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peach tasting and mariscos

felice | Aug 14, 200506:24 PM

After reading an article in the Chronicle about stone fruit orchards, a friend rounded us up to go peach and plum tasting at Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill. The tasting began at 10AM, the time when our taste buds are at their best, according to another hound. In about an hour, we tasted over 50 varieties of peaches, nectarine, plums, prunes, and pluots. Several rows of tables were set up with names/descriptions/sliced fruit (to be eaten)/whole fruit (to be looked at).

I focused first on the peaches and nectarines, and at the end I tasted the other items as time allowed. It was a great learning experience to taste the different varieties side by side. Some of the varieties were on their way up, some on their way down, and some were peaking.

After the tasting, we had a chance to walk through the orchard and pick the fruit of the varieties that were ripe. This morning I ate one of the peaches we picked and oh-my-god it was the best peach I'd ever tasted.

Fruit picked on the tour cost $1.75/lb and fruit picked by the farm cost $2/lb.

Even though we had each eaten the equivalent of several peaches and plums in the morning, we were hungry and ready to eat some savory food. I got out my chowhound guide, which listed a mexican place in morgan hill and another in gilroy. Andy (of Andy's Orchards) recommended a place in morgan hill called Jesus Mexican Restaurant, which specializes in Mariscos. It was located very close to the Morgan Hill farmers market just off of Dixon street (or, at least I think it was called Dixon street).

We ordered shrimp in garlic sauce, 7 seafood soup, and machaca. While waiting for our order, I looked around and noticed that about half the people were ordering food in bowls. There were about 3-4 soup items on the menu, and all of them contained seafood. Not surprisingly, the seafood soup was fantastic. It contained 3 large crab legs, shrimp, mussels, a large clam, squid, and imitation crab. I don't remember what the 7th item was. The broth was very similar to cioppino with a healthy dose of celery, but was more concentrated and complex than most cioppinos I've had. In fact, I had Duarte's crab cioppino several months ago and I would pick Jesus's version anyday, especially since this soup only cost $10.

The shrimp was also good - we figured out pretty quickly that the crispy shells held a lot of flavor and were meant to be eaten. The shrimp was served with beans (good) and rice (fine) and tortillas (flour were better than the rubbery corn ones). The machaca was fine - slightly undersalted though.

I look forward to going back next time I'm in the area and trying out the rest of their seafood soups.


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