With a deliciously modern menu of Indonesian-inspired dishes that rely mostly on the seasonal harvests of small, nearby farmers, Sama Sama Kitchen (1208 State Street;  965-4566; samasamakitchen.com) is already climbing to the top of Santa Barbara’s ladder for eye-opening and taste-bud-tingling dinner experiences. But this Sunday, April 13, 5-9 p.m., Sama Sama takes its commitment to creative cuisine even further by hosting Hunt & Gather, a free festival where customers of all ages can sample and shop for handmade foods, drinks, and other items on the restaurant’s back patio. Here is info on just three of more than a dozen purveyors expected to be selling their wares this weekend.
KULT KITCHEN: Jon Riddell and Julia Rose of Kult Kitchen pitched their big idea for a pickle and sauerkraut business on Kickstarter.com, eventually gaining enough financial backing from pledges to start fermenting regionally farmed food out of their home base in Ojai. “It’s so healthy for you,” said Riddell. “You get more probiotics from sauerkraut than from yogurt!” They’ll be peddling their sauerkraut at Hunt & Gather, as well as their signature sweet and spicy pickle, seasoned with turmeric and chili flakes.
SWEET LADY COOK: For those who prefer sweet without the spicy, try Sweet Lady Cook, homemade organic preserves sourced from Santa Barbara and Ventura county farms by Arian Blanco. Even if you don’t usually like jams or jellies, you might surprise yourself after tasting Blanco’s creations, which can include savory and bitter flavors. “I am a one-woman operation,” said Blanco, who started her company after trying a family friend’s jam a couple of years ago. “I make the jam; I make deliveries; I do everything myself.” Business skyrocketed over the past six months, said Blanco, explaining, “I try and make my business very visible, especially through Instagram.” Favorites include clementine and sea-salt marmalade, as well as balsamic strawberry, both of which will be on hand Sunday.
MIZUBA TEA COMPANY: With a mom who served tea every morning before school, Santa Barbara native Lauren Danson is a lifelong tea fanatic, even hosting weekly tea parties out of her Westmont College dorm room. “My friends would tell me every week, ‘This is what you need to do with your life,’” said Danson. But she pursued journalism until falling in love with tea again during a visit last spring to Uji, Japan, the birthplace of the Japanese tea ceremony. “I stepped off the train, and the first thing I noticed was the scent of matcha infuses your nose,” recalled Danson of the stone-ground, shade-grown, especially nutritious green tea. “You walk downtown, and every single shop is tea-dedicated. Needless to say, I had the best day of my life.”
After grad school in Denver, Danson reached out to a 100-year-old family tea farm in Uji, as she said, “knowing nothing about business, knowing nothing about FDA, knowing nothing about importing, knowing absolutely nothing other than the fact that I love sharing tea.” She successfully navigated the international intricacies, and her first order of matcha came last September. The Mizuba Tea Company was born. See mizubatea.com.
The free foodie festival Hunt & Gather is Sunday, April 13, 5-9 p.m., at Sama Sama Kitchen, 1208 State Street.