The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 1 October 2012

Little Italy Mercato, San Diego

I'm very excited to begin sharing about the trip we took to California after hubby's two-week work trip to New York. I remember that before we went on our first trip to NYC, our American friends warned us that New Yorkers can be quite rude; we were pleasantly surprised to find that the New Yorkers weren't that bad. But from the first moment we touched San Diego's soil, we realised that our amicable West Coast friends were just not accustomed to the seemingly unfriendly vibe of the big city. Honestly, the people in San Diego were some of the friendliest people we'd met in the US, and it was rather refreshing after encountering a couple of downright rude airport personnel at JFK prior to our flight to San Diego. All throughout our three days in San Diego, hubby and I kept remarking to each other how much this place reminded us of our hometown, Perth (Australia). San Diego's beautiful blue skies and dry weather, gorgeous beaches, laidback vibe and super-friendly people are not unlike what we find back home. This was our first time visiting the West Coast, and San Diego was a fantastic place to start our Californian adventure.

Little Italy in San Diego:

We arrived on a Saturday around lunchtime, so after checking in at our hotel near Little Italy, we rushed to catch the Little Italy Mercato before the stalls close shop at 2pm. This is a certified farmer's market that is set up every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, and there are more than 150 booths offering fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, fish, jewellery and lots of dining opportunities. In the middle of the market street, there is a live band entertaining the market-vendors and patrons alike with music. It was fun browsing through the stalls from one end of the market to the other, and we also got to sample some food items.

Look at that brilliant blue sky, and there's even some view of the bay over yonder:

We came across a tamale booth, which piqued our interest (we hadn't had lunch yet). Both of us had heard of tamale, but had no idea what it was, nor could we remember what we'd heard about it. This is probably the most commonest street Mexican food item that perhaps everyone in America (but us) knows about, so you can probably imagine the look that the vendor gave us when we asked what a tamale was. It was just as well that none of the Spanish-speaking people manning the tamale stall could speak English well, so we decided to just get one and find out for ourselves just what a tamale was.

Placing an order for a pork-filled tamale:

The Mexican tamale is similar to the Chinese glutinous rice meat dumpling that I know as bak chang, except that the tamale is wrapped in corn husk instead of bamboo leaves, and the tamale's dough is corn-based. It was tasty and also quite filling:

There was also a GreenFix Organic Smoothie stall selling healthy-looking green vegetable smoothie. There were a lot of customers buying huge bottles of the green stuff, and naturally I was a little curious to try it out. Hubby wasn't so keen, but he had a little taste.

A green GreenFix sign and menu board:

The GreenFix Original with organic greens, organic fruits, organic apple juice and organic flax seed. It was quite pleasant to drink, but I don't know if I would say the same for the other two types (GreenFix Raw with no apple juice, and GreenFix Greens with no fruit or juice):

The farmers market in Little Italy is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in San Diego on a Saturday morning. I'm so glad that we managed to catch the market just before the booths closed up!

Little Italy Mercato
Date Street from Kettner Boulevard to Front Street
Little Italy
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
Saturdays 8am to 2pm

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