Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ah, My Beloved Ballard - Sunday Farmers Market

(A weekly progress)

I've been back in Ballard almost 3 months now and I am even more enamoured with the Seattle neighborhood as ever. And what's better is it's not even yet summer yet when everyone unsheds their winter coats, music fills the streets, and children dance around (and through) the water fountains at the park by the library.

One of the first things I looked forward to most was the year-round Sunday Farmers Market. Not only is it an opportunity to taste culinary creations from Mother Earth and innovative cooks, it's a great way to socialize. I've been blessed with running into friends old and new, and have found myself developing a bit of a ritual on how I spend my Sundays lately. Or at least like to.

It starts with setting up my victim -- er, my date -- for the day. One was a friend who was taking a rare Sunday off from her practice to celebrate her birthday, one was a client while we made it a walk-and-talk-and-taste session, and others have been dear friends that have been curious about learning about the neighborhood I love so much and this quintissential event that helps make this my foodie paradise. That, or it's the only time we happen to both be available. Or, sometimes, I just go on my own.

We meet for coffee (not too early) at Nervous Nellie's, a great cafe that is ideally located practically rolling distance from my bed. Depending on how awake we are, we may even sit down and chat while the caffeine courses through our veins. They use Lighthouse Coffee, a nearby roaster that I find makes the best coffee next to my beloved Peet's. If we're super-hungry already, Nervous Nellie's is known for their Swedish-style toast. My favorite combination is the butter, jam and cheese, but if you're really adventurous, go for the tracitional hard-boiled egg and caviar. Swedish caviar isn't the straight-up fish eggs that one would be used to, but is smashed and smoked and then comes out of a tube. Since I am such a lover of taramasolata (Greek style caviar), I was hoping it might be similar. It wasn't. Again, I stress that this might appeal to you if you are adventurous. But this does remind me, I should add taramasolata to my Last Supper Buffet, especially the one from Kokkari in San Francisco. And their vegetarian pastitsio while I'm at it.

Back to Ballard. Off we walk, west on Market and then down south on some random street to hit the Farmers Market. If we want something eggy for breakfast, we may go down 20th Ave. and stop in at GreenGo Food for their organic, locally made breakfast sandwiches. Otherwise, it's easy enough to walk around the market and eat our way around. While the samples from the vendors tend to be generous, I do need more food for the day. If I want to eat healthy, I get Patty Pan Grill's side of veggies with lots of Zane & Zack's honey chipotle hot sauce on top. If I want pizza, Veraci is there with it's wood burning oven (yes, the oven is there, too). And there are innumberable storefronts to get my nosh on, too.

Aside from the food stuff, there are great stalls and storefronts to pop into, handmade jewelry, books, Asian decor, herbs, etc. But usually after a round or two around the market and a hearty brunch, it's off to home to unload my bags and cook up or better yet, take a nap.

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