By DENNIS WYATT
PLEASANTON — A pleasant Saturday farmers market outing awaits you in downtown Pleasanton.
The year round market held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the heart of Pleasanton’s downtown is as complete as they come with small farmers from coastal valleys, the Northern San Joaquin Valley and even locally in and around the Amador Valley bringing their freshest offers to sell amid a healthy mixture of other vendors offering specialized baked breads and flowers to other edible concoctions.
Why travel an hour from Manteca to visit a farmers market? There are at least 36 reasons. Those are the numbers of restaurants — excluding coffee spots such as Starbucks and Tully’s — that have enough variety to satisfy virtually any foodie’s cravings.
The best part is many have outdoor dining and you can browse a wide variety of shops either to work up an appetite or work lunch off. They range from boutiques, a Fleet Feet, and collectible stores to traditional stores such as a family-style hardware.
Each of the three dozen dining spots have unique options and ooze with ambiance whether it is al fresco dining or rich and warm interior settings.
But when it comes to setting standards, you can’t beat the Blue Agave Club that rightfully bills itself as the go-to place for high end Mexican cuisine.
They live up to their brag by taking traditional Mexican dishes that tend to get borderline run-of-the-mill in many restaurants and make them special as well as by offering unique signature creations. To give you an idea of pricing, the lunch menu as an example offers nine burrito choices ranging from dark chicken meat cooked in spices in an 8-inch flour tortilla wrapped around a variety of ingredients and topped with sauce and melted Jack Cheese for $14.95 to Bay Shrimp with Del Mar shop with the rest of the works for $18.95. All burritos ate served with fried black beans and rice. And that’s for starters.
Dinner is a tad pricier ranging from $21 to $29.95 for most entrees. The only item I can speak to honestly are the vegetarian enchiladas. The two I was served were light yet filling and definitely healthy. It is several cuts above a cheese enchilada — the typical meatless enchilada offering in most Mexican restaurants. It was filled with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and corn and topped with red and green sauce. It is served with rice and friend into beans.
Then there is the stunning remodeled home that serves as the restaurant. But by far the best ambiance is the massive outdoor dining court in the front yard under massive shade trees separated from the Main Street foot traffic by a white picket fence. The people watching and outdoor dining experience matches the cooking and presentation of the food.
There is a reason why reservations are recommended. The restaurant’s website is at www.blueagaveclub.com
The Pleasanton Downtown Association has an incredible user friendly website at pleasantondowntown.net that lists all shops and restaurants with basic information and even hours as well as quick links to individual websites. The site also lists what seems to be a never ending list of reasons for people to go to downtown Pleasanton through special events such as the April 15 Bunny Hop Scavenger Hunt and monthly midweek street parties in the evening of the first Wednesday of each month to weekly summer concerts.
Downtown Pleasanton is always bustling with people proving the best way to get to someone’s heart just may be through their stomach along with a healthy dash of entertainment window and store browsing (that often leads to purchases) and people watching.
One bit of advice. If you opt to combine a Saturday excursion to downtown Pleasanton with a trip to the farmers’ market you might want to bring along an ice chest for your more perishable purchases as the temperatures start kicking up.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org