Communal tables encourage strangers to become friends at Outstanding in the Field events.
Communal tables encourage strangers to become friends at Outstanding in the Field events.
(Via Outstanding in the Field)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Outstanding in the Field lineup, feting mountain wines, more Humble Sea expansion?

Hello eaters! While Lily is out on maternity leave, I’m pitching in with an additional helping of food news. I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for over a decade, after escaping the cold winters of Chicago and upstate New York. Our rich food culture is just one of the many things I love about our region, and I’m especially interested in the stories of the people who grow, serve and make the food we eat. Now, let’s dig in!

Outstanding in the Field’s 2023 season includes special downtown Santa Cruz dinner

Expect jaw-dropping locations at Outstanding in the Field's events.
(Via Outstanding in the Field)

Outstanding in the Field founder Jim Denevan gets back to his roots at Gabriella Cafe in June, part of a slate of farm-to-table events that will also include a stop at a Soquel farm, a secret cove in Pescadero and a Big Sur cattle ranch. Read more here.

Shopper's spotlight March 2023

A celebration of Santa Cruz Mountains wines

A winemaker dinner at Big Basin Vineyards' Pacific Avenue tasting room.
(Via Alex Potter / Big Basin Vineyards)

From a grenache-focused dinner in downtown Santa Cruz later this month to a grand tasting in April and a May sip-and-stroll event, the spring puts the focus on celebrating wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Read more here.

Humble Sea eyeing further expansion as it prepares for sixth birthday

Humble Observation, a 15.2% double barrel-aged stout aged for a range of 24-32 months with Mexican vanilla beans added
(Via Amber Gaeta)

The Santa Cruz wharf could be the next outpost of Humble Sea Brewing’s ever-expanding empire; while that’s not yet a done deal, the brewery’s sixth-anniversary celebrations are definitely happening this weekend, with special suds, collaboration brews and more festivities at its Westside, Felton and Pacifica spots. Read more here.


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Laura Sutherland during an art journaling class at 1440 Multiversity.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The pandemic ushered in a reset for Scotts Valley’s 1440 Multiversity. In 2021, it reopened with a new focus on offering free supportive programs for educators, first responders, health care professionals and nonprofit leaders. These are funded largely by corporate retreats, fundraising efforts and community classes. Laura Sutherland recently attended one of those community classes — part of the facility’s Lunch & Learn series — and took a deep dive into art journaling followed by a gourmet lunch made by executive chef Jose Fernandez. Read about her experience here.


16 — That’s how many local establishments are participating in this year’s St. Pittie’s Day pub crawl on Saturday. Register for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s annual fundraiser this week to get $1 off pints at the participating locations.

“I think the real reason cabbage took off is because it is delicious, even if you’re not used to hearing it described that way. That wonderfully crisp texture? A flavor that is at the same time curiously sweet and sharp? It’s so often ignored.” — Food writer Rachel Wharton extolling the benefits of this humble crucifer in her recent Taste Magazine piece, Cabbage is Always King.


… soda and homemade bitters. One of my many “pandemic projects,” the various things I got into during lockdowns, was making my own cocktail bitters. I experimented with several varieties, including coffee, rhubarb and orange — with varying results. Packaged in cute little glass bottles with droppers, they made a great gift. I ended up with several extra bottles of bitters, too, which means I’ve been using them to dress up the many glasses of sparkling water I consume on a near-daily basis. The orange bitters also make a nice addition to an old-fashioned or a Manhattan.

I used this Serious Eats recipe and this one from The Kitchn, but I also did some improvisation. It was one of the easier projects I’ve taken on, since most of the work is just letting the flavoring and bittering agents infuse in high-proof spirit. What made it even easier is that I found almost all of the ingredients I needed through Watsonville’s Monterey Bay Herb Company. The company doesn’t have a storefront, but its website is extensive. I appreciate that you can order in both bulk and small orders, since I certainly didn’t need 4 pounds of gentian root or quassia wood. Monterey Bay Herb has been in business since 1997 and offers a huge array of almost every spice, herb or tea mix you could possibly want — including a full line of organics — at very reasonable prices. The shipping is fast and the customer service is top-notch.


The Taste Makers (Edible Monterey Bay)
Sake is booming in America (New York Times)
Silicon Valley Bank collapse is causing a financial crisis for California’s wine industry (San Francisco Chronicle)

Happy eating!

~ Jessica