In The News

July 22 Meal Stresses ‘Slow Food’

By Ryan Mac
Published Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009
When Kim Levin opened Pasta Moon, she chose to set up in Half Moon Bay because of its proximity to coastside farms.

Twenty-three years later, Pasta Moon maintains its commitment to local farms.

On July 22, the Main Street fixture will be hosting its second Local Farm and Wine Dinner to celebrate its relationship to Coastside farms and educate customers on the importance of buying locally.
Local farmer Mike Iacopi, left, learns how Pasta Moon chef Seth Bowden uses the husks of Iacopi’s sweet peas to create a unique broth at the Half Moon Bay restaurant.

Nicole Keating, marketing representative and events coordinator, recognized the importance of local farmers to the success of Pasta Moon.

“Its a dinner to honor the local farmers,” she said. “We’ve been working with them since the beginning and we want to let the customers know where their food is coming from.”

The dinner will have two seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. during which farmers will be seated among customers to discuss their produce and unique contributions to the local agricultural community.

It is this farming community that Pasta Moon is hoping to preserve, especially with its buy local message. For Keating, this ensures the greatest quality and freshness of produce.

(Buying locally) is of the utmost importance, in fact our menu is seasonal, so if something goes out of season we just take it off the menu, she said of the restaurant’s constantly changing menu. Farm to table. Its really about farm to table, and making that connection is our goal.

An annual winner of San Mateo County As Fresh as it Gets award, Pasta Moon is renowned for naming dishes after the names of local farms. Small things like these have helped to build a community appreciation for the area food, enforcing the restaurant dedication to a growing national movement known as slow food.

While the term is an outright dig at the country fast-food culture, slow food is described as an effort to encourage sustainable means of food production and develop a sense of communal appreciation for an areas unique foods.

Dee Harley, whose South Coast cheeses are on the menu at Pasta Moon, said the restaurant has been quick to adopt the slow food movement. Keating said it has become a statewide phenomenon.

I think California is the state that has started the trend, Keating said. I know California is definitely at the forefront of local farm produce and slow food and cutting out the sourcing of food from all over the world and overproduction.

And with the state’s deepening financial problems, Keating stressed how local efforts could help improve the situation.

“It’s really important to know where things are coming from and every little thing helps to stimulate the economy. This is a tough time. Main Street is suffering, and I’m sure the farmers are suffering. We’re hoping for anything that can bring recognition to the efforts that they put in to get the best quality on people’s tables.”

This recognition is appreciated by local farmers, among them Mike Iocapi of Iacopi Farms.

It’s nice to go to Pasta Moon and see our name on the menu, said Iacopi, whose farm provides Pasta Moon with beans.

Local club puts emphasis on music

Music Box lounge opens in HMB – Half Moon Bay Review

Sit down at one of the handmade leather seats at small tables, all in a jigsaw of red, beige or sky-blue colors. Overhead are hanging lights; all around is contemporary art.

Order dinner from the Italian restaurant or a drink from the bar they are on either side. Then focus on the stage.

Food and drink aside, this acoustically bright room is made for music.
Stevan Pasero plays a few runs on his guitar in the Music Box lounge.

This is the new Music Box contemporary lounge tucked into the Tin Palace at 315 Main St., Half Moon Bay.

Kim Levin of Miramar, owner of the Music Box and the Pasta Moon restaurant and bar flanking it, plans that the three jell into one experience.

Customers can order food from Pasta Moon and a drink from the bar to be consumed in the lounge, and then absorb the jazz, Latin, blues, rock or other forms of music offered there on Friday and Saturday nights.

So far, the Music Box has hosted or will host contemporary and original music by Betsy White and band, the country and blues music of TJ Moore and Randall Haake, jazz from the Marty Williams quartet, guitarists Jeff Allen and Ed Dee of the band Blue, the Jazz Connection, jazz with a hip-hop flavor by Adrian Giovenco and Half Moon Bay guitarist Mauro Ffortissimo and friends.

We wanted a music venue, said waiter Aaron Campbell, but also a place where people feel they don’t have to formally sit down and have dinner, but can informally sit in a lounge and have a burger and a beer and music.

It was sympathy that prompted Levin to set up the Music Box.

I felt bad for the musicians, she said. I like a supper club. I like a lounge with the lights down low, where you can have some music.

The Music Box opened in December with Coastside guitarist and Sugo Music founder Stevan Pasero, who makes regular stops here and will be back Friday at 6:30 p.m. with friends Sascha Jacobsen of San Francisco on bass and Bay Area drummer Curt Moore.

Pasero, called one of the greatest guitarists ever by San Francisco radio station KKHI, performs an acoustic musical stew he has been stirring for years. Expect a blend of jazz, Latin, flamenco, bossa nova, rhumba, tango and classical styles, all rolled into one sound on his new album, Jambossa.

There has never been a road map for that, said Pasero. It’s just evolving. It’s taken me a while.

The secret to his mastery of the varied yet complementary styles, Pasero said, lies in the way you apply the fingers to the strings. For him, that means right-hand technique.

The right hand is the most important to articulate a sound, he said, adding that on a good day, he spends three to four hours studying his technique.

In classical music, he said, his right-hand style tends to be articulate, originating from the underside of the fingernail. In flamenco, he favors a more dynamic approach, relying on the outer portion of the nail, and in jazz, a more melodic approach with a lot of thumb work.

Each is enhanced by Jacobsen, with his Argentinean tango-esque style he creates by playing with a bow, and Moore, who has recorded with Pete Escovedo, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Turtle Island String Quartet and others. Pasero himself has sold more than 15 million CDs, and performed, locally and worldwide.

For information, contact the Music Box at 650-726-5125.

Splendid reliable Pasta Moon shines on the coast. Pasta Moon in the San Jose Mercury News -Eye Entertainment Guide Thursday April 19, 2012

At Pasta Moon, house-made Italian dishes are fresh and elegant, After 25 years in business, it’s no small feat for a restaurant to remain fresh and relevant, and Pasta Moon does that splendidly.