Lily Belli on Food: A bargain for crab fans, tasting Santa Cruz Mountains terroir & carbonara as a verb
This week — her last before her leave — Lily explains why crab prices are so low, previews a series of summer wine-pairing dinners and mines YouTube for tips on a pasta classic.
Flooded market has Dungeness crab prices way down
Live crabs are going for $9 per pound at H&H Fresh Fish Co. in the Santa Cruz Harbor, less than half of the $20 mark seen in recent holiday seasons. “It’s great for the customer,” says an H&H co-owner, “but bad for the fishermen.” Read more here.
Taste of Terroir dinner series uncorks Santa Cruz Mountains wines
With seven events on this year’s slate from March to November, oenophiles (or aspiring oenophiles) have plenty to choose from in exploring he Santa Cruz Mountains Agriculture Viticulture Area’s subregions, iconic wineries and grape varieties. Read more here.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Located on busy Mission Street in Santa Cruz next to Mission Inn & Suites, Vim Dining & Desserts continues to fly under the radar for many Santa Cruzans. But this neighborhood favorite, owned by Santa Cruz natives and husband-and-wife team chef Jesikah Stolaroff and Erik Skaug, wins repeat customers with its menu of new American cuisine and service with a thoughtful, personal touch. Read my review from Friday.
400,000 — Medically tailored meals provided to critically and chronically ill residents in Santa Cruz County by nonprofit Teen Kitchen Project since 2012. TKP client Steven in Watsonville received the milestone meal last week. At TKP, young chefs prepare meals for local clients while learning skills to help them in the kitchen and in life. Learn more about Teen Kitchen Project at teenkitchenproject.org.
“The goal was, can we make vegetarian food taste just as good as the real thing or better? And that way everyone can have it. Because most vegetarians don’t know what a Cubano tastes like.” — Chelsea Cabrera, co-owner of Mariposa Coffee. After two years as a pop-up, Mariposa has opened a brick-and-mortar space in downtown Santa Cruz with a vegetarian menu of traditional Cuban and Vietnamese dishes that honors both Cabrera and co-owner Tram Vu’s cultural backgrounds. Watch for the story this week.
LIFE WITH THE BELLIS
Everyone knows about Mardi Gras, but do you celebrate Pancake Tuesday? That’s Tuesday, in case you weren’t aware of this delicious day. I didn’t know about this version of celebrating the holiday that falls the day before Ash Wednesday until I moved to Ireland in my early 20s.
While it’s traditional to party and feast in the days leading up to the Christian tradition of Lent, culminating in “Fat Tuesday,” making and eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday is also common in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia dating back hundreds of years. I don’t observe Lent, a period of fasting in the days leading up to Easter, but I’m fond of holidays that revolve around food and appreciate the simplicity and wholesomeness of carving out a morning midweek to eat pancakes. Somehow, no one in my house has ever complained.
THIS WEEK, I’M CARBONARA-ING …
… Based on how deceptively tricky it is to make a good carbonara, I think the name of this classic Italian pasta dish deserves to be a verb. Carbonara might be my favorite Italian pasta and I’ve been trying to master it for years. I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so, but I recently learned a few things via this video tutorial on foolproof carbonara by “Basics with Babish,” one of my favorite foodie YouTubers.
Purist, be warned — he emulsifies the sauce in a blender, a technique he swears prevents the dreaded risk of accidentally turning your pasta in a plate of scrambled eggs, and quickly pivots from the traditional recipe to a delicious-looking vegan mushroom carbonara followed by another version that’s really just mac and cheese. But he’s a skilled cook and does so with the awareness that Italians everywhere — including my husband, Mike — will likely be screaming at their screens. If you consider yourself a carbonara-er with an open mind, check it out.
FOOD NEWS WORTH READING
➤ Black-Owned Wine Shops to Support from Coast to Coast (Wine Enthusiast)
➤ Cultivating the American Truffle (Eater)
➤ How this treasured coastal enclave became a culinary hot spot (San Francisco Chronicle)