Sunday, February 10, 2013

City Market Sunday

Joe had a serious assignment today. Take a photo of a stranger. And not with a long paparazzi lens. Up close, personal, with the full knowledge of his subject. He's taking an online commercial photography class, and the first assignment was a doozy. And everyone knows that ranking just below any airport, farmer's markets are the second best place to people watch. And they have much better food than airports. I tagged along and we drove down to Kansas City's only year round farmer's market, City Market.

We arrived around 10am, when the rainy crappy morning had blossomed into this perfect spring Sunday, in February. It was sunny and crisp, though insanely windy. After scoping out the stalls, we parted ways. Joe headed out to find the perfect stranger, ignore how weird that sounds, and I headed out to find coffee and look at unusual stuff for sale.

The winter market is less populated than the spring and summer market, fewer vendors and shoppers, but the permanent shops, stalls and restaurants are always there and usually open. And sometimes it's more fun to shop when you don't have to push an old lady out of your way as she fondles all the tomatoes. Old ladies love fondling produce.

I bought a spicy mocha from City Market Coffee, because cayenne pepper and chocolate and coffee make a delightful trio. The barista called me "sweetie" which always makes me laugh when it comes from someone at least ten years younger than me. I took my coffee and meandered. I bought some postcards for a young lady doing a school project on the 50 States, picked up some Wizard of Oz swag for my Oz addicted mother-in-law, and then wandered slowly through Sunday's Community Yard Sale booths. People have some strange crap. Some strange overpriced crap, with the occasional cool old thing thrown in just to mix it up and grab your attention.


After some time on my own, I went off to find a husband, mine specifically. He was hanging out with Jose and taking some glamour shots of produce and the very amenable Jose. We bought a pineapple, some berries, potatoes, and very bright yellow bananas. Down the way from Jose at Global Produce, we stopped at spice stalls and hummus peddlers, wandered into the Al-habashi market and bought some strange and delicious coated peanuts. We contemplated Bulgarian feta, something intriguingly called "picnic cheese", racks of pickled veggies, and shelves and shelves of freshly baked naan and pita.

Then to Italy, or the Carollo's Italian Market, where we found all of the treats that took us back to our trip to Rome and Florence what seems like ages ago. Blood orange soda and peach tea, gnocchi, pastries, Bacci candy, fabulous cans of olive oil. We bought a couple of things. You know, just to support local businesses. Then it was lunch time.


But before lunch, this happened. I never knew there was a whole line of gay merman ornament/figurines, any ethnicity, any job that involves a uniform. I stood in front of these gaudy, amazingly fit gentlemen for about 5 minutes with my mouth hanging open. Yes. Genius. My new favorite mythical sea creature collectible wearing various haberdashery and glittery fins. Oh, thank you, City Market, thank you.

Now for lunch. Joe was seduced by the enormous and fragrant grilled meats and I was seduced, as always, by Bloom Bakery. I sampled an almond croissant that was so buttery, sweet and flaky that I wanted to share it with everyone walking by because they needed to know how good it was, and my first French macaron cookie, which seem to be all the rage, taking over the cupcake mantle as trendiest baked good. They were good, really good.

So the professional photographer enjoyed his Polish sausage for lunch and his tagalong wife sat next to him in an almond and butter and sugar induced coma of bliss. And it wasn't even quite noon yet. Joe kept saying, "Why have you never made me come down here before? I blame you." And rightly so. I've lived in Kansas City most of my life and we've lived here as a couple for over a decade, and we'd never been here together. It's fifteen minutes from our house. It's filled with local businesses and local produce, and strange delights. I think we'll be back very soon, very very soon.

Someone loves grilled meats.

Most photos by that smiling, professional photographer, Joe Sands. 

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