Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eat your way around the world, or at least the City Market

When I met my wife 17 years ago, she was Market Master of the historic City Market. Many credit her for turning it from a flea market to the first class farmer's market it is today. She hasn't worked there for many years, but most of the farmers and shop owners from those days still give her a big hug when we come around. But this blog is about food.
The City Market is not only a great place for fresh, locally grown produce and products, but also a great place to spend the morning grazing.
In addition to just wandering the islands and stalls for free samples, I usually grab a coffee and a fluffy scone at the City Market Coffee Company. The place gets packed early, but here's a secret. Right up front there's a place to drop a $1 and just pick up an 8oz. cup o' Joe and avoid the line. But, if you want one of those scones I talked about, you'll have to get in line.

Now I need some protein. Carolla's Italian Market grills their own sausages and burgers right there. Or there's other vendors scattered around grilling sausages and dogs with plenty of grilled fresh peppers and onions. There's even a little breakfast cart selling biscuits and gravy.
I discovered the beef pies at Tikka house this morning. My fingers still smell like the yummy beef, onions and spices packed inside this crusty little piece of heaven. They've got feta filled and gyro pies, too.

Also new is Bloom bakery. You can watch them making bread from the big window outside. They have, in additional to their fresh baked breads, wonderful little cupcakes called buds. They bake them in those little cups the dentist gives you your mouthwash in at teeth cleaning time. My daughter and I split a Vanilla Bean and a Hummingbird (orange zest with coconut butter cream icing). Yes, it was as good as it sounds.
Then we all split a ham and cheese with jalapeno stuffed croissant. Nummy.....
On the way out, after snagging some Morrel mushrooms, we found a lady making Shroopwaffels (sp?) outside the Dutch Flower place. These were little waffleconey material with cinnamon maple syrup between. My daughter wanted to go back for more.
There's more. Way more. Salsa and dips and cheeses and jellies....
A stop at Alhabasshi's Mediterranean Market is worth it. Sample all the great nuts and dried fruits. Outside he sells spices out of the bag for a dollar a scoop. Kids will walk away with a cinnamon stick for free.

Just north of the Market is a large Asian Market. If you can put on your big-boy pants and breath through your mouth, you can get cheap, authentic noodles, spices and dumplings straight from Asia. I always see people bringing in coolers and buying massive amounts of seafood, despite the fishy smell. And don't forget about the restaurants scattered around the perimeter of the Market. Winslow's has solid BBQ and great place to hang out on summer nights. I miss the Delaware Cafe, but I hear the the Farmhouse that replaced it is good. Don't waste your time waiting for breakfast at Cascone's. I never have understood the appeal. Ketchupy Italian sauce and expensive prices are what await you after waiting an hour in line.
I discovered a couple of places from my past right next the Planters (a KC institution in itself). While living in my crappy little studio apartment off the Plaza I used to order Antonio's Pizza. For a time, Antonio's and Torre's battled for pizza supremacy in Westport. Torre's is still there, so that tells you who won. So I was surprised and happy to see Antonio's is back, down by the market. New Greasy Spooners adventure!
Right on the corner next door, is Thirsty's. This is another Westport veteran that moved down to the Market. I can't tell you how many Sundays I spent at Thirsty's having all-you-can-eat tacos and watching the Chiefs lose. So glad they're back. My wife almost cried when she saw the sign.
City Market Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon
Bloom Baking Co. on Urbanspoon

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