Stopped by the Sunday farmers market at Irvine Great Park the other week to avail ourselves of TJ’s Woodfire Pizza’s very fine product—the Mobile Pizza Unit I wrote about previously in ToOC continues to be a tremendous asset at this increasingly lively market. I am all about fruit & veg when I go to the farmers market, but I cannot harden my heart against hand-crafted, thin-crust, wood-oven-cooked pizza. Not that I’ve tried.
Capricious, perhaps, but I have long maintained that the ability to hold competing thoughts cuts pretty close to the essence of what it is to be human. So with that in, yes, mind, I find I am glad about another non-fruit & veg vendor at the farmers market, Lupita Zapata of Irvine and the artisanal metalware she imports from Mexico. When I saw the array of copper and stainless and aluminum glinting in the sun, I couldn’t help but think, now this is more like it—cooking-related merch will get no argument from me.
Zapata’s stock ranges from small tools like the very efficient hinged, cast-aluminum citrus squeezers that make such quick work of juicing, to enormous, hammered-copper cazos traditionally used for simmering pork in its own fat to make carnitas. And quite a lot in between—I got just the comal I’ve been looking for, beautifully smoothly machined by someone who really knew what he was doing. Another day, another pizza, I bought one of the aforementioned citrus squeezers in a much larger size than one I had already, big enough for an orange or even a grapefruit, although too we’re finding it perfect for Sahu Subtropicals’ Bearss limes—what I call Super Limes—from the also-on-Sunday Newport Beach Farmers Market.
I was delighted to see Zapata had the disca, the esoteric piece of cookware described by Sol Cocina’s Deborah Schneider in her 1000 Tacos blog’s fascinating and thoroughgoing Baja fish taco entry. A simple, ingenious design, the disca’s central frying reservoir is surrounded by a flanged rim for conveniently beaching freshly fried items. (You can see one among the hanging items in the photos up there.)
Thursdays, Zapata sets up shop at the Downtown Anaheim Farmers Market, which is open noon to 7 p.m., and like the Great Park market features food trucks, although not to my knowledge a Mobile Pizza Unit.
Zapata’s website is a bit rudimentary but gives an idea of the range of what she can supply, including special orders. Best to visit her on one of her farmers market days and see the stuff in person, though—each piece is carefully, and clearly, as handmade as those pizzas.