*Update*: Peppered Up Foods is no longer in business. Thank you for your support!
Today's "25 Days of Handmade Gifts" feature is a delicious one! You may remember at the end of the post, I brought back two delicious sauces with me from Peppered Up Foods for the whole crew to enjoy. We sampled the Pepita Lime Chile and the Walnut Chile, which we had never tried before. We dipped, topped, and drizzled until they were gone! I love the story behind the shop, and locals should definitely drop by Sliced & Diced to sample their tasty treats. For all of you non-locals, take advantage of the promo that Amy and Griselda are offering to you, with all of the details at the bottom of the post!
But first, make sure you are nice and full, or else the food pics might make you just a bit peckish. Bon appetit! :)
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Amy Eriksen and I (Griselda Suarez) have been cooking together for over 10 years. We have fond memories of teaching each other family recipes. Amy has over 20 years of food experience, including managing In-and-Out restaurant and Pluto’s in San Francisco. My mother, grandmothers and aunts taught me how to cook and I am proud to continue with family traditions.
Griselda Suarez is a writer, cook, and a teacher. She was born in unincorporated East Los Angeles and walked Whittier Blvd and Brooklyn Ave in black and white saddle shoes. As a Lambda Literary Fellow, she continues to work on her poetry collection and a body of essays. Aunt Lute Press, Seal Press, Acentos Literary Review, Finishing Line Press, NCOC Press, The Other Side, and OutSpoken Journal have published her work. Her blog chronicles Peppered Up Foods and has led her to a tantalizing experience with food writing. She currently teaches writing at Cal State University Long Beach in the Chicano and Latino Studies department and at DeVry University.
To keep her inspired, Griselda enjoys meditating over warm suds and dirty dishes. She also grows fruits and vegetables at the community garden to feed her culinary creativity. And if timing is right, you can catch her reenacting her Quinceañera and reading books on how to become a Mexican calendar girl.
Amy Eriksen is an educator, cook, and musician. She was born and raised in Long Beach and is very familiar with Alamitos bay where she sailed many summers. She has worked for LBUSD, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and various universities across the state. She has over twenty years of food experiences, from working as a galley cook on a Long Beach fishing boat to managing a successful restaurant in San Francisco. Amy has a Masters in Organizational Management and is combining her love for food, service, and business with Sliced & Diced Eatery. She is enthusiastic about consulting small businesses and sharing the knowledge she has gained as an entrepreneur in her hometown.
When not working, Amy likes to relax in the ocean, in the bay or in a pool (a true water baby). Otherwise, you will find her playing games, all kinds of board games or her Xbox.
Where did the name of your shop come from?
We started at the farmers market in Long Beach with two Mexican chile sauces, Walnut Chile and Pepita-Lime Chile. So many of the products we wanted to make involved using peppers in of all their different forms. So it just came to me, we are making Peppered Up Foods. The pepper is present in both American and Mexican cuisines so we felt it fit our identity perfectly.
Why did you start making goods for Peppered Up Foods?
Amy and I have always wanted to start a food business and 3 years ago the time seemed perfect.
Many of our dearest loved ones have uttered the words, “You should sell this! I’d buy it.” When we started the company we were determined to keeping the integrity of recipes, peppers and seasonal products. Because we are inspired by the diverse flavors and fresh foods that have graced the tables of family parties and celebrations, we wanted to provide customers with sauces that celebrate mealtime and make it just a little easier to make delicious fresh food.
What is your favorite item?
It’s really hard for us to choose which is our favorite because each sauce is close to our family history. So we are choosing two. Our Barbecue with Kick is a sweet and tangy sauce that is ideal grilling ribs. There’s actually a funny story about this product. Amy’s parent divorced when she was 12 and once Amy figured out her way in the kitchen, her father often requested this recipe. There were many times that her father promised to make ribs as long as Amy brought her mother’s barbecue sauce. Mole Monarca is also a special product because it is a very old recipe from my paternal grandmother. My father actually taught my mother the recipe just by what he observed while growing up in Mexico. It became a tradition to have this mole every Thanksgiving, our immigrant interpretation.
What is your most popular item?
There is a product that customers cannot resist whenever they try it, Hibiscus Marmalade. It is a pepper jelly inspired by Mexican tamarind candy. I love pepper jelly and I wanted to give it my own spin so I took my favorite agua fresca and experimented with making an infused jelly for several months. It is spicy, sweet, and tart all at once. During the holidays, use it with a cheese plate or as a glaze on ham, or a spread on a turkey sandwich.
What makes your products unique?
We are simple. I know it sounds strange, but we are so inundated with over processed products that sometimes simple is refreshing. We bring traditional Mexican and American sauces to the table that are complex with flavors.
What is the toughest part about making your goods?
At first we had to learn about volume because we make everything by hand. We do not use big machines. Our recipes are family sized not distribution sized. Also we wanted to find the highest quality ingredient. We are always on the search for the best distributors. We are also experimenting with our restaurant Sliced & Diced Eatery, where every sandwich has a signature sauce.
When is the last day I can order in time for Christmas Day?
Dec. 19th by noon. Also, you can always stop by Sliced & Diced Eatery to pick up in person!
Where can I see more of your treats and buy a gift?
Website: www.pepperedup.com and www.slicedanddicedeatery.com
In person: Sliced & Diced Eatery, 3201 E. Anaheim Street, Long Beach, CA 90804
Having tasted the goods, they are really, really delicious. They were crowd pleasers! Now, for the promo details: If you order three sauces, you will receive a free seasoning of your choice! It's an extra special gift when ordering yumminess. Great! Just mention Vintage Zest to receive the offer.