Markets & Stores

SJ Santana Row Farmer's Market & California Italian Ice

Stanley Stephan | May 19, 200304:24 PM     1

Doing some shopping in the South Bay I decided to scope out this market.

The poster last week who said this market was heavy on prepared foods was correct. However there were about a dozen fruit stands here as well.

The find at this market is Morganic Hill Top Crop Honey which is the first honey vendor that hold's it's own with Marshall's ... at a third of the price. One pound of honey for $4.95 / 4.5 oz for $2.65.

Interesting varieties like lotus, sage, blueberry blossom, raspberry blossom, buckwheat and a terrific orange blossom.

They also had Echinacea honey. How good an idea is THAT? Bought some to put in my echinacea tea for next winter's colds.

Also bought a pleasantly strong flavored tanbark which has something to do with oak trees. The Tarweed had something to do with being good for coughs and bronchitis. There was starthistle and wildflower mixes. This is a gem SJ people. Hope you appreciate it.

Best fruit vendor was Santa Maria which had the best tasting raspberries I've had in a long time. They never made it home to SF. Nice strawberries this week as well. The Galinda's were sweeter than the Camarosa's, but both were good.

I was going to have lunch someplace in Santana Row, but this was the all sample market. I was full after circling the stands. Really heavy on the baked goods here.

Crepe and brioche bakery had the best looking breads and baked goods but was one of the only places without samples.

Beckman's Bread doesn't belong in ANY farmer's market, IMO. This is the same stuff you can buy at many grocery stores and it was presliced and in plastic bags. The only interesting looking item was some bear claws in a glass case.

Alnoso 's Bakery had a huge selection of breads. Points off for bagging much of it plastic. Points for interesting sounding varieties including a bleu cheese bread.

Alonso's wife is from Mexico so they sell fresh hot tamales for $2. Having worked in Mexico City, I have to say these are pretty authentic. Given that, Mexican tamales are not my favorite because they have a dry texture. However with the green salsa to mositen things up, it was a very good dish.

Piece of Cake had excellent coffee cakes and they gave out generoucs samples.

Margaret's French Bakery gave out samples of pecan, lemeon and peach tarts. To me they were ok, but not outstanding. They had an excellent looking tiramisu and strawberry shortcake.

J.F Chocolatier had some lovely chocolate covered dried apricots and rocky road. They use Schaeffenberger (sp) chocolate.

Fabrique Delice's had samples of oven baked pates and mousses. They are a artisanal Charcuterie. Here's their web site where they say they have over 100 products including Duck Foie Gras, Magret, Rillettes, Garlic Sausage, Merguez, Saucisse de Toulouse, Boudin, etc, etc.


From Sea to You had off the boat fish including crab cocktails. I was impressed that they had fresh sand dabs which you don't even see at many SF fish stores. Too far a trip for me to take any home.

East West Gourmet had some dips, but I forgot what they tasted like.

Are flavored nuts a big thing in the south bay? DMT Teixeira had what ... more than 25 flavored nuts. I bought a bag of their plain Chandler walnuts.

Lot's of nice fruit vendors. Happy Boy seems to be one of the prime organic vendors in the south bay markets. I bought a bag of their mixed greens with edible flowers $2.50, which amazingly survived the trip home. They had a green called mizuna that looked good.

Lots of the farmer market regular stands .... Zuckerman's, Marin Gourmet, Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke.

Walking around the Santana Row shops there was the Hurdy Gurdy Italian Ice cart. Could it be ... Lemon Ice in California? Well, you could have it in a plastic cup with a spoon or in a waffle cone. Besides lemon they had mango and passionfruit and chocolate. It was $2.50. They owner said it was creamier and less granular than the East Coast version. He said that he tried serving it in paper cups but the people on this coast didn't get the concept. He's thinking of getting in some paper cups for some east coast ex-pats like myself who ask. My first bite said, this isn't right. I'm thinking sorbet. Nice sorbet though.

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