Discover more from The Linda Vista Update
Fig Tree Cafe Opens in Mission Valley
Plus: Kearny High Athlete in Spotlight, Consider the Fascinating Chirimoya, LV Update, and Poem about Kelly Street Park
Your intrepid LV Update reporters are once again on the cutting edge! Less than one week after its opening, we visited the new Fig Tree Café in Mission Valley’s Hazard Center in order to report on this newest addition to the culinary landscape of LV and neighboring environs.
The first Fig Tree Café opened in Pacific Beach in 2008; another opened at Liberty Station in 2013. Since then another has opened in East Village and on February 1, 2023, Fig Tree Café opened in Hazard Center (near Food 4 Less ,where a sushi restaurant was previously located).
As soon as we heard about the opening, we rushed over to give it a try. Only about 2 minutes away.
This restaurant is open from 7AM to 3PM daily. It is a breakfast, brunch, lunch kind of place. It is also a fully functional bar with Bloody Mary renditions, mimosas, house cocktails, drafts and wine. Also kombucha and coffee and other beverages. It has both indoor and outdoor dining space. You can eat in or order out. The space is large and inviting, with a giant mural painted of an old VW bus on one wall and colorful surfboards hanging from the ceiling. (The muralist’s name is Clarione Gutierrez. He is a local artist. You can check out his art work and designs by clicking here on his web site).
The interior has a casual California beach town vibe. This vibe immediately made us feel comfortable.
We had looked at the menu online and saw a wonderful selection of breakfast and lunch items. Various Eggs Benedict, such as traditional, salmon, short rib. Also omelets including chorizo, veggie and seasonal, pancakes, and French toast including fig jam and ricotta, brioche, gluten free cinnamon raisin. They also have a selection of soups and salads, sandwiches such as grilled turkey, spicy chicken, grilled cheese and tomato bisque, breakfast burritos, crispy pork belly, huevos rancheros, steak and eggs and more. They have a nice selection of sides. See their entire menu here.
We were told upon entering that their special was Shrimp Katsu Sando. It consists of a brioche bun, crispy shrimp katsu patty, curry aioli, sunomono salad and shaved cabbage and was served with garlic furikake fries and garlic aioli. Since I dearly love katsu, I immediately ordered the special for $16.00.
Steve ordered the Fig Jam and Ricotta French Toast. This included fig jam and ricotta cheese stuffed inside a brioche and rolled up. Syrup was on the side and the French toast was also topped with fig jam.
My sandwich was delicious. It was probably too much for one person, but since the Carnivore Sidekick was not with us, I managed the whole thing. The curry aioli was really yummy. There were so many fries, we ended up sharing them. The fries were crispy and the spices added to their flavor. Who doesn’t love garlic?
Steve thought the French toast was among the best he ever had He especially liked the creaminess of the ricotta cheese and the rich sweetness of the fig jam. It was a very filling dish. He would definitely order it again.
If you are looking for a new breakfast, brunch or lunch place, please give the Fig Tree Café a try. I think you will enjoy it.
Fig Tree Cafe
7710 Hazard Center Dr.
San Diego, CA 92108
Local Athlete in the Spotlight
Isaiah Baker Leads Komets Basketball Team
Many high school athletes are lucky if they can star in one varsity sport. Then there is Kearny High School’s Isaiah Baker who is talented enough to star in three different sports. During the fall, you can see him on the football field. This past year he played the position of receiver, until he was required to fill in as quarterback for the rest of the season when sophomore starter Brodie Stump injured his collarbone. During the winter months he is a sharp shooting point guard for the basketball team. And during the spring he is a versatile jumper for the track team, serving as a high jumper, long jumper and triple jumper. In fact, last year he won the league championship in the triple jump. His overall talents were recognized at the end of the 2022 school year when he won honors as Kearny High Athlete of the Year.
He is enjoying a very successful basketball season this year. He scored a season high 36 in one game. In this past Tuesday’s home basketball game at Kearny High, Baker was in the spotlight as he scored 24 points while leading his team to an important league victory over Crawford High School. His overall play has placed him in contention for being honored as the league’s MVP.
The Komet basketball team sports an overall 12-10 record, and is expected to earn a spot in the post season CIF Division IV playoff tournament. The last regular season game for the team is this Friday on Kearny’s home court. CIF tournament play begins next week. The team is hoping to get a home game as its post season opener.
Kearny basketball head coach—James Cevallos—describes Isaiah Baker as “Just a phenomenal athlete. He really cares about his teammates. Based on his performance, I expect him to be playing on a college team next year.”
What’s in store for next year? The high school senior has spoken with a couple colleges about playing football and one college about participating in track. He’s waiting to hear from a couple colleges about the prospects of playing basketball.
In regard to academics, Baker says that his favorite course at Kearny has been English class, while crediting English teacher Mr. Matsuo as his favorite teacher.
In jeeping with the spirit of the LV Update, we asked Baker to make a local restaurant recommendation. As a Serra Mesa resident and typically hungry teenager, he recommended Maggie’s Cafe, located at 3232 Greyling Drive. Suite D. “They serve great stuffed French Toast,” he said.
When asked if he had anything particular to say to LV Update readers, he issued a challenge for readers to come out and see the Komets in action, enthusiastically commenting “Don’t be shocked when we win the CIF championship.”
As mentioned above, the Komets’ final game of the season will be played at the Kearny High gym this Friday at 7:30 against Canyon Hills High School. Since it is the final home game of the season, it also Senior Night, so expect a big, loud crowd to be in attendance as they recognize all the seniors on the team. Come early to get a good seat!
Scoop into a Tasty Chirimoya
If you have spent anytime at the Love, Linda Vista Farmers Market, you’ll know there are some great fresh fruits and vegetables available for purchase. People from all around the local area come on a weekly basis to survey the different selections and stock up on such favorites as avocados, berries, oranges, potatoes, and various greens. No surprises there. However, we recently noticed that one of the most popular fruits sold at the Farmers Market is a fruit that up until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even know existed.
It turns out a fruit called the Chirimoya happens to be very popular with the Linda Vista crowd. In our opinion, the fruit is not only popular because of its taste and purported health attributes, but also because it represents the unique ethnic diversity of our community. To appreciate the Chirimoya, you just have to overlook the fruit’s unusual rough, scaly exterior and take advantage of what’s inside—similar to an avocado.
In case you are not familiar with the Chirimoya, the fruit is described on one internet source as “a large, green, conical or heart-shaped compound fruit.” The fruit’s origins have been traced back to the Incan Empire. In fact, the name is derived from the Quechua word chirimuya, which means "cold seeds". You’ll notice the prominent seeds once you slice the fruit open. As pointed out by one vendor at the Farmers Market, the fruit is grown primarily in high altitudes and in tropical/subtropical climates, to include Asian regions and one state in Mexico—this accounts for Linda Vista residents being so familiar with this fruit.
Like an avocado, one will know when to eat a ripe Chirimoya by feeling its rough exterior and determining if its softness is just right. When sufficiently ripe, you then slice it in half and scoop out the flesh. The scooping is why the fruit has been commonly referred to as the “ice cream fruit.”
The fruit’s taste and texture has been compared to a banana and custard, with the ripened flesh described as “creamy white.” It’s also been described as the “custard apple” and the “sugar apple.” Of course, you have to avoid the seeds. According to Wikipedia, “Cherimoya seeds are poisonous if crushed open.”
There is also the nutritional value associated with this popular fruit. Chirimoya are great for obtaining vitamins B-6 and C, as well as potassium.
Chirimoya can be expensive, depending on where in the U.S. you live, but we only paid $2.50 for one at the Farmers Market. As shown in the photo above, they were selling for $6.50 a pound.
We spoke to one of our enthusiastic LV Update readers after spotting her buying a bag full of Chirimoya at the Farmers Market. Martha B. shared with us that she grew up eating Chirimoya. “They taste so good,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite fruits. They used to grow them around Santa Barbara, and I would always eat them as a kid.”
In speaking to another one of our LV Update readers—Jackie P—we found out that the fruit is very popular with Lao people, but there are very different kinds of Chirimoya, “Some coming from Asia, some from California, some from Texas, for example”….with each one “tasting and looking slightly different.” She added that her father believes the fruit has anti-cancer properties.
If you want to find out more about this fruit, here is a link to an interesting and informative YouTube video that describes how to eat a Chirimoya.
So, if the next time you visit the Love, Linda Farmers Market, you are feeling adventurous, or if you perhaps have a desire to get in touch with your inner Inca self, I suggest you take a walk on the wild side and try out a Chirimoya.
Just remember…. don’t eat the seeds. We want all of our readers to remain healthy and toxic free, and always ready to read future issues of this newsletter.
LV News Briefs:
—Farmers Market: The Love, Linda Vista Farmers Market will operate today from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Linda Vista Plaza Shopping Center. Come and buy your fresh fruits and vegetables, and check out what all the other vendors are selling. You might think about buying tonight’s dinner there.
—Mission Heights Valentines Arts and Craft Event: As mentioned in a previous issue of this newsletter, Mission Heights neighborhood resident Bree Partington will be hosting a Valentine’s Arts and Craft Day at Mission Heights Neighborhood Park. Check out the below flyer for details. All ages are welcome. This should be a fun community event.
—Linda Vista Planning Group Election: The Linda Vista Community Planning Group is looking for volunteers to run for its board positions. Community Planning Groups provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City Council, the Planning Commission, and other decision-makers on development projects, general or community plan amendments, re-zonings and public facilities. The recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process, and are highly regarded by the City Council and staff. The Linda Vista Community Planning Group meets the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Please check out the below flyer for details about how to run for one of the board positions.
—Kearny High Alumni Car Show: Check out details of the 5th annual Kearny Alumni Car Show to be held February 25. See the flyer below.
LV Update Poetry Corner
Kelly Street Park, a 17-acre neighborhood park located at 6626 Kelly Street in Linda Vista, has experienced some local controversy. The park has frequently been the site of numerous homeless people taking up residence and vandalizing the restrooms, as well as being the victim of frequent graffiti and occasional violence. What was originally designed as a family friendly park has become a place where families sometimes fear to enter.
Back in 2020, the San Diego Reader identified Kelly Street Park as one of the city’s deadliest parks.
Fortunately, the City’s Kelly Street Park project is currently in the process of developing a General Development Plan (GDP) amendment to redesign and renovate the park. This process has included presentations at two community meetings to collect feedback from LV residents as to which features can be added to improve the park.
We have written about Kelly Street Park in the past, but we thought that this time a poem might be effective in expressing both the concerns and the appreciation the local residents have for this beautiful but problematic park.
Kelly Street Park’s Lament
By Steve Rodriguez
In another life I am a sprawling
sum of grass and benches and playful venues.
People run for miles within my borders.
I am Central Park, and I sit at the center of the Universe.
The city must go through me,
or maneuver around my four busy, distant corners.
Host of Holden’s carousel,
I also boast of summer Shakespeare in the Park.
And on Thanksgiving Day, marching bands will first serenade
along my perimeter before heading down to Macy’s.
But here, today, in this reality
I am a pocket-sized park in Linda Vista.
Small, tucked away
in a corner;
by apartment buildings and a canyon.
Largely ignored, or avoided, or “never heard of it” by most.
I host gang graffiti, and the homeless trekking up from Tecolote.
Community clean-ups are held on my behalf.
True, sit at my edge
and take in the dramatic canyon vistas produced by the Eocene Age.
You’ll not be disappointed.
But the truth is, mixed emotions prevail.
While my trees dispense a cooling shade,
Neighboring families often fear what lurks in the shadows.
I suggest you stop by.
Deep into the night, you’ll hear the coyote yips,
And the occasional gunshots.
I can be this park, and that park.
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The Linda Vista Update is a weekly digital newsletter that publishes informative, interesting and fun news about Linda Vista and its neighboring communities.