Restaurant News & Reviews

Savory flavors abound at South County farmers markets

Saffron Homestyle Indian Cuisine's tandoori chicken with naan bread at Avila Beach's farmers market.
Saffron Homestyle Indian Cuisine's tandoori chicken with naan bread at Avila Beach's farmers market. The Tribune

Not to worry if you show up already hungry at one of the farmers markets south of The Grade. Here’s a look at just some of the tasty bites you’ll come across, so get ready to dig in!

Avila Beach

The Avila Beach Fish and Farmers Market is one of those good things that come in a small package. Though only a couple blocks long and only lasting from April through September, this vibrant Friday afternoon market features plenty of food options among its 40-plus vendors.

Go for one of Old San Luis BBQ Company’s tri-tip sandwiches, or check out some of the items served up by local restaurants. Choices include Olde Port Inn’s fish tacos or Fat Cats’ lobster tacos, Pete’s Pierside’s seafood paella or The Custom House’s grilled corn and ribs, the intriguing “Chowder Sliders” from Avila Grocery or Le Ciel Crepe Café’s savory or sweet crepes.

To further appease your sweet tooth at the Avila market, indulge in an apple turnover from Nipomo’s Best Apple Company, or a farm-fresh “Marcie’s Pie” from Jimenez Family Farm in Santa Ynez, available in several flavors and in regular or individual sizes. There’s also a tempting array of treats at The Art of Cupcakes — delightfully decorated and in flavors as varied as key lime, pumpkin spice, chocolate decadence, and even “Ding Dong.”

Your taste buds’ savory tour can continue at several other vendors. Visit Tamales Don Toño for tamales and fresh salsa, Govinda’s for global vegan flavors, Daniel’s for refreshing agua frescas, or Neeta Bali’s Saffron Caterers for tastes of her native India in dishes like chicken tikka masala. In addition, Baba Foods sells a wide range of prepackaged Mediterranean food such as pita breads and hummus — handy to take home for a meal that day or throughout the week. (Many of these vendors are also at other South County farmers markets, including Saturday in Shell Beach and the fledgling Sunday market in the Kennedy Club parking lot in San Luis Obispo.)

Grover Beach

Another energetic venue is the Grover Beach Farmers Market, part of the Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series on Sunday afternoons in Ramona Park through September. The setup is such that you can enjoy the music front-and-center, and/or buy fresh produce from the booths in back, and, of course, there are a lot of ready-to-eat treats here, too.

Market manager Julie Andrews-Scott reeled off a wide-ranging list, including homemade Italian pasta, tamales, strawberry shortcakes, fresh Mexican ice cream, sweet and salty Kettle corn, and cheesecakes. In addition, you’ll find familiar vendors from Avila (Andrews-Scott manages that market as well), such as Old San Luis BBQ Company’s tri-tip sandwiches, Baba Foods, and those sweet creations from The Art of Cupcakes.

Also “on tap,” is food and drink from Creekside Brewing Company in San Luis Obispo. This is the first year they’ve been at the Grover event, but they’ve hit the ground running.

“We’ve got a rosemary chicken sandwich, a smoked beef brisket sandwich, a locally made Einhorn Sausage bratwurst on a bun with grilled peppers, and a sandwich with pulled pork that’s smoked overnight at the restaurant,” said co-owner John Moule. To pair up with all that beer-friendly food are up to six varieties of Creekside’s handcrafted brews, “and we try to offer something different every week, plus four local wines.”

Is your appetite whetted? Check out your local farmers’ market and see what tasty treats you can uncover.

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