Alderwood Pacific craft cocktail and burger
Alderwood Pacific will open Friday with a menu that includes house-made batch craft cocktails, sandwiches, salads and burgers.
(Via Alderwood Pacific)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Friday opening for Alderwood Pacific, Gayle’s celebrates & embracing the season

This week, Lily has the latest on happenings in the Alderwood family of restaurants, a Capitola landmarks turns 45 and the big upside of trying new things at the farmers market.

As Alderwood Pacific opens, Alderwood Santa Cruz set for refresh

The kitchen at Alderwood Santa Cruz.
(Via Alderwood)

Alderwood Pacific, the more casual sibling of Alderwood Santa Cruz, will open its doors downtown Friday; the fine-dining establishment, meanwhile, is getting some updates and will return in the spring. Read more here.

Gayle’s turns 45 — and gives fans a chance to reimagine their faves

Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria owners Gayle and Joe Ortiz circa 1980.
Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria owners Gayle and Joe Ortiz circa 1980.
(Via Gayle Ortiz)

Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria opened Feb. 14, 1978, with one employee working with owners Gayle and Joe Ortiz. What’s now a Capitola landmark employs more than 130 and goes through nearly 61,000 eggs a month. Read more here.


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A rendering of the 530 Front Street project at Soquel Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

The six new developments planned along Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz will not only change the face of the city, they’ll also bring a slew of new dining options. Ten new eateries are currently planned within the six developments, at least four of which will offer outdoor dining along a new pedestrian-only riverwalk fronting the San Lorenzo River. Additional cafés, tasting rooms and other small food and beverage businesses could potentially grow this number. Learn more in my story, out Tuesday.


$100,000 — Total amount issued in small business grants to Capitola restaurants via the Community Foundation’s Disaster Fund in partnership with the Capitola Village Business Improvement Association and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. “We know these grants will not be able to fill all needs of our local businesses, but we hope it gets them started on the path to recovery,” says Vicki Guinn, a CBIA board member and real estate agent. Learn more at

“The dishes are just like the dishes made in our family. I hope that everyone who comes to our restaurant can feel at home.” Xue Bai, co-owner of Betty Noodles, which reopened last month off of Cathcart Street in downtown Santa Cruz. When Bai and chef Linna Zhang closed the original Betty Noodles at the end of 2019, they opened Monster Pot nearby. Now they have returned to the original menu, with many new additions and bowls of noodle soup that are bigger and better than ever. Find out more in Friday’s Eaters Digest.


One of my favorite things about shopping at local farmers markets is being introduced to new products I haven’t tried before. Last weekend, I stopped by Fogline Farm’s booth in search of guanciale. It was not in stock, unfortunately, but another piece of pork caught my eye: a hind shank from its pork partner, PT Ranch in Ione, California. The vendor explained that a hind shank is a raw ham hock, which is smoked. I often simmer ham hocks in beans, so I thought, why not try it with a hind shank? The vendor confirmed my instincts — brown the shank on all sides in a Dutch oven, then simmer it low and slow until the meat is falling off the bone.

Back at home, I seared off the shank and added thinly sliced onion and fennel, and some beautiful black flor de mayo beans from Dirty Girl Produce. I simmered everything together for four or five hours until the beans were tender and the pork shredded easily. Last, I seasoned the brothy beans with salt, Worcestershire and apple cider vinegar, and wilted a pound of dark lacinato kale — so beautiful this time of year — at the last minute. I rounded out this rich, nourishing meal with a crusty loaf from Manresa Bread. I shared my process on Instagram — it’s saved under Home Cooking at @_lilybelli.

If you’re looking for it, let this be your sign to embrace the unknown — at least when it comes to new-to-you products at your local farmers market. Find hind shanks at Fogline Farm’s booth at the Westside, Live Oak and Aptos farmers markets, and through Pajaro Pastures at


… New Leaf’s famous Sam’s Fire Water at home. I have often turned to this spicy, piping-hot tonic when suffering from a cold. The cayenne and ginger never fails to clear my sinuses, focus my mind and boost my immune system. An ex-employee recently took to Reddit to share the recipe, which includes honey, cayenne, ginger juice and lemon juice. While I’m grateful to be healthy currently, I plan on keeping this recipe on hand for the next time a cold comes around and I don’t have the energy to make it to the grocery store.


For Some Food Professionals, COVID Has Cast a Long Shadow on Their Senses (Civil Eats)
The glories of dining out alone (Vox)
Checking In With the Starbucks Union as a Supreme Court Labor Decision Looms (Eater)

Happy dining!

~ Lily