Photograph by Ronit Taggart
PToss-Up Will Pizza My Heart win best pizza in all the land?
Rebecca's Mighty Muffins resurfaces on 41st, Tomatofest heads to Carmel Valley, Pizza My Heart wins Best on the West Coast
By Amber Turpin
Rebecca's Mighty Muffins has sprouted up again after vanishing from its digs at 41st Avenue and Portola in Capitola. Rebecca's is now at Cruz Car Wash on upper 41st. Here is where the first of what may become many full-service espresso and muffin carts resides. It's a compact, efficient and mobile vehicle for getting crucial carbs and caffeine to the masses. For now, owner Rebecca Campbell's wholesale business, with its pledge to use "only the finest all-natural ingredients," seems to be the main focus. Rebecca's fans can now celebrate her return while getting the hoopties washed at the same time. Open 9am-4pm, seven days a week.
A GRAND TASTING
Gary Ibsen's first official TomatoFest was 16 years ago in his back yard. A lover and grower of heirloom tomatoes, Ibsen had 10 varieties to offer the group of chef friends and their families who came to his tomato-themed potluck, which was meant to inspire the lavish use of heirloom varieties in cooking. On Sunday, Sept. 16, the 16th annual TomatoFest blooms at Quail Valley Lodge in Carmel. And it is a considerably bigger affair today than when it began. Now, instead of 10 varieties, there are over 350 for tasting, 60 guest chefs, 200 wines, an olive oil tasting, a "salsa showcase," a barbecue, a "Miss Hot Tomato" contest, live jazz and heirloom seed sales. A Hall of Fame was even created to recognize people who contribute to "the success of the Carmel TomatoFest and the resurgence, biodiversity and sustainability of heirloom tomatoes and other foods." Ibsen's backyard garden has now spread around the state to diverse microclimates from Merced to Hollister to Gilroy and back to Carmel Valley, where about 550 types of tomatoes are grown in different organic plots. This is a rare chance to see and taste tomatoes like festival newcomers Amy's Sugar Gem, Aunt Gertie's Gold, Bull's Heart, Brimmer, Ceylon, Cream Sausage—and that's just the start of the alphabet. For more information visit www.tomfest.com or call 800.965.4827.BEST IN THE WEST
Pizza My Heart has been deemed the best pizza in the West at the third annual West Coast Pizza Championships in Los Angeles presented by Roma Foods. "This is huge for us," said Pizza My Heart owner Chuck Hammers. "We've worked hard to win the hearts of Bay Area pizza lovers, but now to be recognized in a West Coast contest is incredible! We're stoked!" The original Pizza My Heart is still in its tiny Capitola Village location, but over the years it's spread to 11 other shops, from Monterey to Emeryville. This month, Pizza My Heart will attend the national competition in Orlando, Fla., to go up against only four other regional restaurants for "Best Pizza USA." The precise event wins were Best Classic Pizza for the Capitola Heirloom, with organic tomatoes, basil, garlic, ricotta and sausage; and Best Gourmet Pizza for the Big Sur 40 Clove with roasted garlic, portobello mushroom, pepperoni and sausage. Executive chef Leah Scurto took second place in a live cook-off competition with her buffalo chicken pizza. It will be quite a shake-up if a West Coast pizzeria claiming New York style wins best in the United States. We'll keep you posted.