From left to right: Sean Wells, Gavin Braid and Adam Colburn of Gilman Brewing.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Sampling Gilman’s fare, skyrocketing lettuce prices & Watsonville’s gold-medal olive oil

Heads up — there will be no Eaters Digest on Friday, Dec. 23. Watch for the next Lily Belli on Food on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Fresh suds, solid pub fare at Gilman Brewing’s new Santa Cruz digs

Gilman Brewing opened on Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz on Dec. 17.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Owner and head brewer Sean Wells has brought Berkeley-based Gilman Brewing’s ales and lagers to the town he calls home, complemented by grub from Alderwood alum Gavin Braid. Read more here.

Cracked Cookies display ad

More green for your greens: The bug behind the jump in lettuce prices

Salinas Valley lettuce farmers lost more than 80% of the lettuce crop to a viral plant pathogen, resulting in an 8.9% rise in lettuce prices in November.
(Via Pixabay)

The cost of lettuce is up nearly 20% since this time last year, with a plant pathogen called impatiens necrotic spot virus to blame. INSV is hitting neighboring Monterey County hard, with some farmers losing the vast majority of their lettuce crop. Read more here.

Watsonville’s Belle Farms wins fourth straight gold medal for olive oil

Watsonville olive oil producer Belle Farms won a gold medal at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Belle Farms’ estate-grown Tuscan-style olive oil again took home top honors at a prestigious New York competition, with judges singing the praises of the “distinct and well-balanced oil with a delicate, peppery finish.” Read more here.


Want to stay on top of the latest local food news? I send text alerts every time I publish a story. And you can text me back! Share your thoughts, send tips and give feedback. Sign up below.


The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has delayed the opening of the Dungeness crab season until at least mid-January due to risks to migrating humpback whales, which has dealt a devastating blow to those who rely on the lucrative holiday crab season. On Monday, local crab fishermen and women gathered to discuss the significant financial and personal impacts of the delay and possible paths forward. Look for the story later this week.


“All you have to do is roll down the window in your car and you know you’re in Gilroy.”Don Christopher, the largest garlic grower in the nation, in a past interview with the Contra Costa Times. Christopher, the California “garlic king” and founder of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, died last week at 88. Read the story from Lookout partner the Los Angeles Times here.

Dirty Girl Produce display ad


My 1½-year-old son, Marco, received an early Christmas gift this week that melted my heart. A reader enjoyed hearing about his adventures in pursuit of his favorite treat, ice cream — including enthusiastically pulling out my credit card in the ice cream parlor and communicating his desires with a wooden toy block — and sent him a $5 gift card to Marianne’s Ice Cream. What a sweet, thoughtful gift! And I’m certain he’ll enjoy it. It also made me realize that he hasn’t been to Marianne’s on Ocean Street yet — a rite of passage for any Santa Cruzan. Thank you, Karen, for your kind gesture, and thank you all for reading and following the silly adventures of my little family. Happy Holidays, everyone!


… a segment from the CBS morning show on monosodium glutamate, or MSG. This umami-packed seasoning is used in restaurants all over the world and, in fact, is found naturally in foods like tomatoes, cheese and corn. Over and over again, scientific studies have shown that MSG is safe in the amounts found in food. So why does the myth of “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” live on? Watch the five-minute video here.


For SNAP Recipients, Grocery Inflation Hits Hard (Eater)
There Is No Such Thing As Italian Food (Noema Magazine)
The Most Read Food Stories of 2022 (New York Times)

Thanks for reading! Eat well, my friends.