Consider yourself extremely lucky if you were in Seattle yesterday. It was such a spectacular day of sun, low humidity and the bluest of skies. Perfect day to head out to Ballard to visit the local farmers market, forage for dinner, browse and shop around, have some brunch, make friends, meet vendors and growers and make the most of the gorgeous weather.
Living walking distance to Pike Place Market means that on any given day we may find ourselves down there for breakfast, lunch or shopping for dinner. However, yesterday was a day to get in our car, enjoy the short drive to Ballard, find a great parking spot and spend the day at one of our favorite city neighborhoods.
One of the gifts of living in Seattle is the abundance of fabulous Farmers Markets that operate year round. And I am not just talking about Pike Place Market. So there is no reason to have to wait for Farmers Market Season in the Puget Sound.
Did you know that along with Pike Place and Capitol Hill, the Ballard Farmers Market is open year round? If you have never made it to Ballard's Sunday Market or have not been there in a while I encourage you to visit these farmers and vendors soon and not miss one of our ultimate Sunday destinations.
This market is brilliant. Yesterday we found lovely handmade chocolates from Zen Boy, Les Fromages d'Anne Marie artisanal cheeses--bought a fresh marinated chèvre from Paul, a sweet cheese man from Belgium--, fresh asparagus, foraged wild greens and mushrooms, artisanal pastas, nuts, duck eggs, the freshest most plump and tender oysters and mussels, premium salmon and tuna.
There were all sorts of fragrant and edible scented geraniums, Lady Fern fiddleheads --we'll be preparing these tomorrow--, the most incredible lavender caramels, lavender flavored caramel corn and jelly, amazing pears and apples, golden beets and delicious Czech pastries and Mexican treats. More on our favorite market and Ballard finds at a later date.
And not only is it located within the historical district but it is surrounded with lovely shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants that also happen to be independent, locally owned businesses. Some of our favorites shops in the city happen to be in Ballard. Places such as:
- Lucca -This store is a treasure trove of delightful finds from chandeliers to MarieBelle Chocolates, from Mariage Frères teas to imported Italian fragrances, Moleskine journals, handmade jewelry, bags...
- Olivine -Makeup, perfume, bags, jewelry, stationary, shoes and accessories
- Bark -In Seattle, this is the best place to shop for your pet, naturally.
- Souvenir Curtis Steiner is a genius! Mr. Steiner's striking selection of handmade cards and jewelry (his own designs and creations) are truly works of art and his gallery of objets trouvés one of the city's best kept secrets. Ask for Mortimer
- Re-Soul Fabulous shoes, furniture, art and accessories in a wonderfully happy space.
- Portalis Wine Bar and shop with lovely--and for the most part free--tastings every Sunday, noon to 3pm.
The days was just so overwhelmingly beautiful we dropped out loot in our car and walked to Café Besalu for brunch. If you have never tried their pain au chocolat you have got to get yourself to this den of all things French and delicious tout de suite!
I must tell you that in all my years of eating this, one of my favorite French breakfast pastries ever--quite comparable in chocolate quality and flake factor to those of Pierre Hermé, Lenôtre, Au Levain du Marais and Be. In fact, I am yet to find a nicer pain au chocolat in our fair city-- Il Fornil and Le Panier included.
From there we walked over to Romanza, Tableau, always tempting Cupcake Royale, unbelievably fun Cookies and finally Sonic Boom, our favorite place to listen to tunes and buy music in Seattle, were DJ Little Jeans and I talked cupcakes, my Feist and Kings of Convenience obsessions, Ben Watt and Picaresque, the latest from The Decemberists.
I walked away with a fabulous compilation of some of the best stuff by Astralwerks artists. Nothing like fabulous music to end an amazing Seattle day. We plan to go back next week. :-)
Ballard Sundays Farmers Market
10am - 4pm
5300 Ballard Ave NW