Our trip to the Santa Monica Farmers Market happened on Day Four, but it wasn’t until Day 7 (the last day of our first LA trip!) we got to try the most interesting purchase of the trip. Seriously, it was mind-blowing and completely legal, within California and beyond.
No, it wasn’t these berries. They were gorgeous, but not so “super sweet” as advertised.
Or these strawberries. It was probably too early in the season.
The tuna hand roll from the Sugarfish stand was decent, although there was no reason for the fish to be chopped up so fine when there were no discernible seasonings or sauces added.
Much better was the clean-tasting tuna sashimi with soy dressing and scallions. The cost for a plate of sashimi and a hand roll was $8.
Even better were the Luna oysters ($2 each) from Carlsbad Aqua Farms. The delicate oysters were crisp to the taste with a bit a sweetness, and most importantly, wonderfully fresh. Lemon and mignonette sauce was provided, but neither were really needed.
However, what blew me away were the cherimoyas, fruit with green lizard-like skin originating from South America. (There are a few varieties. I believe the one we bought was the White variety.) I’ve heard about cherimoyas before (often from Cali peeps and also from David who lived in Brazil for awhile), but I’d never eaten one so I decided to buy one as an experiment (in January it was $5.50/lb, a small one was less than $2). The only bad thing was that we had to wait for it to ripen, similar to an avocado. The vendor said to keep it in a warm spot — next to my pillow if I so desired — for three days. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for it as lovingly as he had hoped (it was forgotten in the rental car one night), but ripen it did, and on our last day in LA, it was ready to be devoured.
The vendor said the fruit was similar to a sugar apple, which I’ve had before, but this was completely different. First of all, the texture wasn’t grainy like a sugar apple. It was smooth, but still light, not “custardy” like a durian. As for the taste, it was madness. It tasted like pink bubblegum! When I was little, I used to have major tonsil problems, and for years I was forced to drink bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin syrup. Well, it might as well have been cherimoya flavor. It tasted exactly the same. I can’t say I loved it because it was so much of a mindf*ck (no matter how I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I was eating a fruit, it still tasted artificial to me), but I’m glad I tried it just for that reason. What can I say? I’m twisted. If you’ve never had a cherimoya, I’d strongly suggest trying one. In California, the season runs January to June.