SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS
STORY and PHOTOS by BRETT LEIGH DICKS
May 15, 2014 5:48 AM
Editor’s note: This is part four of a series on the, vendors of the newly opened Santa Barbara
Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St.
|What would a marketplace be without a quick service grab-and-go outlet? At the Santa Barbara Public Market, that place is Flagstone Pantry.|
Lining the counters and cases is an enticing selection of soups, sandwiches, salad bowls, whole-grain salads, sides, baked goods and snacks that, in true Santa Barbara Public Market fashion, all come with a gourmet touch. Everything at Flagstone Pantry is prepared fresh using the finest ingredients available locally.
“Just because something is already prepared and ready to go doesn’t mean that it can’t be fresh and delicious,” said Kristen Desmond, 45, owner and chef. “We prepare everything fresh on a daily basis in ridiculously small batches so what we offer is the very best it can be.”
A UCSB graduate with a background in management consultancy for firms such as IBM, Ms. Desmond moved to New York City in 2008 after deciding on a career change. After graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute’s chef training program, she completed an apprenticeship with executive chef Jeremy Bearman at NYC’s Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate, where she focused on modern, healthy American cuisine.
After a stint in Washington, D.C., Ms. Desmond returned to Santa Barbara in 2010 and for two years worked as a baker at Metropulos before launching Flagstone Pantry in 2012. Working from a commercial kitchen on Santa Barbara’s Eastside, she prepared gluten-free baked goods, including muffins, brownies, blondies, cookies and scones, for Handlebar Coffee Roasters.
All the while keeping an eye on the developments at the Santa Barbara Public Market.
“I knew the Santa Barbara Public Market was on the horizon so moving into wholesale baking was a great transition toward that,” Ms. Desmond said. “I started out small, baking for Handlebar Coffee, which was a great fit. They didn’t have any whole-grain items or special diet products, so it was a way to get the Flagstone name out there and start creating awareness while our store at the market was brewing.”
At the new storefront, the trays of lavishly presented sandwiches, all of which are $8.95, include the signature Figgy Piggy, featuring prosciutto, fig butter and an herb ricotta cheese spread, and the Wine Country Cob , made in a hollowed loaf that is layered with Italian meats, pesto and roasted red peppers, then cut into wedges.
Various heat and serve soups, ranging in price from $5 for 16 ounces to $10 for 32 ounces, are offered, but hurry because they sell out fast. The daily salads retail for $8.95 while sides such as grains and vegetables sell for $5. The store’s trademark Snack Packs, which for $5 feature either artichoke spread or fruits, nuts and cheese, are perfect for enjoying with a glass of wine at the market’s wine bar.
For those craving something a little more substantial, individual-size savory entrees include a Savory Tart, with its melt-in-your-mouth crust, for $6.95, and a lasagna-style Polenta Napoleon for $8.95.
“The entrees are proving very popular with people who are finding us on their way home,” Ms. Desmond said. “They can pick something up, take it home, and they have a delicious and healthy dinner in an instant.”
Also proving popular are the store’s baked goods. Along with a Chocolate Cookie, which comes with a sprinkling of sea salt, there is the Cowboy Cookie, with chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut, and oats; both sell for $2.50. The Chocolate Brownies and Peanut Butter Blondies are prepared using gluten-free recipes and retail for $3, while the muffins and scones are $3.35.
“The whole idea is to prepare fresh food on a small scale daily,” said Ms. Desmond. “So we are constantly cooking in our kitchen and everything that is out there is constantly being replaced with fresh batches. We prepare our food the way that our most mindful customers would at home.
“We juggle choices between sustainable, seasonal, organic, local and what’s available,” she added. “Not everything is all of those things at once, but we’re making good choices and delicious food.”
Flagstone Pantry: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; 617-4568 or www.flagstonepantry.com