We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Just because” has recently become one of my favorite mottos. In fact, this short and simple phrase really nudged me to start my business, Pallet to Palate. I’ve held onto these two little words over the last year or so, and it has helped shift my perspective on the way I view life and the way I choose to fully live my life now. There will always be a reason to celebrate: birthdays, engagements, baby showers, weddings, etc. But how often do you get to do something extra special or out of the ordinary for no other reason than “just because”? And that’s what has inspired me. I want to live my life to the fullest and do the fun and crazy things that I used to only think would be worth it for a special event or occasion. I don’t wanna wait around for that one thing to maybe happen or that unknown person or friend to come along. I want to take full advantage of the opportunities and experiences right in front of me. To create lasting memories and moments with the people that mean the most to me, for no other reason than “just because”…because why the heck not!
What should our readers know about your business?
I absolutely love what I get to do. Pallet to Palate creates experiences and lasting memories for intimate gatherings and larger events. It allows for you to embrace the authentic conversations that happen as you eat a vibrant spread of charcuterie, cheeses, crackers, fresh bread, fruits, veggies, and local San Diego fare. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to gather your favorite people for special events, celebrations, or just because. Get outdoors, come as you are, embrace the simplicity, and just be. There are so many fun ways that Pallet to Plate is unique. Besides the breathtaking sunsets and ocean views, the charcuterie spread really speaks for itself and honestly– steals the show. The simplicity of the set up allows for people to enjoy and be in the moment. Each event is curated specifically toward each guest, adding intricate details throughout the whole set up, based on their preferences. All the little details matter, including our naturally dyed napkins, handmade clay plates from Mexico, tiny tongs, hand-me-down wine goblets, twinkle lights, and your favorite flowers spread throughout your customized charcuterie board. My hope is that every person will walk away feeling so special, refreshed, and taken care of. Life’s turn of events and circumstances presented me with the freedom and opportunity to start this business. Every challenge that has presented itself to me has been a lesson to be learned and a mistake to avoid in the future. I am so thankful for the numerous people who have come alongside me to teach me, support me, and show me the ropes over the past few months. I’ve learned that there is no better time than right now to start taking risks. Risks will eventually lead to failing, and through failing we grow and develop into more of what we’re supposed to be. It’s all worth it in the end (or so I’ve been told!). I’ve also learned that I’m not always going to love every part of the job and that’s ok because the parts of the job that I come alive in and find so much joy in far outweigh the others. Life is too short to be doing the wrong thing, so prioritize what you love! Find value and meaning in the little things, gather your loved ones, adventure outdoors, eat good cheese and drink good wine!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would want them to experience and do all the things! San Diego has so much to do and see, and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose, but here are some of my favs (in no particular order)! We would definitely hike Torrey Pines, walk up and down La Jolla Coast Blvd., stop by the seals, and then venture to the hidden tree swing. We would go down to Windnsea Beach and watch the surfers, lay out at Law Street Beach, grab fish tacos at Oscars Mexican Seafood, and then pop over to Wayfarer Bread & Pastry (where I used to work) and get the most delicious sourdough bread and croissants. The Gliderport in La Jolla is also a sight to see, and we would watch the paragliders and eat charcuterie on the cliffs at sunset! Another fun outing we would do is bike around Coronado Island, go to brunch at The Henry, and lay out at the beach. Then we would walk around Little Italy and enjoy the magic of it all with Salt and Straw ice cream in hand! For dinner we would get Bahn Thai or Chaba Thai, and most likely Boba, too! Another day would get acai bowls from Northside Shack in Point Loma, head over to Liberty Station, grab a cappuccino at Moniker Coffee, walk through the Public Market, and then bike from there down to Seaport Village. Once we got there we would relax in our hammocks for a few hours. We would top it all off by getting burritos at either Ortiz Taco Shop, or JV’s Mexican food and watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without the sudden shift that Covid had on my life, and everyones elses, I don’t think I would have been as willing or prone to take a risk and start something completely new in my career. My life at the time quickly became a blank slate and I finally got the courage to just go for it. I kept telling myself, even with so much unknown, that “there’s no better time than now.” Sometimes you just gotta jump and trust that there’s something beneath you. Apart from the pandemic pushing me out into something new, there are many people to acknowledge and shoutout. My sweet friends have been my biggest cheerleaders and have championed me each step of the way. They have seen my passion and love for creating beautiful spaces, gathering people, adventuring outdoors, and charcuterie, and they have walked alongside me every step of the way. I seriously couldn’t have done any of this without them (you know who you are!). I also want to shoutout my Grandma, who is no longer with us, and my mom who have shown and taught me the deeper meaning and value of hospitality. My grandma was so hospitable and loved to make every detail so special; from the table settings, freshly picked flowers, the fancy plates and glasses that always seemed to match every occasion, and the decadent meal to go along with, it always left her guests with the best feeling that you were special and loved. Everyone who walked away from her home carries with them sweet memories of the time they spent there. My mom learned everything she knows from my grandma, her mother-in-law, and that has trickled down to me. I’m so thankful to have had that example of intentional community. Lastly, I would like to shoutout the many travel opportunities I have had over my lifetime. I’ve had the opportunity to explore and go all over the world and glean from so many beautiful cultures, people, and spaces. Living in Ethiopia taught me the value of time, hospitality and intentionality. Ethiopians are such beautiful people, inside and out, and they give so freely of their resources, service, and time. It truly makes you feel special.