Exploring La Jolla California (Part 3)

I woke up on Sunday morning knowing that we had just about a half day before we needed to hit the highway, leave the ocean breezes and drive through the scorching desert back home to Phoenix.  It really wasn’t as depressing as it sounds.  We knew that our La Jolla visit was going to be short and we also knew that we will be leaving for Scotland and Ireland in a few short weeks.  (Stay tuned for more on that.)

2011 La Jolla Open Aire Market_FlowersAfter enjoying our free breakfast at the hotel I spent a little time surfing the web to try to get some ideas on things to do in our last hours there.  I thought about heading downtown to check out some shops and galleries, since we didn’t do any of that on Saturday, but wasn’t sure when everything opened.  Then I stumbled onto a reference for the La Jolla Open Aire Market.  Since it was in the middle of summer, I was thinking it might be a great place to pick up some delicious So Cal produce to take home with us.  Turns out it was all that and so much more!

The Market is held every Sunday at the playground and all proceeds benefit the La Jolla Elementary School, just a block or so from downtown.  What a brilliant way to bring in additional funds for our budget conscious schools!  I would imagine it’s a fair amount of work to coordinate, but even if you only did it once a month or a few times a year I would imagine that you could bring in a decent amount of money for your favorite educational institution.

Because of it’s location at the corner of Girard Avenue and Genter Street you run into a similar parking problem here as you do trying to get to the beach.    So Terry was nice enough to drop me off at the entrance and drive around until he found a parking space.

2011 La Jolla Open Aire Market Produce

Admission is free, which is always nice.  Once we walked inside we were immediately flooded with vibrant sights, irresistible smells and perfectly lovely sounds.  We enjoyed a talented guitar player and vocalist right at the entrance (sadly, I didn’t get his name).  Some of the vendors that caught my eye offered fresh flowers, produce, children’s clothes,  fine art photography, jewelry, home-made soaps and more.  There was also a woman selling gorgeous orchids for very reasonable prices and I was so tempted to buy one.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how it would fare in our trek across the desert (or if it would make it through the border check going back into Arizona).   Here’s an extensive list of their vendors as of the latest update.

We did stop and buy some peaches, green and wax beans and a loaf of rosemary bread.  Mmmmm…

As we wandered around the booths I couldn’t help but notice the amazing scents that wafted through the crowds.  At the far corner of the market there was a concentration of food vendors that were obviously competing for our appetites. This was one time that I was disappointed to have had a free (boring) breakfast an hour or so before, because I really wished that I could justify buying one of the delicacies that was tempting my taste buds. Using all the will-power I could muster, I walked past the Turkish Grill and squeezed by the long line for the Creperie.  I was able to talk Terry into getting a huge cup filled with fresh sliced mangos and melon.  Let’s call it dessert after breakfast.  It was delicious!  I’ll tell you, if I lived nearby I would do brunch every Sunday there until I had tried out all the food vendors.  They smelled and looked THAT good!

2011 La Jolla Open Aire Market - Little Girl's Dresses

Then on the way out we spotted a booth called “Gingersnaps” with these adorable little girl’s summer dresses.  I was SO tempted to buy one or two, except the fact that I don’t have any grandchildren yet, and didn’t have an immediate plan to attend a baby shower, so I wasn’t sure who I could give them to.  I did think about my little friends, Emolyn and Elsie, but just didn’t have it in the budget to pick up something for them that day…and Terry would have thought I was crazy…maybe next time.

Here’s a small gallery of a few more enticing vendors from the Market.  It was a such an unexpected adventure, chock full of treasures of all shapes and sizes.  Oh, don’t I wish it was Christmas shopping season already!  What am I saying!  It’s Christmas shopping season all year long, but it’s also vacation season, so we had to save our pennies for the big trip in August.

Hey, I’ve decided to add one more post about La Jolla, so stop by later this week to see what other treasures we found there.

What’s your favorite open air market and what do you love to buy there?

Amazing Summer Salad!

First let me say thanks to those of you who have hung in there during my “slow blogging season”.  I just realized that I only did 2 posts in all of April, which makes me sad.  Good news is that my lack of posting, in this case, means that I’ve been quite busy, as mentioned before.  And I’ve added even more since that last list was made, so THAT means I have lots and lots of photos and news to blog about, which I hope will be good news for you.

Roasted Beet Summer Salad
Roasted Beet Summer Salad

Today I’ll start with a quick and delicious recipe that I tried tonight.

Something that I LOVE about the internet (and Google in particular) is that I can type in a couple of ingredients that I have on hand and find a recipe that uses those exact ingredients.  In this case I have fresh peaches that were picked at the Queen Creek Peach Festival (more on that in a future post) and some freshly roasted beets that I wanted to use in a salad.  So…I Googled “peach and beet salad” and this is one of the recipes that I found.

The original salad recipe can be found here at the PCC Natural Markets site.  As usual, I tweaked it to fit the ingredients that I had on hand.  You can check out the recipe for ideas on quantities and other options.  Here’s what I used.

  • red beets
  • green onions
  • yellow peaches
  • fresh spinach
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • sugar snap peas
I’m sure the dressing in the recipe would make it even better.  But instead of the dressing, I merely drizzled a little bit of Blood Orange Balsamic Vinegar over the top of the salad and it was great!  I found the vinegar at our local Sprouts Farmer’s Market.  Fresh, healthy and a great combination of sweet, salty, fruits and veggies.  Mmmm!  Great way to ring in the unofficial beginning of summer!  (We’re creeping closer and closer to our 100 degree days after all.)
I hope you get a chance to enjoy this salad sometime this summer.
By the way, I was raised on canned beets, which was really all I knew (and loved) for decades.  In the last few years, I’ve tasted more fresh beets in restaurants and on salad bars and recently decided to oven roast some fresh beets of my own.  If you like beets or enjoy trying new foods, please give them a try.  They’re SO MUCH better tasting than canned and certainly more nutritious.  The last time I roasted them, I served them warm from the oven drizzled with a good balsamic vinegar.  You would think that the vinegar would make them taste tart, but it actually brings out the sweetness of the beets and makes them sweeter!  They are delicious hot or cold!
Let me know if you like beets and how you like to serve them.  I can always use new ideas.  Thanks!
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The Girl Creative