Eastern Market in Washington, DC is a favorite part of my weekend routine. It’s funny that I spend a good amount of time there because when I first moved to DC and lived in upper NW, Eastern Market seemed just soooooo far away to venture. I think in my first four years in DC, I went to Eastern Market a whopping total of 2 times. Maybe because instead of a Metro ride involving a couple line transfers, I now am lucky enough to live a short walk away. Even if I don’t buy anything at Eastern Market, I just love walking around and examining the produce, searching the flea market for buried treasure and, of course, people watching. Eastern Market is a topnotch spot to people watch.
Farmer’s markets in general can be overwhelming to navigate at first, there’s just so much to take in! Add on a parking lot turned into a flea market haven and another group of local artisans’ stands. Is your head spinning right now? Don’t worry, I’ve compiled a list of what you should check out when you find yourself at Eastern Market on a Saturday.
I almost feel bad telling you about this one. Because you will never be happy with grocery-store greens ever again. Their $6 bag of spinach lasts me a week and I love using it in salads, green monster smoothies and wilted over pasta. Plus they package their lettuce in large metal tubs. Gotta love a good rustic touch at a farmer’s market.
We’ve talked pretty extensively over the years about my
addiction love for spicy sauces, condiments, food, etc. I pride myself that I can handle it. But omg Wisteria Gardens’ Serrano Ginger brings.the.heat. A bottle lasts me over a week because I can usually only have a scoop of this salsa on about four tortilla chips before I’m reaching for milk or a piece of bread to save my mouth from the flames. Yup, it’s that good.
Wisteria Gardens also offers an array of homemade salsas that are out of this world good. They are filled with chunks of tomatoes and freshly chopped cilantro. This stand is a must-visit. No excuses, people!
Jonathan Bardzik’s Cooking Demo
I don’t currently have a TV but when I did, Food Network was a favorite channel. Jonathan Bardzik‘s Saturday cooking demo is my new Food Network. Using fresh ingredients from the market, Jonathan walks his audience through several recipes and provides recipe cards for each of the dishes, free of charge. But what sets Jonathan apart is his sense of humor, his chats with onlookers as he quickly slices a vegetable. The real kicker for me is that he explains the science behind cooking. Normally when you watch a cooking show, they just tell you the ingredients, when to add them and if you should whisk, fold, simmer, etc. Jonathan explains the reasoning behind each step and how it enhances the flavors and builds the dish. For someone with zero culinary training, I love watching and learning tips + tricks for the kitchen, like how to properly dice an onion. Note that these cooking demos are only on Saturday 10-1. Bonus: free samples of dishes he prepares that day!!
In a Pickle
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved pickles. I could easily eat a jar of pickles by myself in one sitting. When I go home my mother has to buy another jar just for me otherwise there won’t be any pickles left for her, my dad and Tommy. So for a pickle-lover such as myself, In a Pickle is Mecca. See those barrels? They are filled to the brim with pickles of various flavors: my personal favorites are the hot ‘n spicy and Old Bay but you cannot go wrong with good ol’ fashioned dill. The owner (pictured here wearing sunglasses) is always in an upbeat mood and is more than happy to provide you with ideas of how to use your pickles and the juice. I had never thought to use it as a marinade for chicken or fish but my goodness, it was a game changer.
P.S. The hot ‘n spicy pickle juice is a mean addition to a homemade Bloody Mary. Oh and note that this stand is a cash-only operation but for $9, you get enough pickles to last you a week! Or, in my time, about three days.
Best of Eastern Market
I might have to do a follow up “Best of Eastern Market” because this post is already pretty long and I still have so much to say about the market. Keep visiting to see Best of Eastern Market Part Two!
Do you live in DC? Do you have a favorite Eastern Market stand?
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