Friday, June 09, 2006

To Market, To Market

Last weekend was our first weekend in Cleveland without kids. Friday night, we celebrated by zoning out in front of the t.v. We are wild women! J was tired from the work week and I wasn't about to insist that we go out anywhere.

But, Saturday was tremendously fun! We started out the day with a vanilla latté on the way into Cleveland. We found the West Side Market with ease, although a parking space was a bit less simple to procure. However, it wasn't that bad & soon we were strolling down one of the semi-outdoor produce aisles. We decided to get the produce last, after exploring indoors. It was exciting to be around all those different kinds of people speaking different languages. It was glorious to see all the lush colors and shapes of the fruits and veggies, too. Across the street was a little square with vendor's tents set up. Cheap jewelry vied with t-shirts and rap CDs for our attention, reminding me of being on Yonge Street in Toronto or in New York. There was a jazz band playing on a small stage in the square, too, and we stopped to listen to them. We also considered having our fortunes told, but instead decided to make them ourselves..."You will eat very well"!

Inside the market, we found all kinds of delicious things to buy...and delicious possibilities for later. Our first purchase, bought on J's whim after sampling some, was Lithuanian sausage from a stand with all sorts of sausages. We are trying Hungarian sausage next. Our breakfast came from a stand selling English treats. Unable to choose between a Cornish Pasty and a breakfast pie, we got both. The pasty was fabulous & we wished we'd gotten more of those. We picked up meats & spices, bread & pico de gallo, blue-cheese-stuffed olives & pepitas, raspberries & baby artichokes. We promised ourselves that we'd get a peach pie next time, an empanada, handmade pierogies from the booth that sold dozens of varieties.

After the market, we took groceries home & then I prepared for J's surprise. She'd been haranguing me to tell her for days, ever since I announced that I had a surprise for her. I made her close her eyes as I toted a picnic basket and beach bag out to the car. As I drove through Bay Village, she guessed that I was taking her to the water. We went down an enormous flight of stairs, still fantasizing about one day buying a waterfront house, and there was the lake. We lay on a blanket, me reading aloud to her, as the waves broke on the sand, seagulls wheeled above, and little boys played with boogie boards in the water. We enjoyed a market picnic of Stilton with strawberries embedded in it, soft pillows of ciabatta, cashews & pepitas, and enormous, sweet-as-summer raspberries.

When it was time to go home, neither of us were ready. So, I took us to Mitchell's, where we sat in a streamlined space and ate fabulous ice cream. Then, we popped into the grocery and headed home. J made filet mignon, hers with mushrooms/onions/garlic, mine with Maytag blue cheese. We had steamed asparagus to go along with it, dipped in lime butter.

In the morning, we'd planned to go church shopping, but J didn't want to get up, so we lazed. Then, we had brunch at IHOP before going shopping for throw pillows and bookshelves. We found the perfect shelf at Linens 'N' Things, for only $29. However, the only one they had left was the floor model. They started calling other stores & assured us that we could have them shipped to this store or to our home. After waiting almost an hour, we wearied of not getting answers & just bought the floor model, assured that we would have 2 more soon. After running a couple more errands, we went home to greet the boys. Then, we went to check on the shelf status & pick up a few groceries. Well, the closest store with those shelves is almost an hour away and unwilling to ship them. Also, they have been discontinued and we cannot order them online, either. It would have been nice to know all this before we bought the one. The sales person who had been making the calls & the manager were both incredibly rude to us, treating us like we were idiots for not knowing. I am unsure of whether I should just bite the bullet & drive over to get them or not, but I am sure that I am not excited at the prospect of giving that company any more of my business, after being treated that way.

J was already fuming because of the treatment when we discovered that Heinen's closes at 6 on Sundays. She felt like biting someone then...too many Laurell Hamilton books, perhaps? I was able to raise her spirits with dinner, though. I made gouda-stuffed chicken and she loved it!

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