Spend a day in the Bay Area, and you can't walk one block without finding inspiration for your own foodie adventures. I spent this past Sunday with my brother J and SIL C in Berkeley and Oakland. I've never had a bad meal at a restaurant here, and I'm here often. Of course, J & C probably filter the bad ones for me, but I'd like to believe that I could blindly walk into any hole in the Bay area and potentially be blown away by the food. Brunch at Restaurante Dona Tomas was lovely, authentic regional Mexican food that I loved. And though it may seem oxymoronic, I am a Mexican food snob so I am not easily impressed by your average burrito. I had the Carnitas Hash...I looooove pork in all of its iterations, so this great carnitas made me very happy. You should go there and eat some. Other fun places are Gather (seasonal, local, gourmet - it may be my favorite restaurant I've ever been to--order the vegan charcuterie, another oxymoron but just get it, you will not be disappointed), Jupiter (craft beer and gourmet pizzas are the highlights), and Chez Panisse (*of course*), all in Berkeley. Also...a grocery store like no other you've ever seen unless you've been there is Berkeley Bowl. If we had something like this in Hermosa Beach, I would never have to go to a Whole Foods ever again. Berkeley Bowl blows WF away!! I wish Southern California had options for good, healthy food like the Bay area is so lucky to have. It's way too hipster of a term to call myself a foodie (because I'm neither hipster nor a foodie, of course - this can be deadpan or sarcastic, whicher you choose), but the East Bay is a foodie's play land that some San Fran residents may be too cool for school to admit.
But...today my goal was to check out the Temescal Farmers Market in Oakland....
A jaunt through the small but lively Temescal Farmers Market was a source of inspiration for me. I loved seeing these canned heirloom tomatoes because next Summer I plan on jarring LOTS of tomatoes and I had the idea of trying heirlooms and also other varieties - yellow, green, tomatillos, and I haven't seen anyone else do it before. Well, Happy Girl Kitchen Co has done it and although I didn't buy any (kinda kicking myself now), I think they look delicious and I'm definitely going to do this on my own when tomatoes are in season next year!
Also, I acquired some quince recently that I will be making into jam or jelly - haven't decided which yet - and Happy Girl had some quince jelly that looks amazing as well:
This is not supposed to be an ad for Happy Girl Kitchen Co, in fact, I had only just heard about them through a google search and coincidentally saw their booth at the farmers market. I'm just talking about inspiration here, people. And it appears they put out beautiful and tasty products. I'll have to order some online and see for myself.
Another interesting item I had never heard of: Buddha's Fingers! So cool to look at, but not so cool as something I would deem as useful unless you want to spend $18 on lemon zest and pith. Seems kinda silly to me, but novel and fun nonetheless. This is my brother making an offering to Buddha....
Another small company that specializes in artisan jams and jellies that sells their wares at Temescal is Blue Chair Fruit, and they are located in Oakland. I've read about them and know that their book is pretty popular, but again I'd never sampled their offerings until today. We had a little taste of the Blood Orange - Chestnut Honey Marmalade and Bourbon Lemon Marmalade...it was delicious. I didn't buy because I live in Los Angeles and thought it would be better to order some online for delivery rather than attempt to travel with a jar. I am all about carrying on - checking is for high-maintenance women - and at $12 per jar I don't want to chance a mess! I loved the creativity of Blue Chair Fruit's flavors, very inspirational.
|This picture is from bluechairfruit.com, it's not mine.|
If you live in the East Bay, definitely check out this small but fun market. There are yummy food vendors and plenty of variety ~ we also saw potatoes, about 15 varieties of squash, onions, and one booth even had some tomatoes for roasting. Temescal Farmers Market is open on Sundays from 9 am - 1 pm and is located at 5300 Claremont Ave in Oakland, CA (the DMV parking lot). xo, AB
Ha, get it?
After a day of gastric gorging in the East Bay, burn it off in the best yoga class in Berkeley - Yoga to the People taught by Catherine! http://yogatothepeople.com/berkeley/ - A fantastic, donation-based, non-judgemental yoga experience. xo, AB