Category Archives: Farmer’s Market

my week in the bay, pt. 1 (in pictures, over a month later)

When I left Mano Farm, I hopped up north for about a week and a half before returning to NJ and ultimately making the move to Maine. My week in San Francisco and Berkeley was delicious and invigorating, and I was finally able to sit down and share it with all of you.

My first meal in SF: a wild boar sausage from Rosamunde with an Anchor Steam to wash it down. Also, pickles. My decision to go for the boar was undoubtedly influenced by Michael Pollan’s recount of hunting one down in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Mano Farm zucchini, tomatoes and onions travelled up the coast with me to provide this nommy breakfast, coupled with a poached egg and some toast, all consumed in the very lovely, very French apartment of my friend Rachel who had visited me in Ojai a few weeks before my northward trek.

Tomato, manchego, red onion, parsley pizza at Arizmendi, a collective bakery where they churn out tons of scones and breads and muffins and cookies, and focaccia (oh my) but only one pizza variety per day. When I went to the bathroom, I saw a huge garbage pail labeled “Compost” filled to the brim with fennel fronds for tomorrow’s ‘za. Also spotted were countless 50 pound bags of wheat grown and milled in Northern California and a very attractive staff.

My hands still encrusted with Ojai soil, here I am sharing a brew with my friend Connor on his balcony in Berkeley. I don’t remember what this particular beer was, just that we had it with hummus and tortilla chips and called it dinner.

Dinner with Kristina and Rachel was a group effort: Kristina provided the tortellini while Rachel and I threw together the sauce and salad. Topped with some goat’s milk¬†parmesan from a¬†farmer’s market and chased with Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Wild, dinner was a success.

graduation dinner, philly made

And now, some food porn from my graduation dinner at Paesano’s in Fishtown and subsequent dessert at Capogiro Gelateria, the 13th Street location.

Potato Arrosto

Giardina - Roasted Eggplant with Fennel, Peppers, Fresh Mozzarella, and Pesto

Paesano - Beef Brisket with Roasted Tomato, Provolone, Horseradish Mayonnaise, and a Fried Egg

Arista - Whole Roast Suckling Pig, Broccoli Rabe, Italian Longhots & Jus

Avocado and Chocolate Gelato

Uh…yum. The photographs of my dad’s dinner and my dessert came out poorly, but I will mention them anyway. Pop got the Zawzeech, which is a straight up sausage and pepper sandwich. He is still talking about it, three days later.

At Capogiro, I got a trio of gelatos: Sea Salt, Lime Cilantro, and Grapefruit Campari. My favorite was definitely the Sea Salt, but all three worked perfectly together as a combination. I think Capogiro will be one of the things I miss most about Philly eats.

veggie organ(ic)s

If you are ever strapped for cash at a farmer’s market and can buy only a few things, please make those things be organic strawberries and organic lettuce. Foam-like, agro-industrial strawberries are barely strawberries, and the texture of organic lettuce is buttery and rich. Oh, and also, if you must (…and you must), go for some heirloom tomatoes. You will turn up your nose at all future excuses for tomatofruit.

beer belly

New York City food trucks have succeeded in altering their popular perception. While there are still many trucks in the city that major in greasebomb fare prepared in dirty quarters, a fair number of establishments have rolled out that focus on unique, refined eats.

Miho Gastrotruck is San Diego’s own farm-to-street food truck. A brief chat with co-owner Juan revealed that his background at The Linkery, a farm-to-table restaurant in North Park, helped hone his desire to start his own establishment with the same food ethics. After nine months (!!!) of brainstorming, planning, and organization, Juan and his partner were able to start their business. The truck is impeccably clean, much different than one’s initial thought when the phrase “food truck” passes from ear drum to auditory cortex. All of the ingredients are fresh, organic, and intermingle into inexpensive and fantastic dishes.

Last week, the truck was parked outside Ballast Point Brewery in Scripps Ranch (just around the block from me!) to help introduce a new brew called the San Salvadore Saison. Miho Gastrotruck cultivated a signature dish for the opening: a strip of pork belly braised in the new saison and a corn fritter. I ordered this special and the Spinach Strawberry Salad with candied nuts, goat cheese, and a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. Salad from a food truck? Certainly, and with a freshness you could taste. The spinach was local and ridiculously tasty. The nuts were candied by the folks at Miho, and their crunch worked famously with the soft cheese and the melt-in-your-mouth, taste-like-they-should strawberries. It was also dressed with the perfect amount of tangy-sweet dressing, also Miho-made.

Now, to the special. I started with the corn fritter because few things go better with beer than fried food. It was very light and a little spicy, served fresh out of the fryer. It paired well with the saison which was one of the milder beers I have had to date. The star of the show, which even outshone my taste of the award-winning Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, was the pork belly. Crispy on the outside and loaded with beer flavor, the meat fell apart under just a slight nudge with my plastic fork. When braised meat is that tender, you know before you even eat that it will be phenomenal. And phenomenal, it was.

The rest of Miho’s menu looks sublime, so I am excited to follow them on Twitter to grab some grub from them again.

pancakes and curry

Adams Avenue Farmer’s Market (AAFM) in Normal Heights leaves much booth-volume to be desired. It is a pretty meager excuse for a farmer’s market, covering only one-third of a small parking lot. However, I went because I had a coupon for a free giant artichoke with a $10 purchase from Suncoast Farms. I walked away with two bunches of asparagus and three giant artichokes, and they aren’t kidding. I ate one on the 4th of July with my cuz, and we steamed it with lemon, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and ginger. Twas yummy.

Thai food has somehow managed to stay out of my life for the past few months. After passing a Thai place in La Jolla on Sunday, though, I’ve been craving the stuff like a famished hyena craves gazelle flesh. Cue the afro’ed employee at the Thai food vendor at AAFM, who helped me through my indecisiveness. I ended up getting the chicken and vegetable curry over rice, with ten of these little coconut pancakes. With no tables in sight, I sat at the edge of a slide that I had to give up in the middle of my meal to two frowning, disgruntled children.

Eating hot things that taste really good is a recipe for esophageal cancer (EC, as I lovingly call it). With no care to the pain of scalding curry sauce running down my throat, I kept eating, wasting no time to blow on my food. It reminded me of an evening last semester when my friends made a tagine with homemade meat balls and fresh bread; those of us who ate it just sat there moaning in pain and satiety. Temperature will not get in the way of experiencing this flavah, no sir.

The curry was all well and good. It had the perfect amount of spiciness after adding some Sriracha and sweet chili sauce (thanks, admayer), which is always key with curry. However, the star of this farmer’s market show was the coconut pancake. Called Kanom Krok, they are a mixture of coconut milk and rice flour cooked in a dimpled cast-iron pan.

I didn’t take this picture (it was found using the Ye Olde Nouveau GoogleImage Search), but it depicts what I’m trying to say:

The last time I saw one of these pans was on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations where he went to a restaurant that allowed customers to make their own octopus meatballs. Mmmmmmm. But at the AAFM, my afro’ed friend let me try a sample of these pancakes and I was hooked. The middle is soft, gooey and warm but the outside is a crunchy and little charred from the seasoned cast-iron pan. It has unbeatable mouthfeel and a sweet but mild coconut flavor. I want to eat these at all times. I want to douse them in honey. I want to chop them up and eat them with strawberries. I want to spread peanut butter on one, blackberry jam on the other, and smush them together for a tiny PB&J. I want to buy my own dimpled cast-iron pan so I can make them for breakfast and serve them to passersby on my way to work. I have no idea where to buy one so if you do, help me so I can help others.