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Pearl Throws a Party for Its Third Anniversary


Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard has been a long-time feature at the Pearl Farmers Market.

Cora Lamar helps a customer at her produce and flower booth.

As revitalization of the Pearl Brewery began several years ago, the owners of the property, Silver Ventures, knew that a farmers market would be a great way of bringing local people to the site while developing a greater sense of community. Three years ago this weekend, the Pearl Farmers Market began with vendors selling everything from fresh vegetables and meats to olive oil, baked goods, lavender products, and flowers.

The lineup of vendors has grown and changed somewhat in that time. Many of the vendors have become old friends over time — Beaune Farms, Biga on the Banks for their breads, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchards, Al’s Gourmet Nuts, Thunder Heart Bison and Peeler Farms chickens, to name a few — and new ones have been added, including Restaurant Gwendolyn, which offers handmade sausages and bacon. The market has also become more at home in its space at the back of the Pearl Brewery, with hundreds of people milling about and many a dog sniffing out the scene.

On Saturday, the spring harvest after the recent rains brought an abundance of items, including breakfast radishes, kale, arugula, cabbage, onions, spring garlic, fennel, green beans, herbs, leeks, brussels sprouts, new potatoes, beets, varieties of squashes, carrots, cucumbers, shallots, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and more. Fredericksburg peaches were going quickly, as were blackberries and a few strawberries.

Chef John Brand serves marketgoers a savory treat.

Cora Lamar of Oak Hill Farm drew customers with the vivid lavender-colored artichoke blossoms that she had. She also had a few artichokes with her, but they sold quickly, she said.

Artichoke blossoms

For those who bought an artichoke blossom for the first time, she explained that they should not be placed in water or they’ll rot. Instead, the flowering plant, which is in the same family as the thistle, should be set up without water. As the plant begins to dry, the green leaves should turn brown, but the flower would retain its color, Lamar said.

The morning sun drew a line to the handcrafted ice cream booth, where flavors included Strawberry Basil, Salty Caramel, Orange Lavender, Blackberry Lemon and Peach Pecan Amaretto.

Fennel bulbs

The anniversary celebration also brought out some of the city’s chefs who provided samples of dishes that used ingredients you could find in the market.

.Fresh-picked carrots

Chad Carey of the Monterey was there with his new chef, Coleman Foster, to hand out chicken meatballs with a peach kimchi. John Brand of Las Canarias and Ostra offered braised lamb’s neck, while Ocho chef Jason Garcia served a quinoa salad with seasonal vegetables  and a tamarind vinaigrette.

It’s always fun to stop by Melissa Guerra’s Tienda de Cocina in the neighboring Full Goods building on the brewery campus. In addition to the great kitchen items that the store always features, Guerra was offering a hula hoop demonstration and she was spinning right along to the DJ’s funkadelic sounds.

Customers shop the market for the freshest produce.

 

 

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A Few Tasty Bites from Around Town


Here are few highlights from some restaurant visits around town:

Pzole at Ocho.

Pozole at Ocho

The cooler temperatures we’ve had this week have brought thoughts of a nice, warm bowls of soup. What could be more comforting that a pork-based pozole with plenty of hominy in it. Jason Garcia at Ocho in the Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., doesn’t stop there. He serves his with plenty of red cabbage, onions, cilantro and, of course, radishes on the side that you can garnish to suit your tastes. Plus, there’s a slice of lime to give this Southwestern favorite an extra tingle.

 

 

 

Tacos al Pastor at Paloma Blanca

Tacos al Pastor at Paloma Blanca

Mexican street food doesn’t get much better than these mini-tacos topped with marinated pork and slivers of grilled pineapple at Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway. On the side are onions, cilantro and lime to give it an extra kick. Plus, you have your choice of the roasted and the fresh salsas that come with your chips or the smoky Salsa de la Señora.

 

Moroccan Chicken at Candlelight Coffeehouse

Moroccan Chicken at Candlelight Coffeehouse

Chicken breast nowadays has become the dullest of meats, when left on its own. Not so in this dish at Candlelight Coffeehouse, 3011 N. St. Mary’s St. Strips of chicken breast are lightly cooked with vegetables, such as red bell pepper and zucchini in some spicy oil before being tossed with fettuccine and a light curry blend. What that has to do with Morocco is inconsequential. What matters is the taste, which is comforting. Have it with a pot of one of the house tea blends for a relaxing evening.

 

A few treats from Choicolate

Chocolates from Choicolate

What better way to conclude a meal than with a decadent morsel of chocolate? The beautiful and bold candies from Choicolate, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., come in a variety of colors and flavors, including mango habanero, hazelnut latte, salted caramel and Earl Grey. At this independent shop, the candies are all crafted by hand using no preservatives.

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