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Impulse Shopping with Nopa & Nopalito's Chefs @ The Farmers Market

Last week Nopa’s Laurence Jossel and Nopalito’s Gonzalo Guzman, came down to the Thursday market to pick up a few things on their list including some almond meal and peaches and to see what else was looking good that day. Their car was already packed from earlier visits to both the Berkeley and Marin farmers markets, but with the late summer season in full swing they couldn’t resist a few impulse buys from the Ferry Plaza.

Laurence and Gonzalo first met many years ago when they both worked at Kokkari Restaurant. The two went on to stints at several other San Francisco restaurants before collaborating again at the now defunct Chez Nous and later Nopa. It was the family meals Gonzalo made at Nopa (with Jose Ramos, Gonzalo’s co-chef at Nopalito) that inspired Laurence and his partners Allyson Woodman and Jeff Hanek to come up with the concept of Nopalito almost two years ago.

At Nopalito Guzman and Ramos create traditional Mexican dishes made with locally grown and seasonably available produce and sustainbly raised meats. While they do have several popular staples on their menu, many of the dish’s components change weekly to reflect seasonality and highlight what’s good at the market. This week they were planning to feature the lovely musk melons Gonzalo had selected at the market in a summer salad with orange juice, chile and house made queso fresco.

After tasting some of the fruit at Tory Farms Laurence was also inspired by the Zante currants, which he would serve alongside green beans, walnuts, blue cheese and the roasted chicken on his Nopa menu. I was not surprised to see Laurence making his way through the market again on Saturday as he, Gonzalo and many of the staff of both restaurants attend at least seven different Bay Area  markets every week.

Here’s a look at some of the items these two chefs were hunting for this week:

•    Summer squash from Catalan Farms
•    Bronx grapes from Lagier Ranches
•    English peas from Iacopi Farms
•    Pinquito beans from Rancho Gordo
•    Figs from Knoll Farms