Friday, July 08, 2005 | A few blocks from Petco Park is the up-and-coming East Village. This is a neighborhood where residential mixes with retail, including the post office and central library, and restaurants such as Café Chloe at G Street and Ninth and The Mission – SOMA at J Street and 13th Street.

The area now has Salad Style with a takeout store and 12 salads to choose from that make an easy, healthy choice for lunch or dinner (and good munching before a baseball game). Owner Maryjo Testa’s specialty salads such as soba noodle with veggies and chicken ($9.50) or tuna with a twist – olives, capers and a hummus bruschetta ($9.50). A three-salad minimum will get them delivered to your office or home. Testa also mans a booth at the Sunday Farmers Market in Hillcrest. Salad Style, 807 F St., East Village, (619) 255-6731,

Good food needs good drink and downtown has a couple of terrific wine stores. Long established and nationally known with a huge, varied and well-priced stock is The Wine Bank that even made a listing in “Frommer’s San Diego 2005.” The store is a stone’s throw from the Convention Center on Fifth Avenue and also carries hard-to-find liquor.

Down the street, next door to Pannikin Coffee & Tea, on the corner of G Street and Seventh Avenue is Bacchus Wine Market. The store originally stocked only Italian wines and recently solo owner Francesco Pinzauti partnered with Paris Drigger, ex-San Diego Wine Company, to expand the inventory to include wines from California, France and Argentina, among others. Both stores have tastings along with very knowledgeable staff. The Wine Bank, 363 Fifth Ave., (619) 234-7487,

We sometimes forget to take time out from our chaotic lives to just sit, relax and enjoy what the English have done for eons – afternoon tea. Dare to be different and take a meeting for tea instead of the usual lunch or drinks, or meet friends downtown at The Westgate Hotel. The setting is the hotel’s lobby with its old world ambience that makes it refreshingly civilized and a refuge from the trendy minimalist hotels. A solo harpist plays while you nibble varied finger sandwiches of cucumber, salmon, watercress and chicken with walnuts, homemade scones with Devonshire cream and homemade petit fours … all washed down with a pot of tea of your choice. The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave., San Diego. Reservations necessary (619) 557-3650. Served daily from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.,

Savvy consumers who want fresh-picked, usually organic seasonal produce from local family-owned farms are members of a program called Community Supported Agriculture. In San Diego County there are four such farms and nationally there are more than 1,000. CSA works like this: You pay a monthly, quarterly or yearly fee to the farmer and in turn get a weekly, mixed box of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers or whatever they grow. Everyone wins. Consumers become “members,” “shareholders” or “subscribers” for the farm and growers get community and financial support. And, most important, you don’t have to spend time in the supermarket buying produce that might have been picked a week ago. Check out the various Web sites of these San Diego CSA’s: Garden of Eden Organics (the newest one) at

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. Known as The $5 Chef on radio, television and in her two cookbooks, Marcie travels far and near with an eye on what’s current in food. You can find her at www.5dollarchef.com.

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