Sunday, March 22, 2009

To market, to market

To Eastern Market, that is. When I first heard the name and had no idea what it was, I pictured run-down vendor stalls manned by Eastern European immigrants, hawking their rusty wares. Isn't that terrible? If that was really Eastern Market, odds are I wouldn't have known about it in the first place. Instead, it's DC's oldest public marketplace, operating in the Capitol Hill neighborhood since 1873. I'm really a sucker for anyting labeled "market," immediately knowing I need to pull out $x, place in pocket, and spend no more than that no matter what. It's dangerous enough when there's only food at stake, but on the weekends they also have a flea market with everyone from the button lady... the tile guy... the man with tub after tub of pickles and assorted other pickled things.
How cool would it be to be the pickle guy? Since this was more of an exploratory trip than one filled with excessive purchases, which I'm sure I'll have in the future, I stayed away from the bread and butter pickles. Trying to spend that $x carefully today.

A ton of vendors in the main hall with the usual market offerings - fruit, veggies, fish, meat, poultry, bread (oh, rosemary bread, I must stop buying loaves of you and bringing you home - you're just too tasty and I lack the self-control to eat just one slice in a sitting), fresh pasta. I came across both andouille and chorizo, so I'm pumped about going back and stocking up when I want to embark on some spicy kitchen adventures. I've also found the place to go if I need wacky proteins. Pork brains, $2.99/lb. Fresh croaker, $2.95/lb. Chicken feet, price undetermined because I didn't really want to go anywhere near them. I had to go look at cupcakes and pretty flowers to get that one out of my head. Ick.

I'm a little bit in love with the Capitol Hill neighborhood. History at every corner (ok, just like everywhere in this city), so many interesting little shops and restaurants, and just ridiculously cute. Expensively cute, too, like Georgetown. I had a feeling I might enjoy my explorations today when the weekend Metro gods smiled down on me and eliminated absolutely all waiting times. I even transferred lines, for crying out loud, and no waiting. We're talking walk into station, immediately proceed onto waiting train, change platforms at L'Enfant Plaza, and again immediately proceed onto waiting train. It was a thing of beauty. Truly amazing. I was even prepared with book in hand. After browsing Eastern Market and picking up as much as I could on $x, I grabbed a crabcake sandwich from Market Lunch and started walking my way home (rather than tempt my fate with the Metro gods). Lunch on a park bench next to the Capitol makes for some great people watching, and the cherry blossoms are also starting to come out, so it's pretty much gorgeous out there. Must remember to throw some sunscreen into my tote bag when setting out in the morning. Darn fair skin.

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