Lily Belli on Food: More on Midway in Midtown, a farmers market companion & dining disaster revisited
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… The Midway is coming to Midtown. Chef Katherine Stern left her yearlong tenure as the culinary artist-in-residence at Santa Cruz’s Bad Animal in September in order to focus on opening her own restaurant, and I finally have a few details to share. The Midway, Stern’s locally driven pop-up, will move into a permanent home at 1209 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz, right next to the Rio Theatre, in the space that previously housed Oyunaa’s Mongolian Cuisine. “When I launched the Midway in 2020 in the midst of the COVID pandemic, I always intended to turn the pop-up eatery into a community inspired brick-and-mortar restaurant,” says Stern. The Midway has been a fixture at Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets since 2020 and, temporarily, at Bad Animal, and guests can expect to see more of Stern’s hyperlocal, California-inspired cuisine now in a welcoming, casual neighborhood restaurant.
Stern was the chef at La Posta on Seabright Avenue in Santa Cruz for nine years before she left to start her own project. She has a talent for showcasing the best of our local ingredients in homemade pastas, composed salads and desserts that sing with vibrant flavors and textures, and I can’t wait to see what she does in her own space. In fact, her menus are so seasonal and farmers market-inspired that she rarely repeats a dish, so there’s always something new to try.
Stern says she hopes to open in early 2023, and is unsure if she will continue the farmers market post at the Westside and Live Oak markets after then. This month, you can also find her at the downtown farmers market on Wednesdays on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 offering products for the holidays, including popular homemade pantry items, packaged snacks and goodies to share with family friends, as well as customizable gift baskets.
… Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets — the team that brings the wonderful Aptos farmers market to Cabrillo Community College every Saturday — has revamped and relaunched its companion website, Edible Paradise. It features seasonal recipes using ingredients available at local farmers markets and culinary features on how to prepare tricky vegetables, make spice blends, cook pasture-raised meats and more. The new site includes a recipe index that’s easy to navigate and a sidebar that highlights seasonal produce. “Our goal is to provide a resource that our community can easily access for information about local produce,” says Annaliese Keller, the marketing director for MBCFM and editor of Edible Paradise.
Keller is also a professional baker, product developer and lifelong recipe collector. She has digitized her extensive collection of more than 5,000 recipes, many of which appear on the site, and collected recipes from local chefs, including cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, Cabrillo culinary instructors Anne Baldzikowski and Stephany Buswell, and H&H Fresh Fish co-owner Hans Haveman. MBCFM creative director Daniel Saenz was the web developer and graphic designer for the project.
Home cooks will enjoy exploring Edible Paradise over the holidays and all year long. Visit at EdibleParadise.com.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
2022 might be winding down, but there are still several new culinary openings to look forward to before the end of the year. In downtown Santa Cruz, Honey B Market, Mad Yolks and Alderwood Pacific aim to open in December. In Aptos Village, Bonny Doon Vineyard hopes to open its new tasting room before the end of the month. Read the story here.
$70 — The amount Manresa Bread’s holiday panettone will set you back, should you choose to indulge. Is it worth it? In my opinion, yes. See why, plus another delightful and more affordable panettone at Emozioni Patisserie in Live Oak, in Friday’s Eaters Digest.
“They pay for the item, plus a service fee, plus a packaging fee, plus gratuity ... is that right?” — Elias Stanom, co-owner of Achilles Restaurant in Santa Cruz. New “service fees” are becoming more common on restaurant receipts nationally and in Santa Cruz County, but can cause confusion. Here’s a look into what they are and why some restaurant owners are embracing or bucking the trend.
LIFE WITH THE BELLIS
You can always tell that I really use my kitchen because it’s never, ever ready for a close-up. I enjoy sharing my cooking projects with my lovely community on Instagram, and they’re almost always decorated with a little apology for the dirty stove/messy counters/smudged refrigerator. I promise I clean my kitchen often — some days I feel like it’s all I do. But it never looks as glossy and well-lit as I want it to. And these days, with Marco begging to stir, crack eggs and shake spices, it’s less Instagram ready than ever. Plus, there’s no doubt that my dark, ‘70s-era kitchen could use a remodel as soon as the money tree sprouts leaves. But I promise whatever I’m making is delicious, so you’ll have to forgive me for my spills and stains. My influencer skills could probably use a little honing, but I’d still love it if you followed along – visit me at @_lilybelli.
THIS WEEK, I’M REMEMBERING …
… this iconic and hilarious piece of writing by Geraldine DeRuiter, who one year ago had the worst experience at a fine dining restaurant that I can imagine. In gut-splitting detail, she recounts the truly disastrous meal she, her husband and a group of friends at Bros, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lecce, Italy. If you didn’t read it when it first came out, take a break and enjoy it today.
FOOD NEWS WORTH READING
➤ 2022 California Michelin Stars (Michelin Guide)
➤ The best nonalcoholic spirits for mixing, according to bartenders (Punch Drink)
➤ Uber Eats owes Chicago $10 million (The Takeout)
Thanks for reading! Eat well, my friends.