Why the blog? Well, I’m lucky enough to have the run of the bakery at The Marisol Restaurant and with those resources, I get to experiment a lot. I have always baked to connect to people, to create joy, to make the memories that come with sharing good food. While I love to treat people to a decadent experience, I personally feel the pull to eat nutritious food and help others learn a little more about alternatives to the expected stuffed croissants, glazed donuts, and cupcakes that pass for breakfast foods nowadays. I have the unique opportunity in my life to try out different recipes and work to find great, healthy recipes to satisfy the hunger and cravings we all get for sweets and fats. Thus the Muffin Goddess! I plan to use the ingredients, supplies, space and time I have to do the research and experimentation necessary to create low fat, beneficial baked goods. I already have a great fleet of muffins I send out for breakfast every morning, in contrast to the decadent desserts I bring out at brunch. I’ll get you those indulgent recipes so you can splurge on an amazing finale to a special dinner, but I will show you how to start your day or create a snack that will keep you fit. I look forward to sharing baking tips, favorite purveyors, and proving that fresh, flavorful, healthful muffins can be more satisfying than the junk-food alternative… you know, they’re not naked cupcakes!
I love where I get to work. Marisol is the restaurant at The Cliffs Resort, a hotel on the Central Coast of California, right up on the bluffs above Shell Beach, between downtown Pismo and Avila Beach. While Pismo has the pier and the shopping, and Avila has the fish market and the golf course, Shell Beach is a quieter community with a few little cafés, kayak and surf instructors, and some cool walks down the to tide pools. While a lot of people on the road between San Francisco and Los Angeles (it’s the perfect halfway point) stay with us, we don’t get the crazy crowds that some of the other beach towns do. In the summer, it’s all families and their dogs on vacation, and in the winter we get groups and conferences or people taking advantage of the off-season quiet for a romantic getaway. The hotel is only about fifteen minutes from downtown San Luis Obispo, an awesome college town with great shopping, bars, and restaurants. My mentor Willie bakes for The Apple Farm, our sister property in the Boutique Hotel Collection, which is right at the edge of town on Monterey Street. It’s easy to stop there for breakfast before you hit the 101 to drive up to Paso Robles, where there are some incredible wineries and farmers I am a fan of.
What do I do, baking for a hotel? A lot. Most of the time I am on my own, so I get a lot of freedom to present new recipes and ideas. The first reason they needed me was to pick up the breakfast baked goods business. They used to outsource the pastries for the daily buffet and (award-winning!) Sunday Champagne Brunch, but that was just meeting the status quo that other hotels give out for free. I brought in my muffins and then cinnamon rolls, and on Sunday I get a chance to showcase the sweets – cakes and turtles, for instance. I made new items for the dining room’s dessert menu, and thought up ideas to enhance the hotel packages, like the Babymoon or the new Anniversary Package. Besides the restaurant, I prepare those same items for groups that come in. Whether breakfast board meetings or week-long conferences, people traveling for work deserve a little pick-me-up to keep them focused! I am looking forward to getting into the wedding business out here, since the hotel has a lawn for a huge tent so the ceremony and reception can be right on the lawn above the ocean front view. Some of the Central Coast weddings we have seen are doing little individual treats and since my Pastry Shop is right behind the ballroom where they do the indoor receptions, I can easily share my petits fours and maybe branch out into a big cake soon. I will keep you posted!