Now, on to this afternoon's explorations...
Lemme take you to the beach
Have a freak out
Later we'll peak out
You're on restriction
So you'll probably sneak out!
--Frank Zappa, "Lemme Take You To The Beach," from Studio Tan, 1978
Yes, I have gotten the message that a lot of you in colder climes are pining for some glimpses of sunny SoCal splendor, so instead of investigating more inland strip mall heavens today, I headed over to my personal favorite of San Diego's beachside communities, Ocean Beach. Each of the San Diego beach communities has its own unique flavor, and OB, as everyone calls it, is the one that's distinctly hippy-dippy. Wednesdays also happen to be when OB's farmer's market happens; because traffic and parking is usually murder on farmer's market days, I have yet to get to one in my 3.5 years of living in this town, but as it was still earlyish in the afternoon I decided to try my luck and see how close I could get.
I took my favorite shortcut, through the backside of Mission Bay Park:
Mission Bay Park is this wonderful network of lagoons and green space wedged in behind Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. SeaWorld occupies one corner of it, but it also incorporates all kinds of boat ramps, bathing beaches, fishin' holes, RV parking, and just wide-open green space like this. People are always hanging out, picnicking, bicycling, kite-flying, and just loving the space. It's one of the most terrific pieces of urban park planning I've ever seen.
Anyway, I slip around the park, past SeaWorld, and into OB ... and wonder of wonders, I find a disabled parking space a half-block away from the site of the farmer's market! (Yes, I have a disabled driver placard; it's a godsend to my creaky knees.)
I've arrived almost an hour before the official start of the market, and people are still setting up, so I have some time to kill--a pleasant prospect on OB's main drag, Newport Avenue, which is lined with antique shops, beachware emporia, headshops, cafes and bars. I decide to make a beeline to my personal favorite hang in OB:
Jungle Java is a combination smoothie/latte bar and garden shop, and very very OB-ish. I order a mango/strawberry smoothie:
...and proceed to hang out in the lovely part-outdoors/part-indoors courtyard:
I still have time to kill before the market gets underway, so I decide to pay a visit to my favorite burger joint in San Diego, Hodad's:
A "hodad," as the joint's menu informs you, is surfer-speak for a non-surfer who hangs out on the beach trying to pretend he is a surfer--in other words, a poser. Hodad's the joint is no poser, though--they are an authentic throw-back hippy-surfer feeding and watering hole. Witness their signature vehicle in the lot next door:
The interior of the place is even more drenched in local flava:
Yes, that is an actual front end of an old split-windshield VW bus sticking out of the wall there, complete with half-a-surfboard on top. It has a dining booth inside. Here's a closer look:
I order a single bacon cheeseburger basket with everything:
Now *that's* what I'm talkin' about, bay-bee! ... Erm, not the blurriness of the shot; the bigness of the burger. Can you just imagine the size of the double burger?!? This thing has got on it big rings of raw onion, a big slice of tomato, slices of pickle, and shredded lettuce. The burger patty is crunchy-charred on the outside and juicy-red on the inside. The big seasoned fries are crunchy on the edges and nice and fluffy on the inside. This whole deal costs $6.75. And for that princely sum you also get to read all the crazy license plates on the walls and hear music over the PA that you haven't heard played in public in decades. They were playing Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" when my order arrived, a tune of great significance to my teen years--ah yes, "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, I'm so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside...!"
Suitably burgered up, I at last find the farmer's market ready for my inspection. As often happens with these things, there are more booths selling non-food items (crafts, jewelry, gewgaws, etc.) than selling food, but there are still many nice offerings, such as aguas frescas:
Citrus and avocados:
Cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, butternut squash:
I bought some tomatoes and cucumbers from this lady. She seemed bemused but pleased that I wanted to photograph her booth.
At this point, my knees are begining to complain, so I hobble back to my car. Before I depart OB entirely, I decide to drop by the food co-op, where I have a membership:
The OB People's Organic Food Market
is a lovely little co-op in a building they had specially designed to be environmentally friendly. They have terrific produce:
Plus a goodly stock of other organo-groovy groceries:
It was getting time to be heading home, but I knew I needed to get you folks just one more shot, so that I could end with:
... as the sun slowly sinks into the west, we bid a fond farewell to the Fine Fantasy Freak Republic of Ocean Beach.
Edited by mizducky, 18 January 2006 - 09:15 PM.