Little Italy Farmer’s Market – San Diego

If you have never been to some of the great farmer’s markets in San Diego you are missing out on some great produce and tasty food. Two of my favorites are the Little Italy Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s and the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market on Sunday. The Little Italy one is more geared towards produce and buying ingredients whereas the Hillcrest one is better for grabbing a bite, with anything from Russian pierogi to Brazilian empanadas or Jamaican jerk chicken. Hillcrest Farmer’s Market pictures on a next post but here are some pictures from the Little Italy Farmer’s Market.

Little Italy Farmer's Market

Little Italy Farmer’s Market

The main thing you have naturally is a lot of produce for sale. Unless you are super pressed for time I recommend you browsing through the entire market first before buying any produce. Prices vary a lot as well as how nice the produce looks. We bought a bunch of carrots from one vendor and four stalls down they had a prettier bunch for half the price. Also note that although you are at a farmer’s market not everything is necessarily organic and local, many stands have signs saying they are or are not and you can always inquire the vendor if that is what you are after.

Eggplant

Eggplant

Squash

Squash

Carrots

Carrots

Most of the vendors also offer tasters so you can try some of the produce before you buy it, its always nice to try all the different kinds of apples, a new kind of avocado or some fruit you’ve never had before. Farmer’s markets are also pretty much the only place in the universe you can get a perfectly ripe avocado to use the very day you purchased. This is nothing short of magical in my book.

The Cravory

These guys are almost at every farmer’s market in SD, including the Little Italy, Hillcrest and La Jolla ones. They offer a rotating wide variety of cookies. These are a little pricey at $2.00 each but they are soft, plump, chewy mounds of cookie that never disappoint. You can try any/as many of the flavors before buying as well. I personally love the Lemon Bar cookie as well as the Almond Joyous. They always have some nice seasonal flavors too, in this case they had some great holiday flavors like Peppermint Schnapps and Caramel Eggnog.

The Cravory

The Cravory

Bread & Cie

Bread & Cie is also at most of the farmer’s markets and they offer a wide variety of yummy bread. If you are not sure what to buy definitely just ask them for recommendations and based on what you like you can try something new that might appeal to you as well. This time we got some great focaccia and the tasty dark chocolate thing you see in the last picture. It was brioche dough rolled with large chunks of melted dark chocolate and that thing was gone in a day. Rich and chocolate but not overly sweet I cannot wait to buy it again. We also got a brioche like chocolate bread studded with cherries and dark chocolate chunks. Due to the shape we thought it was panettone so we were a little disappointed with the brioche bread which is drier than a panettone but it made the best chocolate bread pudding in the world. Oh and the Fig & Anise bread is lovely too.

Bread & Cie

Bread & Cie


Amazing dark chocolate brioche roll

Amazing dark chocolate brioche roll

Saranya

Saranya sells fantastic Thai food and the stand has done so well that they have even opened a real brick and mortar restaurant! Their curries are really good and they also sell the curry sauces frozen so you can make your own with whatever meat/veggies you want at home. I always, always stop here and get an order of the coconut pancakes. These are small little pancakes made out of coconut milk and rice flour, they are chewy, slightly sweet, very coconut-y and cost I think $1.60 for 4 pancakes. No pictures because we ate them in 2 seconds. Saranya also has the best sticky rice with mango in the world. Or at least that I have tried. Better than anything I’ve had in Thailand even…

Saranya Stick Rice with Mango

Saranya Sticky Rice with Mango

Their rice is perfectly cooked and they drizzle a sweetened coconut milk on it. Every time I’ve gotten it the mangos are also ridiculously and perfectly ripe. Ask for extra coconut milk on top and you are golden. SO SO GOOD.

And to finish I have to post of a picture of this little guy that was hanging out at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market the week before Christmas:

Much Christmas. So Santa.

Much Christmas. So Santa.

Little Italy Farmer’s Market

W. Date & India Streets
Saturday – 8am to 2pm

http://www.littleitalysd.com/mercato/

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

So a little while ago I entered a Serious Eats contest to win Jeni’s Ice Cream. You had to name a drink that would be great as ice cream and….I won! I think the only thing I have won before in my life was this tiny stuffed starfish. And even then I think it was only half mine because me and my friend had pooled all our quarters together and managed to get the smallest prize there was at the fair. Anyways. This was not like that, I won 4 pints and they were all mine 🙂

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Will do.

Will do.

Jeni's Blackberry + Cream

Jeni’s Blackberry + Cream

I had heard about Jeni’s before, and some of the flavors (namely the Banana Cajeta) sounded incredible. The flavors I won aren’t part of the normal Jeni’s flavors but were the Zelda Collection inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald (read more about it on Jeni’s Blog). I believe these are now sold out but the quality of the ingredients was amazing, I will definitely be buying this again. In SD I hear they are available at the La Jolla Bristol Farms.

The four flavors I got were: Blackberry + Sweet Cream, Cognac + Marmalade, Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam, and Dark Chocolate Rye. Doesn’t it already sound amazing?

So the first one I tried was the Blackberry + Sweet Cream. When looking at the flavors this was actually the one I was least excited about since blackberries and cream is a fairly normal ice cream flavor. Not like this though. This was actually my favorite. You can taste how sweet and extra milky tasting the cream is, I think grass-fed cream has an extra sweetness and flavor that regular cream does not have. If you’ve had bacio di latte flavored gelato this is similar to how the cream tasted, not like a neutral backdrop for some other ingredient but the star of its own show.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Blackberry + Cream

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Blackberry + Cream

And the blackberry swirl. I’m actually not someone who loves fruit ice creams because a lot of them can be overly sweet (like they’re trying to kill the fruit taste with sugar) and artificial tasting but this tasted so fresh, like the darkest, juiciest blackberries that had barely been sprinkled with sugar. Together this was amazing and I find myself just randomly sneaking into my freezer and digging after the little rivulets of blackberry. It’s that good.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Blackberry + Cream

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Blackberry + Cream

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Blackberry + Cream

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Blackberry + Cream

The flavor was inspired by a thank you note Zelda Fitzgerald gave to a friend that told her she would see “That your eyes are bathed with blackberry juice, which you know will make it so you never want to sleep, and that all your shaving suds turn into whipped cream”. Makes your regular emoticon-ridden thank you texts seem quite pedestrian no?

The next flavor I tried was the Cognac + Marmalade. I love cognac. With alcohol I’ve always had the taste of an old British man, I’m pretty sure at 19 my favorite alcohol was gin (and I lived in Canada where the legal age is 19 so this is a perfectly legal anecdote).

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Cognac + Marmalade

The Armagnac cognac here just perfumes the entire ice cream so that it has the slightest oakiness and vanilla notes. It almost tastes as if there’s stil some of the bite of the alcohol but I think that was mostly the bitterness from the Seville Orange marmalade.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Cognac + Marmalade

Confession: I actually don’t love marmalade. I love oranges and I like orange zest but I find marmalade often to be too bitter to eat alone. I think if you like marmalade you will LOVE this ice cream. The marmalade is orange-y and jammy and flowery and has the softest flecks of bright orange zest. I’m considering sending to my mom because she loves marmalade anything and she would adore this. The cognac accents the marmalade so well and obviously the sugar and cream balance out the bitter notes. This would be amazing with dark chocolate fudge.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Cognac + Marmalade

This flavor was inspired by Zelda’s love of Sidecars.

After this I tried a flavor I was pretty intrigued by, the Dark Chocolate Rye. I love rye whiskey and I love dark chocolate and naturally two good things make a better thing. Has anyone seen that episode of Friend’s where Rachel makes a trifle and then accidentally adds peas and meat to it or something? And then everyone hates it except for Joey who goes “What’s not to like? Chocolate? Good. Cream? GOOD. Meat? GOOOOD!”. Haha. That’s my logic anyways.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Dark Chocolate Rye

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Dark Chocolate Rye

Although this was lovely I think it was not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong this is some of the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had but I was hoping there would be dark chocolate chunks or something. Then again I’m quite partial to ice cream with stuff in it, I’m the kid that buys Ben & Jerry’s then burrows through the ice cream eating all the cookie dough/brownie/whatever through the ice cream and leaves the de-gutted remains in the freezer for someone else.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Dark Chocolate Rye

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Dark Chocolate Rye

This is their chocolate ice cream with Middle West Spirit’s OYO White Rye Whiskey and carraway. The rye flavor is quite subtle and you notice it as a slight lingering taste after the creamy bitter dark chocolate fades. If chocolate ice cream is your favorite this is leaps and bounds better than the crappy “chocolate-essence” tasting stuff you can get at grocery stores. Its dense and rich and almost chewy. Although this is not the flavor I will randomly sneak bites of all day this would make an amazing chocolate sundae. With maybe some dark chocolate fudge, smoked almonds and sea salt? I will let you know how that goes.

Jeni's Ice Cream

Jeni’s Ice Cream

This flavor was inspired by when in 1921 the Fitzgeralds were living in their hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota where “. . . rye flowed as though it were an elixir” at the “weekly hops at the club.” And carraway because…I don’t think I have to explain that one right?

Ok. So lastly I tried the flavor I was most excited for. The Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam. In general I think ice creams are great with cake or cookies so to have a carb directly incorporated into the ice cream is nothing sort of efficient.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

When I first opened this I was sad to see that I didn’t initially see large chunks of biscuits. However as soon as I had my first bite I knew large chunks of biscuits were not necessary (although they were there too, just a little further down). The ice cream itself just tasted of biscuits. Not that it was grainy at all, just like cream infused with slightly sweet, buttery biscuits. If you’ve ever had Momofuku’s cereal milk ice cream this is reminiscent of that.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

This is the other ice cream I keep sneaking bites of. The peach jam is also amazing, jammy ripe peaches that bring sweetness to the bready biscuits. This ice cream does not need any sauce or topping to be eaten. Even a crumble on top would be overkill. At most if you twisted my arm I would put some barely sweetened whipped cream over top of it.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam

This was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald’s favorite food: southern biscuits and peach jam. Jeni was also inspired by the Loveless Cafe in Nashville.

Overall this stuff was unreal. The flavors are just incredibly creative, interesting but still so tasty and made with just the best quality ingredients. Jeni’s is based in Columbus, Ohio so even though I sadly cannot go to their store I will definitely try to find some of her other flavors here!

Jeni's

Jeni’s

You can apparently make your own flavors too.

Yum.

Yum.

And here are her other signature flavors.

DSC00306

Jeni's Signature Flavors

Jeni’s Signature Flavors

Jeni's Signature Flavors

Jeni’s Signature Flavors

Jeni's Signature Flavors

Jeni’s Signature Flavors

Thank you Jeni’s and Serious Eats!

Oh and btw the cocktail I said would work well as an ice cream was a Scottish Breakfast: scotch, maple syrup, orange zest, cinnamon and cream.

Zelda Collection: Jeni's Cognac + Marmalade

Zelda Collection: Jeni’s Cognac + Marmalade

Healthy Snacks

Even though I usually eat healthy meals when I eat at home (eating out is a whole other story) my downfall can be snacks. Naturally the best things to snack on are fruits and veggies. But every now and then you want something salty and crunchy and that might vaguely remind you of potato chips and chocolate and other delicious but perhaps unhealthy things. I try to limit how many snacks I buy because if I have 5 types of snacks in my house I will inevitably rotate between all 5 snacks during the course of the day. If I only have 1 or 2 snacks then it is more likely I will eat less of them since it gets boring to eat the same snack all day erryday.

So everyone is familiar with healthy snacks like nuts, low-fat low-sugar yogurt, etc. but this post is about some new healthy snacks I recently discovered that I had never tried before (and obviously really liked!):

Baked Snap Peas

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

These are crispy baked snap peas. They are salty and crunchy and so addictive. They are also very low in calories. Trader Joe’s makes their own version too and that one is great because they use cornmeal for extra crunchiness. This can seriously substitute potato chips for me, you could even dip it in hummus or light ranch dip!

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Dried Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

So dried fruit in general is sweet and chewy and can almost (ALMOST) taste like candy. Everyone is familiar with the usual raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc. but Trader Joe’s has a great selection of dried everything. Strawberries, mangoes, pineapple…you name it. One of my recent favorites are the dried white peaches. These are sooo good but not overly sweet. They’re not super low calorie so you can’t just eat the entire bag but definitely a nice little sweet bite.

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Ok. So kettle corn might not seem that healthy but this Cracker Jack version is not only not bad calorie-wise its quite tasty! I love kettle corn and I was wary of this premade version but its delicious and feels like a treat. Popcorn in general is a good snack (as long as its not popped in oil or drenched in butter) because its mostly air. Now I wouldn’t eat this whole bag at once but I liked having handfuls every now and then and I would just roll up the bag and the kettle corn would stay crispy and did not get stale at all over the course of 5 days.

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

When I saw the commercial for this I really wanted to try it but I was also preparing for the worst since an 80 calorie high-fiber delicious chocolate cereal sounded improbable. However I LOVED this stuff. Its so good with cold milk and it even turns the milk chocolate-y after, like Cocoa Puffs! How nostalgic of sugar-y chocolate-y childhood cereals. Mostly I tend to eat this cereal with milk but this could also be eaten dry if you’re into that kind of thing!

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

I’ve tried a lot of the Kashi cereals because they do high protein cereals that aren’t super sugary. This is my favorite by far. The almond flax seed is a little too crunchy for me and some of them seem too dry but this one tastes like yummy granola. The kind thats served on parfaits and looks deceptively healthy but can actually be kind of high in fat and sugar. I like eating this cereal in parfaits too, layered with Greek yogurt, honey, bananas, strawberries, and almonds.

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

So those are the snacks I’ve been eating lately. Hope some of these are new to you and that you discover something new you like! I have some other healthy snacks I’ve been wanting to try like a super low calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream I saw at Whole Foods so we’ll do another post on healthy snacks later on too!

TIPS:
– A great substitution you can do is when eating cereal to switch almond milk in instead of regular milk. I am by no means someone who dislikes or avoids dairy – I love greek yogurt, cheese and ice cream – but a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk has 30 calories while a cup of skim milk has 90 calories. I personally even prefer the taste of almond milk for cereal too.
– Silk also makes lower calorie coconut milk and a coconut milk + almond milk BLEND. Both are great if you love coconut.