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Best farmers markets for prepared foods?

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I've tapped out the great choices in ready-to-eat foods at the mid-Peninsula farmers markets where I live -- killer sorbet, great crepes, Indian yummies and on and on like that -- so my friends and I want to branch out. What are the best markets for such stuff? Ferry Plaza is great, of course. And I've heard that Grand Lake and maybe Temescal are very good. Any other suggestions? And are there any that should be skipped -- like Mountain View -- because the local eateries but the kabosh on such competition? And finally, what vendors at these markets shouldn't be missed?

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  1. The main advantage Grand Lake has over Temescal is that in addition to a whole separate section of prepared foods they have at least two trucks: Roli Roti and a Belgian Waffle truck. Fabrique Délices (French charcuterie) also has a booth at Grand Lake and the chocolatier there is Barlovento, which I prefer to Vice at Temescal. The Sunday farmers market at Jack London Square also has a good selection of prepared food vendors, including a wood-fired pizza stand.

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    Jack London Square
    70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      just to tack on more info about the jls market - they have a new crepe stand, a mexican place focusing on tamales, cholita linda, which makes fish and chicken tacos (wont be back till Feb), a sausage place and a Mediterranean stand. sukhi's and east & west gourmet are there (like they are in practically every market). i personally like cholita linda, i would avoid the tamale place. bakeries include beckmans, feel good bakery, dot's and Phoenix Pastificio.

      berkeley farmers market on saturday has flacos (a veg mexican place), cafe zambala ("Himalayan" food), cindy and andy's thai (also found in grand lake) and a crepe stand. bakeries include oktoberfest, moonlight and morrell's.

      I would avoid mt view....great place for produce, not so much for prepared foods. same goes for el cerrito (sat), newark (sun), saratoga (sat), walnut creek (sun), sunnyvale (sat) and union city (sat). all of these have some prepared foods, but nothing exceptional. i wouldnt call hayward a go to market for prepared foods, but they have some interesting stands. their market is sat mornings...try it out if nearby.

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      Phoenix Pastificio
      1250 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94702

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I was thrilled to see that Boccalone now has a stall at Grand Lake. Tru Gourmet sells some creative, pricy dim sum worth sampling. And Robert Lambert has the best marmalades I've ever tasted (I'll take his blood orange over June Taylor's any day). Blue Chair sells there too, although most of their preserves are too sweet for me (exceptions - their Blenheim apricot preserves, which seem to only be available for a week or two, and their tomato jams). Scream Sorbet has a stand at Grand Lake now. Love Phoenix Pastificio's olive bread and pastas, and Oktoberfeast's pretzel croissants.

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        Phoenix Pastificio
        1250 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94702

        Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
        1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

        Scream Sorbet
        5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

        Tru Gourmet
        San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA

        1. re: daveena

          Boccalone is also at Temescal, so glad to be able to get it in Oakland.

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          Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
          1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

      2. The biggest selection I've seen is the seasonal Thursday market in downtown San Rafael. Goes on for blocks. I'm not sure when it starts up again.

        http://www.sanrafaelmarket.org/

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          The downtown San Rafael FM isn't a year-round market though. For the North Bay (at least in Marin), you have (1) the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market (Saturdays in Larskpur across from the Ferry) where El Huarache Loco is for marvelous authentic Mexico City food (someone mentioned Phoenix Pastifico who is also at that market) (2) the San Rafael Civic Center Farmers Market (Sundays; this is a huge one), and (3) the Corte Madera Farmers Market (Wednesdays, I haven't been there so can't say anything).

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          El Huarache Loco
          100 Alemany Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: chowtogo

            San Rafael Civic Center is Thursdays and Sundays. Many prepared food vendors at each, including one of the wood-fired pizza oven trucks.

        2. Can you tell us what some of your favorite mid-Peninsula farmers markets choices were before you started looking elsewhere?

          1 Reply
          1. re: charliemyboy

            The south Palo Alto FM is great for prepared foods and is year-round. Faves: Scream Sorbet, Krunchy Kale (addictive kale "chips" that are healthy and low cal), Farmhouse Culture Kraut (love the apple-fennel and smoked jalapeno), Raw Daddy's Fun Cones (both the savory and sweet are tasty and they're small, leaving room for other items!), Hodo Soy (pricey but delicious), Barlovento Chocolates, Roti-Roti and Oaxacan Foods. There are tons more beyond these. Oaxacan Foods is also at the seasonal downtown Palo Alto market, as is Scream and a couple more. It's a good market but there are fewer prepared foods, although the crepe place (also at the south Palo Alto market) is worth a stop. There are barely any prepared foods at the Menlo Park market, but like downtown Palo Alto, it's also a good market for produce, etc. One of many highlights: coastal fisherman Pietro Parravano, who sells things he catches as well as things he gets from other fisherman, such as day-boat scallops, wild prawns and wild salmon from other regions. Try his outstanding smoked salmon fins (or near that area), succulent little meaty morsels.

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            Scream Sorbet
            5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

          2. Grand Lake without a doubt. I plow my way through that market with my mouth wide open. Oh, for roli roti. Well, the weekend's not far away.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mamachef

              There used to be a guy at the Saratoga Farmer's Market maybe 4 years ago who would slide up the side of his truck to reveal multiple spinning rotisseries with several chickens laced on each one. On the bottom there were roasting red potatoes with garlic and rosemary catching the chicken drippings. The smell was fantastic, but I also love the whole idea of the truck. Has anyone see the chicken truck anywhere?

              1. re: Tumkers

                I don't know if it's the same truck, but that describes Roti Roti. http://www.roliroti.com/

              2. re: mamachef

                Roli Roti was selling porchetta sandwiches at Grand Lake today - didn't get a chance to get one myself. Hope they decide to make it a weekly thing...