EATERS DIGEST: Blossom’s farm stand, new brunch spots and grants for small restaurants

Aptos resident Kelly Spellman with coffee and pastries at the Blossom's Farmstore & Coffeeshop
Aptos resident Kelly Spellman comes in several times a week to enjoy the coffee and pastries at the Blossom’s Farmstore & Coffeeshop.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm’s farm stand and coffeehouse in Corralitos is full of local goodies, yet another restaurant opens for brunch, Chef Enzo crafts a piña colada-inspired pastry and Food Truck Fridays return.

Lily

Happy Friday, hungry people. On the menu today, Pacific Gas & Electric is offering grants to small restaurants in its service area to help them bounce back from the pandemic, and local restaurant owners can apply through the end of the month. I’m still dreaming of a piña colada-inspired pastry from Emozioni Patisserie, and yet another local restaurant is adding brunch to its menu. And if you haven’t had a chance to stop by Blossom’s Farmstand & Coffeeshop in Corralitos, make a point to go inside — you won’t be disappointed.

There are a number of fun events to look forward to this weekend, including the return of Food Truck Fridays; a pingpong tournament and beer release at Discretion Brewing; a special winemaker dinner at Persephone; and the Pleasure Point Sip and Stroll.

Let’s dig in …

News

Santa Cruz County restaurant owners, check this out: PG&E announced this week that it will contribute $500,000 to the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund to help small independent restaurants. Local restaurant owners whose businesses lie within PG&E’s service area can apply for $3,000 grants, which will be awarded by the California Restaurant Foundation. Restaurants can use the extra cash to upgrade equipment, pay back debts and aid employee retention. The program aims to help small restaurants get back on their feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and will prioritize minority- and women-owned businesses. Last year, out of 476 applications in PG&E’s service area in Northern California, 109 were awarded grants; none was awarded in Santa Cruz County, and a local PG&E rep believes that could be because local restaurants weren’t aware of the program. Restaurant owners can apply through April 30 at restaurantscare.org.

Brunch is booming throughout the county. Earlier this week, I reported that Cruz Kitchen & Taps recently opened for brunch. Now, Restaurant Malik Williams, the new fine-dining spot in Aptos, will be open for brunch every Sunday after a successful launch on Easter. Highlights from its current menu includes a Benedict with lamb and artichoke sausage for $18; crepes filled with apricots, feta and basil for $14; and a whopping 16-ounce breakfast burger topped with hash browns, an egg, pork belly and cheese that must be seen to be believed for $24. There’s also a twist on steak and eggs with a 32-ounce, bone-in, dry-aged ribeye for $139. As a bonus, guests get a complimentary mimosa to start the meal. Make reservations at OpenTable.com. Brunch lovers should also note new offerings at Humble Sea Tavern in Felton, including a crab omelet and fried chicken and waffles.

Eat this

My family has been craving a tropical vacation, but so far that hasn’t been in the cards. This week, I discovered the next-best thing to sipping a piña colada on a beach: the pineapple babá at Emozioni Patisserie. Pastry chef Crescenzo Pelliccia — aka Chef Enzo — transforms the traditional plain Neapolitan babá by topping it with chunks of fresh, juicy pineapple and a white chocolate and coconut ganache, which somehow improves a pastry that was already perfect. The acid in the sweet pineapple cuts through the rich rum- and sugar-soaked sponge bread, and every bite is bound together with silky, coconut-scented cream. I’ve never had a creation from Chef Enzo that I didn’t adore, but this one is unmissable. Check Emozioni’s Instagram at @emozionipatisserie to see when it’s available again, and find it at the bakery inside Lago di Como restaurant in Live Oak. More info at emozioni.cafe.

Blossom's Farmstore & Coffeeshop houses a treasure trove of local products.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

In my opinion, the joyful Blossom’s Farmstore & Coffeeshop at the corner of Corralitos Road and Freedom Boulevard is the crown jewel of the village of Corralitos. Inside the historic rose-colored Spanish-style adobe building is a treasure trove of local treats, and it’s worth a detour to seek them out. Every time I stop in for a coffee and a snack, I end up meandering through the different rooms, admiring work from local artists and discovering new, locally crafted products.

Blossom's crafts dozens of herbal remedies, available in its apothecary.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

At the entrance to the cozy interior, visitors will find a produce section filled with organic fruits and vegetables from nearby farms — watermelon radishes and celeriac rub knobby elbows with greens from John’s Farm Stand in Watsonville and half-pints of Corralitos-grown Coastal Moon Farm blueberries, so sweet that once you try them, you’ll swear you’ve never had a blueberry before. In the fridge, in addition to local goods like eggs from Pajaro Pastures, located just down the road, Blossom’s has its own selection of fermented treats, including juns, kombuchas and krauts. I’ve mentioned before that its beet kvass is the best I’ve ever had. My family also loves its tangy vegan kimchi, which has great texture and the perfect amount of heat. (I’ve caught my husband eating it out of the jar more than once.)

Blossom's lineup of fermented foods includes a killer vegan kimchi.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

In the apothecary, Blossom’s offers dozens of herbal remedies and skin-care products. Owners Carin Fortin and Delmar McComb recently relocated their farm to Aromas after six years in Corralitos and six years in Bonny Doon. There, they grow the herbs for their tinctures, oils, salves, lotions and tonics, used to soothe and fortify the body.

If you can, make time to take a hot drink and a baked treat from the coffee shop and enjoy a moment for yourself in the cozy café or out on Blossom’s patio. The atmosphere is so welcoming and full of magic, you’ll want to linger …. The farm stand is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info at blossomsfarm.com.

Events

Food Truck Friday returns this week for its seventh season at Skypark in Scotts Valley. As the weather warms up, these free Friday night events are a wonderful way for the whole family to spend a summer evening. Kicking off the season, Holopono, the food truck arm of Pono Hawaiian Grill, will be there with pupus, poke and plate lunches; Saucey’z is bringing its fully loaded fries and famous crispy Brussels sprouts; Pana will be there with its delicious Venezuelan arepas; Taquizas Gabriel is throwing down tasty tacos; and Aunt LaLi’s ice cream truck is offering sweet treats.

Musical guest the Paperback Ryders will perform a curated list of Beatles hits with a food truck twist, including “Let It Bean,” “Strawberry Shortcake Forever,” “Norwegian Wood Oven Pizza,” “Lettuce Be” and more. If you need a drink to wash down those puns, you’ll find it at the beer and wine garden, where proceeds will benefit Scotts Valley’s public schools. Admission and parking are free, and friendly leashed dogs are welcome. This event runs every Friday through the end of October. More info at foodtrucksagogo.com.

This weekend, local breweries in the Coast chapter of the Bay Area Brewers Guide are celebrating Coast Brewer Weekend. The party starts at noon Friday at Discretion Brewing in Soquel with the release of the Cool Cats Coastal Collab, a West Coast-style IPA made with Half Moon Bay brewery Hop Dogma and Seaside’s Other Brother Beer Co., in 16-ounce cans and on draft. On Sunday, Discretion hosts its first annual pro-am-style pingpong tournament. Brewing professionals and beer fans will play off in their own categories, and the winners will go head to head in the final match. Email Toph at toph@discretionbrewing.com to enter. See the full list of events at drinkbaybeer.com.

This Saturday, sample beers and wines in the heart of Pleasure Point at the Pleasure Point Sip and Stroll. From noon to 5 p.m., enjoy tastings at more than 20 local businesses and shops in the Pleasure Point neighborhood centered around 41st Avenue and Portola Drive. There are great restaurants in the area, including Zameen At The Point, East Side Eatery and Suda, so stay for lunch or dinner. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Visit pleasurepointsipandstroll.com for more information.

On Sunday, Persephone Restaurant in Aptos is throwing a special dinner with Sante Arcangeli winemaker John Benedetti. Chef Cori Goudge-Ayer has crafted a five-course menu to complement five Sante Arcangeli wines, including an albacore tuna appetizer with pickled vegetables paired with a 2021 rosé and pork cappelletti stuffed pasta with the Ananda 2019 pinot noir. Benedetti will discuss his wines and winemaking philosophy throughout the meal. Tickets are $175 per person. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.com.

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