Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preface to France

I have been trying to figure out the best way to share my trip to France. To many people this will take the form of an innocent invitation to come over for crepes and (my) birthday celebrations that will slowly and maliciously turn into me making you watch a slide show of all my pictures.  (p.s. did you notice that I just slipped in the fact that I am actually celebrating my birthday this year? The apocalypse is looming, my friends) But I don’t want to leave out my distant friends, or miss a chance to talk about France.  France. France. Lovely, lovely France.

If I was a real travel writer I could find all the right words to fit it all in one post. But I am not a real writer, and brevity has never been my forte. I don’t want to do a day to day telling of my trip, and I still have plenty of other things I want to enlighten the world with. So over the next little while I will be sprinkling in French stories and pictures among regular blog posts.  That way, hopefully, neither one of us will get tired of talk of baguettes and berets. Ummm. . . .baguettes.

First, the wannabe historian in me wants to speak out:   Location! Location! Location!

When I tell people that I spent the holidays in France, they assume that I went to Paris. It is true that I flew in and out of Paris, and spent one night in the city of lights, but most of my trip was spent in south western France in the little village of Beynac-et-Cazenac, located in the Dordogne department (kind of a province). 

Before the French Revolution the area was known as Périgord, and you will still see it referenced as such today.  The name comes from the time of Gauls, when there were 4 tribes living in the region, thus Petrocore, meaning 4 tribes. However, the history of the region goes back further, like 35,000 years. It is in this area of France where famous pre-historic caves with prehistoric cave drawings and modern day excitable tour guides are found.

(Then enter a long history parade featuring the Visigoths, The Gauls, The Franks, and Charlemagne. We’ll pick up the story around the Middle Ages, yay parade!)

Périgord formed part of the dowry that Eleanor of Aquitaine brought with her on her marriage in 1137 to Louis VII, the future King of France. However, fifteen years later the marriage was dissolved.  Eleanor got back her dowry and within two months she married Henry Plantagenet, Duke of the Normans, who would later become King Henry II of England. The castle outside our front door, Chateau Beynac, built in the 12 century, was once held by the son the Eleanor and Henry, a little known guy named Richard the Lionheart.  During the Hundred Year War the Dordogne River was the border between the English and French forces, often changing hands. The area was again divided between the Catholics and Protestants during the religious wars. I am pleased to say that the region now is at peace, although I did feel the need to storm a castle or two. I am of Norman blood after all.

The little village we stayed in, Beynac-et-Cazenac has been the backdrop for several films including Chocolat and Ever After. However, I don’t know if they were really quite ready for the invasion of 4 American tourists. . . .

(I still cannot believe that I traveled to such a place. It all seems like a dream)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Song of the Week: George Harrison

Ten years ago today the world lost George Harrison. Hopefully some other world rock n' roll band found him. I have always thought of the Beatles as my gateway into music. As I hit play on my little tape recorder years and years ago I learned all their love songs by heart. And by love songs, I don't just mean boy meets girl love songs, but also love your neighbor love songs. You know, songs that matter.

George, thank you. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Life in France

I am home. Back in the States. 
And not very happy about it. 
I felt my heart break a little  as the plane landed.
I started to cry as I waited curbside for my ride to take me home.

In the lovely French countryside I found that girl.
The girl that smiles and laughs.
The girl that writes quirky emails to friends and calls her parents just to say how happy she is.
The girl that feels that she is exactly where she is suppose to be at that exact moment. Not wanting for the past or the future, but drinking in deeply the present. 

I've been looking for the girl. And in the shadow of castles, I became that girl.

Things I already miss:

Living next door to a castle on a hill:

Castle to the left, our little cottage to the right

Shopping at local Markets:

Shared Meals:
Unexpected moments :
A church filled with light

Castle ruins among farmhouses 

Paris at Midnight when the fog makes the city glow

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Evacuation Day!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I know that I did, or I hope I did, since I am writing this a week before it actually gets posted. Does that mean that I traveled to the future or the past. Oy, my head just hurt. I hope you have a great holiday with friends and family and pie and didn't spend all day on the internet reading blogs.

So now that everyone is slowly coming out of their food commas we have to deal with Black Friday. I hate Black Friday. Not only because I used to work for a newspaper and the thought of all the adverts still give me shivers, or that there is very little things in life that I want that I would get up at o'dark thirty in the morning to go stand in a line and then get stampeded for. Yeah, I hate Black Friday for those reasons, but I also hate it because this year it is totally knocking off the calendar a day that actually, like, really is important in American history, that of Evacuation Day.

What is Evacuation Day? I guess that not everyone had Mrs. Moore, the best American History teacher, ever. Evacuation Day, November 25, is the day in 1783, that the last of British soldiers left the United States, more specifically, New York, after the Revolutionary War.  I always thought it was interesting that we celebrate the day that we declared our Independence, but not the day that we actually achieved it.  Evacuation Day also memorializes the over 10,000 Patriot soldiers and sailors that died through deliberate neglect on prison ships in New York waters during the British occupation. More Patriots died on these ships than died in every single battle of the war, combined. They were given the chance to renounce the cause, this new hope of a country of ours, and live. But they didn't.  They, by choice, lived and died by the phase and idea, "Give me liberty or give me death." And because they made that choice back then, we don't have to, today.

That is something to be thankful for. 
post script: I am also thankful that we are friends with Great Britain again, and not just because of chocolate HobNobs.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Favorite Photo: Richmond, Virginia

I don't think that I truly understood this season we call Autumn until I moved to the East Coast.  It still amazes me every year. I walk around with eyes wide open.

I took this picture at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. It is a gorgeous cemetery along the the James River. A friend and I drove down to the capital city for a concert but squeezed in a couple hours of exploring the city. All the locals we asked for site seeing advice pointed us towards this cemetery.   Richmond is beautiful city, especially in the Fall.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Song of the Week: Andy Livingston

Salt Lake City based musician, Andy Livingston started his musical career on a dare. Someone dared him to write a song. And he did. Pretty soon he was writing full orchestra pieces. Did I mention that he was still in high school? Umph. People with crazy musical talents. 

When I got the email* about, Water, his third and newest album, one line stuck out to me, It's been an interesting year, and these songs were the only way I had to make sense of it all.”
That is why I think it is so important, for everyone to have a creative release, whether that be music, photography, writing, cooking, painting, etc. We all need something to calm everything we keep bottle up inside, something to help make the world make sense. 

Andy is a piano man, think of Tori Amos with hints of Elliott Smith. The songs are honest and sincere, many times heartbreaking so.  I shouldn’t have listened to it at work. Before I knew it I had tears welling up in my eyes. Good thing my cubicle walls are high. 

I couldn’t find any video clips of songs from Water, but it is currently streaming, in entirely, on Andy’s website,,  my favorite songs are "What Shall We Sing" (it’s the one that made me cry) and "Fishing for Ophelia".

*For full disclosure, I guess I need to mention that I have known Andy for years. We both survived high school in the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t the person that dared him to write a song, but I kinda wish I was so I could take a little credit.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Words: Wisdom

I have this quote taped to my bedroom mirror. I try to etch it into my soul every day. 

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” 
― Ayn Rand

My eyes were opened the day that I realized that happiness is not something that is just given to you, but something that you have to fight for. Sometimes every day, sometimes every minute of every day.

Bonus Ayn Rand quote:

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Don’t you just love the phrase, hero in your soul. I do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Causes: The Yellow Bird Project

While I was watching the Goat Rodeo Sessions Tiny Desk Concert  I was very distracted by the book behind Yo Yo Ma, The Indie Rock Coloring Book. I had to google it. It is a real thing. In fact it is a really good thing. 
It is a product of the Yellow Bird Project, which is a Montreal-based organization that works with an amazing range of indie rock musicians. And when I say amazing I mean the likes of The National. Each band designs a t-shirt and picks a charity that their t-shirt proceeds will go to. I had to, of course, click through all the bands to see their t-shirts and charities. I want one of everything. When is pay day again?  My favorite t-shirt description was from Wolf Parade:  Aren't we all awkward crocodiles hungry for life, trying to dodge the waves of obligation, pain, and stress?

Music will save the world. Mark my words.

p.s. Next time in a ridiculous team building exercise where I have say what animal I would be, I'm saying awkward crocodile. BAM.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sounds: The Goat Rodeo Sessions

I am a little obsessed with The Goat Rodeo Sessions. I was so excited to tell a friend about them the other day that I kept tripping over all my words and I am pretty sure that  my friend thought that I was just rambling on about goat cheese. Again.

But these are the Goat Rodeo Sessions.  And even though little goats chasing down rodeo clowns is a great mental image, these sessions are actually the newest project of cellist extraordinaire, Yo Yo Ma.  For the album, Ma brings in master double bassist, Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Tile (of Nickel Creek fame) and bluegrass fiddler and banjo player Stuart Duncan. By the list of instruments you can probably figure out  that they aren’t playing Mozart. Not that they couldn’t if they wanted to.

These sessions or recordings are a true testament of the beauty of music.  There are shadows of classical music, bluegrass, Celtic and even jazzy jazz, music that you can’t label it one thing and keep in a nice little box, much like a bunch of goats. Music knows no limits. It does know, however that kids from opposite sides of the tracks can play together and be friends.

And to be even more enduring, they played by favorite song from the album, "Attaboy", on The Colbert Report:

They also stopped by The Tiny Desk at NPR, which you can watch here (its 15 minutes: 3 songs)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today’s Horoscope

Via that old tymey thing called a newspaper:

Sagittarius: Take refuge today from the kinds of pressures that are all round you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sounds: Jeff Buckley

Happy Birthday Jeff Buckley! You are the first voice I hear every morning.*  It hurts my heart that you are gone.

*My alarm is set to:
Jeff Buckley
From the album, Grace

Leftover Bits and Pieces From Pie Day

I have had several people ask about some of the little details of Pie Day, so ta da:

1.    Candies:  We had a homemade candy stand this year, ‘cause candy stand is fun to say. All the recipes (below) were super easy to make, however they did take time to make/chill and took lots of fridge space, but we did make all four at once.

Chocolate Mustaches: made with a candy mold (under $3) from Michaels
English Toffee (p.s. I was listening to the Beatles as I was making the toffee to make sure it was extra English)

2.    Chalkboard: I made the chalkboard from a picture frame that I had bought at Ikea, but had accidentally broken the glass pane. I got some chalkboard paint (available at craft stores near the spray paint), painted the fake wood backing and then placed it back in the frame. Super easy, but to make a good chalkboard surface you need to paint at least 2 coats, so plan ahead.

3.    Cute pie takeaway boxes: courtesy of Ms. M, bought here.  I’m not sure if Ms. M or Mr. K made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache with Raspberries Pie that was inside the boxes, but it tasted like a chocolate covered peanut and jelly sandwich. I am pretty sure it is what angels eat.

4.    No one brought brownies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Also known as last blog post about going to France until I come back and bore you all about having been in France. And a lot of picture of cheese. I am sure about this.

I leave on a jet plane in a couple of days.  And in a very uncharacteristic move, I have done little to no preparing.*

You have to understand, I am an over planner, sometimes obnoxiously so.  I do research, read piles of travel books, I make itineraries, and I makes lists, lots of lists. I plan for the worst case scenarios. I am the person with the Band-Aids and the phone number to the US embassy.  I guess that all this planning helps me feel some sense of security in unfamiliar places. But my trip to Wales last year taught me that sometimes the best stories can come when you let go.  And even though I am excited to set foot in Paris, I think that I am even more excited to spend 98% of the trip out in the countryside.

I need this.  Work and life have just got me a little beat down and I am tired of being brave. 

When people ask me what I will be doing in France I simply sigh.  But, what the heck, here is my first and probably only list for the trip:

In France, I want to:

Breathe.  Lately, it has been feeling like I have been holding my breath, I just want to breathe in deeply, to fill my lungs with new, sweet air.

Try new things. Taste, smell and see things for the very first time.

Sleep. Man, oh man, how I want to get a good night’s sleep. I want to remember what it is like to be refreshed or awake.  Like, really awake.

Be far away, in every sense, from my routine life.

Eat good cheese and good bread and good chocolate, and not feel bad about it.

But even when running away, you still need to pack. I need to get on that. All you need in France is a striped shirt (check), a beret (check), and clean underwear (check), right? 

*my kind and wise travel companions handled all the important stuff, flights, lodging, transportation, etc. Thankfully.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Song of the Week: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

You guys. Can we all start a band? I'll wear a green dress. We can play in old bookstores, that may be a little dusty, but have character. And maybe on rooftops and in little gazebos in parks. Can anyone play the accordion? It is kinda like a piano and everyone can play the piano.  We will travel and tour the country, and when we reach the ocean, we'll eat tacos on the beach.

I missed my stop in the train today because I was lost in this song. True story.

40 Day Dream
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
from the album: Up from Below

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Before & After



15 different kinds of pie!

Thanks for another success Pie Day! Now if you will excuse me, I have to slip into a sugar coma. Work is going to fun tomorrow. F-U-N.  If the government breaks down tomorrow, this time, and only this time, you can blame it on me . . .and Pie Day. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011



I have never read a Jane Austen book, and more often than not, I dislike so called chick flicks.* But I am not ashamed to admit, I love, with probably unhealthy amounts of adoration, the BBC version of  Pride & Prejudice.  It is why the guy I marry must own a green coat.

*I, on principle, hate anything that compares ladies to chickens.

In other British adaptation news, I feel that on principle,  I have must end my love affair with the band Mumford & Sons, at least for today.  Also, today, I apparently have a lot of principles. They are contributing music to the new film adaptation of Wuthering Heights. This book tops the list of pieces of literature most likely to send me into a fiery rage. I haaaate it.  I will not be seeing the movie. In fact, if I can come up with a clever sign, I may protest it. Fiery. Rage. If you want to listen to the song, go here, I can't make myself do it. And if you do, please tell me it is horrible. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


In remembrance on this Veteran's Day, to those that died, to those that lived

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sounds: Communion US Tour

This past Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Communion US Tour. I have been looking forward to this tour since it was announced earlier this fall.

Communion is a music collective based in London, England.  It is a community that helps find, promotes and supports up and coming musicians. I have had many musician friends and I have witnessed how hard it is to share your craft on your own, so I love this idea and being part of it. I figure musicians need listeners, right? I am a very good listener.  Also, I play a mean tambourine, you know, if anyone needs one. Communion had previously focused on mainly English artists and setting up shows in the UK which means us US folks could buy and fall in love with the music but were missing that human, seeing them in person, connection. Not any longer.

Communion now has an office in NYC and this fall launched a tour in the US to help introduce and showcase come wonderful musicians and bands, from both sides of the pond. 

This tour, and more particular, this show also gave me the chance to introduce a couple of my friends to some new bands. It is one thing, a great thing, to give someone a mix tape, but sometimes you have to drag them along to witness the magic of a live show. It can be a little brave to ask a friend to come with you to see a band that they have never heard of before. Sometimes getting someone to trust my music, and have an open mind, is the hardest thing.  But so far, I hope, I haven’t let anyone down.

Our local stop on the tour was at Jammin Java in Vienna. It is small venue, which I loved/hated. I loved that it was small so there was no wall (literally or figuratively) between the artist and the audience, it felt like we were one big old community of lonely hearts.  I hated it because I so wanted so many more people to see and fall in love with all these artists. Why isn’t the whole DC metro area here tonight? WHY?

Lauren Shera ushered in the night. She is a graduate of the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Lauren plays a whole arsenal of instruments, but on Tuesday, it was just her and her guitar. Have you ever heard someone sing and think that you would give up everything, even chocolate, to sing like that? I have. On Tuesday night. It wasn’t just the sound of her voice, but it was the soulfulness and truth behind the voice. 

One of the beautiful things about this tour was that there was no dead time in between performers. No breaking down one band, sitting up the next, sound checking, etc. Lauren invited most of the members of the David Mayfield Parade on stage with her for her last song. After she finished the band remained on stage and David Mayfield, came, I kid you not, somersaulting in a suit, on stage.

David Mayfield is known from his previous band, Cadillac Sky and being the older brother of Jessica Lea Mayfield. He formed the Parade almost a year ago. Their music is fun and fantastic, but seeing them live brings a whole new level to idea of the style points. Part big tent revival (“Jesus Take the Wheel!), part stand-up comedy routine and part rock n’roll force of nature. Some may call David Mayfield a little eccentric, but he and his band have the talent to back it all up.  His guitar playing skills = wow. He can play while being stuck in a chair. He can play will storming around the stage and jumping in the air. The parade is rounding out by Wes Langlois on guitar , Kristen Weber on fiddle, Shelby Means on upright bass, and Joe Giotta on drums.
(this video doesn't show the ferociousness of their live set, but its my favorite song of theirs, so yeah.)

And true to no dead time between sets, DMP came into the audience for their last song, so the next band can set up on stage. And when I said came in the audience, I mean David and Wes sat next to us.  On this seating arrangement, my friend A stated, “I could lick Wes’s guitar, not that I would, but I could.”

And last but not least, was Matthew and the Atlas.  MatA has mostly been known in the US as that band that opened up for Mumford and Sons, but now they are starting to be known for themselves and their lovely music. And that is why you should always, always get to a venue early to see the opening bands. You just might fall in love. The Matthew of the band is Matthew Hegarty.  I feel the whole band has been created around the soulful sound of his voice.  In his voice, I swear you can hear 100 years of love and heartache. Lindsay West, a notable singer/songwriter on her own balances Matthew’s roughness with fragile melodies. Harry Cargill on banjo (banjo!), Tommy Field on drums and Dave Millar on accordion each added their own delicate and powerful take on music storytelling. And just to prove me that they are indeed a true British band, there was awkward stage banter. This band will melt your heart, guaranteed.

At the end of the night and in true folk music form, all three bands joined together on stage for a huge hootenanny. I couldn't find my camera the night of the show, so all pictures I have of that the night are at the mercy of my phone. 

To me is all what music should be about: to not feel so alone, to make sense of the world, to feel yourself, and to be a small part of a whole.

Thanksgiving Dream Dreams

Is it weird that I have never cooked anything for Thanksgiving Dinner? Ever.  Growing up (and still to this day), Thanksgiving is my dad’s domain. Weeks before the big feast we would start seeing recipes appearing under magnets on the fridge, and ingredients congregating on the kitchen desk.  If I would was lucky I would be tasked with the pickles/olive tray where I would precede to do the “one pickle for the tray, one pickle for me” trick. I love pickles.  If I wasn’t so lucky I would be tasked with dragging up the good china from the basement. No one was allowed near the oven or the stove.  My dad is a fantastic cook and we have similar food tastes: the spicier the better and potatoes are our Prozac, so everything that was placed on the table I filled my belly with bliss.  

During my college years I always stayed out West so sometimes I would be invited to eat somewhere and sometimes me and my roommate from Mexico would just stay home and watch scary movies.  Recent years I have been traveling so I have mostly eaten potatoes and stuffing in roadside restaurants, last year it was on a boat. Boooaaaat.

But I have dreams of one day cooking a Thanksgiving Feast, with crisp tablecloths and multiple courses, but sans the turkey. No matter how much I love the family and friends and random circus performers (except clowns) that will surely be invited to the feast, I do not ever see myself cooking a turkey. The job of the bird will have to be assigned to a kind hearted and turkey loving friend, or a deli.

This year, once again and by choice, I will be traveling, but that hasn’t stopped me from perusing the internets and food/cooking magazines for Thanksgiving recipes.

My upmost favorite food blog for Thanksgiving ideas is The Bitten Word. It is written by two local DC guys who task themselves with experimenting and sharing recipes and ideas from their large collection of magazine subscriptions.

I love their idea of Fakesgiving, where they invite friends over to help taste recipes from November/Thanksgiving magazine issues, before Thanksgiving. With all the pressure a major food holiday can bring, it is smart to test recipes first. And you get to eat twice.  This year they also created an index of recipes from said issues, including links to the online recipes.  Food and well organized indexes, two of my favorite things, together at last.  I bookmarked this page like three times, just to be sure; it will be a goldmine of ideas whenever I get around to my own Thanksgiving feast.

Have you ever cooked a full Thanksgiving Dinner? What your some of your favorite places for ideas/recipes?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Song of the Week: Vandaveer

I talk a lot about bands that are coming, or that I hope will come to the DC area, but rarely do I talk about bands that are already here. So let's talk bout the DC music secene. But don't call it a scene, true scensters hate that term. When the topic of DC music comes up I think most people think of the punk rock scene that birthed such legends as Bad Braisn, Henry Rollins and anything that Iam Mackaye touches (Minor Threat, Fugazi, Dischord Records). But every now and then I hear rumbles and moans about the Federal Collective. This was a folk influenced collective (again NOT a scene)
where musicans and listeners would come together for informal jam session like gatherings in the mid-2000s. I think the last formal gathering was around 2009. Big names to come out of this collective were These United States and Vandaveer.

Vandaveer has been coming up in my music shuffle a lot lately, particularly the below song, "However Many Takes, It Takes." It is the perfect song for the song for the coming winter months when all the colors outside have turned to gray, the sun never returns your needy lover phone calls (Come back! I need you! I love you.) and you may or may not know how you are ever going to make it to spring.

Vandaveer is play in DC at the Red Palace with Ben Sollee on November 19. If I was here, I would be there.

Words: Wisdom

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." – Plato

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday Dinner

"The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, form the mere animal biology to an act of culture." Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

Sunday Dinner should not be a solidary event. 

X is soon off to a new adventure (in more ways than one), so sone last real dinner was in order. Especially when she volunteered to cook. Especially when goat cheese is involved.

We showed up early and crammed ourselves in her small galley kitchen and sauteed pears, chopped up shallots, and rolled and tied with twine a slab of meat.

We set the fire alarm off to let everyone know what kind of party this was.
We ate beef tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese pears and herbs on paper plates, her real plates already packed, and veg drenched with lemon and dill served in a bright blue bowl. We drank sparkling peach flavored juice in borrowed goblets.

For dessert we dished out warm pumpkin crumble on leftover Amish animal plates. The plates were bought on a trip to Amish country. I am not sure of the religious views of the animals themselves.

We talked a lot. We laughed a lot. No one updated their Facebook status, no one sent a text, no one checked their email. The TV and computers were turned off.

A day, or at least an evening of rest.

Monday morning came too soon and I was back to eating breakfast alone standing in my kitchen, staring with dread, out the window at all the leaves that still have to be raked.

Counting down the days until the return of Sunday Dinner.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sounds: New Mumford & Sons

Since it is November, I am envisioning a lot of food posts, so I want to break it up a little, at least for today.

If you have been to a Mumford & Sons concert in the last year or so, one, you are a lucky duck, and two, you know that they have been road testing a lot of new songs ahead of the release of their second album, which, if the word on the street is correct, will be February 2012.  The internet is full of clips of these songs taken on camera phones at concerts in bad lighting and with someone in the background shouting "Woo hoo!" at least twice.  Finally, finally, we are getting a little bit more produced viewing of new material.

Depending on which band member you ask, this song will be called, "Ghosts," of "Ghosts We Knew." 

Already in love. 

In other M&S news, in honor of The General's birthday, they released a live album that included two songs, "Feel the Tide," and "Hold On to What You Believe," which were previously only available on hard to find and even harder to listen to while walking, EPs.

Local Travels: Eastern Market

I will only get up early on Saturdays for two things: road trips to the beach and breakfast at Eastern Market.

Eastern Market is an indoor/outdoor market that that has been open, continuously. in the Capitol Hill section of the city since 1873.  Even following the 2007 fire that heavily damaged the South Hall, the outside market remained up. The vendors still came. The community still came.

The Market Lunch, which is located in the rebuilt South Hall is the best place, the best place, for breakfast. This eatery is not a stand alone restaurant. Inside the market, right across from the fish monger, is a long table in front of a counter. That's it. You order your food, pick up your food, then sit at the table and eat. The entire menu is written on huge blackboards, the food is served on Styrofoam plates on red cafeteria style trays.  No gimmicks, no fancy themes. It is not common to have to wait in line for 30 minutes, but it's worth it.

The house special is the "blue bucks," blueberry buckwheat pancakes, but my heart belongs to the French Toast.  Thick slabs of real bread smoothed in whatever seasonal toppings, Tom, the owner has dreamed up. In the spring it is fruit salsa, in the summer peaches are common, and in the autumn, like today, apple cider syrup. Heaven.

If you aren't a breakfast person, the crab cake sandwiches on the lunch menu are the best in the city.