Rafu Craft Editor

Veggies and fruits come directly from locally-sourced growers.
Veggies and fruits come directly from locally-sourced growers. (Photos courtesy of Tommy Miyasaki)

A foodie’s recipe for success: Mix together equal parts of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts and the local farmer’s market. Season lightly with some deli, beer and wine.

Voila—it’s the Urban Radish!

Located between 7th and Jesse on Imperial Street is this upscale community market in the growing Arts District that opened in August. Neighbors include the French Bistro, Church and State, Bread Lounge, Handsome Coffee and Urth Café.

With a silver-gray façade, this industrial looking structure comes with outside communal patio seating surrounded by a parking lot that offers Blink electric car charging stations.

Co-owners Carolyn Paxton and Michael Aivazis are “catering to the unique needs of urban dwellers, who shop frequently, want fresh, local ingredients when in season, and desire education on the products that they purchase.”

The Urban Radish is stocked with an abundance of well-defined fare and brand names for those who prefer to think farm-to-store and want organic, vegan and gluten- and lactose-free options.

One tempting nicoise sandwich and cuppa joe to go.
One tempting nicoise sandwich and cuppa joe to go.

Palates will be pleasantly satisfied with choices from their curated cured meat and cheese shop and “Butcher Shop” of humanely-sourced meat and sustainable seafood. Heard through the grapevine that the Maui beef jerky is a must to buy!

Locally-grown produce, including certified organic and spray, and insecticide-free, artfully fills baskets that change with the seasons. Fuji apples come from the same grower who sells at my neighborhood farmer’s market.

Unique finds are finger limes, Romanesque cauliflower and raisins on the vine.

“We offer seasonal local produce that does not travel more than a few hours to get to our store. By working with local farmers, we can emphasize produce that moves from farm-to-store in the belief that it has the greatest taste and quality ripened on the vine versus in a crate or truck,” said Paxton.

The concept of using organic, locally-sourced ingredients started in the ’70s with Alice Waters, the gal who pioneered what we now call “California cuisine” at her Berkeley resto, Chez Panisse. In essence, she jump-started the organic food movement of today.

In the dairy section, Clover and Straus brands are the stand-outs, among Wallaby organic Greek yogurt and Meyenberg goat’s milk butter.

With a summer 2013 opening, the Urban Radish establishes itself as a specialty market in the Arts District. (Photos courtesy of Tommy Miyasaki)
With a summer 2013 opening, the Urban Radish establishes itself as a specialty market in the Arts District.

Large glass jars on metal shelving are everywhere. Look inside, as they hold a bevy of goodies to scoop out, ranging from dried porcini mushrooms, dried fruits, whole white peppercorns, to wild blueberry flax, nuthouse granola and trail mixes.

Like taffy? Dewar’s offer the best chews, with flavors like spumoni, red sea salt caramel and pistachio.

Be tempted to try seasonings from Hepp’s Gourmet Salts, Spicely Organic Spices and Indonesian spices to take your flavors up a notch.

I spied, but did not try, Petite Maison Chocolat Peppermint Chaud (a drinking chocolate without artificial colors or fillers); Bart and Judy’s “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World”; Sabatino tartufi summer truffles; Caldrea Cosmetics; and Royal Hawaiian papaya-banana macadamia crunch.

Pets are loved here! In this neighborhood, that’s important. Go!, Sojos and Spring provide healthy choices as well as environmentally friendly World’s Best Cat Litter.

A plus are sandwiches made fresh with bread baked daily in their state-of-the-art kitchen. Result: a mighty fine sandwich with quality meats and fixings! Try a salad, snag a bag of Dirty Chips and a cuppa joe.

Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., pick up your bento for a road trip as you head northward-bound this weekend for the Japanese AmericanMuseum of San Jose’s Japantown Winter Boutique at the Buddhist church gym.

Specialty cards convey messages with a flair.
Specialty cards convey messages with a flair. (Card images courtesy of Modern M)

With a bit of creative thinking, make the best of this holiday shopping season. Even with limited budgets, do continue to shop at the Asian arts and craft shows for one-of-a-kind, eclectic finds from talented artisans.

Sending a greeting card is a great way to tell someone that you care.

Marci Ando of Modern M started out designing party favors, tags and invitations for family and friends. For five years, Ando has been nurturing her card business, albeit as a seasonal hobby. Educated as a packaging engineer where she uses Illustrator by day, this serves a dual purpose with designing her Asian and Hawaiian-inspired line of stationery.

Trips to the Big Island and Maui to visit relatives when she was growing up have impacted Ando’s way of thinking. Hawaiian Pidgin, “ono” delicious foods and Japanese textiles and patterns are intertwined with her simplistic designs.

We can all relate to “Have a SPAMtastic birthday” or “Getting Old Stinks!” For those health-conscious foodies, there’s “Wishing you a Tofurrific Birthday!”

Style-savvy, Ando also sells accessories at her website with selections for that consumer on a budget.

Closer to home on Sunday is the Gedatsu Church Holiday Crafts Faire in S. San Gabriel.

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Asian-inspired greeting cards with a play on words will bring on the smiles, designs from Marci Ando of San Jose. (Card images courtesy of Modern M)
Asian-inspired greeting cards with a play on words will bring on the smiles, designs from Marci Ando of San Jose.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 10-4
Japantown Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of
San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose,

Sunday, Nov. 10, 11-3
Holiday Crafts Faire
Gedatsu Church
7850 Hill Dr., S. San Gabriel
626-288-1212, Judy Hamamoto

Saturday, Nov. 16, 10-4
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave. So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 23, 10-3
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 24, 9-3
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

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