SS #50 - Dream Journey of a Spring Day at Market

Sometimes we live our dreams, finding joy in the things that many take for granted. For me, living near a bustling Eastern city is a dream come true; to obtain it, one need only drive a short while.

Better Half and I did our weekly trip to Pittsburgh today (typical VAMC appointment) and then elected to visit the Market District (also known as The Strip along Penn Avenue) to get a little gourmet shopping done.

Our first mission is to find parking; we habitually use the same pay lot and are always waited on by the same attendant (who embodies all that is the Burgh in both his stocky body frame and cheery attitude. We normally return several times to the lot in order to secure bags in the car (who buys just one item at the Strip?)

Penn Mac is an essential stop, if not our primary goal. All Things Italian can be found here. Today we stocked up on our whole peeled tomatoes, pesto sauce, spaghetti, macaroni, and the gallon jug of extra virgin olive oil (bring your own green glass bottle, or for $0.50 more, you can buy one there.) The oil is an “every six-months” treat for us and it takes some time for the bottle to fill – which always leads to polite tête-à-tête with other patrons, or a visual browsing of the kitchen gadget shelves. We ended up adding a garlic press and some fresh sourdough bread to our basket.

Next was a detour to a street stall, where a delicate girl from Ecuador was selling llama wool sweaters and pullovers. They had a vast selection, all of it rather inexpensive, and most of it gaily festive with hand knit traditional patterns. Better Half spied a lovely off-white (natural) zip front wool jacket for me, and $30 later I was toasty warm and we were on our way to DeLuca’s for lunch.

Stan’s Market became our next objective. I was able to find nearly three pounds of perfectly ripened tomatoes and a huge bunch of basil for tonight’s tomato and basil soup, as well as a huge bag of onions, some delicious zucchini, and a few other goodies. I think we spent all of $20 total and left with five bags brimming with healthy fruits and vegetables. These, too, were tucked into the car.

We stopped at a new spice shop (good selection, but not impressed by the prices) and the Wholy’s kitchen store (a bamboo spoon, new paring knife.) Some window-shopping here, a little wishful thinking there – such a nice place to spend a perfect spring afternoon. We did skip Parma’s meats this time around.

The final destination was Wholy’s itself. This is THE place to get your hands on meat, poultry and fish. Fresh fish is heaped on mounds of ice: carp larger than a human toddler, tuna, salmon, scrod, mullet, halibut, catfish, squid, lobster, a plethora of crab species, prawns and shrimp – an unending list of wonderful seafood all sold wholesale cheap. There are also tanks containing more lobster, crabs, as well as sea bass, trout, tilapia. Once one tears their eyes from the live section, one can walk past the freezer cases, where Wholy’s packages their own items. (We added calamari rings and croaker to our basket.)

The butcher area has every meat known to mankind, and perhaps a few that most people would not even think to eat. I bypassed the rabbit fillets and ox tails, glanced at the Angus beef, and settled on humongous lamb shank for Easter for under $15 (you would pay roughly $35-40 at your own local supermarket for the same cut and weight, dear Readers.)

We packed our plastic bags with shaved ice, trucked the last of our goods back to the lot, and headed for home. I simply can not imagine anyone not taking advantage of the Market District unless, of course, they simply do not cook at home or do not know how to cook gourmet.

The tomato and basil soup is ready, the house smells heavenly, and Better Half and I are now relaxing from a very productive market day. Heavenly dream come true!

Please stop by Sunday Scribblings: #50 - Dream journey to read of other dream journeys (both real and fictional.)

5 responded with...:

Anonymous said...

Hey it was quite nice reading your post...thanks for sharing your thoughts and views with us...adn well as we are nearing the Easter celebrations i'd also like you to drop by my blog on Easter Greetings and enjoy all that's there!!!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

I enjoyed reading your recollections of a happy shopping day. :-)

Kamsin said...

I can practiacally smell that soup, and all the other goodies you bought and spied (or maybe I'm just hungry, haha!). Anyway, sounds like a great day!

Kimberley McGill said...

I love markets of all kinds. There is an organic market in Hollywood that makes my heart sing. And when I used to live in New Orleans the Sunday flea market was a weekly trip - oh, and .... ahem . . . a bowl of soup please?

gautami tripathy said...

Good to read your post. I enjoyed your ride along with you..

Journey within the mind