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.