What is cheezy love to you? Here at Happy Girl, cheezy love is so many different things that we had to throw a party just to celebrate it. Cheezy love. It is that kind of love that keeps on feeling good. Love that you can laugh at and with and makes you feel like you are swinging as high as you can get at the playground. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach right now! Cheezy love can be AWKWARD at times especially when people are being coy. Cheezy love is something that we are all looking for at some time in our lives! Come find cheezy love at Happy Girl!
All "cheezy love" photos by Michelle Magdalena!!!
Who knew that cheezy love could be so CUTE!Cheezy love is just so funny!Cheezy love with a devil on their shoulder!
Jonah knows all about Cheezy love...Girls know what cheezy love is all about! Why are all the girls so happy over there? Ask Mr. Cheezy love!!!
"just keep it clean boys" Grandpa.
Grandpa on the far left came into our shop while we were doing the photo shoot as a customer and made it very obvious that he wanted to join the photo shoot even though he didn't. It is this kind of spontaneous joy that comes out of Cheezy love!!!
Cheezy love is a chance for couples and singles to have a good time together and dance, eat, drink take photos and more!
A party and a lifestyle at Happy Girl! Buy tickets here
February 14th 6-9 pm
*Tasty bites - yummy appetizers by happy girl to keep the party going!
*Speed dating - For couples and singles alike just a chance to get to know one another better!!!
*Photo booth by Michelle Magdalena - We are proud that this amazing photographer will be sending you home with stylish portraits from her photo/kissing booth!
*Live Dating Game - With Colin, our host who is Clint Eastwood in his younger years, we will all be entertained by this live version! (still seeking qualified applicants!)
*Dancing - Live records and a disco ball and plenty of space!
*Wine and cocktails - Served by Ian and Heather Brand!
January 22, 2015
Happy Girl Kitchen Co. presents…
Dine with the farmers
House made pickles + Crackers + Popcorn
Membrillo + Toma Cheese
Mandarins + beets + black garbanzos
Flagolet shelling beans + dry farmed tomatoes + brussell sprouts
Nettle + mushroom risotto
Roasted and stuffed honeynut squash + kale pesto
Farmstand cover crop salad
Blue Bottle Coffee
Stewed quince + ricotta + shortbread + pomello drizzle
A room with these many farmers and the skills of chef Matt Millea is sure to be a night to remember. Thank you for being a part of the revolution, one plate at a time!
Our most recent article in our column for Edible Monterey Bay just came out and can be read here.
Remembering a beloved designer who taught young local restaurateurs to create settings that reflect their cuisine—and to have fun in the process
By Jordan Champagne
Photography by Lisa Eisner and Patrice Ward
Known for his gift for spotting and creatively repurposing salvaged materials, Big Sur artist Erik Seniska designed the interiors of Big Sur Bakery, Happy Girl Kitchen and Carmel Belle. A beloved and larger-than-life personality with a spirit much younger than his 59 years, Seniska died of cancer on Nov. 2, even as his many friends were planning a celebration of his life and work at The INDY in Sand City. In this piece, Happy Girl Kitchen’s Jordan Champagne looks back on her friendship with him.
When we first signed the lease for what would become Happy Girl Kitchen’s Pacific Grove café, I had no clue how we were going to design the space. Our talents lay in recipes and working with the local harvest, not in putting together a restaurant. At the time, I was living in Big Sur, and a friend at the Big Sur Bakery said, “I have just the guy for you. He’s amazingly talented and loves good food.” That sounded perfect to me, since I had always enjoyed the aesthetics of the Bakery. But when the time came to meet him, I was a little nervous. I was familiar with his work and just thought of him as amazingly hip. I walked up to the building which would soon be our café and saw him looking through the window into the bare space. His appearance immediately made a strong impression. He wore work pants that were smeared and splattered with a vivid array of paints. He wore an extra-large straw hat and held a leather tool kit with the words “The Eye” etched into it. He was even hipper than I had imagined.
He spoke with authority, and within moments, it became apparent that he was in fact the designer for us. But even so, I had no idea that he was going to become one of my closest friends and hugely impact how I see the world.
Born to New Yorker parents in Clearwater, Fla., Erik Seniska lived for a time in Boston and Brooklyn. He studied graphic design and took jobs that would later inform his interior and landscape design, like growing plants for nurseries and doing freelance display design. Eventually, he moved to San Francisco to pursue his design career on the West Coast. Erik’s own term for his profession, which he wrote in a profile in the 2009 Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, was “freelance bohemian.”
Erik was extremely skilled at decorative painting techniques—particularly a textured style done with specially notched tools called comb painting.
He quickly blew away design firms in the city. Soon, a company from the Monterey Bay area saw his work and hired him to design the interior of a house that was being built in Big Sur. He fell in love with the landscape.
The Big Sur project that would become the perfect platform from which Erik’s style could shine—and that would ultimately lure him into moving down—was Fish Fry, a tiny, rat-infested, hand-built redwood cabin from the 1940s. Perched high on a ridge over Garrapata State Beach on a 560-acre estate that Erik was hired to help redesign, the cabin was for a year both his home and a guesthouse design project over which he was given complete artistic license.
“I have always used garbage and repurposed it for artwork,” he told me in a conversation recently, so the raw, gutted cabin and the pile of galvanized metal, wood and other salvaged materials left waiting for him next to it were an inspiration.
The cabin ended up being a stunning work of art, with every square inch intentionally designed by Erik. It was during his work on this project that he found the Big Sur Bakery.
“I discovered them because they had the best coffee. Being from New York, Iwas such a snob about coffee. On Sunday I would grab The New York Times and head down for coffee and breakfast and spend the day down there,” he recalled.
Co-owner Mike Gilson has his own memory of their first meeting.
“There was a line out the door and I was the only person working the coffee bar—and wearing a white T-shirt. From the back of the line I heard this guy say, ‘Oh, honey, that blouse is filthy and must be changed!’”
Erik had a way of making inappropriate comments loudly in public that made you laugh and remember him.
The bakery was one of Erik’s first commissions to transform a public space, and to gather material for it. Gilson recalls, “Erik would walk the beaches and find pieces of wood and seaweed and hunks of things, rusted out metal and pieces of boats, and he would hang them on the wall and say: ‘It’s all about color, arranging and cruising.’ Erik said we should look beyond the finish of found objects to see their line and function—be creative and go for a big impact with simple things.”
Erik’s holiday installations were a highlight of his work at Big Sur Bakery.
He would gather giant leaves in Sycamore Canyon just down the road, bunch them tightly and hang them from the ceiling. For Thanksgiving dinner he would cover the entire floor with sycamore leaves to create the effect that autumn winds had just blown them in.
“Every restaurant should have its personality stamped on the inside. It has to be an entire environment that ties in with the food,” he said, describing his philosophy. But the interiors of all three restaurants he would design in the region—the Bakery, Carmel Belle and Happy Girl Kitchen—share a sustainable feel to match their seriously sustainable food. They also exude a sense of whimsy.
At Belle, Erik helped design a modern yet cozy atmosphere that reflects the restaurant’s extremely high-quality yet informal food. For the walls, he used chicken wire and various renditions of the restaurant’s signature hen; for seating, he saw past the bad textiles and peeling paint of some booths he found at a salvage yard and used fabulous new fabric to inject color and comfort among the stylish steel chairs.
At Happy Girl Kitchen, Erik wanted to create a general-store-meets-the-farm feel, and everything he did added to the farm-fresh experience. He mounted old wooden produce boxes from Van Dyke Ranch on the walls to hold books and used vintage ladders fitted with salvaged wood shelves to display our pickles and jams. He constructed counters in the board-and-batten style of old farmhouses and topped them with chopping blocks.
Erik’s final design for the local food community was a “parklet” that sits in front of Happy Girl. It’s a place to make the most of Pacific Grove’s elusive sun and relax at café tables amid drought-resistant plants in an area once occupied by curbside parking.
It took many trips to the salvage yard to construct it, as we wanted to create the feeling that this tiny park had been there for a long time, with wood that was worn to a cozy patina. The bold color and patchwork nature of Erik’s design have been jarring for some, and embraced as a work of public art by others.
Erik Seniska was the real thing—a living, working, breathing artist. He had the “eye” to see the true potential in materials—including those that nobody else wanted. He was extremely talented and alarmingly honest, and he showed me how to see the world in such a different way. Erik was an inspiration to truly live each moment to the fullest, in complete abandon. He has left his personality permanently stamped on everyone who had the great fortune of knowing him, and our community has been brightened by the creations he left behind.
Jordan Champagne is co-owner and founder of Happy Girl Kitchen Co. She has a passion for preserving the local, organic harvest and loves sharing her secrets at the workshops she teaches across the region.
Where does your money go?
Most of us agree that accounting is no fun. But one of my favorite parts about it is seeing where all that money goes. At Happy Girl a big chunk of our money goes to local, organic farmers and that is just one of the things that puts the "happy" in our name. We also buy other things from local food artisans and interesting people for our shop. This past year we have paid our local artist and builder friends to help build and design our new parklet. Of course another huge chunk goes to supporting the amazing people that do all of the good work at happy girl. We have a great team of people doing farmer's markets, running the cafe and shop, delivering and picking up at farms, designing our labels, baking our goods, cooking the lunches and of course making all of the delectable preserves that define Happy Girl. This holiday season we would like to give you confidence that your purchase of Happy Girl goods is going to contribute to supporting the local farms and this wonderfully wacky family of Happy Girl. Thank you and be proud of where your money goes because it truly can make a difference. Together we can continue the revolution through food!!!
Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite things to do this time of year! Carving pumpkins with a group of friends is even better! I just love pumpkins. They have something special about them. I love going out to the fields where they are growing and seeing all of their personalities peeping out from behind the dried leaves. I love finding that one...or two....or three or ninety special pumpkins that want to go home with me. Have you ever been to a mass pumpkin carving? Then come!
Last weekend we pressed more than 1000 pounds of apples into fresh cider! People came from near and far to be a part of the festive occasion!
It is happening! The parklet is being built and we are going to be ready to party in it on August 3rd! We are very excited about this project and its design and to finally have the space to chill out in. We hope that you can all make it to the opening party and it's elaborately festive mood. I believe the chamber is even going to come out and do a ribbon cutting for the event. The Grand Opening is going to be at our flagship location in Pacific Grove at 173 Central ave. Party in the street!
There is going to be live music, ample food and drink, endless pickle platter, live pickle dancing, and more! (that last part didn't come out right). We will be serving our full line of shrubs and there will be a special serving of our house made sorbet. It is going to be a good old fashioned Happy Girl hoedown. A midsummer nights dream if you will.
See you soon,
Happy Girls and Happy Boys
We are excited to announce that Happy Girl Kitchen has been approved by the City of Pacific Grove to build a Parklet out front of the Cafe. We have the architect, the designer and the construction crew and now we just need the funding.
We created a really fun Kickstarter campaign with a video giving everyone a glimpse at how fun the Parklet is going to be. The deadline for the campaign is May 27th because we want to get the Parklet built before summer! There are great prizes starting with pledges as low as $10 and including recipe booklets from Happy Girl!
The Parklet is going to be a great place for our community. It will slow down traffic and give pedestrians a place to convene. It is going to be a thoughtfully designed little park making a great impact on the entry way into Pacific Grove.
Please visit the campaign HERE!!!
A Parklet out front of Happy Girl Kitchen! Now all of the fun that happens inside can spill into the street. Your seat is reserved!
Be a part of Pacific Grove's first Parklet!
What is a Parklet?
A parklet is a small tiny park that is built in parking spaces with a patio like setting where the community can gather. They are wonderful for communities for many reasons. The parklet out front of Happy Girl Kitchen is going to be a fantastic traffic calming measure and make people realize that this part of town is also meant for pedestrians. A place to relax in the sun with your family, friends and dogs. This Parklet has already started to galvanize the community! Making the video for this Kickstarter campaign was the perfect launch to how much fun can happen outside! As you can see, the Happy Girl community has a lot of talent and fun that needs space spill out into!
The First Parklet in Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove is known as "america's last home town". We were thrilled when the city approved the project. We have a great architect and designer making sure the Parklet will be cozy and stunning. The materials will be salvaged and thoughtfully used to add a small park that can make you feel like you are perhaps a little urban even! A place to drink Blue Bottle Coffee, eat great food and baked goods, meet new friends, run into clients and fall in love! Let's build it together! Now that the city has approved the project, it is now up to us to build it.
We need your help to build the Parklet. All money collected will directly go to the construction of the Parklet, including materials and the labor of construction and design. We want to make it a beautiful addition to the neighborhood! If we surpass our goal, we will happily invest the money into an even more awesome Parklet with things like a fire pit and more! The sky is the limit! Please do not be shy if we have already reached our goal, we can use all the funds we receive.
Thank you and love you and can't wait to sit in our Parklet together!
A Parklet for musicians!
A Parklet to press fresh apple cider within!
A Parklet to be happy in!
View of the Parklet.
A Parklet where you can do your art !
A Parklet to do yoga in, strike a pose!
A parklet to be a kid!
A Parklet to eat AMAZING baked goods!
...See! The Parklet has already had a traffic calming affect!
A Parklet to carve pumpkins in with friends new and old!
A Parklet for Brix to be mastered in!
A Parklet for kids to get involved!
A Parklet for You, dog!
A special thanks to Michelle Magdalena for all of the photos above all of which actually took place out front of Happy Girl Kitchen on the sidewalk right where the new Parklet will be.
Milliones Besitos to Chris Siracuse the awesomest videographer and full time dedicated customer every day of the week!
Muchismo Gracias to Ken Turgen, architecht extraordinare!
Danke Schon to Erik Seniska the designer and full time director of all things Happy Girl whether we ask his opinion or not!
What better way to usher in the New Year than making pickles with friends, eating great food, donating money to a great cause AND celebrating at 9pm with NYC!!! Sound too good to be true? Well, that is Happy Girl for you. We like to make events that feel good, are fun and meaningful. This New Year's Eve we are throwing a party from 6-9pm that is fun for everyone. We will be serving our famous Lasagne, garlic bread and salad that is so deliciously homemade you will think grandma cooked dinner. We encourage you to bring games for the family to play at the tables. You will also have a chance to make pickles and "pickle your resolutions"! You can put all of your great intentions for the New Year into a jar of pickles and capture those thoughts to be enjoyed later. You can write a poem other words or a drawing on the side of the jar to remind you of your thoughts. You can write a unique label too if you like. The jars of pickles are going to be a fundraiser for the Big Sur Fire Relief fund with 100% of money collected for pickles going directly to those affected by the Big Sur Fire (see more in an update below). That is a great start on your resolutions of being more giving and caring!!!
We will also be serving a variety of Mocktails from my newly inspired creations with syrups and shrubs! You are sure to get inspired.
Please come and be a part of the fun. We are taking reservations for dinner if you are planning to dine with us and we are also taking reservations for the pickle making to give those of you a chance who REALLY WANT TO DO IT to make sure there is space for you. We are expecting quite a crowd!!!
Please start practicing the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne now!!! We have vintage noise makers and confetti for that magic moment - 3 hours ahead of time!