An employee of H&H Fresh Fish holds up a pair of live crabs that were caught in Washington.
An employee of H&H Fresh Fish holds up a pair of live crabs that were caught in Washington.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Crab season is a go, the inspiration of Christina Waters and holiday feasting

This week, good news on the crustacean front, a change for one local media stalwart and full bellies at the Bellis.

A New Year’s Eve toast: Crab season to begin Saturday

Crab traps sit unused in the Santa Cruz Harbor today.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

After delays due to poor-quality crab meat and threatened humpback whales along some areas of the coast, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife says Dungeness crab season will open statewide Dec. 31. Read the story here.

Longtime food & drink columnist Christina Waters switching gears

Food writer Christina Waters with Route 1 Farms owner Jeff Larkey in 2014.
(Via Facebook)

“I can now expand my arts writing free from the insistent pace of the weekly column,” Christina Waters says of what’s ahead after some 35 years at local alt-weeklies. Read the story here.

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ON THE MENU

As the year draws to a close, Lookout is sharing stories of community members who are creating change in our series Unsung Santa Cruz. For my part, I’m taking a break from covering chefs and restaurateurs to share stories from three restaurant workers. These individuals were nominated by customers and employers for their vital contributions to the local restaurant industry. Watch for the story later this week.

NOTED

12.5 — Number of cents from the countywide 25-cent cup tax that will be remitted to Santa Cruz County’s coffers starting Sunday, Jan. 1. Since the single-use cup tax was implemented countywide last June, the entire 25-cent fee has been kept by the businesses. Now, as outlined in Measure C, the Santa Cruz County Clean Water/Beaches, Public Health, Environmental Protection Measure, half will be sent to the county on a quarterly basis as a tax. The money will be used to provide an estimated $700,000 annually toward environmental education and protections within the county.

LIFE WITH THE BELLIS

I hope you enjoyed a lovely holiday celebrating exactly as you wanted with lots of wonderful things to eat. My husband and I hosted my parents, my brother, his girlfriend and my in-laws for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and there was no shortage of celebratory eats. We substituted our traditional Christmas Eve crab feast with cioppino made with mussels, clams, shrimp and locally caught lingcod, with baguette from Manresa Bread and my special Caesar salad. My brother’s Parisian girlfriend, Alice, made a traditional marzipan-filled galette des rois, and yours truly found the tiny porcelain figurine hidden inside. On Christmas morning, we reworked my mom’s bread pudding for breakfast using croissants, brioche and lots of blueberries, plus a sausage and spinach frittata, bacon and lots of coffee. After snacking all day on cheeses and treats from our stockings, we capped the evening with beef tenderloin, artichokes, Hasselback potatoes and a simple salad with radicchio, arugula, feta and pomegranate seeds. Alice spoiled us for dessert again with homemade tiramisu.

My favorite treat of the evening? Alice and my brother, Alex, who currently live in Montreal, brought back foie gras from France. They also gifted me tiny gastronomic maple syrup pearls, which look like amber caviar. On a whim, we topped the silky foie gras with the pearls and cracked black pepper for a sweet and savory bite that turned out to be just perfect. Here’s hoping the wonderful Alice will be joining us for many Christmases to come!

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THIS WEEK, I WAS BAFFLED …

… when my husband, Mike, came home from a dinner out with friends with a very peculiar souvenir. After eating at a local Chinese restaurant, he cracked open his cookie and found this fortune inside: “There’s more to life than just money, there’s Bitcoin.” On the other side he found the logo for FTX. Unless you’ve been living in a blissful news-free bubble, you’ve likely heard about the recent collapse of this cryptocurrency giant. If there was ever proof that you should take your fortune cookie advice with a grain of salt, this is certainly it.

FOOD NEWS WORTH READING

At the End of the Manresa Era, Its Legacy Endures Through These High-Profile Alumni (Eater SF)
Food producers now must label sesame as an allergen — and they’re putting it in more foods (CBS News)
How the pandemic altered the restaurant industry forever (Washington Post)

Thanks for reading! See you in 2023!