Thursday, August 26, 2010

Market goodies: perusing pastries and peaches

My preferred Sunday morning routine is to wake up around 9, bike to the California Avenue Farmer's Market, eat fruit samples while perusing the produce, buy produce, pick a pastry, sample some sorbet, bike home, and eat the pastry and some fruit with a mug of black tea.  I am bothered by the fact that the prices here are so much higher than prices at Pedrick's Produce in Dixon, where my family gets produce whenever possible and where I try to pick up groceries whenever I go home.  That said, I realize that this is Palo Alto and not the Central Valley, and at least the Cal Ave market is cheaper than Safeway (if one shops carefully).

My favorite stands are the following:
1. La Boulange bakery - I love the chocolate hazelnut croissants, and even more so the almond.
2. Hamada farms (I think?) - Generally has the least expensive peaches and nectarines.  I haven't tasted much of a difference between the different stands' peaches.
3. The big organic stand near the El Camino end - On the left side they have prepackaged 0.5-lb and 1-lb bags of salad greens with edible flower petals.  I like those, but I often go for the bulk salad greens and organic basil.
4. The stand around the middle of the market that has bulk cherry tomatoes - Prices seem to fluctuate a lot for the cherry tomatoes, as sweet as they are.  I also like to get eggplants here.  I think eggplants are cute :-).
5. The flower stands - I love fresh flowers, but I've only ever bought them for myself once or twice in my life.  99% of the time I just feast my eyes and sigh.
6. Cowgirl Creamery - A few weeks ago, while bemoaning the fact that I am allergic to avocado, I tried and bought a half round of Mt. Tam.  It was so good, like a better version of brie.
7. Palo Alto Baking Company - Dutch Crunch bread!
8. Roli Roti truck - I occasionally get either a quarter or half chicken here if I'm too lazy to go home and roast my own.  They advertise quarter chickens with roasted potatoes, for the same price as a half chicken ($6.50), but if you ask nicely, they'll sell you just a quarter chicken (they charged me $3.50).
9. Kettle Corn (duh)
10. Scream Sorbet - I tried the coconut basil at a friend's house a few weeks ago, and loved it.  I recently bought a carton of the hazelnut.  These sorbets are seriously intense, and taste just as creamy as ice cream.  Pricey ($8-10 for 12 oz), but it's the kind of thing you eat a small scoop at a time.

This past Sunday, I bought two white peaches, two white nectarines, a basket of strawberries, two little eggplants, some Early Girl tomatoes, basil, some mixed lettuces, Dutch Crunch bread, and a truly transcendent almond croissant (pictured, with one of the peaches).