Discover more from The Linda Vista Update
Innovative Food App Provides Great Bargains
Plus: Halloween at LV Farmers Market, Creating Succulent Pumpkins at the Y, Trunk or Treat at Hope Lutheran, Basic Seeding Class, Book Reviews, and Pumpkin Painting at Mission Heights
This week I am not doing a restaurant review. This is more of a food app review. In keeping with the idea that meals in restaurants are getting more and more expensive, I have been thinking of ways we can save money and still have a good eating experience. Recently, I came across an article in the SD Union Tribune about a fairly new idea in this country that enables that very thing. It is an app called Too Good to Go.
It addresses the big problem of food waste. This app, according to its website, lets you rescue unsold food at your favorite spots from an untimely fate. This is done in the way of “surprise” bags from various establishments available at the end of the day as a way of preventing the food from going to waste. Participants include restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, etc. You do not know exactly what is in the surprise bag, but the price is very reasonable, usually $4.99 or $5.99 and worth much more.
As an aside, this concept started in Denmark and is available in many countries. It recently launched in the United States, and in March of this year launched in San Diego. You can read about its impact on the website including how many tons of food are saved from being wasted and the positive impact on the planet.
Here is how it works. First, you install the app Too Good to Go on your phone. When you open the app you will be asked for certain information such as how far you would go to pick up food. The app will then show you what is available either that day or the next day and give you an opportunity to reserve the food and pick it up at a certain time. Although you won’t know exactly what is in the bag you will have a good idea from the type of establishment, and the app will tell you what you may expect. If an item is sold out, it will let you know. Pretty simple.
Being an adventurer at heart, I installed the app and got busy locating something I might be interested in. It didn’t take long. An establishment we had reviewed popped up – Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (on Morena Boulevard) had a mystery bag for $5.99 that would include bakery products. Perfect, I thought. I immediately reserved it with pickup between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
We drove down and pickup was very easy. The server had my bag ready; I couldn’t wait to see what goodies we scored for such a low price. To our delight, there were four pastries in the bag. Since their pastry items cost around $3.00 or $4.00 each, it was quite a bargain.
There was one large croissant, one large chocolate croissant, one muffin which resembled the taste of a cinnamon bun, and an iced muffin that might have been poppyseed (see photo above).
The pastries were delicious- at least the one I ate. My co-editor devoured the pan du choclat and cinna-muffin. The plain croissant was flaky and made me feel very French.
We decided that once was not enough, so we tried the app a few days later. This time we found a surprise bag for $5.99 at Pappalecco production kitchen on Kurtz Street in the Midway district. I looked up Pappalecco restaurant, which is in Little Italy, and discovered they serve things like paninis, bowls, gelato and other Italian delicacies. I couldn’t imagine how they could have leftover gelato, but being very hopeful, I reserved a surprise bag to be picked up at 8:00 am. With thoughts of a panini or gelato for breakfast, we went down Rosecrans Boulevard and found ourselves in an industrial area full of large trucks and many businesses. We finally found Pappalecco’s and I entered with my app at the ready to pick up my surprise bag. I ended up disappointed there was no gelato, but delighted nonetheless to find 6 large muffin-type pastries with icing which I later found to be filled with raspberry filling. We came home, poured another cup of coffee/tea, and split one in half to try it out. Oh my goodness, it was delicious! I put the rest in the freezer and dreamed of having one for breakfast the next day and the next and the next. Unfortunately, those dreams were trashed when the Carnivore Sidekick showed up at the door, and three muffins quickly disappeared. So, maybe Steve and I will have one left to share tomorrow. Those muffins probably cost over $3.00 apiece so I think 6 for 5.99 is quite a bargain, and I will definitely try this place again.
I limited our search to 2 miles, but if you are willing to drive further, you will have more selections. There were a number of places in Hillcrest, Little Italy, Mission Hills, etc. Since I wanted to write about our experience, I wanted it to be local. I noticed some from California Fish Grill in Mission Valley and apparently they would be expected to include sides and had to be picked up between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm. The Chicken Pie Shop was another interesting one for those who eat meat. A $15.00 value for $4.99.
So, if you want to help save the planet, get a nice treat, and save money to boot, I recommend you download this app and try your luck. If you use it and like it, let us know so we can pass on some experiences.
Upcoming Community Event
Halloween at the LV Farmers Market on Oct. 26
Class Offerings in the Community
Creating Succulent Pumpkins at the Y in MV
Those of you who know me know that I am the most un-craftsy person on the planet. So, what does my co-editor do? He signs me up for an arts and crafts class at the Mission Valley YMCA called Succulent Pumpkins. He said, “I think our readers might be interested in knowing what kind of creative classes are offered in the community. And since it’s October, we could also use a decorative pumpkin around the house.” The YMCA flyer advertised that at this class you could create your very own succulent masterpiece of a decoration to use as a centerpiece in your home or give as gift. Right!
So, I dutifully went down to the Y on Thursday with very low expectations for my ability to create anything resembling a decorative piece. Of course, when I arrived at the class there were approximately 12 women who all looked like they knew what they were doing when it came to arts and crafts. I, on the other hand, knew what pumpkins and succulents looked like, and that was about it.
There was a table with a bunch of pumpkins, but they didn’t really look like pumpkins. It turns out they are a special variety and pretty flat instead of pumpkin-shaped (see photo above). My first worry upon seeing them was that I hoped I didn’t cut myself when cutting out the middle. We each picked out a pumpkin and took it to the table where a can of spray glue and a jar of sticky glue was in front of each of us. I didn’t see a knife around.
Then Araceli, a YMCA staff member, had on display a beautiful succulent pumpkin she had made, and the panic set in. The first thing she told us was that there would be no cutting. The reason for the flat pumpkin is that everything sits on top of the pumpkin, so there was no cutting needed. I had no idea what she was talking about. She gave each attendee a bunch of moss from bags that she had on her table and told us to spray the top of the pumpkin in quadrants and glue the moss to it. Of course, I started spraying and gluing before the instructions were complete and ended up with moss stuck to all of my fingers to the point I looked like the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz. In the next step she explained how to take the different types of succulents they provided to start building the succulent garden on top of the pumpkin. She said the spillers went on the outside to sort of topple down the side a little, the fillers went around the sides of the top to fill in, and the thrillers were the centerpiece and should be the highest of the succulents. We all went up to the table of succulents and picked out our spillers, fillers and thrillers and started gluing them onto our moss being careful not to glue the bottom of the stem so as to allow the plants to grow. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Well, maybe easy for everyone else because as I looked around the women seemed to all know exactly what they were doing.
The instructor was being very attentive to me, with good reason. Actually, she was very kind and kept saying things like “Good job”, and “It will look better when you fill it in” and “Be patient, the glue will stick the longer it sits”, and “The glue will wash off”, and the like.
After about an hour or so, the pumpkins were all finished. The area around my workstation looked like a war zone, and I was thinking the pumpkin probably would not survive the trip to my car, and then I heard the dreaded words “Shall we take pictures of your pumpkins?” I of course graciously declined.
I have often mentioned the YMCA as a great place to belong to. We have had memberships for probably 20 years. The only other class I have ever taken that was not an exercise class was an essential oils class. But they offer so many things that I highly encourage you to look into their classes.
Of course, I am partly kidding about my experience. The YMCA is very kind and helpful and we all walked out of the class with something to be proud of. Some more so than others.
It was a lot of fun and the ladies were all very nice and friendly. Araceli is amazing in her succulent knowledge and talent. Barbara was also very helpful. My pumpkin is now on my table as a centerpiece and hopefully it lasts until Halloween. I will probably have to buy some glue, but so far so good and the cats are staying away. Araceli may offer another succulent class decorating a Christmas tree. You may want to think about it. The cost of the pumpkin class was $30 for members and $35 for guests. I think it was well worth it. I recommend you check out the Y’s website to see what other interesting classes they offer.
Upcoming Community Event
Trunk or Treat at Hope Lutheran Church
Bayside Community Center Class Offered
Readings for an Autumnal Day
Book Review Section
Sure, autumn days are often about football games, and the World Series, and Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but it’s also a great time to curl up on the couch on a cool, brisk fall day to read a book. With so many books out there to choose from, we called upon our two favorite intellectuals—Martha B. and Marla M.—to provide some literary advice regarding what LV Update readers might find interesting. They responded with two wide ranging selections—one a non-fiction, historical treatise, and the other a novel full of suspense. We hope these book reviews entice you to pay a visit to the library, book store, or Amazon web site.
Review by Martha B.: A friend recently recommended the short book The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. After listening to this book on audio I bought the paperback (only 100 pages) so I could save and underline the passages I particularly liked. Although the book is over 50 years old and the authors died in 1981, it is a small masterpiece that feels fully alive and pertinent to the problems we face today.
Will and Ariel Durant were celebrated historians and philosophers. After writing a lengthy and detailed series of books, The Story of Civilization, they paused to write this overview of their work starting with the caveat “…only a fool would try to compress a hundred centuries into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions. We proceed.”
The authors’ observations are stark and realistic and seem deeply personal as they reflect on the changes in their opinions and ideas over a lifetime. They put humankind in perspective saying “…man is a moment in astronomic time, a transient guest of the earth…”. The periodic rise and fall of styles of government, different kinds of civilizations and religions, natural disasters, plagues, the alternation of periods of great freedom with periods of strict morality and repression, the rise of inequality often followed by bloody revolution, are likened to a heartbeat rhythm of history, happening over and over. I can only imagine how much some bored students would enjoy this book before digging into more traditional history books.
Review by Marla M.: On a beautiful morning at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, two planes have just departed for San Francisco. At a security checkpoint, TSA agent, Bernice Adams finds a postcard with a picture of the Golden Gate bridge bearing an ambiguous message. Bernice’s supervisor dismisses her concerns. Bernice fears that lives could be on the line. Desperate to get someone to listen she contacts security. After meeting with Bernice, and reviewing the postcard, Senior Homeland, Security Agent, Ben Waterman also becomes suspicious. Who left the postcard behind? Is the message a genuine threat, if so, which plane is the individual on, and what exactly does the message mean?
Sifting through data and relying on instinct, Ben becomes convinced that someone on one of the planes is planning something terrible.
Initially, the passengers are unsuspecting of the impending threat to their lives. But they’re suspicions grow, and soon it is clear that someone on the plane is planning something devastating. With no one to help them, the passengers must work together to avert tragedy. As the plane bears down on its destination of San Francisco, these accidental heroes must unite and make desperate choices to save all onboard and on the ground.
The LV Update wishes to thank our two book reviewers for their insightful submissions.
Pumpkin Painting in Mission Heights
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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.