Hello everyone and happy Thanksgiving. Turkey day is tomorrow and I, for one, am looking forward to all of the amazing grub that I am going to be stuffing down my gullet. Well that and getting to hang out with some great friends. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend. Now on to the end of my Southern California adventure.
Now the trip couldn’t be all work. I did have to have some fun as well. I got to visit with one of my brothers and his family and I timed my visit so that I could be there for his twin boys birthday which was great. I was also able to meet up with some great old friends. I went to Universal Studios with my friend Natalie and we goofed off for the day. It was awesome to hang out with her, and be silly, and to go to the new World of Harry Potter section of the park. Let me just say that I know it must have been absolutely horrible for me but I did have three butterbeers that day. It’s a good thing I did so much walking to burn those things off. If you get to go, you must have butterbeer. The flavor is a mixture of butterscotch and marshmallow and if you don’t like that, you have no soul and I hate you. In the afternoon, we met up with another dear friend, Leslie, and then Natalie’s husband, Jason, got there. We all sat down, in the shade, and had a very nice chat. All but Leslie went on the big Harry Potter ride which is a really fun roller coaster that has a fantastic mix of digital and practical effects but, I have to admit that as much as I love roller coasters, this one had me a bit woozy at the end. The four of us wandered a bit and then Jason and I split off from the ladies and went on the Transformers ride and were able to chat a bit. Finally, in the evening, another old friend was able to meet up with us. Lorena is one of my best friends and I was very happy that she was able to hang out with me for a while. Even though I chat with all of these people through texts and Facebook, I realized how much I missed them when we were able to spend time together. So there you have my goof off day and now on to the last two markets.
During the second half of my visit, I stayed with my brother in Menifee which is a small town about 90 miles inland from LA. It is out in the desert and even in early November, it was very hot. I found the Menifee Market in a parking lot near a shopping center. It’s a small market run by a very nice lady named Pam. She was a little leery of me at first and told me that there are people who spy on other markets and try to steal vendors away. Once I convinced her that I was actually from Reno and that I was just visiting, she opened up and we had a very nice chat. She was very open to me taking some pictures and talking with her vendors. I really didn’t talk to too many folks at this market though. I did manage to get blessed by a group of gentlemen running a Christian booth and they insisted that I take one of their signs with me so that I could “spread the Word” in Reno since we have so much sin here. I don’t think that I’m the one to do that though and, for those of you who know me, you know how true that is. After the quick walk around this market, I was ready to hit the road and go to the beach. Pam also runs other markets in the “Inland Empire” and you can find her at the Sun City, Canyon Lake, and Corona markets. The Corona Market is apparently the best one to visit according to the vendors but I didn’t make it there.
Now this market is interesting. First of all, it is right on the beach. I cannot imagine a better location as you will see from the pictures. Half of it us artisans and crafters and the other half is farms and food vendors. The reason it’s split up this way is because one organization runs the craft side and another organization runs the food side. The craft side was very full and there were a lot of different kinds of vendors while the food side was a little smaller but the food I tried was fantastic. I ended up spending more than I intended at Heather’s Confections (heathersconfections.com) and Arizona Jacks (AZjacks.com). Heather makes amazing brittle and Arizona Jacks is a jerky company with some of the most tender jerky I’ve ever had. Both will ship by the way. There were a couple of farms there with some very nice produce, a juice booth, and crepes. I keep forgetting to mention that I saw crepes at almost every market I went to. Now I’m on the hunt for a crepe vendor because that was awesome. So then I worked through the craft side and there were some amazing painters, photographers, jewelers, and more. I ended up talking with Kelly who makes soaps and balms (tropicalbombbathbody.com) and Michael who makes custom nail files and purse hangers (crystalglass-nailfiles.com) for quite a while. They filled me in on the markets in the area and told me some that I will have to visit the next time I am down there. I also chatted with a guy (sorry I forgot his name and it’s not on his card) that makes art out of old surfboards. Part of his profits go towards fighting Carcinoid Cancer. You can see his stuff at wowsurfshop.com.
So that’s pretty much it for my trip to Southern California. I only managed to get to a very small percentage of the markets down there. On my next trip, I want to go back to LA and visit the Hollywood Market, West Hollywood Market, Santa Monica Market, and more. There are literally hundreds of markets down there. I used the California Farmers’ Market Finder app to find the markets closest to me and I would say that it is about 90% accurate. There were some markets in the Inland Empire that were on the app but were not actually open so you may want to check the markets’ website if you can find it. For my last picture, I just had to share my breakfast from my last day there. Last minute, I was fortunate enough to arrange a meeting with another good friend in LA. I had been a little bummed that I hadn’t been able to get in touch with Papa Joe Aviance, Google him if you want to see a great story, but the night before I was going to leave we set up a breakfast meeting. He suggested that we meet at The Griddle in West Hollywood. I originally wanted to get the French toast but he told me that I had to have pancakes so I changed my mind and ordered the Kahlua and Bailey’s pancakes. Little did I know that one order of pancakes could feed a family of five. So, if you ever have pancakes at The Griddle, make sure you bring at least one person to share them with. Until next time, have a great Thanksgiving and, if you’re traveling, please be safe.