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Cookery class or similar in San Diego Area

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I write a couple of foodie newsletters here in Scotland. I am visiting my Aunt in Escondido from 12 to 19 January. At this late notice, is there any chance of taking a cookery class or perhaps visiting a restaurant to meet the chef or visiting a farmers market, fish market ....I'll be dining out and exploring on my own, so any suggestions very welcome. I will have a car. Many thanks!

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland


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There was also this recent topic on a restaurant in Escondido called Asia-Vous--don't know about the chef's availability, but it sounds worth a visit.

Also, there are a couple of organic farms in the general vicinity of Escondido that also sound worth a visit. They both participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs--check their websites for various other programs and features they offer:

Be Wise Ranch

Tierra Miguel Foundation

I have not actually attended any classes at the following establishment, but they do advertise a lot here in San Diego:

Great News Cookware Store and Cookery School

Hope that helps!

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Welcome to San Diego. With any luck you'll be here for the annual mid-January heat wave :cool:

The pickin's are a bit slim on the cooking school piece, but San Diego does have a strong argicultural industry.

Here are the primary cooking schools

Great News is in Pacific Beach at Jewel and Garnett. It is a big cookwares store with a "state-of-the-art" kitchen in back where they hold cooking classes. They have multiple classes everyday on a wide range of topics. Their list of classes is on-line and the more popular classes tend to fill quickly.

The Kitchen Witch is located in Encinitas, which is a little closer to Escondido than is Pacific Beach.

Sur La Table is located in The Forum at Carlsbad. Sur La Table is also a big cookwares store and the Carlsbad location is just one of many. I believe this is the generic web site for Sur La Table classes, if you have to link to a specific store, click on any link that says Carlsbad and/or San Diego.

Balboa Food & Wine Cooking School is in Balboa Park which is in the middle of metropolitan San Diego. The cooking school is above The Prado restaurant and only offers classes at night. The school is small, seats only 16 people and you're pretty much up close and personal with whoever is teaching the class.

The Farmer's Market in Escondido is on Tuesday. I, however, am partial to the Wednesday market in Ocean Beach and the Sunday market in Hillcrest, neither of which is really at all close to Escondido. I like the OB market because of the ambiance and interesting people. There is also a cool little wine bar - The Vine - 1 blk. off the market at Bacon and Niagra. I like the Sunday market because you can usually find some weird and wonderful produce, not to mention some weird and wonderful jewelery (a girls gotta get her priorities straight sometimes :wink: )

A search on the farmer's market link above will also yield you information on the vaunted Chino Farms, produce purveyor to Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. But they sell to the rest of us as well. As far as I have been able to determine, they don't have a web site, but here's the rest of the info;

Chino Farms

6123 Calzada del Bosque

(off of Via de la Valle, S6)

Rancho Santa Fe, CA

(858) 756-3184 - for recorded information

Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 4 PM

Sun - 10 AM - 1 PM

Closed on Monday

People either love Chino Farms or they hate it, there doesn't seem to be much in between. But if you go, you'll be in the neighorhood of the Aniata Cheese Shop in Del Mar (just off Via de la Valle at the I-5, in the Flower Hill Mall, next to Tony Roma's restaurant). This is probably the best cheese shop in San Diego county and worth a visit. The variety is diverse and the staff patient and knowlegeable. They'll let you taste to your hearts content, plus be able to intelligently discuss each cheese with you that you're tasting.

San Diego actually does have a long agricultural tradition having once been (if not still) the worlds largest producer of avocados. Right now SD is the second largest producer of macademia nuts, and you won't be too far from the heart of mac nut production, which is in Fallbrook and Vista. Fallbrook has any number of small producers of almost everything imaginable. You might be interested in checking out La Vigne Enterprises, Inc in Fallbrook. Not only do they produce certified organic exotic fruits they are also certified biodynamic as well as certified Kosher. I can't begin to remember the variety of fruits that they grow, but I know kumquats, kaffir limes and guavas are among them.

The folks at La Vigne work with the guys over at Tierra Miguel which is a local CSA, or Community Supported Agricultural farm. Tierra Miguel is also a biodynamic operation and they can give you a much, much better and clearer explanation than I could at this point :unsure:. CSA is a terrific concept whereby the non-farmers among us can subscribe to a farm's production. The money supports small, local farmers by helping to defray costs and overhead. The subscriber gets a weekly (or bi-monthly) box of the fresh produce the farmer grows. A very cool concept that lets consumers support local agriculture and receive produce that is usually only hours old in return for the support.

Riko Bartolome is the chef/owner of Asia-Vous which is located at 417 Grand Ave. in Escondido. Riko is a native San Diegan and strives to support and promote the local farmers and growers. Riko is a CIA grad and has cooked in a number of highly regarded places around town. He put 150 Grand, also in Escondido, on the map before moving to the W Hotel in downtown San Diego, and then eventually back up to Escondido to open Asia-Vous. He's talented, inventive and creative. The restaurant is dark on Monday's, it would be worth contacting him to see if he'd be willing to help you out. He's pretty well plugged in to the food community here in SD, if he can't help you, then perhaps he could refer you to someone else.

Enjoy your visit, we're not called America's Finest City for nothing.

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Thank you SO much! I will let you know how I get on - and hopefully my experiences will appear in the newsletter.

Wishing you a Happy Hogmanay (New Year)

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland


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