The espresso machine had just arrived when I visited the new, spacious Pacific Avenue home of Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting, in the former Noah’s Bagels space. The space features a long counter adorned with those out-of-this-world cupcakes, and a spacious banquette with little cafe tables and chairs. I felt instantly at home. And anyone who has tasted one of these sinful, addictive creations—my favorites include the hibiscus flower, the exceptional carrot ginger, and the little blood orange number with Earl Grey tea frosting—knows what I’m talking about. Now, picture all of that comforting feel-good flavor right there in the heart of downtown, on Pacific Avenue.

There’s so much to love about the establishment’s move from the tiny space across from Sockshop’s side door into a new higher-profile store: More cupcakes. More fresh muffins—an especially tasty gluten-free number made with oat flour and luscious spices captured my fancy, and lots of savory pies, spanikopita-style. “The Greek” packs feta, spinach and kalamata olives into a light, flaky filo triangle. The Melanzane is loaded with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. So Buttercup has branched out into a menu that looks a lot like lunch, or brunch, or midday snack.

Sweets, savories, espresso and long opening hours (for after or before the movie?)— weekdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on weekends. Stop by and be prepared to have your taste buds permanently altered by the irresistible house cupcakes. If a wedding is in someone’s future, you’d do well to check out the gorgeous mega-cake options. Last week I watched in awe when an excited young man ordered three of the new “seasonal” coconut snowball cupcakes and ate two of them on the spot. When Marie Antoinette murmured, “let them eat cake,” this is what she obviously meant. All of your favorite flavors, plus a few you haven’t yet discovered, plus exceptional vegan and gluten-free varieties, are waiting for you at Buttercup’s new location—1411 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz.


Class Action

Yes it’s that time again—time to get your hands on some gushy, moist, pliant dough and start shaping your very own to-die-for croissants, sourdough loaves, pies, and pastries. And thanks to the culinary team at Companion Bakeshop on Mission Street, you can do just that. Go here: https://squareup.com/market/companion-bakers to find all of the mouthwatering details, and book your space in the workshops, which begin at 6 p.m. on March 14 with Sourdough Basics. You can sign up for a single class “a la carte” or the three-class Sourdough series which includes “Whole Grains” and “Enriched Breads.” All workshops run 2-3 hours ($70 each/$180 for all three). Arrive dressed to get messy, in comfortable shoes, and perhaps bring a notebook.


Business Buzz

Dig this! According to a recent Infogroup study reported by Bloomberg Business last week, Santa Cruz (yes, our Santa Cruz) is ranked second among the top 10 foodie cities in the U.S. Only our fair sister up the road, San Francisco, came in higher. The rating was due to our many high-end and organic grocers, and “the consumers’ propensity to eat at fine dining restaurants as opposed to fast food or family dining chains.” Cool, huh?


Late Breaking New Leaf

Making a wide range of outstanding organic foods, produce, meats, and artisan products available throughout the Bay Area, New Leaf Community Markets has just signed a lease for a new store to open in August 2017 in Aptos Village. The plan is to expand the current offerings into more freshly prepared foods, including a wok and ramen bar. Can’t wait! Details as they emerge.

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