from a failing liver caused by a rare genetic disorder, and Driscoll intended to become her live liver donor. However, last week Quesada’s health took a turn, and she required an immediate liver transplant. Driscoll could not be prepped in time, but Quesada was able to undergo emergency surgery Monday night to receive another liver. Driscoll promised to post an update Tuesday on how it went.
The couple say they’ve been overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from their friends and Santa Cruz’s culinary community. If you’d like to support them, consider donating to their GoFundMe. I wish Quesada a speedy recovery so she and Driscoll can get back to doing the things they love — like making pizza.
… Eager for autumn? Welcome fall and harvest time at the Apple-A-Day Festival next Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Felton farmers market. Apples grow throughout Santa Cruz County and this time of year show up in all manner shapes, sizes, colors and flavors at local farmers markets. You’ll find family-friendly fun at this sweet community celebration, including an apple-themed scavenger hunt hosted by Santa Cruz Public Libraries; free scoops of ice cream in tiny baked apples from the Penny Ice Creamery; and an opportunity to press apples the old-school way using a hand-cranked cider press courtesy of Santa Cruz Cider Company. This market goes from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 120 Russell Ave. in Felton.
… And speaking of farmers markets, I hope you didn’t miss our Friday launch of a guide to Santa Cruz County farmers markets. We hope this guide will be a resource for locals and visitors alike who want to explore and enjoy our 10 local markets. In it, you’ll find information about each market, including a searchable list of vendors and their products, answers to common questions and some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your market experience. Now, every Friday is Farmers Market Friday, when we’ll share profiles of market vendors so we can all get to know our local farmers and artisans. Enjoy the exploration—and don’t forget your bags!
School might be back in session, but the summer weather is still here. Celebrate by getting three free tickets to Gilroy Gardens, a value of $120. The first three people to purchase annual Lookout memberships will each receive three tickets to Gilroy Gardens. Just click this link, or the image above, choose annual membership and use promo code GILROY.
Only members get full access to all of Lookout’s content, including Eaters Digest, released every Friday with dining news, reviews and the best food and drink events in town each week. Lookout strives to create a better Santa Cruz County with high-quality, trustworthy local news and information — and that includes all my coverage through the week of the people behind our food. Become a member today.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On Monday, chef David Kinch announced that he will leave Manresa, his three-Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in Los Gatos, at the end of the year. The lauded chef has lived in Santa Cruz for more than 20 years and now plans to focus on new projects and his other restaurants, including Aptos’ Mentone. Read more about what this move could mean for our local dining scene.
0 — Number of tomatoes sold by Molino Creek Farm this year. According to longtime farmworker Roland Saher, Molino Creek Farm was a pioneer in dry-farming tomatoes. But this year, due to extremely low amounts of water in the soil, the tomatoes didn’t have enough groundwater to bear much fruit. Read more about Saher and the missing tomatoes in Lookout’s first farmers market profile.
“I really think it’s a meal that is underappreciated and underrepresented in the fine dining community. Where’s the Michelin star for a great brunch spot?” — Chef Jessica Yarr, who launched a pop-up called the Brunch Shift last Saturday. The new concept is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the restaurant industry’s least favorite shift and features Yarr’s take on classic breakfast items with a retro, seasonal, plant-forward twist.
LIFE WITH THE BELLIS
My father-in-law is a wonderful gardener, and there’s nowhere my son, Marco, is happier than helping his Nonno in the garden. Marco loves “watering,” aka spilling water in the general direction of the plant beds, and loves playing under the leafy tomato vines. This week, he helped pick the last of the green beans, and my mother-in-law caught his enthusiasm on video. (Oh, and about the screwdriver — he’s obsessed with tools and carries them around with him everywhere. He had to make sure he got it back from where he stashed it in the basket before he handed over the beans to Nonna!)
THIS WEEK, I’M GROSSED OUT …
… but also fascinated by this TikTok video about fish parasites. You might not want to watch it if tiny worms wriggling around a salmon filet sounds like something that would turn your stomach. It reminded me of one of my mom’s most horrifying stories from her more than 30 years as a caterer. Once, she slow-smoked a whole side of salmon for a party. Soon after she served it, a guest approached her to tell her that the salmon “was moving.” The low temperature of the cooking method had failed to kill the threadlike worms and they were, unfortunately, very much alive. Horrified, she, of course, immediately disposed of the salmon. Anyway, I might not be eating sushi for a while!
FOOD NEWS WORTH READING
➤ New California law demands licensing for beverage service professionals (San Jose Mercury News)
➤ One of S.F. Ferry Building’s longest-running food tenants is closing after nearly 20 years (San Francisco Chronicle)
➤ What’s the difference among natural, vegan, organic, biodynamic, and 00 wines? (Bon Appetit)
Thanks for reading! Eat well, my friends.