August 13, 2012

Happy Girl Makes a Boy Happy

We sort of accidentally stumbled upon Pacific Grove, California as our summertime home away from home.  We love the slow-paced lifestyle of a kid-friendly small town with our big market chains just a mile and a half away for convenience.  The weather is perfect for the kids--similar to San Francisco summers and not too hot for eczema prone skin.  We get foggy mornings, sometimes clearing in the afternoons, making treks to the beach a popular choice for otherwise lazy days.  The local library, natural history museum, plenty of friendly shops, and playground all within walking distance means I don't need to deal with the headache associated with piling kids in and out of the car on a daily basis.  We've been very content playing tourists for almost a month now:

We flew a kite at Asilomar Beach

Riding the glass-bottom boat, we saw otters, sea lions, and jelly fish!

We rode a surrey from Lover's Point Beach to Fisherman's Wharf

A rare sunny morning got us to the beach at low tide.

Biking and scooting along the trail.

There's always something new to see and learn at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Their new Jellies Experience is especially fantastic!
But as this is our second summer here, we've had to start doing as the locals do.  Participating in the local activities leading up to the festival at the beach for the Feast of Lanterns, religiously hitting the Monday afternoon farmer's market in downtown PG (four short blocks away), getting a Pacific Grove library card, and a must on every local's weekly list of to do's--frequenting our favorite cafe--Happy Girl Kitchen Co.--for Blue Bottle Coffee and allergy-friendly treats.

Last year, I connected with Stephanie Stein, creative baker and sweetest person from Happy Girl Kitchen Co.  She generously shared her scone recipe and words of wisdom about baking without egg with our readers.  I adapted her recipe to make it dairy-free, and armed with Stephanie's baking advice, experimented with my own scone variation, Coconut Chocolate Chocolate Chip Scones.

So you know I was thrilled when I last visited Happy Girl and noticed a new pre-order form for Stephanie's baked goods.  I promptly placed my order for a dozen berry scones and a chocolate ganache birthday cake for Tristan, all egg, nut, and dairy free.

Stephanie was happy to take a break from her busy morning baking duties to discuss Tristan's food allergies and my specifications, even adjusting the cake to make it less sweet.  The result: a wonderful scone breakfast shared with friends and an even more fabulous birthday celebration for a delighted 8-year-old boy!  As he opted out of a full-blown birthday party with friends this year, having his first store-bought cake more than compensated.  His verdict: "Yummy and chocolately!"  His siblings were equally overjoyed about the allergy-safe cake, both announcing they wanted the same cake for their birthdays!

Eight one for good luck!  

Stephanie Stein's chocolate ganache cake was the star of the show!

A dozen berry scones, hot out of the oven--no egg, nuts, or dairy!

Couldn't resist picking up some carrot muffins--all allergy-safe for the kids!

Happy Girl Kitchen Co. at 173 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA--stop by before your  Aquarium visit!

As a chocoholic and self-proclaimed sweets critic, the cake was delicious--moist, with a rich dark chocolate taste.  And unlike my egg and dairy free creations, this one held up well and wasn't crumbly.

See you soon Stephanie, and thanks SO much!


  1. What a fun holiday. It sounds like such a cute place. So awesome how you found a bakery who thinks of those with food allergies.

  2. I nominated you for a blog award :O); pls check it out on today's post.

  3. The cake and baked goods look delicious, as does the mild weather!! Happy 8th Birthday, Tristan!

  4. Thank you so much for coming in Sarah... it was a delight to meet you in person. I would be happy to work with you anytime in the future... maybe you would like to host a workshop for some friends in SF?
    Anywho, Im so happy I could make some kiddos happy. Lets be in touch soon!

  5. Hi Sarah,

    We are visiting Monterey this weekend and will stop by Happy Girl for their baked goods. Thanks for your post.

    Do you have any other restaurants/eateries you could recommend for our family with peanut and tree nut allergy?



    1. Hi Lisa!
      I wish I had more suggestions for you, but we rarely ate out with the kids, and opted for homemade meals instead. There's always the old standby, McDonald's, right near Dennis the Menace Playground in Monterey.

      Good luck and have a wonderful weekend--I am jealous! Looks like the weather is going to be perfect.