This is one of my favorite places to visit in my city. During the early part of spring, my neighbors and I would come here and we'd each buy something to contribute to a big "family" dinner. The day would start early - around 11. We'd stop at our favorite coffee shop for something warm to wake us up, and then hit the streets in search of the perfect goods. In the Italian Market there are shops that specialize in meats, cheeses, pasta, desserts, fish...whatever you can think of, there is a shop for it. All along the sidewalks are open-air produce stands for those extras you might need - basil, onion, tomato - to make the perfect meal. We'd do our shopping, come home for "work hours" which often became nap time, start our meal and carry on late into the night.
It's always fun to find the cultural hub of your community, if you're lucky enough to have one. Different regions of the country are associated with different cultures. Don't get stuck in Wonderbread Land - see what everyone else has to offer! You can meet a lot of great people with interesting stories in some of these little markets. You'll also find some gems as far as the perfect place to buy the perfect whatever it is you are looking for. Embrace it!
Today I was in the mood for something lighter, and I've been craving cannolis for a couple weeks - I haven't had one in months! My neighbor Nick and I headed down to the market and picked up goods for this meal: cheese ravioli, gnocchi and caprese salad. Mmm. The ravioli and gnocchi were from a local pasta shop where it's made fresh. I took care of the caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and basil from the garden, and Nick made the pesto. Everything was delicious and instead of going with wine or some other traditional drink, we complemented it with my fresh lemonade - perfect for a sunny, almost summer afternoon. With a meal like this, you're supporting local businesses and since all the other foods were in season, local farms.