Once Upon A Pandemic -
A Sama Ka Na Caravan Story
It all started because of the pandemic. Eliza’s husband, Chef Serna was one of those who lost their jobs. At the time, he was the Executive Sous Chef for a restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga which was forced to shut down because of the lockdown. Two months have passed and they knew he wouldn’t be able to find a job as a chef so Eliza started posting pictures of his food online and family and friends started ordering from her. That was how The Happy Toque (photos 1-3) started but that story is for another time.
Eliza started promoting The Happy Toque at the end of May 2020. A month later, she met Ivy Veneracion of Eatscetera in SoCalPinoys, an FB community that Eliza was an admin of. Ivy invited Eliza to join one of her meet-ups in Eagle Rock on July 11, 2020 (photo 4). Eliza also invited her cousin, Sarah to sell her baked goods and Sarah came with her to Eagle Rock that day as Sweet Bakes by Honey.
In August 2020, Eliza and Sarah started promoting their businesses together and would deliver seafood dishes and baked items in one route and that’s when Eliza realized that the more vendors they have in one meetup, the more customers they can reach, hence the slogan – 6 Vendors | 1 Menu | 1 Meet-up started and Sama Ka Na Caravan was born though the name was used much later.
The first-ever meet-up happened on October 11, 2020 at the basement parking of the Eagle Rock Plaza and participated by The Happy Toque, Sweet Bakes by Honey, Mario’s Kusina, Bananas & Crinkles, The Hifi Hedgehog and Passport to Memories. Groups of people came to show support, order and pick up food, which lead to us being kicked out by the mall security but it was a definitely a success.
What started as a six-vendor meet-up quickly turned into ten vendors and before Eliza knew it, she was organizing weekly events with no less than 30 vendors participating. The one menu can no longer be enforced due to the number of participating businesses but the goal was to visit and serve one city at a time. At the time of this writing, Sama Ka Na Caravan has visited more than 40 cities all over Southern California.
The rest, as you know, is herstory.
Our Core Vendors
The SMKN Core Vendors are the businesses who have been with the group since time immemorial. They were not the vendors during the first few meetups but have been the ones who have consistently joined the caravan since 2020 and have for a long period of time been exclusively joining SMKN Caravan & Events. They are integral members of the SMKN Family. Please click on their logo to be routed to their individual social media.