La Jolla is one of the most beautiful cities in Southern California. Surrounded by lush vegetation, a very Artistic vibe, and people that are absolutely wonderful to be around. This afternoon I headed down there with my little one to meet with my friends and the Owners of the Authentic Italian Market, Ariccia, Robert Pascucci and Stephanie Savchuck. They will be Opening the Market this Fall and trust me when I say it will be nothing short of spectacular. Today though we looked at the space and I was able to envision the Market and how it will look once it’s officially open. Robert and Stephanie walked me through explaining where everything will be and the overall feel of the Market itself. Arricia Italian Market will offer freshly made in-house Pastas, Sauces, Paninis, and will carry Italian Charcuterie and Cheeses from various regions of Italy, including their favorite meat, Porchetta. In addition, they will have a unique blend of desserts and pastries. I will be posting an entire page Featuring the Market closer to it’s Official Opening so look for that soon.
Prepkitchen: After we enjoyed envisioning Ariccia, we headed over to Prepkitchen off of Fay Street for lunch. Situated in a quaint courtyard that beckons something unique, we enter and sit down in a table off of the patio. Our server comes, takes our drink order, and then we order. I choose the Marinated Olives, White Bean & Arugula Salad, and Fries for my daughter. Finding a restaurant that offers a lunch that can feed my taste buds and please a little one who has a varying spectrum of “acceptable” food is a rarity. Prepkitchen did not disappoint. The olives arrive and they remind me of eating Tapas in the restaurants lining the streets of Barcelona. The salad – a perfect combination of fresh farm-to-table ingredients and flavor that exudes confidence and poise. I manage to sneak a bite of the fries from my 4 year-old which can often be like negotiating with a professional and the fries are delicious. A successful meal. Next time, I’ll certainly try more hearty items on the menu like the Duck Leg Confit with lentils, Watercress, & Kumquat Compote or Braised Beef served with Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Porter & Horseradish Gremolatta.
Michele Coulon: After enjoying a light and very fresh lunch at Prepkitchen, I spotted a Dessertier. The Pastry Genius behind it, Michele Coulon. As you enter this quaint little Dessertier, the first thing you see is a pastry case inviting you in to tackle as much as your stomach can muster. Alas, I made my choice: One Orange Almond Cookie (Michele explains the Oranges are from the nearby Orange Groves in San Diego) and the Cloud Pecan. All of her ingredients are Organic and Fresh. As a result, the outcome is uncompromising. As she comes out to talk to Robert and Stephanie (Owners of the Soon-to-be-Open amazing Ariccia Market) and I, she talks to us about her family and her background which you can read more about HERE.
In Michele’s words: “My philosophy: Dessert is not something you eat everyday, so make it worth your while … I would rather eat a small piece of something incredible than a lot of something not so great! Use the best possible ingredients, and the best method in making a dessert. The time it takes cannot be a factor. The final outcome is what counts. It should taste and look amazing but IT HAS TO LOOK EDIBLE! I want guests at a wedding to look at the cake as a beautiful piece of art, but also an edible piece of art, and something they can’t wait to eat!”
She has a lovely way of looking at what she does and it shows in the Desserts she presents. Before she heads back into the kitchen, I ask her what dessert I must try. She says the one I’d been eying which is the Apple Strawberry Tart with a glassy honey glaze. Packaged in a perfectly made pastry box, I peek inside. So pretty! I have savored that tart for days; the honey glaze that leaves a sweet aftertaste lingering on your lips – It is not only beautiful in preparation but in execution as well. There is something to be said about anyone that cooks with passion. It shows in every aspect of every creation and how fortunate are we to be able to taste such love. Thanks to Robert and Stephanie for a perfectly lovely day – and for creating a Market that is going to bring a sense of community and heart to La Jolla, to Prepkitchen for a new take on salad, and to Michele Coulon for taking the time to talk to us and share so much of your story.