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Have a Heart

February 11, 2012 - 8:02am
Chris S


We spotted the first big-heart artichokes of the season at Suncoast Farm's stand at the Little Italy Mercato last Saturday. They could be just the thing if you’re aiming to win someone’s heart this week; like asparagus and oysters (also at the market now) they're considered aphrodisiacs.

Don’t be intimidated by these gorgeous green globes, we’ve found some friendly advice on how to prepare them so your special dinner will impress that special someone.  You may want to dip the lovely leaves in a homemade aioli made with eggs from Swiss Mountain, imported olive oil from Italianissimo, and fresh garlic from Sage Mountain; or for a delicious vegan option, use almond based Bitchin’ Sauce.  We also like this pretty recipe for roasted artichoke hearts.

When the last leaf is eaten, you’ll be down to one last tender bite, the heart of the artichoke.  And herein lies the true test of love: will you share?

New Year, New Foods

December 30, 2011 - 3:57pm
Catt F


Whether you've had a 2011 to celebrate, or you're one of the many who feel they barely survived, there's something hopeful about washing away the past and welcoming a new year. Shop the Little Italy Mercato tomorrow to make your celebration delicious.

In the spirit of transition, pair old favorites and new foods tomorrow night. Stuff Morocco Gold Dates with Cinnamon PB Peanut Butter. Devil a dozen eggs from Swiss Mountain. Try a fresh sea urchin from Poppa's Fresh Fish or order a live lobster, and shuck Carlsbad AquaFarm oysters at your party. Mary at Taste Cheese will introduce you to varieties of fromaggio that you've never tried before; pick up Sweet Potato or Whole Grain crackers from Fresh Start Foods and complete your tray with honeyed almonds from Hopkins AG and dried pluots from Smit Orchards. Stop by Mello Mushroom and try this clever Chanterelle Ceviche recipe to serve with Baba Foods' pita chips. Slice and grill zucchini from Poiros Family Farm and stuff with Terra Bella Ranch's sun dried tomatoes and Springhill Farms goat cheese for these rollups.

What's left? Just grab a few bottles of Merlot or Viognier from Triple B Ranch at the Mercato, and some cold Prosecco from Mona Lisa for that midnight toast, then it's on to 2012!


Eat With the Fishes

December 23, 2011 - 8:00pm
Catt W


For Italians, like many Europeans, Christmas dinner's got nothing on the Christmas Eve feast, and in Southern Italy it's all about fish. The Little Italy Mercato on Christmas Eve morning will have all the ingredients you need for that celebration. Oysters, scallops, linguine with clam sauce, sardines, urchins, lobster and more: the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a tradition to warm the hearts of seafood lovers. Whether the seven varieties symbolize the Catholic sacraments or the seven virtues (or perhaps surrender to gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins) it's a delightful tradition. 

Choose your favorite fish from Poppas' Fresh Fish and the peppers from our newest farmer Proios Family Farm and try this Roasted Pepper Crab Soup, or use fresh pasta and olives from Lisko Imports, lemons from Polito Farms, and beans from Suncoast Farm and try Foodblogga Susan Russo's linguine with mixed seafood or tuna and olive pasta. For baccala (salt cod), stop by Mona Lisa on India Street. On Christmas Eve we all eat with the fishes.


June 10, 2011 - 11:18am
Hillary E.


It's a couple of busy weekends coming up here with graduations happening and Father's Day just around the corner.

Gather up some picnic supplies and take it outdoors to celebrate graduation. Start with a basket from the Basket Co-Op and fill it with goodies like cheese from Taste, pickles from Happy Pantry - the Hab-a- Hotties and sauerkraut shouldn't be missed! - some fresh Carlsbad Aquafarms oysters for shucking and of course a baguette from Bread & Cie. Bring a blanket and a set of reusable and recycled glasses from Bottlehood and find yourself the perfect picnic spot. Three cheers for the recent grad!

Give Dad a night off, and whip him up a dinner from your Saturday Mercato finds. How about a (not so) classic BLT using bacon from Da Le Ranch, first of the season tomatoes from Kawano Farms, rich and creamy Haas avocados from Paradise Valley Ranch and a handful of sprouts from Suzie's Farm? For gifts there are salt samplers from Salt Farm that come in a pack of 5 that you get to mix and match to his tastes or pick up a Himilayan Pink Salt Plate that he can use for grilling. Really Good Jam just made a fresh batch of marmalade that not only uses local citrus fruits but are punched up with either a hint of whiskey or gin. Artistic Woodcrafts brings stacks of handmade cutting boards in a variety of woods, shapes and sizes; paired with one of their Messermeister knives or myriad kitchen utensils you've got a perfect gift for the Dad who fancies himself a chef.


June 3, 2011 - 3:15pm
Hillary E.


No, there's nothing suspicious about the new seafood offerings at the North Park Farmers' Market but you have every reason to get reeled into the excitement!

Poppa's Fresh Fish will now be shucking oysters and serving up fresh sea urchins for your enjoyment every Thursday. You can eat the sea urchins at the market or take them home, served in their shells they make a dramatic and gorgeous presentation. Newcomer Ceviche Shack is serving it up with a smile. Inspired by a lifetime of vacations and trips to Baja, the ceviche here is tangy and fresh with just a little kick. Perfect for topping tostadas, scooping with tortilla chips and enjoying on sunny afternoons. And for something truly decadent, order a crab cake sandwich from the Devilicious truck and find out just how devilishly delightful their food really is.

Aw, Shucks!

February 11, 2011 - 2:37pm
Chris S


If you're idea of a romantic evening includes slurping fresh, briny Pacific oysters from the half shell, make a date with Poppa's Fresh Seafood at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday.  They'll be happy to set you up with a dozen bivalves, a shucking knife and a free shucking lesson if you've never done this sort of thing before.  For a traditional mignonette sauce, pick up balsamic vinegar from Bistro Blends and shallots or onion from Sage Mountain or Vang's Farm. 

If baked oysters are more your style, get breadcrumbs from Bread & Cie, gruyere from Taste Cheese and spinach from Suzie's Farm.  Remove the oysters from their shells, then add a dab of sauteed spinach to the shell, replace the oyster atop the spinach, and top it with breadcrumbs, grated gruyere, and a dot of Springhill Farms butter.  Bake for five minutes at 400 degrees and enjoy.


February 10, 2011 - 4:04pm
Hillary E.


Whether you celebrate Saint Valentine or Cupid, there's no denying that February 14th is all about love. Our farmers and vendors can inspire your romantic palate with aphrodisiacs like oysters on the half shell from Poppa's Fresh Fish, slender tender stalks of asparagus from Suncoast Farms, delicate chocolate bars with rose petals and pistachios from Caxao Chocolates or gluten-free pastries with pretty heart motifs (pictured) from Olive Oil Cafe. Of course, if you like to keep things more traditional there's always a bouquet of flowers from Maldonado or Hidalgo Flower Growers and a box of chocolate truffles from Eclipse Chocolat. Berkeley Pizza even has heart-shaped pizzas.

If it's jewelry you're looking to bestow on this romantic holiday you're sure to find something at Isis Adornments or Lily Girl.  Whatever you choose and however you spend Valentine's Day know that we here at San Diego Weekly Markets <3 you.

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