Run Away With A Citrus Circus In Little Italy

Sweet citrus! This Saturday at the Little Italy Mercato.

What do you do when life gives you lemons…and limes and oranges?

Well, if you’re the Little Italy Mercato, you throw a party!

That’s right, downtown San Diego’s favorite farmer’s market is celebrating it’s third anniversary this month with a “Citrus Circus” celebration tomorrow June 18th.  From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm this Saturday, in addition to the regular market festivities, you’ll find jugglers juggling local citrus fruit and a panel of local chefs and food writers judging original citrus-centric recipe entries by local chefs and home cooks.

Chef Jenn Felmley, who can often be found sharing her culinary tips at Pacific Beach’s Great News! cooking school, will be demonstrating how to make yummy Italian-inspired dishes by harnessing the power of local citrus in items like lemon risotto and a fresh arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. Citrus farmer Linda Zeiser who owns Rancho Del Sol Organics in Jamul will also be demonstrating how to make the classic Italian aperitif, limoncello. Yum!

All this, plus two stages of live music with award-winning guitarist Johannes Linstead and, market favorite, Smilin’ Jack playing his Italian accordion.

Held every Saturday along five full blocks of Date Street in the heart of the historic Little Italy neighborhood, the Mercato is my go-to farmer’s market. Here, it’s not all about shopping. Over the last three years, the market has delighted the taste buds and sparked the culinary imagination of locals and visitors with fresh organic produce, farm-fresh eggs, meats, olive oils, pastas and cheeses; artisan crafts; live chef demos, tastings and more.

Every time I stroll through it’s streets I discover something new and make a treasured food memory. From savoring live, Point Loma sea urchins straight from the shell within sight of the waters from which they came to my first discovery of local taste makers like Viva Pops or Eclipse Chocolat, every Saturday at the market is an adventure. That’s why the Little Italy Mercato has a special place in my heart.

So, do me a favor, pucker up and say ‘happy birthday’ to the Little Italy Mercato this Saturday…mangia bene!

This entry was posted in Insider Tips and tagged , , , by Kate. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kate

I own, and use, a library card, a record player, a sewing machine and a meat smoker.  Ride my bicycle every day and will, sometimes, wear my roller skates in the house. Have a wealth of useless knowledge – for which you will be thankful when we’re teamed up in Trivial Pursuit.

How would you describe your ideal San Diego day?

Hike through the spring wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Watch the July 4th fireworks over San Diego Bay. Eat Julian Apple Pie a la mode and check out the autumn leaves. Ice skate and enjoy the twinkling holiday decorations at the Hotel del Coronado. All in the same day.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to be able to stop and restart time like that Twilight Zone episode back in the 80’s, “A Little Peace And Quiet,” but, you know, without the a-bomb at the end. Basically, I just want to avoid waiting in lines.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Brunch, without a doubt. Also, cocktails by the pool, outdoor movies in Balboa Park, scouring the swap meet for vintage finds, hanging out on the patio at the Casbah between sets, lawn games and backyard barbecues.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Give me uni plucked from the sea by local divers, a warm, crusty loaf from Bread & Cie, luscious Carlsbad strawberries, sweet local lobster in season and creamy Fallbrook avocados. And, most definitely, a grass-fed beef burger with Winchester gouda and a cold San Diego craft brew.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are…

Honestly, I buy my records at the thrift store and depend on my husband to download new music. Lately he's been stacking the deck pretty heavy with 90's indie rock, bluegrass covers and drone metal.  Go figure.

For more San Diego dining dish, follow Kate on Twitter @katebuska.

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