Girls’ Day Out #2- Frutilandia and more!

In June I went exploring Liberty Station with one of my most favorite friends- two moms on the loose having a lot of fun!

Six months is way too long to wait. Time for another “field trip,” this time with Dee Dee and Suzanne, friends from our church’s Bunco Club. Incidentally, Bunco Club needs to be renamed to “Let’s Have a Blast Chatting about All Our Favorite Things, Then Finally Get Around to Throwing Those Dice” Club (at least on the day it was held at my house, oops). Well, we chit-chatted about so many different favorite products, foods, restaurants and other places that we promised to go on a field trip to a few of these spots the very next week.

IMG_9304Which brings us to today: Fruitilandia, Pancho Villa’s Farmer’s Market, and Penzey’s Spices. Two of our stops I was very familiar with, but Fruitilandia was my new venture for today. This place was really neato-burrito.

According to Dee Dee, Fruitilandia was once a dumpy-looking small shop across the street from it’s current location at 4328 University Avenue in San Diego. Now it is located in a bright spot, still offering smoothies and all kinds of fabulous Mexican drink specialties.

We asked about the different snack options and were all in for sharing a Tostilocos, and tried the Strawberries and Cream (unfreakingbelievably delish), Pico de Gallo Fruit Salad, Fruit Salad with cottage cheese, raisins and honey, and a Licuado.

IMG_9313Holy cow, where has a Licuado been all my life? It is kind of like a Mexican milkshake, only lighter, like a smoothie. And tastier. And more refreshing. Choose which of many fruits you want blended into your drink with the milk- I chose pineapple and mango. Wow. Delish.

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Ermuhgersh! Tostilocos!

The three of us split a snack that we decided was like a Walking Taco… on steroids. We barely made a dent in the Tostilocos- served in one opened small bag of Tostitos was cucumbers, jicama, fried peanuts, tamarind bits, spicy sauce and chicharron strips. I’m pretty sure there were 42 other things in there, we just couldn’t get down to the bottom of the bag.

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Three forks-full of chicharron… not fried.

Imagine how sad I was to find that the chicharrones were not fried… boo hoo hoo! I definitely prefer my chicharrones fried. Pork skin cooked this way is like calamari, only a little more firm. Not bad, but not to my taste.

Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo- something I never had, but always meant to- chunks of fruit with chile. Definitely tasty, now all my So Cal and Mexican friends and family can get off my case. I think I liked the papaya and watermelon best.

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Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo

Fruitilandia could take over the country’s smoothie market. I hope it does.

And I NEED to get out with the women more often!

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Out and about, trouble times three, ha.

 

 

San Diego Beer Week 2015

The Husband gets to pick all the new events for next week- it’s the beer lover’s paradise all week plus three days, starting November 3rd and running through the 11th.

They love their beer so much here that an official “Beer Week” is Ten Days Long. Seven days? Bah! Clearly not enough time to properly celebrate the brews.

Here’s a great article by Ian Anderson writing for the San Diego Reader. It is full of events and information around one of San Diego’s favorite past times, next to identifying which air craft Miramar MCAS is flying over head, water temps at Swamis, and arguing over who serves the best carne asada fries.

San Diego Beer Week 2015 article by Ian Anderson in the San Diego Reader... click the pic to link
San Diego Beer Week 2015 article by Ian Anderson in the San Diego Reader… click the pic to link

Sunday’s Farmers Market- La Jolla

IMG_8605Vista may host the oldest and longest running Farmers Market in the San Diego area, but La Jolla has one of the best- the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market. A couple dozen international food stalls serve breakfast and brunch foods for you to snack on while you shop at a wide variety of produce stands- organic and conventional. Need to pick up some specialty oils, vinegars, or specialty food treat for a gift (or a treat for yourself)? La Jolla’s Farmers Market has you covered. To top off the variety of vendors the market includes upwards of forty or more stalls selling hand made clothing, trinkets, art, and the odd collection of curios for sale.

IMG_8633One guy dives shipwrecks, for instance, and has a small table of items he has brought up from the ocean floor. He’s dived all around the world and has brought up literally millions of dollars worth of gold and artifacts. Go visit him and ask questions- he’ll tell you about the most expensive individual find, oldest, surprising, and the dive that made him the independent hobbyist that he can be today. It was quite fascinating to hear his stories.

IMG_8610 IMG_8613 (1)Smit Farms sells at several markets I visited this week, and I bought their cherry apple cider at Mira Mesa’s market, their onion and garlic pistachios at the Ocean Beach market, but The Husband was the one to cave in to their produce this time. The apple samples pushed him over the edge- we are now the proud owners of two pounds of honey crisps and one pound of those delicious grapes.

IMG_8620Anyone selling cage free eggs had great prices here- as a matter of fact, they were some of the best prices that I can recall from all the local markets. Some of the egg vendors really appreciate it if you can bring back the cartons and reuse them, how’s that for reusing and recycling?

This is a wonderful, lively, varied, great place to shop. We know people that spend the entire morning and afternoon here in La Jolla- they attend their church’s early service, eat a nice breakfast at Harry’s Coffee Shop, then hit the Farmer’s Market. I think they have a great thing going, for sure.

Did you know that Kashi foods started in La Jolla?
Did you know that Kashi foods started in La Jolla?
Beautiful bracelets and colorful gifts for sale. Fabulous prices, too- those bracelets are $1 each!
Beautiful bracelets and colorful gifts for sale. Fabulous prices, too- those bracelets are $1 each! From Ariela’s Unique Gifts
I didn't know
I didn’t know “chayote” were a soup squash…
Never tried a guava... holy cow, they were delicious!
Never tried a guava… holy cow, they were delicious!

More than one person buying from Belinda’s Cocina swore to us that they eat here every weekend because it is The Best Mexican Food in The Entire Area. Our chile relleno and chorizo burritos were fabulous.

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The chorizo burrito (right) didn’t stand a chance against The Hungry Husband. It was indeed DELICIOUS! So was my chile relleno burrito (left).

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Saturday’s Farmers Market- Vista

Vista, north of and just outside of the city of San Diego, claims to have the oldest, longest running Farmers Market in the county.

I found it to have all of the great stalls and vendors of the Wednesday night’s Ocean Beach Farmers Market… with none of the funny cigarettes… ha.

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Click for the Spuds.com link!!

What better way to kick off a weekend visit to outdoor markets than eating A Stuffed Hash Brown, or as I will now call it, Serious Competition For All Breakfast Burritos! My breakfast was the “Egg Head,” and I don’t know how they got that much bacon in there, but mmmmmm is all I can say. The Husband was equally pleased with his “Speedy” full of carne asada, pico de gallo, cheese and avocado. You can go to SpudzPotato.com and see where they will be next.

IMG_8570 (2)Other specialty vendors include The Brothery selling bone broth- very tasty I thought. Bone broth has become one of the latest health crazes, which kinds of amuses me since most of our grandmothers have been making it since time began. God have mercy on me if my father ever caught me throwing out the carcass of my Thanksgiving turkey instead of turning it into soup!  If you don’t make your own broth (after you’ve carved up a baked or rotisserie chicken put the remaining skin, bones, and bits into a large pot; cover with 6-8 quarts of water; simmer for 3, 4, or more hours; strain and refrigerate the broth to use for soups or to sip when you have a sore throat or cough), The Brothery (at TheFlavorChef.com) is available in several local health foods stores and the Vista Farmers Market.

IMG_8578This location is large enough to support two different bands on opposite ends of the market without stomping on each other’s musical footprint or the listening crowd’s earspace.

Beautiful piles of fruits and vegetables poured out of baskets and across tables from the farmers’ stalls. My brain sluggish recall is that the prices seem on a par with most local grocery stores for organics grown locally. This leads me to believe that if Whole Foods is selling organic locally grown red seedless grapes for $3.99/lb, same as the farmers market, then the farmers are cutting out the middleman at these markets and keeping more of the profit for themselves. And as I understand it, they work on thin profit margins.

IMG_8594My favorite purchases today, besides those stuffed hashbrowns, are the cocoa dusted almonds and the Mexican Chocolate Almond Butter we picked up from Hopkins AG (also at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market), and a beautifully delicious baguette from my now favorite boulanger- Le Rendez-Vous. Nothing beats dusting off your French skills and purchasing a baguette en même temps. Chouette! He sells at the Welk Market on Mondays, and the tiny Carmel Valley Market on Thursdays if you want to track down Le Rendez-Vous.

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Friday’s Farmers Market- Rancho Bernardo Winery

Bernardo Winery Events
Bernardo Winery Events

Friday’s Farmers Market was up at the Bernardo Winery, Southern California’s oldest operating winery. This is a great place to take visitors, with its numerous shops and stalls, and on Friday they add the Farmers Market to the mix, too.

This is a small market, but the produce looked great, and the stalls with snacks and baked goods have tasty treats.

Click pic for this neat product's info...
Click pic for this neat product’s info…

From the specialty foods seller Wildtree I bought a neat fruit dip powder to mix with cream cheese and cream after just one sample… and I’m rarely an impulse buyer at these markets. Someone is going to get this for Christmas, and the seller is usually at the Bernardo Farmers Market, so I know where to get more, ha!

If you shop for gluten free baking mixes or desserts, there are a few baked goods stalls selling to your needs, along with one totally conventional vendor with a banner advertising “Full of Gluten!”

One particularly interesting vendor, Across Africa, was selling baskets made by Rwandan and Ugandan women. You may have seen similar baskets to these at your local Costco- Rwanda Partners Baskets. Across Africa, with its slogan “This is a Success Story,” is a company that has not only brought a steady income for many families through organized cooperatives. Look at these beauties, and look them up. Don’t you know someone who would like one of these for a gift? I know I would.

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rwanda-schedule-header
Click *HERE* or on the photo for the Costco Road Sale schedule in the United States

I don’t know if the Rwanda Partners Basket company will be in the Bernardo market much longer, but the rest of the vendors (including, you guessed it… the same hummus seller) are here year round.

And the setting can’t be beat. Spend a nice morning visiting the winery’s shops, have a cup of coffee at the cafe here, and finish your Friday morning with the Farmers Market.

A lovely day trip!

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