Monday, July 15, 2013

to the market.

Saturday Jon and I took our little family to Union Market, a giant food hall featuring local farmers and artisanal venders that opened in the guts of Northeast's wholesale-foods warehouse district last fall. It wasn't our first tour of the market, as we've found it's always a great place to spend the afternoon hours in between Cecile's two daily naps. We grabbed lunch, shopped for dinner, and browsed the seasonal offerings from more than three dozen specialty shops.

Union Market is located at 1309 Fifth Street, Northeast, and getting there from Virginia is easy as pie. Swoop down the Parkway, skip over the river, take the I-395 tunnel exit for New York Avenue, and--presto!--you're more or less there. The hard part is, once inside, deciding which vender to visit first.
^^That is Cecile's overwhelmed face ;)^^
Our most recent tour: After a pitstop at Peregrine Espresso (oh, their drip coffee is so good), we strolled past Righteous Cheese and Buffalo & Bergen, where people were already sidling up for an egg cream--a treat I haven't tasted since leaving New York. We rounded the corner at Lyon Bakery and snagged a bag of fresh-baked cinnamon-raison rolls for Cecile before settling down over a platter of Asian-inspired tacos from TaKorean. I should mention it took every ounce of discipline to pass up the oatmeal-chocolate-chip sandwiches on display at Curbside Cupcakes. Wow.
^^She loves those rolls!^^
^^Don't these look incredible?? Temptation.^^

With our bellies full from lunch, it was time to shop for dinner. Union Market really is a one-stop shop, with venders offering fresh fruits and veggies and responsibly-raised, local meats. We bagged our produce from Almaala Farms before grabbing a pound of ground lamb from Border Springs Farm. On the menu: lamb burgers. 
Every time we've gone to Union Market, we hit Red Apron Butchery for one (or two ... maybe three) of their craft beers. Ask nicely and they'll let you take your draft with you to sip on while you saunter from shop to shop. Speaking of those shops ... Need spices or spreads? Hit up Bazaar Spices and Gone Native. Looking for something sweet? Pearl Teas has some of the most beautifully packaged honey I've ever seen. I recently got our knives sharpened at the DC Sharp Shop and am now afraid of them for the first time in a long time!
All this gorgeous food has to be properly plated, no? Enter Salt & Sundry--a house and tabletop boutique introduced by Amanda McClements of Metrocurean fame. This store, my friends, has become my go-to for housewarming gifts, table linens, and even small treats for baby. (The Yinibini Baby bib I got here is Cecile's softest and most adorable applesauce- and yogurt-catcher!) There are cookbooks, chocolates, notecards, bitters, and more. They also carry Combat-Ready bug repellent, which (thanks to a super swampy July) has become a must-have when enjoying in our backyard. Rare is the day I come to Union Market and don't walk out of Amanda's store with a shopping bag. 

^^Bottles and bottles of bitters.^^
On our way out, Cecile selected some sunflowers from Blue Iris Flowers. A lovely lunch, local goods, some craft brews, and a little retail therapy--it was quite possibly the perfect way to spend a summer Saturday afternoon.
(I promise to share those lamb burgers with you later this week!)