Archives for category: Wellness
Fruits and vegetables from Imperfect Produce displayed on kitchen island.
Fruits and vegetable from Imperfect Foods

When California’s stay-at-home orders were implemented in March, it seemed like we were at peak no-contact, coronavirus vigilance: All but essential businesses like grocery stores and hospitals were permitted to stay open, while everything else–restaurants, gyms, salons, malls–were ordered closed. In response to limiting my (and risking others’) exposure in grocery stores, I thought it would be practical to sign up for a produce delivery service. This is particularly relevant today, several days into California’s latest modified stay-at-home order. 

While I have access to a number of worthy produce delivery options in San Diego, I chose Imperfect Foods for their mission to “rescue” misshapen and discolored, or excess fruits and veggies otherwise earmarked for the dumpster. Unfortunately (and rather ironically), as food insecure as the U.S. is, including in San Diego, Americans create a comparable amount of food waste. 

And since receiving my first produce box in May, I’ve learned a few things about their goods, and their delivery process that I both enjoy and am more mindful of when I’m meal planning for the week—which doesn’t always happen because I live an obscenely short walk to a Mexican restaurant that makes a tasty California burrito, and easy no-cook dinner option. If you’re considering replacing or supplementing your in-person grocery trips with a grocery delivery service like Imperfect Foods for social distancing reasons or otherwise, I’ve gleaned the following takeaways after shopping and cooking with Imperfect Foods produce for six months that might prove insightful. 

How It Works

In brief: Choose from a weekly box template of conventional or organic produce, which is made up of surplus inventory and completely edible, yet “imperfect” fruit and veg. Then, receive an email indicating when it will be time to make your produce selection. Typically, you have several days to edit and confirm your order. Each week, you’ll be able to view what Imperfect Foods has filled your box with, though you can totally remove items from your box, increase the number of existing items; or add new items, including meat (ground beef to pork chops), seafood (like lump crab and trout or salmon fillets), grains (I’ve added wild rice once), and dairy products (including eggs). You can also choose to skip a week as needed, as well as donate a box of produce on occasion, like I did during Thanksgiving week.

Things To Know When You Sign Up for Imperfect Foods

  • Customization: When available, you can choose to always have certain items delivered (in my case, that’s shallots, avocados, garlic, lemon, and limes). On the other hand, you also have the option to never have a certain item included in your box. Regarding the delivery schedule itself, you do have the option of skipping a week (or weeks) if necessary, which I opt for when I know I won’t be cooking as often. This was the case during summer, when San Diego County reopened some semblance of restaurant dining. 
  • Shelf Life: I’ve learned that produce tends to spoil quicker than produce purchased at the typical grocery store, so I’ve found it helpful to have a plan for them in the several days immediately following my box delivery. Or if I don’t plan to use produce up right away, I’ll chop it up and throw it in the freezer for another time. Conversely, I was surprised that some fruits (such as the red pears, and blueberries when available) lasted a bit longer than expected.
  • (Free?!) Extra Produce: Occasionally I’ll receive a few extra shallots, avocados, and squash from what I originally ordered. Is it a mistake? Or are they trying to move inventory? Whatever it is, I’m not complaining; though this means I sometimes end up dumping the additional produce because I didn’t have enough time to work it into my weekly meal plan before they spoiled. One week, I unexpectedly received a bunch of slightly withered kale that I did not use because I picked up greens from the grocery store just days before. As efficient as I try to be with the food I bring into the house, sometimes waste does happen.

Edible Things I’ve Made So Far With Imperfect Foods:

  • Bon Appetit’s carrots with avocado and mint as a side dish to baked chicken
  • Pears with peanut butter and cinnamon snack
  • Green goddess (shallot) kale salad with sweet potato, avocado, pepitas
  • Hot chocolate with oat milk and cacao powder
  • I doctored store-bought marinara with summer squash, shallots, mushrooms
  • Guacamole using limes + avocados (which were smaller than what the grocery stores usually stock)
  • Sinigang, a tangy Filipino stew traditionally flavored with tamarind, using kabocha squash

Connect with The Curious Passport

  • Keep up with my real-time travels and eats from San Diego and beyond on Instagram
  • Join me on Facebook
  • Support my immersive, sensorial travel and food journalism: send me a coffee!


For my fellow North County, San Diego residents based in San Marcos, I’ve compiled a list of restaurants and specialty food/beverage shops in the area that are offering some type of take-out, delivery, or curbside pickup as of 4/3/2020.

This is by no means a complete list, and if you are a San Marcos-based restaurant and would like to be added to this list, or if you have an update you’d like me to share, please reach out to me directly at thecuriouspassport (at) gmail (dot) com; or send me a DM/tag me on Instagram: thecuriouspassport.

By way of quick introduction, my name is Ligaya Malones and I am a San Marcos-based travel and food writer who typically covers destinations and food for magazines and websites. During this rapidly evolving time when coronavirus has halted travel and shuttered restaurants and bars, as well as the media that writes about them, I hope this post will contribute as a gesture of support for an industry that makes my job as a food writer possible. 

San Marcos, California


Update 3/20/2020, Friday: Yesterday, California governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay home except for essential needs. That means we can still leave our homes for medical care, exercise, and food. The full executive order is available here:

An excerpt: “The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care. When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain
or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized
necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing.”

Banh Mi San Marcos

Call for pick-up: (760) 599-0177

Better Buzz

Drive-thru coffee orders only.

Churchill’s Pub and Grille

Limited menu for to-go and delivery orders. Check their Instagram for updates.

Cocina del Charro

Please call for potential take-out/delivery options. Call: (760) 471-6644


Curbside pick-up available. Call: 760-653-3230.

D’liteful Chocolat

Call for special orders, or order online.

Dos Desperados Brewing

Crowlers to-go, and delivery options. Call Steve: 760-566-6209.

Fish House Vera Cruz

Open for to-go, curbside service when you call ahead. Fish market remains open 11:00am – 7:00pm. Call: (760) 744-8000

Fresh Cafe

Available for take out or delivery. Call: 760-4106111

King and I

Take-out: (760) 744-1008 or food delivery apps like DoorDash and GrubHub

Landon’s East Meets West

Free delivery. Order before 11:00am for Lunch; order before 5pm for Dinner. Call: 760-798-0877

Lebanese Grill Mediterranean

Call for pick-up: (760) 566-3969.


Available via UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub.

Mama Kat’s

To-go orders from 7:00am – 2:00pm. Check their Instagram for to-go dinner announcements, like fried chicken, and turkey and stuffing with side options.

Meadiocrity Mead

Available for to-go sales only, including growlers, bottles, and honey. FREE growler glass while supplies last.

Hours Tuesday – Sunday, 5:00 – 8:00pm.

My Yard Live

Drive through, drive in; open 4:00pm – 7:00pm. FREE meals for displaced hospitality workers.

North County Wine Company

Retail shop is still open; bar is closed. 

Hours will be 11-7, Tues-Sat; 12-7 Sunday.

In addition to walk-ins, order by phone or online for curbside pick up.

Delivery to most of North County.

*The last time I visited, they were also carrying Spanish vermut (vermouth).

Old Cal Coffee

Take-out: (760) 744-2112; or food delivery apps like DoorDash.

Panda Garden

Call for pick-up: (760) 727-2322

*May I recommend the orange chicken with orange peel for extra zest!

Phil’s BBQ

Available for take-out and delivery.

Pita Guys

Order online for pick-up.

Pizza Nova

Open for pick-up and delivery during regular hours. Pizza Nova recommends pre-ordering by phone, online, or with their app. Call: (760) 736-8300

Primos Mexican Food & Cantina

Call for take-out: (760) 471-8226; or order via food delivery apps.

Rip Current Brewing

Open for to-go sales.

San Elijo Vine & Tap

Online pick up and curbside orders only. To-go wine bottles 40% off.

Sayulita’s Mexican Food

Call: (760) 480-8361

Sorrento’s Pizza

Available on GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates.

Taco Bar

Take-out available.

*Adobada tacos on fresh corn tortillas… yes please.

The Bellows

Take-out only. Email

Tina’s Deli

Call: (760) 471-4808

TOM’S Famous Family Restaurant 22

Call: (760) 752-7774

Umami Japanese

Open for to-go and DoorDash delivery. Call: 760-566-3671.

Up In Smoke BBQ

Delivery available on GrubHub and DoorDash.

Urban Tadka

Call for take-out: (760) 891-8338

Wild Barrel Brewing

To-go sales only.

Hours: 11:00am – 7:00pm. Check Instagram for daily deals, including 20% off crowlers, and 10% of merch.

A more comprehensive list is available on the San Marcos city website, which includes a list of open grocery stores and their modified hours to accommodate seniors, a population that is especially vulnerable to coronavirus.

Across San Diego County, Edible San Diego offers a roundup of more ways to support local food providers and establishments; Eater San Diego‘s got a map of more restaurants offering take-out or delivery; and San Diego magazine offers an explainer on why restaurant workers get hit hardest during times like these.

The state of California launched a dedicated website to COVID-19 updates, which includes information on the latest ‘safer at home’ orders, as well as information on testing, how to file for unemployment, disability benefits, and paid family leave.

Connect with The Curious Passport

  • Keep up with my real-time travels and eats from San Diego and beyond on Instagram
  • Join me on Facebook
  • Support my immersive, sensorial travel and food journalism: send me a coffee!
Photo: Alina Mendoza

I hear jetlag is brutal traveling west to east. And for my first trip to Asia, like an archaeological dig, I’m excavating all possible remedies to ensure I can hit the ground running once I land in Japan. Before that happens though, I’m packing my carry-on with my favorite moisture-locking skincare products of the moment. I’ve been using the products below months now, and have already repurchased some of them, or plan to:

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Facial Moisturizer UV ($20)

After leaning on La Roche-Posay’s sunscreen all summer in Portugal during 2017, I recently picked up its facial moisturizer with UV protection at Ulta on a whim. The lotion is spreads like cream cheese, smooth and substantial, yet absorbs quickly into skin (without making tan skin look ashy, according to this Allure magazine review. But I can attest to that too, as a person with brown skin). And, after editing a number of beauty articles for MyDomaine recently, I’ve learned a lot about the moisturizing and soothing benefits of ceramides and niacinamides; key ingredients in La Roche’s double repair moisturizer. Another thing it’s got going for it is its wide and slim packaging, which slips easily into my makeup bag while also saving on space.

…spreads like cream cheese, smooth and substantial, yet absorbs quickly into skin…

La-Roche Posay Double Repair Moisturizer UV

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask ($20)

Over La Roche-Posay’s double repair moisturizer, I’ll slather this light yet ultra-hydrating (and pleasantly scented) gel from Laneige, a popular Korean skincare brand. My sister gifted me this product for Christmas in 2018, and a little goes a long way. Although I began using Water Sleeping Mask in spring 2019, it is October and I still have product left nearly six months later. The only downside? The product’s round jar isn’t travel-friendly, so I’ll scoop the gel into something more sleek. Sometimes, if I haven’t gotten around to meditating during the day, I’ll close my eyes after applying Water Sleeping mask to my face, and inhale the gel’s scent for a few breaths—a brief moment of aromatherapy.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum ($40)

However, before I pat on the moisturizer and gel mask, my face is getting one squirt of this Peach & Lily serum first. Another K-beauty favorite that, New York magazine writes is “hoarded by [beauty] editors and redditors alike,” is brimming with hydrating and inflammation-fighting niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and peptides. Like many internet reviews, my skin feels protected from dryness, as if it were vacuum-sealed, and looks dewy, not shiny.

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

Connect with The Curious Passport

  • Keep up with my real-time travels and eats from San Diego and beyond on Instagram
  • Join me on Facebook
  • Support my immersive, sensorial travel and food journalism: send me a coffee!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you make a purchase.

%d bloggers like this: