EATERS DIGEST: Chanterelle pizza at Bookie’s, kraut class at Mountain Feed and Agri-Culture scholarships

The chanterelle and guanciale pizza at Bookie's in Santa Cruz.
(Via Bookie’s)

This weekend, savor the season with a chanterelle and guanciale pizza at Bookie’s in Santa Cruz and learn to make golden sauerkraut with Mountain Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond. Plus, a quick stop at Monterey’s Alta Bakery.

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What is this giant glowing orb in the sky? Could it be the sun? As many of us dig ourselves out of the muck and tree branches that have accumulated over the past few weeks, I’ve tried to get out of the house as much as possible.

Is anyone else’s Instagram feed flooded with pictures of golden chanterelle mushrooms? While I haven’t found any in the forest (yet!), I satisfied my craving with a chanterelle and guanciale pizza at Bookie’s in Santa Cruz. In Monterey, I finally stopped by Alta Bakery on my way to the EcoFarm Conference to sample its excellent pastries.

This weekend, head up to Ben Lomond on Saturday to bring a sunny, healthful sauerkraut recipe into your life.

I also have updates on the road to recovery for Capitola restaurant Zelda’s On The Beach after it sustained heavy damage from the storms earlier this month. And I chatted with Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman ahead of her event with Bookshop Santa Cruz at Hotel Paradox on Monday.

Check it out …


If you’re planning on pursuing higher education in agriculture or a related field this year, be sure to apply for scholarships through Agri-Culture, an education nonprofit based in Santa Cruz County. Five scholarships totaling $9,500 are available for students majoring in agriculture, animal science or culinary arts, including the new-this-year Frank Prevedelli Memorial Scholarship. The deadline to apply is Feb. 3. Visit for more info.

Zelda's on the Beach.
The patio and inside of Zelda’s On The Beach are in ruins after the high tide and huge swells combined with heavy rainfall devastated the Capitola shoreline.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The iconic Capitola restaurant Zelda’s On The Beach was heavily damaged in early January, when a series of punishing winter storms and a violent tidal surge took out ocean-facing windows and the back wall, damaged the dining room floor and reduced the 120-seat deck to splinters. Nevertheless, kitchen manager Josh Whitby says that it’s “all fixable,” and he hopes to welcome guests back to the beachfront destination by Memorial Day. “Structurally, we’re sound. We’re missing walls. We’re missing windows. We’re missing a floor. But other than that we’re ready to go,” says Whitby. In Thursday’s story, he maps out the damage and the road to recovery.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet Smitten Kitchen blogger Deb Perelman in person on Monday, when I will interview her on stage during an event for Bookshop Santa Cruz at Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz. She’s coming to promote her newest cookbook — her third — “Smitten Kitchen Keepers,” filled with 100 “recipes for your forever files.” The event has been sold out for weeks, but Perelman and I recently chatted by phone about the book, what makes a recipe a “keeper” and the one thing fellow home cooks should do to stay inspired in the kitchen. Read the Q&A here.

Eat this

At Bookie's, chef Todd Parker applies his career in fine dining to Detroit-style pizza.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Every fungi lover in the county is going ga-ga over the flush of wild mushrooms available right now, especially the golden chanterelle. At Bookie’s, the pizza kitchen inside Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in Santa Cruz, I enjoyed a Detroit-style pizza by chef Todd Parker that makes excellent use of this seasonal crop.

On the chanterelle and guanciale pizza ($31), Parker tops his thick, focaccia-like crust with meaty chanterelles, dried apricots, savory guanciale, a white sauce with caramelized onions and fontina cheese, and finishes it with spicy Aleppo pepper and chives. The dried apricots and pepper play up those natural flavors in the chanterelles. Together with the sweet onions, salty guanciale and earthy fontina, it’s one of the most memorable pies I’ve had.

Parker says this pizza will be on the menu for the next month or so, “until the chanterelles dry up.” Order in person at the brewery or online at

On Thursday, I spent the day in Monterey at the EcoFarm Conference, the largest ecological farming conference in the West, learning about regenerative farming and meeting lots of people passionate about sustainable agriculture. But first, I grabbed breakfast at Alta Bakery in Monterey. I’ve been meaning to visit this much-praised bakery, headed by chef/owner Ben Spungin, for ages, and it didn’t disappoint. While it was nearly impossible to choose from the savory and sweet pastries, I loved both the blueberry muffin and sausage roll I took home with me. The blueberry muffin was soft, not too sweet and full of fruit, with a delightful crumbly oatmeal topping. The sausage roll houses breakfast sausage and tangy sauteed green apples inside flaky laminated pastry sprinkled with fennel seeds. If you find yourself in Monterey, it’s worth a stop. More info at


Head up to Mountain Feed and Farm Supply in Ben Lomond on Saturday for a workshop that promises to be tasty and fun. Educator Karla DeLong will show you how to make probiotic golden sauerkraut using cabbage, turmeric, salt and time. This workshop starts at 10 a.m. and is free. If you’ve never fermented anything, sauerkraut is an easy way to venture down the rabbit hole, and DeLong is the perfect person to show you how — take it from someone who has taken many of her classes, from preserves to bone broth. No registration necessary. (P.S. Read how DeLong transformed her home into a dahlia wonderland in Lookout’s Community Voices.)

FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this story included an herb-gathering walk. Because gathering plants is prohibited in state and county parks, we have removed the event.