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Specialty Produce in San Diego

Specialty Produce Fresh Foods

Fresh Items From Specialty Produce

Specialty Produce Is The Bomb Baby!

We love Specialty Produce. It’s like our 2nd home. And I’m gonna tell you why. But, first… What can I say? It’s been a while since I wrote a post. My music project has kept me busy. If you wanna check that out (which I would appreciate) please visit: funkcatbrown.com

San Diego Farmers Market Items

Farmers market items

So, now on with my love of Specialty Produce. First of all, they are open like every single day. Holidays and everything. I think the only holiday they close for is Christmas?? But, what really rocks about this place is the freshness and variety of foods they have. I mean the list is endless! They normally sell to restaurants. It’s basically a wholesale restaurant supply place, but they allow the public to shop there. It has ruined going to a regular grocery store for us. They have seasonal items, they have organic fruits and vegetables. They sell locally grown farmer’s market produce. They have things you will not find anywhere else. They have more than just produce!! They have nuts, and beans, and sauces and olives, and chilies, and oils, and Sriracha, and pastas, and grains, and rices, gourmet items, herbs, and more!

Romanesca San Diego

Romanesca

But, I’m just getting started here. The deal is that they have the freshest, choicest, and highest quality stuff. Have you ever been to the grocery store and a lot of the produce seemed like maybe it had sat in the back for a while or maybe had been on display for a little too long? Or maybe it was parked in a truck for a week? Never a problem at Specialty Produce. Since they serve restaurants primarily, the turnover of their product is high and that means you are getting the very freshest of produce. Fresher than a grocery store for sure. In fact when we do get stuff from a regular grocer now we are almost always disappointed with the quality. For example, the lettuce we get there is so fresh it lasts for a couple of weeks in our fridge without even putting in the produce/crisper drawer. Their avocados are really the best I’ve had and are always the perfect ripeness. And I could go on and on about how perfectly fresh all of their food is.

Figs in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Figs in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Variety? Check. They got it. Have you ever gone to like 3 or 4 stores looking for that one thing that might be in season? Not a problem here. They have so much variety it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, they have what’s in season, but one of the things I like is being able to get stuff the normal stores don’t carry if it’s not in season. I can always get watermelon and berries year-round at Specialty, for example. Need a case of bananas? They got it. Or a case of honeydew melons. Covered. I wish I could list everything they have here. But, hey… they’ve already done it. Over on their website is a list of everything they have in stock. Ridiculous. Want purple potatoes? Got it covered.

Heirloom Tomatoes at Specialty Produce

Heirloom Tomatoes at Specialty Produce

And prices!! Have you ever been to Whole Foods and bought an heirloom tomato and a Portobello mushroom and it was like $20? Not here. Their prices are amazing. We save so much money by shopping at this spot. No coupons necessary. And the staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable and friendly. Props to the staff! We love them. They are the best of the best and I just cannot say enough about how awesome they have been. You get to know them and it’s nice shopping some place where you feel like family.

Black Garlic in San Diego

Black Garlic in San Diego

Another added benefit is that since they don’t carry all that junk and crap that regular grocery stores do, we aren’t tempted as much to buy processed foods that are bad for us. And another cool thing is that if you want to taste something before you buy it, you can. Recently, I wanted to make sure some new Sumo oranges were as good as they looked, so I peeled one and split it with Mrs. McFly and of course they were so awesome we bought some. Hey, don’t go there expecting a free lunch. I mean be reasonable. But, if you need to taste before you buy, just know that you can do so within reason.

Chili peppers in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Chili peppers in San Diego at Specialty Produce

They even have this badass Specialty Produce App you can download for free for Android or Apple (you can see this stuff on their website, too) that will tell you what’s in season, what they have that’s new, and will give you details about food items that you never even knew about or maybe want to learn about. It will even tell you which restaurants in the San Diego area are using that food item and give you recipe ideas and show where it’s been spotted by other app users on a map of the world! Mind blowing stuff. I have learned so much about food since going to Specialty Produce and here I thought I was a foodie!

Watermelon in San Diego year-round.

Watermelon in San Diego year-round.

What a gift we have here in San Diego and we do not take it for granted. If you want to expand your culinary horizons or are looking for new things to try or hard to find vegetables or fruits or if you need special herbs or tons of something or just want to save money, then go to Specialty Produce and enjoy what they have to offer. It still amazes me that a place like this is open to the public and we are ever so grateful to them for all that they offer the community. If you go there be sure to tell them Funkinutt sent you.

Mushrooms in San Diego wholesale

Mushrooms in San Diego wholesale

And to give credit where credit is due: A special shout out to Rawvana. She is the one who turned us on to Specialty Produce and she was very helpful to us when we were raw for a while. Much love for a sweet spirit. Check out her blog if you get a minute. We have in turn tried to tell as many of our vegan friends about it to pay it forward. Wonderful. Nothing but wonderful. Hey, if you find something amazing, then you share it with your friends, and that is what I’m doing here. I am sharing it with you. Thank you all for reading and maybe I will start posting more. Just maybe. No promises though.

Peaches in San Diego

Peaches

Dufus Extraordinarius

Dufus Extraordinarius

Fresh Fruits and Veggies in San Diego

Fruits and Veggies

Philip Rivers made of fruit

Philip Rivers made of fruit

Pumpkins and squash San Diego

Pumpkins and squash

Black Garlic San Diego

Black Garlic

Stone Fruit San Diego

Stone Fruit

Bananas & Watermelon San Diego

Bananas & Watermelon

Plums & Pears San Diego

Plums & Pears

Plum Heaven

Plum Heaven

Vegan San Diego Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Melons and Plums San Diego

Melons and Plums

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Vegan Banh Mi Chay from Bánh Mì San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

When I die, my last meal request would likely be a vegan Banh Mi sandwich. In particular, a vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese sandwich! It even sounds great! Say it out loud! Bánh Mì! — pronounced “Bon Mee”.

I’ve always loved Vietnamese food. Their combinations of spicy and salty, with a touch of sweet and sour, produce that perfect umami flavor perfection that I love so much. Only Thai food rivals the joys of umami and would be a close 2nd for a death bed meal, but a Banh Mi Chay is really my last wish.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Sure, you can make your own Bánh Mì at home, but they are so inexpensive that I just prefer to let the experts make them and buy Banh Mi from a restaurant, street food cart, or food truck.

One of our favorite places in San Diego is Banh Mi San Marcos. They make these giant Banh Mi sandwiches and it is family owned and operated. The secret to a great Banh Mi is extremely fresh ingredients, especially the French baguette used for the bread, and Banh Mi San Marcos gets it right every time.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Banh Mi San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich from Banh Mi San Marcos

We order the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich without mayo and add Vegenaise ourselves in place of the mayonnaise. It comes with the traditional ingredients of cucumber, jalapeño, pickled carrots and daikon, with cilantro, and we like to add Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to each bite. Some Vietnamese restaurants use fish sauce with their tofu or on the sandwiches, so be sure to ask about that to make it vegan. Bánh Mì San Marcos does not use fish sauce on the Bánh Mì Chay. Yay!

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos is located at 706 Rancho Sante Fe Road San Marcos, CA 92078. You can phone 760-599-0177. They don’t have a website, but I’ve included a picture of their menu, which also shows their hours. They are closed on Sundays.

They have some of the best Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches I have ever tasted, and I’ve had many. Give them a try or search your local area for a restaurant that serves the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich. If you’ve never had one then you are missing out on true delight. Do not deprive yourself. Go now! It may very well end up being your death bed last meal request, too.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

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Vegan Pizza – Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

Vegan Pizza Slices

Vegan Pizza Slices

I love pizza. Most people do. Luckily vegan pizza has come a long way in the last few years. My girlfriend wanted some vegan pizza the other night after a hard day at work. Comfort food? Yeah. So, I looked online and found a pizzeria a few miles away that serves vegan pizza. It’s called Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza in Carlsbad, close to San Diego, CA. They have several locations in San Diego, Southern California, and Las Vegas. See below for important caveats for vegans. Want a free pizza? Keep reading.

Vegan Pizza Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

Sammy's Woodfired Vegan Pizza in the box

I called and asked all the right questions (so I thought – more later) and ordered their vegetarian pizza to go, substituting Daiya vegan cheese for the regular cheese for a $2.00 upcharge and xing the fontina cheese. It had grilled eggplant, onions, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes, with a roasted garlic sauce. They couldn’t tell me on the phone which brand of vegan cheese they use. So, we went to pick it up and I spoke with the chef and told him I wanted to be sure it did not contain casein. He was kind enough to check and informed me that they use Daiya cheese. Yay! He said he hadn’t tried it yet and I chuckled and told him it is really quite good. Anyway, thanks for checkin’ chef. Hey, they have gluten-free pizza, too.

The atmosphere at the restaurant was quite nice with a warm ambiance and very busy. They have a little patio with a fire pit and the woodfired pizza ovens are on full display. We agreed we would have to go back for the full experience. We got two vegan pizzas because they are kind of small and there is only one size. We got home and opened the box and a beautiful vegan pizza stared at us and smiled. :) We chowed down.

Vegan-Pizza-CrustVegan Pizza Close-Up

Their Vegan Pizza

Their vegan pizza is excellent. Especially, the grilled veggies. The eggplant had a wonderful texture, much like mushrooms, and the flavor of the roasted garlic sauce with the Daiya cheese was a nice combination. Everything was very well-balanced and tasted oh soo good. Nom nom nom nom.

The crust was pretty good. The crust. Ok. So, after we ate both pizzas I emailed Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza to just triple check all my facts before I posted this up on the interweb. I am new to this whole vegan thing, so I was remiss in asking about HONEY! Bah. Turns out I needed to ask a lot of questions.Lesson learned. See below for important caveats for vegan pizza at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza.

Free Pizza

It would be nice if they DID advertise a vegan pizza on the menu, so that it would be clear to their employees and customers exactly what to order that could be considered vegan. Hey, but now YOU know. Also, their website is not up to date with all of their locations. There are a few not listed on there. You might try Google Maps instead. FREE PIZZA? Join their Insider E-Club on their website and get a coupon for a free pizza with the purchase of a menu item of equal or greater value. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter for deals.

Important Caveats for Vegans

I called and spoke with their corporate chef, Jeff, and got more information. He said they are working on a vegan menu. Hooray! Go Sammy’s. Go chef Jeff. Here’s what you need to know in the meantime.

  • Their regular crust contains honey. Order whole wheat, artisan, or gluten-free crust instead.
  • Their “homemade sauce” is not vegan and contains cheese. You need to specify that you want marinara sauce without cheese.
  • The roasted garlic sauce IS NOT vegan, but was at the time of this writing. They added Parmesan cheese. :(
  • The Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce IS vegan.
  • The veggies are grilled first thing in the morning on a clean grill, but it is the same grill used to grill meat, in case this is an issue for someone.

The verdict. Awesome good vegan pizza. My girlfriend already went back. We will continue trying vegan pizza here in San Diego and I hope to make my own very soon. To avoid any controversy, the pictures here of vegan pizza are not vegan since I didn’t know the regular crust contained honey.

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza Vegan Pizza

Vegan Pizza with Grilled Veggies

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

Pizza Box

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Filed under Cuisine, Culinary, Eating, Food, Food Products, Foodie, Restaurant, Restaurants, Vegan, Vegetarian