A Filipino dish from Paul “Alex” Suniga
Alex Suniga’s crispy kare kare — lechon kawali (fried pork belly) with eggplant puree, miso peanut sauce and chili oil.
(Via Liz Birnbaum, The Curated Feast)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Filipino fare, Trout Farm Inn and Zelda’s (re)open & exploring the roots of food disgust

Hello eaters! Jessica M. Pasko here. While Lily is out on maternity leave, I’m pitching in on the latest local food news. A little about me — I’m a writer and a native of upstate New York, living in Santa Cruz for over a decade. 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!

Modern Filipino pop-up takes over Sunday evenings at After Hours

Paul “Alex” Suniga, the chef behind street-food pop-up Masarap and fine dining-inspired Pare.
(Via Liz Birnbaum, The Curated Feast)

Paul “Alex” Suniga is branching out from street-food pop-up Masarap to bring the fine dining-inspired Pare for a downtown Santa Cruz residency through June at 11th Hour Coffee and After Hours. “This was a passion project,” Suniga says of striking out on his own amid the pandemic, “but now I’ve taken the next leap.” Read more here.

Zayante’s Trout Farm Inn sets May 3 comeback

After a pool remodel, the Trout Farm Inn opened this week.
(Lookout Santa Cruz)

After a short-lived opening last summer, the Trout Farm Inn is bringing a full food and beverage menu, including a signature cocktail program, to the table next week. Reopening the pool will likely wait until later in May, but it’ll be full speed ahead on food and drink amid the redwoods. Read more here.

Zelda’s reopens following significant storm damage

The damaged deck at Zelda's on the Beach in Capitola
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

After getting pounded inside and out by storm surge in January, Zelda’s on the Beach is back seven days a week at its oceanfront spot on the Esplanade in Capitola Village. “I’m glad to hang up my nail bags and put my apron back on,” kitchen manager Josh Whitby says. “We’re open and ready to have some fun.” Read more here.

Felton and Scotts Valley farmers markets ready for 2023 season

Billy Bob Orchards' apples.
(Kate Hull / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets’ two seasonal markets are opening early next month. The Felton market opens next Tuesday, May 2, with free strawberry shortcake in the parking lot of St. John’s Church at 120 Russell Ave. in Felton. Free strawberry shortcake will also be offered May 6 when the Scotts Valley market opens for the season at the Boys & Girls Club property at 5060 Scotts Valley Dr. As executive director Nesh Dhillon noted previously, there’s a full slate of events planned for the two markets, including music, children’s activities and special workshops.

Patagonia-Home collaboration raises $7,000 for Pajaro flood victims

Chef Brad Briske of Home (right) cooking outside Patagonia on River Street in Santa Cruz.

Soquel chef Brad Briske, proprietor of Home restaurant, recently teamed up with Patagonia of Santa Cruz for an exclusive four-course dinner accompanied by cocktails from Venus Spirits and wines from Soif. The dinner, held Friday at the store’s River Street outlet, raised more than $7,000 for those affected by the March 11 levee breach in Pajaro; the funds will be distributed by nonprofit Community Bridges, Lookout contributor Ashley Spencer reports.

More than 250 people displaced by the flooding were still living at the shelter set up at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, according to Tony Nuñez, spokesman for Community Bridges. In total, approximately 3,000 people were displaced when the levee breached.

Interested in helping with relief efforts? Here’s a list of resources for contributing.

And one more opening to report …

Humble Sea's pop-up beer garden on the Santa Cruz Wharf.
(Via Humble Sea Brewing Co.)

Humble Sea Brewing’s pop-up on the Santa Cruz Wharf is now open. It will be serving Humble Sea’s signature brews in the space formerly home to Miramar restaurant for the next few months. For now, it’s open Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.; hours are expected to expand as summer approaches. As Ashley Spencer detailed previously, the pop-up is part of ongoing efforts to rejuvenate the 108-year-old wharf with new offerings for both locals and tourists.

Follow humblesea.wharf on Instagram for more updates.


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Looking for lunch in South County? Laura Sutherland has put together a guide to a few of her favorite lunch spots in Watsonville, from seafood to farm-to-table. Don’t miss a stop at Ranch Milk, a gas station with a taco bar and an impressive selection of craft beer. Take a gander at her recommendations here.


59 — That’s the number of single-room-occupancy units included in a proposed development plan for the Mission Street parcel that’s currently home to the Food Bin and Herb Room. Both buildings are sorely in need of repairs. The proposed plan would replace them with a five-story building which would hold a combined version of the stores with residential units on the upper floors. Max Chun has more details here.

A rendering of the proposed development at Mission and Laurel streets in Santa Cruz where the Food Bin & Herb Room now sit.
A rendering of the proposed development at Mission and Laurel streets in Santa Cruz.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

“Pets are members of our family and we equally want to feed them that way.” — Ron Holloway, who runs a Brooklyn-based food truck for dogs, in a New York Times article looking at the rise of restaurants for our four-legged friends. That includes Dogue, a canine cafe in San Francisco. (It’s a good thing my Ruby Tuesday can’t read; she might start protesting why her twice-daily bowl of kibble isn’t filet mignon.)


… food disgust test. This test, designed by IDRLabs (based on the work of Technical University of Zurich researchers) looks at what triggers people’s disgust for certain foods. It’s gone viral on social media this past week. Researchers found that areas or types of disgust can be broken into eight main categories: hygiene, human contamination, mold, fish, animal flesh, insect contaminants, decaying fruit and decaying vegetables. A series of 32 questions asks respondents to choose how strongly they agree or disagree with statements such as “I would not eat in a restaurant where I had seen bugs in the restroom” and “it is disgusting to eat a banana with black spots on it.”

There are very few foods I dislike, and I’m hardly bothered to find, say, a ladybug in my organic lettuce. I’m also mostly fine with cutting off the mold on a block of cheese before eating the rest of it. My results showed that I have a “very low level” of food disgust. Of the eight identified trigger areas, hygiene seems to be my weak spot. Have you ever seen the “Seinfeld” episode where Kramer prepares a multicourse dinner in his shower while bathing? I’d definitely pass on that meal!

Take the test yourself to find out your own food disgust trigger. Kat Kinsman also has a good take in Food & Wine magazine.


How America’s beloved Meyer lemon caused a midcentury citrus panic (Atlas Obscura)
Meet the refuge homesteaders cultivating backyards for food justice (Modern Farmer)
The country’s first gas stove ban has been overturned (Food & Wine)

Happy eating!

~ Jessica