Photos by Brian Addison.
Isaac Salgado is no stranger to the art of the gingerbread house. In fact, the man is used to the baffled stares and inquisitive eyes of passersby as he overloads his cart every November with Cheez-Its, bubble gum, M&Ms, food coloring, Nilla wafers, Oreos, Wheat Thins, Twizzlers, lemon drops…
Perhaps the most magical part about it all is that few know he is a master gingerbread house builder, a man obsessed with creating candylands that are massive, detailed and, except for Salgado’s work, is becoming rarer and rarer in our digital holiday age—that is, until you step inside Kress Market & Deli in Long Beach along Pine Avenue and are greeted by arguably the coolest gingerbread house in Long Beach.
“I become a little obsessive, I have to admit,” Salgado said. “But that’s just because I let my imagination roam free and spend hours inside grocery stores and shops trying to figure out what can be what. A door, a roof, a sled…”
The former executive chef—who opened his own cleaning business because the commercial kitchen life, an all-time-consuming endeavor, doesn’t quite pair well with an equally time-consuming family—has paired with the Willmore City Heritage Association (and a plethora of other sponsors) to bring Salgado’s sugary masterpiece to life.
This isn’t the first (nor the largest) big candy house Salgado has built. His biggest measured a massive 24 feet long and 18 feet high while his most recent before this, which sat in the entryway of MADE by Millworks on Pine, was made of over 15 cookie houses.
His creation for Kress is no less stellar: details from sprinkle sidewalks to frosting icicles to licorice beams make his creation a wonderfully captivating piece of art to examine. Our favorite part? His ode to The Loop at Pine and Ocean.
While you are welcome to check out Salgado’s classic holiday work of art, he wants to make sure of one thing: don’t give into your inner Hansel or Gretel and start eating the display. Not only is it rude and destructive, it’s kinda gross considering the sweets will continue to sit out for the rest of the holiday season.
Kress Market & Deli is located at 443 Pine Ave.