Delilah Snell helped start the first farmers' market in Santa Ana more than a decade ago and has since been one of the city's biggest advocates for local, sustainable food.
Last year, she opened Alta Baja Market — a community-minded boutique grocer that stocks goods from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and across the Southwest —inside a spacious corner unit at 4th Street Market.
The shop's deli case always is full of curated cheeses and homemade goodies, and a small menu of dine-in dishes shows off seasonal frittatas and loaded toasts.
But it's the most basic-sounding item on the menu that showcases what Alta Baja does best: a botana (snack) of cucumber, radishes and avocado, dosed with a pile of chile-lime nuts and covered in hot sauce.
It's got all the sweet-salty-tangy-crunchy-cool you want from a Mexican snack with all the love, care and farmers' market sourcing you expect from Snell.
Alta Baja Market is at 4th Street Market, 201 E. 4th St., Santa Ana. For more information, call (714) 486-0700 or visit 4thstreetmarket.com.
SARAH BENNETT is a freelance journalist covering food, drink, music, culture and more. She is the former food editor at L.A. Weekly and a founding editor of Beer Paper L.A. Follow her on Twitter @thesarahbennett.