Vine-ripened tomatoes from Farmer Fred’s stand at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market.
I can’t believe the difference in the flavor of food on our vacation compared to our new home in Arizona. We visit two Farmer’s Markets each week. Farmer Fred, as we call him, is friends with our Santa Barbara friends. We’ve visited his stand for years. The first night in town, we were invited to a barbecue that included Fred and his family. His wife sliced his flavorful tomatoes and made caprese with buffalo mozzarella, balsamic and basil. The next weekend after visiting the Farmers Market, I came home with a bag of Farmer Fred’s tomatoes and made caprese for appetizers and lunches — but used mint instead of basil — since that’s what I could find.
The flavor of these tomatoes brought back childhood memories when fresh vegetables from gardens were a staple in Snohomish, Wash. — and probably still are. The grocery store veggies I normally buy are tasteless.
A few of our delicious tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella with mint and balsamic.
Then there’s the fruit. The fruit stand next to Farmer Fred’s is unbelievable. Our favorite pluot is called Dapper Dandy. The ladies who own the stand call out “Dapper Dandy, tastes like candy!” It is the last week for Dapper Dandies so we’ve stocked up — and yes, eating them like candy.
A yellow peach (amazingly delicious) with Dapper Dandies.
Clam chowder and a fish taco at the Santa Barbara Harbor.
Our daughter called us on our drive back from the harbor where we had lunch of fish tacos and chowder at On the Alley. We said we wished Brophy Bros, the signature restaurant in the harbor, that owns On the Alley — to open one in Arizona.
“It won’t work,” our daughter insisted. “First is the fish, fresh off the boat in the harbor.”
Unfortunately, she’s right. I won’t get that taste of freshly caught cod topped with locally grown avocado, pickled onions, queso fresco & salsa blanca in Arizona. It logistically isn’t possible. So I’m enjoying it while I’m here.
Lastly, we were so disappointed to discover that our breakfast burrito place in Beach LIquors had been “poofed.”
Look what happened to our breakfast burrito spot!
We tried several Mexican restaurants and found one that fit our tastebuds perfectly inside a liquor store called Kim’s. It’s close to the house we’re renting — and the food is delicious.
Al Pastor tacos at our new “spot” called Kim’s Liquor Store. In the back of the store is a kitchen with Beto the chef cooking burritos, tacos, platos and daily specials.
I can’t figure out why we don’t have any decent Mexican food by us in Arizona. I think it’s the area where we live and if we drove 45 minutes to an hour south we could find some, but I’m not willing. I’d rather drive to Mexico if I’m headed down that way!
What a difference fresh produce and fish makes for flavor and enjoyment of meals. I wonder if I can start a garden in my backyard? I haven’t gotten the hang of gardening after years of trying in the desert. Western Washington was ideal for growing everything — and we had fresh seafood, too.
What are your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables where you live? Are you able to grow them yourself? Or do you have farmers markets nearby? What about fresh seafood?