Student Lookout: ‘Die Hard,’ fungus fair and the miracle of bacon pasta
What’s up guys, gals and nonbinary pals,
I’d like to begin by saying congratulations on finishing the winter quarter! You’re growing up so fast :’)
I hope you all have some nice plans for your winter break and are looking forward to partaking in some holiday traditions. Shoot me a text and let me know which winter/holiday activities you enjoy the most.
Also, I’m curious: Do y’all think “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie? Because yes, it is.
If you are a student and haven’t signed up for your FREE Lookout membership yet, enter your phone number below to register. Not only will you get unlimited access to all of Lookout, but you’ll also receive Student Lookout text alerts every Friday with exclusive deals, local recommendations, puzzles and more. So what are you waiting for?
Back to the regularly scheduled programming, then …
Check out these three Santa Cruz student discounts:
- Arsla’s Turkish Street Food: 10% off.
- HoM Korean Kitchen: 15% off.
- Woodstock’s Pizza: $6 off XL pizza.
Don’t forget to have your student ID to get the discount!
DEAL OF THE MONTH
This December, buy one cookie and get another cookie free at Pacific Cookie Company’s fragrant sugary shop in downtown Santa Cruz. While you’re there, get a gift to bring home for the holidays! Mention Student Lookout and show this screen to the cashier to get your discount.
➤ Want to share these deals with your friends? Have them sign up for Student Lookout texts with this link.
Eats on a budget
I’ve recommended this before, but as you head out of town, grab a slice or a pie on your way!
Pizza My Heart’s brand recognition speaks for itself. The pies are a little on the pricey side, but a slice is a pretty good deal. Also, ask for a slice card so you can get free menu items with every third slice. Finally, a quick tip for those ordering full pies: Ask for your pizza “well done” to get a crispier crust and extra-melted cheese. It’ll taste like it just came out of the oven!
If you love eating, cooking and reading about food, be sure to check out the work from our local food expert, Lily Belli. This week, she discussed Edible Paradise — a website run by the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets, the folks behind the Aptos farmers market — which features recipes that call for various ingredients found at local farmers markets, along with general cooking tips.
Try the miracle of bacon pasta this holiday season
Recommended by Thomas Sawano
I’m a relatively broke 22-year-old who still lives like a college student, which means I am frequently in a state of intense embarrassment whenever I have to serve dinner to friends or, God forbid, a date. Enter “bacon pasta,” a dish and way of life, really, that’s cheap, delicious, endlessly customizable and, importantly, seemingly much more impressive than it actually is.
It’s essentially a riff on a Sicilian-style pasta — light on sauce and high on green stuff — but uses everyday ingredients you will likely already have on hand. That’s the “miracle” of bacon pasta: It can be scaled to fit whatever occasion, season or ingredient expiring in your fridge. And the addition of a meat element — bacon — elevates what would otherwise be a sad meal of noodles and sauce into something borderline gourmet. Fat, acid, heat — it’s all there.
Right now, I have on hand half a zucchini, a recently opened jar of Three Cheese Pomodoro sauce from Trader Joe’s and a few leaves of basil. In 20 minutes, I will have a pasta dish fit to impress anyone who doesn’t know any better.
Cook time: 20 minutes
- A nice glop of your favorite red (not regular marinara) pasta sauce. The Three Cheese Pomodoro sauce from Trader Joe’s is a good, cheap option
- A handful of long pasta (spaghetti or linguine are best)
- Two slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- A couple handfuls of some sort of vegetable or mushroom, small-diced (spinach, basil, parsley, arugula, zucchini or yellow squash; anything that’s not too vegetal)
- A clove of garlic (optional)
- Red chili flakes
- Fill a 10-inch pan ¾ of the way with water and a small handful of salt. Put on high heat until the water reaches a substantial boil. Add pasta.
- Since your pasta will likely be longer than the diameter of your pan, put one end of the pasta bunch in first and gently bend the strands with a fork after a few seconds of cooking until the other ends are immersed (as pictured).
- If you’re fast with a knife, this is a good opportunity to get your ingredient prep done.
- Cook until just before tender, since you’ll be cooking the pasta more in your sauce.
Fish out pasta with a fork and set aside in a bowl.
NOTE: This is the only way I cook pasta nowadays. You can use a pot and strainer, but that method creates more dishes, which I like to avoid.
- Dry the same skillet you used for the pasta and add bacon pieces OFF HEAT.
- Turn down your burner to medium-high and gradually bring the bacon up to temperature. The reason being: You want to render (melt) as much of the fat off the bacon as possible to minimize the chewy fat texture in each bite. The bacon grease will also make your sauce taste amazing, though you can pour some off if you’re feeling squeamish.
- Cook until the bacon is browned on the outside but not crispy.
- If you’re using mushrooms or a non-leafy vegetable, add now and cook until tender, sprinkling in a small amount of salt.
- Pour in sauce. This should immediately start to bubble — and you’ll find that as you scrape the bottom of the pan, any bacon bits that adhered to the pan will start to lift and dissolve into the sauce. FYI, this process of using an acidic liquid to dissolve pan fond is called “deglazing,” and it’s a basic technique in making sauces.
- If you’re using a leafy vegetable, add now, stir and cook until leaves are wilted.
- Add chili flakes to taste.
- Return the cooked pasta to the pan, stirring until the strands are all coated with sauce.
- Turn off heat and serve.
Around Town - Events
Did you know that we have an events calendar? BOLO, which stands for Be On the Lookout, is our hub for the best events in the county. See all the listings here.
Here are upcoming events we think students need to know about:
Saturday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Mini Fungus Fair
Mushroom season means it’s time for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History’s fungus fair. Attending will assure fungus-forward food, Far West Fungi mushroom products, local fungus and lichen education and artwork. And, of course, free admission to the museum. Fungus enthusiasts, take note!
Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Two Birds Books Anniversary Sale
Heading home for break and want to take the time to read a new book or two or 10? Head out to 41st Avenue for Two Birds Books’ two-year anniversary sale. All used books will be 50% off, plus you have the chance to win gift cards, book bundles and more in the raffles.
Sunday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Downtown Antique Faire
The second Sunday of each month sees Lot 4 on Lincoln Street in downtown Santa Cruz turn into a local haven for antique enthusiasts. Vendors offer a huge mix of antiques, clothing, one-of-a-kind items, vintage collectibles and more. Don’t sweat if you can’t make this one, there will be plenty more opportunities down the line.
➤ Want more? If you’re still looking for great things to do, check out Wallace Baine’s Weekender here.
➤ More local jobs: Browse more open positions on the Lookout Job Board.
One last thing …
Did you know ... that “Die Hard” is based on the book “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp? At one point, Clint Eastwood owned the rights to the book and had planned to star in the film in the 1980s. Ironically, the book didn’t see much success. While it experienced surges over the past couple decades coinciding with rereleases of the film, critics accused it of lacking the charisma of “Die Hard.”
All right, folks, we had to do it to ya. We’ll be publishing one short edition of Student Lookout next week. I know, I didn’t stick to the promise of staying out of your inbox.
Oh well, I trust that you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me.
Have a great weekend!
If you have recommendations on places we should feature next week, pass them along and we’ll send you a free Lookout T-shirt. Email your ideas to email@example.com.