Sunday, May 6, 2012
Sunday Market Funday.
Considering the fact that we didn't get home from celebrating Cinco De Mayo at Spoontonic Lounge last night until 3am, we woke up pretty bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. Thanks to a shot of espresso and a whiff of fresh air, I was able to convince the hubby to tag along to the Walnut Creek Farmer's Market for the remaining hour or so it was still open. I've been meaning to check it out for the past few weeks but haven't been able to muster the motivation to get up early on a Sunday morning. Can you blame me? Who doesn't like sleeping in? But today was different. We had a great day yesterday and we were still riding the goodtimes wave of happy-go-lucky "let's do something new and fun" energy. That, and, we also needed something for dinner...
The market spans a good chunk of Locust Street in Walnut Creek, packed with a load of vendors from all over the bay area. It runs from 9-2pm on Sundays, with a recent extent of hours (it used to end at 1pm). Today we learned that arriving at 1:15 is probably not the best plan of attack- many of the vendors had sold through their stock and were packing up for the afternoon. The benefit of arriving late is that last minute items are usually cut in half, price wise. The farmers and craftspeople are attempting to empty their tables and get the heck out of dodge while making a last minute buck or two, so that's a nice perk.
I must admit that overall, the WC market felt a little... odd. Without being overly negative, both the hubbs and I felt that it was a very "fancy" farmer's market. Honestly I'm a little biased, living in Concord and having my own beloved local market. But to me, what makes a market great is the feeling it evokes. This one felt a bit forced, almost trying too hard to resemble what a Farmer's Market *should* look like. Now don't get me wrong, the vendor's were as friendly as could be, there was a great selection of goods and some very interesting variety, but the event as a whole didn't seem as homespun as other markets do. Perhaps if I were to arrive earlier in the day, not at closing time, I'd feel differently. I couldn't help but feel rushed with only 45 minutes left to shop, a fault of my own. I will certainly return, but next time I will make the effort to show up with enough time to thoroughly browse and chat with the vendors.
I'm not gonna lie, I can do a lot of damage in 45 minutes. Of course I didn't leave empty handed!!
The hubby loves Oaktown Jerk (www.oaktownjerk.com) beefy jerky. We brought home the Star Anise & Habanero flavored jerky, which I swear will disappear within the next day or two. This spicy hot beef will melt your tongue right off but you won't be able to stop eating it. Owner and Head Chef Randall Hughes is a down to earth, super friendly dude... "I love to cook and the kitchen is where the culinary artist in me takes over. I was introduced to cooking in 1985 by two friends, renowned chefs Michael Isles and Jim Moffat. It's very satisfying for me to see my customers enjoying my culinary creations."
For dinner we bought crab stuffed ravioli from Il Pastaio (www.ilpastaiofoods.com). Handmade pasta filled with fresh crab meat? Yes please. Their products "are produced in small batches, are made from scratch and are formulated to bring repeat business from recipe inception to tasting of the finished product." Owner Francesco Avella hails from Naples and takes pride in the fact that Il Pastaio is "known for its distinctive quality pasta products, gnocchi and sauces..." We also grabbed a pound of their spinach gnocchi to have later in the week. As for sauce, we're topping our pasta with their Mediterranean blend- a mix of pear tomatoes, peppers, kalamata olives, capers, garlic and herbs.
What would dinner be without bread? Potato Rosemary bread to be exact, fresh out of the oven from Metropolis Baking Company (www.metropolisbaking.com). I plan on slicing off a few hunks to serve toasted aside our fancy pasta. Metropolis Baking Company is a small bakery in Berkeley, CA, which specializes in traditional, regional Italian breads. The bakery prides itself on its commitment to maintaining traditional artisan methods using the finest ingredients available.
Lastly, (I regret not catching the name of the family farm) we purchased some of the sweetest, juiciest, most fragrant apricots in existence. I'm not normally a fruit gal, but these were too good to pass up. $3 for a whole pound of fleshy, fuzzy goodness. Yum.
Ahhhhhh, Sundays... (breathing a sigh of relaxation). I suppose this the end, my friend. I'm off to enjoy today's purchases, sit in the sunshine and lazily waste away the rest of daylight. My porch calls me.