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Nov 7, 2006 10:06 PM

Blue Bottle Nirvana at Temescal

Last Sunday I visited the Temescal FM for the first time. Although I was a bit disappointed at the lack of produce, etc. stands and the large number of jewelry stands, I did pick up some really great onions and garlic. I think there were only 3 or 4 produce stands. Also lots of food stalls selling prepared food.

I had not, however, eaten any breakfast or had any coffee when I got there. The first stand I saw (after passing the jewelry tables) was Blue Bot. I got in line with the rest of the caffeine-challenged and waited my turn. I have only had BB coffee twice before, both times at the Berk. FM and both times from a cooler containing a pitcher of premade iced coffee. It was pretty great, but the real stuff is far superior.

I tell you, I've been a Peet's groupie for almost 40 years and this was really superior. I was blown away. With the coffee, I chomped on a scone from Bakesale Betty's stand. I almost started dancing and singing ala Fred Astaire - "Heaven, I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak" etc etc.

I bought some beans and froze them because I don't make coffee at home til the wknd. Hope they hold up.

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  1. Oakjoan, did they have a lot of beans for sale? I want to buy some to send as a gift and the Temescal FM is so close to where I live it'll be convenient to get a couple of pounds from Blue Bottle there.

    Also, what time did you go to the market? I think if you're there around 9 a.m. you'll see more food produce stalls. By noon they're pretty much closed up. At least that's been my experience. (But still, it is a smaller farmers market. I just like it because it's close to where I live.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: singleguychef

      If you call them a day before the market, they will save you any and all the beans you want. When you walk up to the counter tell them who you are and they will have your beans ready.

        1. re: chipman

          do you still have to wait in line?
          I went about 10am on Sunday, all I wanted was to buy beans, but the line was so long I was dismayed.

          1. re: oaklandfoodie

            you don't have to wait in line if you are just buying beans. once we waited and the BB guy said to just come up front next time.

      1. They have a very friendly web site for ordering beans - I think you can work out a way to pick them up at the various farmer's markets if you object to using the mail (or Fedex, ?).

        1. Oakjoan, never, never freeze coffee beans. and also don't refrigerate them Put them in a airtight container and place them in a dark place. They should be fine by the weekend.

          5 Replies
          1. re: chipman

            I NEVER put beans in the fridge, but I always freeze them. I wrap them well so that other odors won't invade them. Been doing it for 40 years and haven't had problems. I don't have the time to make a special coffee-buying trip every week so I've hit upon this method. Maybe my taste buds are so jaded that they don't notice. I'll see what happens to the BB beans this weekend. We only drink one cup of coffee a day so it better be good!

            To the person who asked when I went to Temescal - I went twice. Once around 11 a.m. and again around 1:30. BB was closing up but they still had beans - only sold in 1/2 lb. bags. After I tasted their coffee, I went and got my husband and made him buy a cup. He was very glad I did!

            1. re: oakjoan

              This week the Temescal FM was disappointing -- I've been in other weeks and found a lot more good stuff. I agree that there were very few produce stands this week, I think there were at least two or three places that are usually there that I didn't see when I was there this week around noonish.

              1. re: JasmineG

                Glad to hear it's not usually like that. I'm in need of a market that's closer than Berk on Sat which I can't get to that often. I don't know if any of the rest of you like my local market on Grand/Lakeshore on Sat. I just can't get into it.

                Will try Temescal again next weekend and go a little earlier.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Hey Oakjoan, I'm curious why the Grandlake market doesn't do it for you...I've been going there pretty much every Saturday for the past three and a half years and I'm pretty happy with it. It has gotten more crowded (and a little more expensive as a result), but I find it usually meets my weekly produce needs pretty well - plus Panorama breads are darn good (skip the danish though), and Prather Ranch is there to satisfy any meat cravings. For lunch, the Thai food stand is top-notch - I can't quite remember the name, it's something like Cindy & Andy's.

            2. re: chipman

              I was just going to say the same thing. I used to freeze and then tried the airtight dark place method and I was amazed how much fresher the beans stayed.

            3. 'Heaven, I'm in heaven" for me is a gibraltar from Blue Bottle and an almond croissant from Bay Bread. The combination of those two with the creek and a sunny bench lures me often on Sundays. Plus the whole wheat flatbread from the Afghan stall is worth a trip there by itself.

              I love that there is a filipino food stand with vegan lumpias as well as the usual meat ones. The Breton style crepes are nearly as good as Ti Couz, and the fish purveyor has sterling fresh fish from Santa Cruz. The atmosphere is very neighborly and relaxed, and I meet new folks with ease there.
              The veggie stands aren't as complete as the Saturday Berkeley Market, but it has its own flavor, and that's what draws me. I often go to both, for different reasons.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Armoise

                Sounds wonderful. I'd rather have had an almond crois from Bay Bread than a scone from Bakesale B's - less sugary.

                The fish guy wasn't there and I didn't look into the food stalls. I'll be back.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Well, the almond croissant is stuffed with marzipan, so it's probably more sugary! Two days ago when I went at 10 am, the fish stand had wild salmon, black snapper, red snapper, dungeness crab meat and sablefish. I think it sells out quickly.

                2. re: Armoise

                  The Temescal FM has been my first experience with Bay Bread, and I have to say that I'm loving their stuff! I fell in love with the asiago baguette this summer, and then got their sprouted whole wheat bread a few weeks ago, and was very skeptical, but it's excellent. This Sunday I bought another of those and the epi, which was also great.

                3. I've been a Tuesday and Saturday Berkeley market person for a while. I've just moved three blocks from the Sunday Temescal market, which is awesome. But I'm generally disappointed with the market as a whole. Too many prepared food vendors, not enough vegetables, not enough variety. I don't want to recreate the Berkeley markets here, but there is something both of those markets have that Sunday doesn't.
                  The crafts vendors, eh - I don't really need them.
                  I'll continue to go to the market every Sunday, because I want to support the farmers that are there, but hope to see more vegetable vendors in the future. Maybe I should direct these sentiments to the market manager...