Category Archives: Sweets and Treats

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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A Fiesta of Flavors in San Marcos

I was looking up an after summer camp ice cream spot for my daughter and admittedly pulled up Yelp. Being that we were in San Marcos, many of our options were Mexican frutas or tostilocos. Immediately, I was transported to a month I spent in San Felipe as a child and the paleteria (popsicle shop) that I would get taken to on a weekly basis. It was rows upon rows of a myriad of flavors of paletas and it was a sweet memory of that time–limon, coco, pina, leche–the possibilities were endless…

I decided to take my daughter to try this paleteria called La Michoacana in San Marcos and a new generation fell in love. I had a chamoya, which was mango and pineapple ice cream with lime and chile powder for some heat to balance out the sweet and my little one was pretty adventurous with some ice cream fruit flavor called “Soursop” which is supposed to have a strawberry with coconut type flavor. The next day she was clamoring for more and altogether we visited the shop three times that week.

In addition to the ice cream and popsicle flavors they also serve up “tostilocos”, which is a Mexican snack of corn chips topped with different toppings like lime juice, chile, avocado and hot sauce.

It looks like La Michoacana is a well-oiled chain of ice cream shops throughout Mexico and the southwest. The shop was very clean, the workers were very friendly, local teenage girls and don’t let language be a barrier to opening up a whole new world of new flavors. I got to practice some of my Spanglish and one of the girls spoke fluent English if that was not possible.

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The Flavor of Summer

We were wrapping up a successful doggie playdate and thinking about ice cream. One of the dog owners said, “You have got to try Handel’s. It just opened and it is great–homemade ice cream.” You say the word homemade and that is enough for me. So, we wrapped up the doggie playdate early in search of this rosetta stone of ice cream.

The ice cream spot is right up the corner from Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, off of Encinitas Blvd. from the 5 freeway in the Loft Condo building. They just opened last weekend.

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When you walk in there are rows of freezer cases everywhere and they make about 48 flavors of homemade ice cream every day. Delicious ice cream, fresh ice cream. I know because we tried it and it was delicious. My daughter, who, unless it glows in the dark and has gummy worms and confetti candy spackled all over it usually poo poos the good stuff, liked it. I had coconut ice cream in a fresh waffle bowl and she had vanilla oreo in a waffle cone bordered in chocolate and peanuts. The dog had his own ice cream (doggie ice cream), but since he is spoiled and the doggie ice cream was Purina brand he preferred the human ice cream better.

I think this place is going to be bumpin’ this summer, so try it before having to wait in line for half an hour. They have all kinds of sundaes, toppings, shakes as well. The flavor(s) of summer. Delicious.

http://www.handelsicecream.com/index.html

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.

Shiny, Happy Cupcakes

Ran into this place while going to get Greek food next door and fulfill my craving for a Gyro sandwich. Yeah, that’s right Donald, it’s happening, right now, baby! #periodsarenotaninsult No, not really, just a craving, but I digress…

Anyways, right next to the intended destination was this cute little shop that my copilot (daughter) zoomed in on and chirped up that we should check out. Now,  how could I argue with that?!

Now, my first impression was that if I were ever to be so inclined to open a cupcake shop, that this is how it would go down. Bright yellow everywhere, bright yellow sign with a cute name, Cupcakes a la Yola, yellow cupcake wallpaper and lots of cupcakes with fillings. This place is Prozac in a strip mall.

We had to settle on only three so we narrowed it down to a tiramisu with coffee cream filling, a lemon coconut with lemon curd filling and a chocolate chip cupcake with white buttercream frosting and chocolate shavings. The tasting committee universally approved of all three as delish!

Cupcakes a la Yola is centrally located in Mission Valley off of Mission Gorge and Friars Rd. and definitely worth a stop to support a local Yola.