Category Archives: Coffee

Hipster Gustatorial Guilt

So, it’s January 2017, been a while since I posted here. Sorry about that. Life. School. Work. Times, they are a-changing. I have some guilt about that…but on that topic of guilt–baked goods. January is supposed to be the time of the year of New year’s resolutions, getting out that gym card membership and putting it to use, buying some new yoga pants with the Christmas or Hanukkah Geld. Not.hitting.up.the.bakery. Oh, but yes, this one, Yes!!!

Blackmarket Bakery, this one, don’t worry about the guilt. We are living in stressful times and sometimes we need a little guilty pleasure, a little indulgence. And if we are going to blow the bank calorie wise, it had better be worth it, right? And this place is. The morning I came here after a rough work shift, I had the homemade biscuits, egg and cheese sandwich with sausage gravy. Mmmm, mmm, mmmh! For my other half, I chose the dark chocolate croissant and the espresso–en pointe, my friends, en pointe!

The space is also a feast for the senses, especially if you are of a hipster nature. We have the fixie bike all decked out with maker gear, the back patio that looks like a theme park playground almost and all kinds of other delicacies and hipster t-shirts and coffee mugs for sale with just the right saucy phrase to sport around North Park.

And as for the cherry on the top, dedicated parking in North Park, just south of the building. It really doesn’t get much better than that. So, for a stealth mission for some contraband this dieting season, it is all laid up for you here.

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San Diego’s Public Market Soaring to New Heights

The new Liberty Station Public Market opened last weekend, termed a ‘soft opening’, but a media rep happened to alert me and I went down to sniff around. Most of the shops have opened, there are a few still under development, but it has already launched as a roaring success judging by the crowds down there today when I returned for another brief sniffing around.

The new public market is aiming to match the scale and success of other public markets in large cities–Pike’s Place in Seattle, San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and Essex Public Market in the big apple, New York City.

An earlier attempt was made a couple of years ago in Barrio Logan on a smaller scale yet no less heroic effort, but sadly it was never able to garner enough support to make it off the ground before closing less than a year from when it opened. The location, while up and coming, was maybe too much of a deterrence for many, so that was a big reason for its failure to thrive.

The Public Market’s opening in Liberty Station is in tandem with the new ‘Arts district’ that is opening many new galleries, museums and shops alongside the market. Also, the second Stone Brewery restaurant is adjacent to the market so I am sure that doesn’t hurt to draw visitors.

In addition, you really can’t beat the location as a block down from the market is the harbor and the walking path that starts and goes all the way down to Spanish Landing. Families can spend the whole day  here and it is a popular site for events–runs, festivals, family fairs.

I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the shops when they open. What I haven’t seen yet is actual produce, but there is supposed to be a spot with local farms represented like Suzie’s Farms, Be Wise Ranch and others.

Today, I opted to try the Empanada shop–Parana. They have about ten different types of empanadas and three different sauces, chimichurri, a pepper chimichurri and a celery cream sauce. I was not blown away, but there aren’t too many places where you can get empanadas to go, so I won’t be too complainy.

We also tried Crafted Baked Goods for some sweets and got a couple of gorgeous looking cupcakes which tasted better than they looked, but again, just glad it is there and I am sure it will appeal to the masses.

For more information on the other shops and restaurants in the new Public Market, check out this link:http://libertypublicmarket.com/

 

 

 

 

Sweet Community in Old Escondido

Escondido has been becoming a significant suburb of San Diego in its own right over the past few years. Areas that once were full of old, unoccupied run-down shops and signs of blight are becoming renewed and EscoGelato is part of that movement. Nestled in the older downtown part of Escondido, EscoGelato is part of the revival of this area. Their website emphasizes that their gelato is made from scratch and that they support local farmers and artisans. One of their headers on their website is community and you definitely get a sense of community walking in…

The frontage is welcoming and dog-friendly with plenty of outdoor seating on the sidewalk. Inside has all sorts of different seating arrangements and knick-knacks on display. T-shirts hang from a clothesline, art is  on display and gift items hang out on a neat little bookshelf. The interior is bright and airy and there is an assortment of baked goods, salads, espresso drinks and soups and sandwiches to choose from in addition to the many options for gelato. This is a perfect spot for lunch in Escondido or breakfast with your furry family members.

So, we have already settled in with the inviting and interesting atmosphere, pleased with the offerings for food and now it is time to try the menu. We tried the half-and-half with a half tomato-and-cheese panini on Rosemary bread and Harvest salad, the tomato bisque soup and a Clementine Izze. The salad was mixed greens from a local organic farm, with bleu cheese, spiced pecans and dried cranberries and a light viniagrette. The panini was very flavorful with the rosemary bread and the provolone and tomato complemented it nicely.

The gelato was the star of this show, however. As my fellow Pursuiter commented, “You can tell there was fresh ingredients put right in there”. It tastes authentic and we all agreed it was some of the best gelato we have ever had, having tasted gelato around the world between the two of us, Escogelato earned high accolades from us.

Escogelato is a good excuse to come see some of the regrowth and development in Escondido and try some of the best gelato there is!

Down on the Left Bank

Cafe’ Madeleine is a little private cafe’ tucked away off of the main village in South Park. I am loving this neighborhood more and more as I explore it further. This sweet spot is where you pull out your beret and best French slinky dress and petit chien (little dog) and enjoy a rich Espresso or latte (in my case Mexican Mocha, ftw) and a crepe or pastry.

It is peaceful here and laid out are a good assortment of local fashion rags and lifestyle magazines along with some books for a longer visit.

The decor is very vintage and stylish in a homey way and you could go here and maybe strike up a chat with a local or not be bothered the entire time you are here. This place has good energy and a nice vibe. It is like the antithesis of a sports bar, so I expect you won’t run into any meatheads here, not there is anything wrong with that. It is just that this is not the place.

For our first visit, I tried a savory crepe of ham, swiss cheese, Bechamel and tomato with spinach and a salad on top. My other half had a sweet crepe with banana, chocolate and powdered sugar dusted on top. The portions were huge and worked out as enough for an extra meal for later. These crepes are of a thicker consistency than the buckwheat ones I have had in France, but still good.

Afterwards, it is nice to take a stroll around the village and window shop in some of the boutiques located within the village of South Park.

S’mores Pancakes…Need I Say More?!

Let me start off by saying that this place, Breakfast Republic is intentionally created to be able to become a chain. They are selling t-shirts with catchy slogans, trucker hats and tank tops. They have the butcher roll hanging from the wall that all of the new hipster joints have. I think at least one server had a handlebar mustache. I heard one of the young servers say, “I think that was a 90’s movie. I was born in 1995.”

You can just tell from the decor and the replayed kitsch that Breakfast Republic will not be unique to North Park and its charms, but will probably soon be found in many major lifestyle centers throughout North County and South Bay soon.

But, damn if their food isn’t spot on! We need more good breakfast joints in San Diego. I don’t do old greasy diners with oil slicks floating on top of the coffee from the chemical creamer with no expiration date. Or, the naugahyde-covered booth seats that have the sheen of grease and better days coated in.

This location is nearby the original Carnitas Snack Shack and is a little inconspicuous, so I think once people start finding out about it, it is going to get a lot more packed.

The menu has some very tantalizing options, especially if you are a big fan of French toast and pancakes. If you like Eggs Benedict, there are several different varieties of that as well. I had the original with avocado and tomato and it was delish! My daughter had the Oreo pancakes, but it was a tough decision between that and the S’mores pancakes. Most importantly, they have an espresso machine and Mexican Mochas which automatically earns you extra points in my book.

I Just Knew This Place Would Blow…

Nomad donuts, I just knew this place would blow a certain over commercialized, lines-around-the-block, get your teenage- mutant greasy super-sized dough ring place out of the water. And it did. I have been wanting to try this place out. It was just one of those places that I had a good feeling out, usually I get a sense of a place and my instincts usually steer me right. And it did.

Doughnuts are such a guilty pleasure so I kept meaning to try this place, but my diet guilt would usually win out, but not this day. Oh no, day after 4th of July and two 12-hour shifts back-to-back at work and a nice sugary pillow of fried dough sounded really good. Especially with this weather we have been having lately, where it is cooler here in San Diego than many parts of the Pacific Northwest right now.

After first walking the dog to at least claim I earned this indulgence with some exercise, we headed over to this nomadic mecca over in North Park, the hipster center-of-all things hip and cool.

It is located in a neat, quaint little shop on a quieter, newer part of 30th street. The donuts are displayed out on the counter and have so many unique offerings it takes some time to figure what to go with. We opted for a dirty chai old-fashioned chocolate donut, a key lime meringue, a blueberry lavender and finally a basil, goat cheese and toasted almond donut! I am sorry but again, regretably I started digging in before taking a picture. While some of the flavors were a little odd, overall I was game for their creativity and ingenuity and respect for portion sizes. Donuts average about $4/apiece and they offer Coffee and Tea Collective coffee drinks.

I think you should plan to check this place out. This would be a good place to spend a little time in your morning, Mexican folk art graces the walls and outside patio seating is available as well.loading_up

Caffe Calabria in North Park

I’ve tried just about every coffee joint in town and nothing compares really to the perfection that is brewed in this lovely Italia-inspired cafe, or shall we say, caffe. This place feels like you literally are in a cafe’ in Italy upon walking inside.  Strung lights hang from the high ceilings alongside soccer jerseys and bottles of Pellegrino and wine glasses. A long marble counter, just like you would come upon in Italy where you can wait for your doppio espresso or sit at one of the tables alongside the other wall. The young and stylish baristas move the long lines along very quickly and are always very friendly.  But, that coffee, that is what I come for. They make my Mexican Mochas just right, or as they call it par Italiano, Caffe Mocha Messicano. Creamy, not too sweet, full-bodied and spicy.  Caffe Calabria turns into a wood-oven Napolitano-style pizza restaurant at night, but that is another story of deliciousness for another time. Caffe Calabria is worth driving to North Park just for a perfect cup of coffee.

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