Back in February, I wrote a couple of posts about how excited I was when I found yummy food in the Evergreen area of South San Jose where we have a dearth of good restaurants and gourmet groceries.
So when I find something exciting and delicious not more than ten minutes from my house, I just have to blog about it! Evergreen is lucky enough to have a farmer’s market on Wednesday and Sunday morning. It’s not as large as many in the Bay Area, but it’s twice a week and that’s pretty awesome – if you remember to go.
Wednesday I did and dragged my son with me to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables. But first we got sidetracked at a bakery stand from Modesto called Edith’s Gourmet Baking Co. The samples of chocolate zucchini cake, sour cream coffee cake, and a Greek version of Italian pugliese bread were show stoppers. The samples were large and the sales person was expert at handing them out and doing a quick pitch on each item but he didn’t have to say much after the taste. We used self-control and only walked away with the chocolate zucchini cake and fresh peasant bread.
Next stop was Zena Foods (www.zenafoods.com) where my son tried the cilantro jalapeno hummus. First bite attacks your taste buds with the fresh cilantro taste and then comes the hint of hot from the jalapeno — a real burst of fresh flavor in your mouth. Served on top of their fresh whole wheat pita bread – I was definitely thinking OMG! Yummy. So instead of one package of the hummus for $5, we ended up getting three items for $12 – adding the fresh made tabouleh and one package of the whole wheat pita.
Still no fruit and veggies in the bags so next stop was, of course, the fish stand! (Guess you could call my farmer’s market shopping style somewhat ADD-like.) From the Sea to You (www.fromthec2u.com) had several types of fish fresh from the Santa Cruz area. To my surprise, they had butterfish, which my whole family loves eating japanese style. So in the bag went four pieces of butterfish, which is currently marinating in a miso-based marinade in the fridge for 48 hours from a recipe by Nobu Matsuhisa – one of the best Japanese chefs in the world.
Twenty minutes in and still no fruit and veggies so we finally filled the bags with berries, nectarines (a crisp perhaps?) and various other interesting items such as a purple pepper which is supposed to be similar to a red pepper in taste.
Now our arms were getting tired so last stop was of course – the falafel stand run by Falafel Fresh – a family-owned business currently offering their products through farmer’s markets and catering but they are trying to open a restaurant. Well let’s hope they succeed. Their falafel is superb, prepared fresh every morning and fried right on the spot. The optional hot sauce is excellent, worth every bead of sweat it creates. But Wednesday we tried their gyro sandwiches, since it turns out Falafel Fresh offers a mixture of middle eastern and mediterranean cuisine. It did not disappoint – offered as lamb, beef, or chicken, served on whole wheat pita with a delicious tziki (yogurt) dressing. They also offered us a taste of two very interesting salads: one was cabbage-based – kind of a middle-eastern take on cole slaw and one was bean based, mixing fava, kidney, and black beans with parsley, green onion, and tomatoes. Both were full of flavor, low on fat, and terrific sides for the sandwich. They also gave us a nibble of their home-made baklava which had a unique and wonderful flavor. I guessed lavender honey but it was the rose water they used, which you can find in middle eastern grocery stores. Creative and nice addition to a traditional baklava. You can find out more about Falafel Fresh at www.falafelfresh.com.
To top off the culinary adventure, we ate falafel at home Wednesday night, using the whole wheat pita, cilantro jalapeno hummus, and tabouleh as a side.
I’m certainly not unique in writing about the value of eating foods grown and prepared locally so I’ll take a new approach and beg. Please, please, please go to your local farmer’s market and support these vendors, especially if you live in Evergreen. We need fresh, healthy, and creative food in this area so please remember on Wednesday and Sunday morning to stop by the market at the Evergreen Square, try some samples, and then buy, buy, buy some of these OMG! Yummy foods.