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I’m still getting used to the newish location at the San Mateo Event Center, and while we felt the absence of a few designers and vendors this year, there was still plenty to see and buy at the 2014 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. As usual, I snapped iPhone pics of everything that caught my eye as we wandered the grounds. Our visit was on Friday. Fridays are a good day to visit because the show is up and running, but you avoid the weekend crowds. The weekends get some of the best speakers and seminars, though, so it’s a trade-off.

It was around lunch time when we arrived, so we decided to fuel up first. We scoped out the food vendors, which included everything from kebabs to teriyaki, and decided to go with Indian food. Cheryl had the samosas and I ordered vegetable pakoras, which I was told contained no wheat.

With my newly discovered food allergies, I’d hoped the vendors would post allergy info on their menus. For the most part, they didn’t. Nor was I able to find this info on the website ahead of time. The pakoras were delish and not overly filling. I’m hoping they were dairy-free as well, but when you’re standing in line with people waiting behind you, you can’t spend forever grilling the counter person. I greatly appreciate restaurants that take the time to let patrons know which menu items are gluten-free, dairy-free (vegan), vegetarian, etc.



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I exhibited my usual self-restraint at the vendor booths, but did come home with a wee haul.



By the time we left the show, it was just about the worst time a person would want to cross the Bay Bridge. I decided, in what was either a stroke of genius or complete madness, to take the scenic route home via the Golden Gate bridge and Napa. Well, it didn’t turn out to be a time-saver, but it was lovely and allowed us to meander through some cool neighborhoods over by SFSU. Traffic was so slow, we were also able to observe the native vegetation and identify an unfamiliar tree. The alternate route also afforded me the opportunity to take Cheryl, a native Sacramentan, on her first trip across the Golden Gate bridge!

We stopped for dinner at the Oxbow Market Pica Pica on the way back to Sacramento. Everything at Pica Pica is gluten-free and they will make it dairy-free as well.

Everything we make is 100% GLUTEN FREE, because our core ingredients –corn, yuca, plantains and taro root – are naturally so. We also offer vegetarian, vegan and non-dairy options with the same slowly-simmered, home-cooked flavor of our traditional offerings.
Respectful of nature, Pica Pica favors local and sustainable ingredients wherever possible and serves its take-out menu in 100% biodegradable containers. – Pica Pica



If you have a chance to check out Oxbow Public Market, do. It’s an amazing enclosed food bazaar, with everything from oysters to ice cream. There’s often live music and it’s very family-friendly and offers ample convenient parking.

All in all, it was a fun excursion and we look forward to next year’s F&G Show. I do hope the missing vendors return. We missed seeing B&D Lilies, Annie’s Annuals & Perennials, the “silk scarf lady”, Patsy’s Pottery, Sunset Publishing, and several more artists and plant vendors. We also missed the scope and caliber of the designs from the Cow Palace era. It’ll be interesting to see how the show, under new ownership, evolves. Have to wait another year!

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