Wednesday’s Santa Monica Farmers Market

Farmers Market. Or is it Farmers’ Market? Does it belong to The Farmers? Is it for them? I thought it was for me. A Farmers’ Market is where Farmers go to buy food, isn’t it? It should be, if it’s not. I didn’t see any Farmers shopping for food this morning. Just selling food. The only people I saw shopping for food were other yuppies like me. Some of them were trying to conceal their identities by dressing as hippies. But we can smell our own kind. Shallow materialism has a very distinct aroma.

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As a phenomenon in and of itself, the farmers markets I’ve know have always been in California. My earliest experience with a “The Farmers Market” was with the one in West Hollywood. Apparantly its been there since 1934. This establishment is very similar to the Brentwood Country Mart. These were probably once very humble establishments where people who actually lived in a semi-agricultural community would go for basic commerce – a market in the most abstract of senses, a place where transactions for goods and services could take place in an open clearinghouse. At least, that’s the vision I like to have in my head. I always like to think of people as having been nobler in the past, having only recently descended into the wretched form we currently assume.

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But with the except of the aformentioned two, the farmers markets to which I have become accustomed as an adult are entirely mobile. They show up on a regular day of the week, for just a few short hours, then pack up and travel back to their places of origin, only to show up again a week later. They are usually an affair support and organized by the local community, generally with encouragement of the local city government. I’ve been to ones in Thousand Oaks, Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Century City, and, of course, the ones in Santa Monica.

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We have farmers markets in three different locations throughout the week. In fact, they are available three days a week. Santa Monicans, in fact, are so nuts about this ritual that if you google “farmers market” the third most popular result is the one on the city’s info page.

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Wednesday’s farmers market is probably the most professional of the bunch. The crowd attending this one are a very serious set – they generally come prepared with their own wheeled carts, know the growers and their wares, and adhere to strict courtesy: queuing, cash only, no chit-chat-while-others-are-waiting. In fact, the Wednesday market thumbs its nose at the others. This market is a monstrosity that stretches to encompass all of the area it’s weak Saturday younger brother does – everything along Arizona from 4th to 2nd Streets – then gobbles up another half block in every direction from the intersection of 2nd and Arizona. It’s organic in more than one sense. It seems to be growing.

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Dinner with My Godmother

So for a few years now I’ve been going over to my godmother’s house for dinner every now and then. She has this sweet pad way up in the hills. Part of the deal when she bought it was that it would be remodeled with a kick-ass kitchen, of her own design, as she is no slouch in the chef department. Lately I’ve been heading up there for dinner about once every two weeks because I’ve come to the realization that her cooking is better than any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

That, and it’s free.

Oh and she prefers to eat dessert in front of her 72 inch 1080p plasma tv. Last night we watched wrestling.

My godmother was born in Stuttgart. She was a flight attendant (a stewardess at the time) for Pan-Am who married an American infantryman. After his tour was over, they moved to Los Angeles together.

saltimboccaAnyway, I get to go over there every other Tuesday when she has me over for dinner and creates an array of amazing dishes. Last night’s entree was her take on a lamb saltimbocca. I’ve had it with chicken before, also as a home cooked meal, and loved it. So when I walked in her kitchen last night and found out what we were having I was quite pleased.

I need to take a moment to talk about the overall “experience” of going over there for dinner. This is not some ramshackle operation thrown together at the last second. These preparations are like pit stops in a Formula 1 race: everything is ready to go, no time is wasted, and there are no mistakes. It’s almost like being on a cooking show without the cameras. Only instead of only getting to see the food on tv, you actually get to eat it. Which is important.

saladEvery dinner comes with a salad. It’s pretty much the best salad I’ve ever had and it’s the only commonality between all the meals. It’s basically Live Gourmet (an awesome concept) butter lettuce, thinly-diced green onions, a dash of salt, and a custom home-made dressing consisting of a light mixture of olive oil and white vinegar. Occasionally she will throw in a small handful of mini tangelo chunks to spring up the flavor.

The pièce de résistance of this particular meal was the berry clafoutis she prepared. I helped eat it. This particular clafoutis consisted of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries with peach and pluot slices. Really yummy.

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Red Bull Experiment

This is the crowd that showed up for the free concert and was forced to sit on the sand next to the pier. Apparently they would have sat on the pier, but were afraid all the Red Bull might ruin their buzz.

This is the ramp that is going to be used for the stunt. There are a pair of quarter pipes (a baby and a mama). Ronnie is going to launch off the baby, into the air, then land on the mama quarter pipe, breaking the world record for vertical air. At the pier. On TV. In the wind.

Hats off to you Rennie.