Rancho Bernardo Farmers Market

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The RB Farmers Market opens every Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. It’s located in the Rancho Bernardo Winery. They have a good selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. They also offer fresh-cut flowers, home-made salsas, hummus and spreads, organic breads, few handcrafted items, green drinks and crepes. This farmers market is the perfect size and not overcrowded. They have few but very selective vendors.

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I love this zucchini blossoms.  I have never cooked with them but I recently came across a couple of recipes that uses them, including  a Cashew (Vegan) Cheeze Stuffed Squash Blossoms from Vegan Appetite. I purchased a bunch to give it a try.

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I also tasted the GreensPlease’s Green Green Green. It was earthy and very VERY … take a guess … GREEN!

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I purchased an interesting item, a Spanish Rasca Ajos or garlic grater. It’s a hand-made hand-painted ceramic grater. It can be used with garlic, chocolate, ginger, etc… Chef EJ, the owner, showed me videos of the Spanish artisans making these pieces of art. He informed me that he just returned from Cordoba, in Southern Spain, where these are made.  I paid $20 for this grater plus a garlic peeler and brush.  If you want to learn more about this product, check his website: Buy Garlic Grater

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My final stop was Cassie’s Crepes. They offer several vegan options. I ordered their Green Garden with garlic, mushroom, avocado, tomato, spinach, caramelized onions, cucumber, yellow squash and fresh pesto sauce.  It was the perfect brunch! If you are not into veggies, don’t worry. Everyone else around me was ordering crepes with fruit and chocolate.

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This was my first visit to the RB Farmers Market. I have been to the Rancho Bernardo Winery several times so I didn’t stop by the Village Shops or the Tasting Room afterwards but I truly recommend it. I wish I worked closer to this place. I could have breakfast at this Farmers Market every Friday!

Address: Bernardo Winery 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte San Diego, CA 92128.

Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa – Indian Wells

This is my favorite family destination for Memorial Day Weekend. The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa offers reasonable prices with Marriott points, nice and clean rooms, beautiful views of the mountains and an oversize pool with a mini-beach for the kids. Over the holidays, they have plenty of fun activities for the youngest ones, including arts & crafts as well as free movie nights on the hotel lawn by the pool. My kids always look forward to this.

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What I like the most about this hotel, however, is breakfast at their CAVAS restaurant. It costs around $20 per adult and $10 for the kids. The selection is exquisite with many options for the vegan, gluten-free and paleo members of the family.  I especially like their Squeeze Bar with the two Robot Coupe J80 Ultra juice machines, available to the customers along with dozens of fruits and vegetables ready to be squeezed.

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This is our #1 place to go for Memorial Day Weekend! It’s ideal for families with young kids.

Native Foods Cafe – Palm Springs

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Native Foods Cafe was founded in 1994 in Palm Springs (California) by chef Tanya Petrovna. It’s now a 16-unit restaurant chain with an entire 100% plant-based menu.

“At Native Foods Café our food is made fresh daily—from our homemade tempeh and seitan, to our Native Cheese, to our sauces and drinks, dressings and desserts too! …  We strive to create a compassionate dining experience serving up homemade meals that are good for you, your family and the environment” ~ From Native Food Cafe’s website.

This is one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the US. It’s also our #1 mandatory stop when visiting Palm Springs. We used to frequent the original Native Foods Cafe, off trendy El Paseo in Palm Dessert.  This placed was closed down a few years ago and reopened in a not as popular area, few miles down the road.  Other than location, there are only positive things to say about this place.

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My family loves the refillable watermelon agua fresca and the lavender lemonade.

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For starters, I ordered the Soup Du Jour: Coconut Corn Chowder.

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It was creamy and insanely delicious!

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For the main course, I  actually ordered 2 appetizers: the Butternut Polenta Bites and the Native Chicken wings.

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The Butternut Polenta Bites were served with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions and toasted pumpkin seeds in a balsamic over arugula. It tasted similar to a vegetarian Cuban “tamal en cazuela”, my all time favorite dish. It was so good, we decided to go back the next day for seconds.

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The Native Chicken wings were served with ranch and buffalo sauce on the side. We have tried a similar dish at both Veggie Grill and Whole Food Market. This was as good if not better.

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My kids ordered the Native Chicken Nuggets with brown rice and dipping veggies. They also enjoyed Freddie’s Mac and Cheese made with quinoa “super” pasta,  cow-friendly cheese sauce and broccoli.  My oldest asked if we could go back to this restaurant again.  Of course!  I happily mentioned to her that there is a new Native Foods Cafe in Encinitas which is 5 minutes from my work!

I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone: vegetarians and meat-eaters. 

Espresso Cielo

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We stumbled across this cafe while walking through downtown Palm Springs.  The interior was painted in cool temperature colors ( French blue, black and grey) which contrasted the high dessert heat. The cafe has a very unique European flair.

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The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. We ordered an iced americano and a coffee soy latte with cinnamon. As you can tell, we are not necessarily coffee purists. According to the experts, a good coffee must be black like the devil, hot as hell, pure like an angel and sweet like love.

At Espresso Cielo, they serve delicious coffee from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters.

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This cafe lives up to its name. My coffee soy latte and the overall experience was a little bit of “cielo” (Spanish for heaven) on earth.

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When visiting Palm Springs, check this place out!IMG_1594