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48 HOURS IN PALO ALTO: FOOD, FARMERS’ MARKETS & FRAICHE

October 9, 2013

Fresh Vegetables at Palo Alto Farmers' Market

It will be of no surprise to those familiar with TFW that our last weekend in Palo Alto, California was spent eating, looking for places to eat and finding food related fancies.  Fortunately, Palo Alto is well equipped to indulge our culinary whims and (over)indulge we did.  Thus ensued our 48 hours of food, farmers’ markets & Fraiche.  So, having selflessly (ahem) eaten our way around PA here are our suggestions for anyone wanting to explore the area.

We started our weekend in downtown Palo Alto, a vibrant yet relaxed shopping area, with tree lined avenues and a myriad of shops and restaurants.  Helpfully, there is a website dedicated to downtown’s offerings which can be found here.  However, first things first and all that – before we could contemplate functioning coffee was in order.  Thus, first stop of the day was Philz (click on the link for a more detailed review) for a large cup of Jacobs Wonderbar.  Important business out of the way, next up was food and, more particularly, farmers’ markets.

Confession time: farmers’ markets are a guilty pleasure in TFW HQ.  There’s something quite indulgent about wandering around all the fresh produce, mingling with the local community and all the while being adamant (if not entirely accurate) that not only will you create a Heston-esque feast that evening but from hereon in you will eschew the supermarket and forever commit to local and organic.  As such, it was something of a treat to discover that Palo Alto was home to not one, but two, farmers markets.  First up, was the Palo Alto Farmers’ Market, a not for profit offering an incredible array of local produce, flowers, coffees and chocolates all set to the backdrop of live music.  The market is open every Saturday from 8am until noon and was clearly very popular with locals and visitors alike.  Cue a selection of somewhat random photographs of vegetables but seriously, look at them.  Pretty impressive for a local market I reckon (top marks to anyone who can spot the little visitor on the sunflowers)…

Amazing Vibrant Peppers at Palo Alto Farmers' Market

Organic Artichokes at Palo Alto Farmers' Market

Sunflowers at Palo Alto Farmers' Market

Live Music at Palo Alto Farmers' Market

After a hard morning’s work wandering around the market in the Californian sunshine (yes, I am having separation anxiety) it was time to refresh courtesy of Fraiche.  Having hitherto been a bit judgmental of frozen yoghurt (what was its point??) I became a hypocrite convert a few years ago when I tried the soya version at Fraiche in Fillmore, San Franciso.  It’s fairly safe to say that I was just a teensy bit happy to see that they had set up shop in Palo Alto.  Fraiche is one of those rare breeds (although more common in the States it has to be said) that caters for the full spectrum of TFW HQ dietary requirements; from vegan to eating anything that moves.  Happily serving dairy and soya frozen yoghurts with an array of toppings of your choice, it was a respite from the midday sun.  Also, and who’d a thunk it, Fraiche serves up a surprisingly decent cup of coffee.  Now, if I was the honest type, this is where I would confess to going back the following day for seconds, but perhaps the less said of that the better…

Vegan Frozen Yoghurt Palo Alto Fraiche

A new day, a new farmers’ market, Sunday saw the advent of the California Avenue Farmers’ Market.  Arguably larger than its Palo Alto counterpart, the California Avenue market is open Sundays 9am until 1pm and offers a wide array of fresh produce, flowers and more ‘ready to eat’ foods than Palo Alto.  It’s definitely one to go to hungry…  For us, the particular reason for visiting was the intriguingly entitled Raw Daddy’s Cone Food.  The concept is straight forward enough – raw food in an edible cone, but don’t let this fool you.  Raw Daddy’s has some seriously good reviews online and it is easy to see why.  Refreshingly original, these dehydrated cones are filled with innovative and ridiculously tasty fillings.  I went for the polenta and mushroom cone, which had such incredible flavours (that packed quite a punch) that I considered ordering a second.  It must have looked pretty good too as a passerby stopped me to ask where I got it from.  Deciding that two savoury cones was probably pushing it somewhat I plumped (how appropriate…) for a sweet cone instead.  Rather than drone on, let me just say that if you ever visit California Avenue and do only one thing it’s this: order the Lemon Macaroon Cheesecake Cone.  You will not regret it.

Raw Daddys Vegan Cone Food at California Avenue Market Palo Alto
Raw Daddys Vegan Cone Food at California Avenue Market Palo Alto

Another surprise of California Avenue is where to find a decent cup of coffee.  Giving Philz a run for its money was the coffee shop in the Zombie Runner athletics store.  Yep that’s right.  I’m recommending a coffee shop, in a sports store, called Zombie Runner.  Seriously – this place knows how to make a proper cup of coffee and those can be rare to find in these parts.  For those of you wanting something a little less vegan, it offers a full array of paleo snacks (of the vegan and decidedly non-vegan variety) too.

Movie sign Palo Alto Zombie Runner Coffee California Avenue Farmers Market

So, planning a relaxed but foodie weekend in Palo Alto? Check out the farmers’ markets as a way of discovering the local area and, if I were you, pick up a cone or two en route…

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Irene Donovan October 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I want to go there!!!

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