SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - There is a recipe for resilience during these strange times. For two generations of the Fleming family, the ingredients include equal parts flour, butter, elbow grease and a love of community, that cuts both ways.
Head to 21 W. Victoria St. in downtown Santa Barbara and you'll find it's grab and go at Scarlett Begonia during this COVID pandemic holiday season. Like others in town, the owner is just trying to stay afloat until things get better.
"We just want to be in the hearts and minds of people so we're not closing but we're not going to make any money doing this," said restaurant owner Crista Fleming, with a small chuckle.
Scarlett Begonia is known for its sweet and savory items -- all homemade. Its website touts 'Local, Organic, Thoughtful Food.'
"We really are about the food. That's what we live to do here," said Crista.
These days, grab and go includes hearty sandwiches (feast your eyes on that bread!) and, mouth-watering baked goods tucked in next to take-and-bake items, tamales and burritos.
"No seats so if you come," said Crista. "We have to pack it up and you have to find somewhere to sit if you don't take it home. I say the park."
Crista admitted that a secret ingredient to her success on Victoria St. can be found more than a mile away at 824 Reddick St. at Deux Bakery.
"We've been here I think six and a half years," said Wendy Fleming. "We opened actually just to support my daughter, who owns Scarlett Begonia."
"It's all word-of-mouth. We've never advertised," said Maurice Fleming.
Wendy and Maurice and their Deux Bakery are Begonia's backbone; the sourdough starter to Begonia's Roast Beef Sandwich. The initial plan years ago was to stock their daughter's restaurant with their organic, homemade baked goods.
"The aromas seeped out and people started knocking on the door," said Wendy. "We thought, 'maybe we should sell some retail.'"
"When we moved in here we just liked the old town vibe that Milpas has and it's worked very well for us," said Maurice.
The boutique bakery specializes in just about every type of bread, biscuit and muffin you can imagine as well as pastries, sweets and cakes -- too many to list.
The Flemings even get requests from other countries, including one recently from Nigeria.
"Wanting a recipe for Limpa -- a Swedish bread -- for a dying 100-year-old relative," said Maurice. "We already do it. They came in and it was a lot of fun to do it."
Deux's breads and baked goods are treked daily to Crista's shop.
"Deux Bakery and Scarlett Begonia have always started together and will always be together," said Crista.
At the very least, if you've ever tried one of the cinnamon rolls at either location, you know you're hooked!
"We basically know just about all of our customers," said Maurice.
Loyal followers for years, from Reddick to Victoria.
"So, we've been very, very busy and everybody is so wonderful," said Wendy. "When they leave they're all, 'We're so happy you're here!' And it's so sweet."
Cheers to the Fleming family recipe for success -- two generations strong -- satisfying our quarantine cravings and feeding our souls well into the New Year.
Click the highlighted link to order or learn more about Deux Bakery.
And, click the following highlighted link to order or learn more about Scarlett Begonia.