I went down to the Pike Place Market this morning. It was raining and there were errands to run, so I took the car. I went shopping first, because it was too early for lunch, wandering through the stalls, buying dried figs and ground cinnamon and nuts. The lady at the spice market laughs at me for writing my grocery list on my forearm. I stopped at our favorite produce stall for hedgehog mushrooms (EVEN BETTER THAN CHANTERELLES! exclaims the sign) and "little green balls of death" (Brussels sprouts) and beautiful deep purple eggplants, tiny ones a little larger than a jumbo egg. I hear two of the people who work there discussing the sweetness of the Satsuma oranges and grab several, all loose skin and glossy dark leaves. The produce joins the other things in my bag and I head to Sur La Table. I need a Bundt pan. (Like the pecans and figs and ground cinnamon, it is for a new recipe I want to try).
Sur La Table is packed with people and kitchen gadgets. I trip over strollers and push past other shoppers to stare, stupefied, at the bewildering array of cake pans, which come in every imaginable shape and size. They are expensive. I give up, as Matt's in the Market opens soon, and head back out into the rain. Ducking into the old market building, I notice the creamery - good, I can get the eggs and heavy cream I will need for my cake here - and spy another kitchen store. I don't know how I've never seen this place in the twenty years I have been coming to this market, but better late than never, I suppose. I find a Bundt pan for much cheaper than those at Sur La Table (although they have the fancy ones, too) and run out the door, arriving at Matt's just as they open.
Again, I am seated at the bar. (This time I don't get carded). I order the seafood chowder and the 'mac and cheez,' and settle back to watch the bartender make Bloody Marys for the lunch crowd. This is the kind of place where the staff gets together before opening and has a drink as they talk about how the day is going to go, and by the time I leave he's made about twenty Bloody Marys. Plus a Virgin one, at which point I ask him, where 's the fun in that? I am drinking orange juice, so I am in no position to criticize. The chowder arrives to distract me from the notion that brunch was invented so people could drink in the morning without being labeled as alcoholics. Th soup is light and creamy without being too rich, filled with chunks of fish and shellfish and altogether extremely good. But I regret it when my macaroni (actually, they are cavatappi, twisty hollow corkscrews of pasta) and cheese arrives, lush and creamy, with a hint of goat - or perhaps sheep, I've never been any good at identifying cheeses - and fine shreds of prosciutto, with the satisfying crunch of breadcrumbs scattered across the top.
I wish I could eat more, but I am full and there is more shopping to be done. I buy cream and eggs and decide against steak for dinner or fish for the night after. (I think I will roast a chicken instead). I still have to go to the bank and the post office and I need a bottle of bourbon and oh dear where did I put the parking garage ticket? But in all it was a successful morning, and I am warm and well fed and I have most of the things I need for my cake. I can hardly wait to get home and unpack my bulging grocery bags.