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BACKSTORY: San Diego Public Market

BACKSTORY: San Diego Public Market

My friend Beans is a gourmet cook.  Last Christmas, she made a seafood casserole and a holiday pudding that had to be steamed for four to five hours.  Another year, she made white wine sangria, honey poached pears with a mascarpone cheese sauce, and a seafood pasta.  And every New Year’s Day she makes a traditional Japanese breakfast with rice ball soup, edamame, fish, sake, and the works.  She’s out of my league.

As a foodie/cook, Beans is also a farmers’ market hopper, and every weekend, she says, “You should come to the market with me.”

When she says this, I always imagine an afternoon of looking at lettuce and pinching peaches, and to be quite honest, it sounds boring.  So I always decline.

But then, when a story about a vendor took me to the San Diego Public Market on National Avenue, I found that I enjoyed the atmosphere and the opportunity for people watching.  And then later, while walking around the market speaking to vendors about the market’s expansion for a second story, I began to see the appeal.

The up-close look at what people are selling inspires me to think creatively about the food I make at home.  I won’t be steaming pudding anytime soon, but I did find a great soup mix (at Fresh Start Foods), a dangerously amazing pecan bar (Sweet Lydia’s), fresh tortillas (New Mexico Cafe), and smoked turkey hot links (T&H Prime Meats and Sausage).  I also like that having an up-close experience with the vendors makes me feel a sense of community while I shop.

I love the idea of San Diego Public Market’s expansion, and I’m hoping some of my new favorite vendors will find permanent homes there. Once the spaces are ready to go (sometime this summer, they say), Beans and I can go pinch peaches and look at lettuce every day of the week.

 

New Mexico Cafe.

New Mexico Cafe rents two spaces at the market. Alondra Andrew sells tamales out of one.

New Mexico Cafe

Saida Soto and Mercedes Roman cook up food to order in one of two spaces rented by New Mexico Cafe. They are busy busy and barely had time to pause for this picture.

New Mexico Cafe

Saida Soto made this fresh spinach and cheese quesadilla for me. I want another one.

T&H Prime Meats

Corey and Andrew Bilbrey manage the market sales for T&H Prime Meats.

T&H Prime Meats

Meat by T&H Prime Meats.

Lydia Perkins

Lydia Perkins.

Sweet Lydia's.

Cookies by Sweet Lydia’s.

Sweet Lydia's.

More cookies by Sweet Lydia’s.

Purity Apothecary

Gary Francisco and his wife Christina Price (not pictured) run Purity Apothecary. She was out of town, but normally, he makes the skin care products and she sells them.

Purity Apothecary

Clean Hippie soap by Purity Apothecary. (Tee hee.)

Purity Apothecary

Lip balm and bath salts by Purity Apothecary.

Fresh Start Foods

Fran Lovello and her camera shy husband run Fresh Start Foods.

Fresh Start Foods.

Soup mixes by Fresh Start Foods. My favorite is the red lentil. It’s so easy. I like easy. They also make pre-made soups.

Bistro Blends

Victoria Johnson says her husband Paul is the guy behind their Bistro Blends distribution. But he wasn’t present that day, so she agreed to stand in. They have a trillion different flavors, and they provide pieces of bread on toothpicks so you can try all the flavors.

Bistro Blends

I went home with the basil, garlic, parmesan. It’s my new favorite bread dip.

Knife Savers

Jim Green will sharpen your knives while you shop, or you can buy one of his reconditioned knives.

Knife Savers

Reconditioned knives by Knife Savers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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