.Cookie Town

dining-1542-pacific-cookie-companyPacific Cookie Company turns 35 and a new Dim Sum restaurant in Capitola nails the wonton

C is for cookie, and if we Santa Cruzans never had to grow up and abandon our favorite childhood dessert, we can place our blame squarely at the delicious doorstep of Larry and Shelly Pearson. Back in the heyday of post-hippie start-ups, the Pearsons launched a sweet-tasting bit of entrepreneurial brilliance. Tinkering, tasting, and much persistence led them to open the doors of the Pacific Cookie Company on Pacific Avenue in 1980—and we all lined up to discover our favorites. I have loved the chocolate chip and craved the snicker doodle, but our house favorite was and remains the archetypal oatmeal raisin.

When the business began, the Pearson daughters were small. “It seems like just yesterday I was a 4-year-old sitting on a table in the bakery, watching my dad endlessly crack eggs to make cookie dough,” recalls Cara Pearson, current company president. Today, the second-generation cookie queen’s own daughters love to watch “even larger batches of dough being created,” she says.

Essentially, the company worked because of the founders’ unwavering confidence and Santa Cruz’s welcoming environment which loved high-quality artisanal products from the get-go. Larry Pearson’s management savvy placed his product into catalogs, airline menus, and into every board room, special-occasion package and holiday gift basket. An early adopter of online availability, Pac Cookie Co recently opened another storefront in a prime Berkeley location across from the Zellerbach Hall. The brand is everywhere, and it stays there because it deserves to. Especially in Santa Cruz, which co-founder Larry Pearson gratefully thanks for “always being a cookie town.”

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Celebrate this chewy milestone all week by visiting the downtown Santa Cruz shop for some cookie surprises, many of them involving partnership with Marianne’s ice cream. Check Pacific Cookie Company’s Facebook page for more interactive fun. Post your own cookie confession and don’t forget to thank the Pearsons. 1203 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz.

Ruyi Dim Sum and Then Some

Tucked into a tiny slot in the New Leaf complex on 41st Avenue is a righteous, no-frills new Chinese eatery whose very long list of classics includes dim sum dishes. Homey and inexpensive—paper plates and friendly service—Ruyi does nice filled wontons. We enjoyed the pork dumplings with their tasty insides and soft, fluttery steamed wonton exteriors, especially when dipped into the black vinegar you definitely want to request. So far, our favorite is the house shrimp dumpling, very delicate and again showcasing the extraterrestrial translucent wonton dumpling, which is wonderful dipped into a blend of the black vinegar, a dash of soy sauce and a dollop of blazing-hot chile sauce. The folks here are hard-working and the food is authentic, even if the barbecue buns were a bit overly “bunnish” for my small frame. Ruyi Dim Sum is at 1200 41st Ave. Ste. C, Capitola. http://ruyidimsum.com/.

More Milestones

To mark its 30th birthday, New Leaf Market has commissioned a limited-edition ice cream creation from Mission Hill Creamery. Called Dirty Thirty, the bespoke item involves organic vanilla ice cream infused with caramel swirl, bits of chocolate cake from Black China Bakery, and crunchy chocolate Newman-Os cookies. Fun for the mouth for $5.99 per pint. See newleaf.com for info about their Oct. 24 New Leaf block party on the Westside. And while you’re over in that neck of the woods, absolutely stop by to sample some bubbly at the grand opening of Equinox sparkling wine tasting room from noon-5 p.m. at 334-C Ingalls St., Santa Cruz. Celebratory details at equinoxwine.com.


THAT THING YOU DOUGH Pacific Cookie Company bakers take it to the rack at the Potrero Street bakery. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

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