There's a lot going on at the highly anticipated new Spokane Public Market. We knew the basic set-up: a large room with booths for vendors featuring all-local products. But beyond that, we were kind of fuzzy on the details. So with ravenous appetites we went, and we quickly learned the ways of eating through the market.
LESSON #1: 14-year-olds with purple hair make fantastic foodies.
Gabriella Makena looks shy at first, manning the Modern Tart booth by herself. But as soon as you get her talking, you’ll find that the 14-year-old knows every detail about every item they carry, which is easy because she and her mom, Monica Meglasson, invent the recipes together.
“We like to be creative,” says Makena with a smile full of braces. “She inspires me.”
Their creativity has yielded many a unique creation, like their cabernet-vanilla ice cream ($4), which features swirls of Caterina wine though rich vanilla ice cream. Makena’s favorites, however, are the chocolate truffles ($2 each, $5 for five).
LESSON #2: People in Texas will become murderous … over breading mix.
Although she’s originally from Oregon, Teri King has a slight Southern drawl as a result of 25 years spent in Texas. There, she met a caterer named Ray who let her in on his secret recipe for breading, but only because she was going to be selling it far, far away through her business, Wash House Candies. The recipe, says King, is highly coveted in Texas.
“I know people who would kill for that,” says King, gesturing at the 12-ounce bags of breading that go for $4. She seems quite serious.
As for her candies, King makes a Ginger Brittle ($4.25) using a recipe of her own design. Some might say it’s “to die for,” but lest word gets back to those people in Texas, we’ll just settle on “it’s really, really good.”
LESSON #3: Happy cows taste delicious.
Just by looking at the meat, Neil McCullough can tell if a cow led a happy life.
“I just love showing this off,” says the 22-year-old as he pulls a steak from his family’s farm, the Susie David's Cattle Company LLC, out of the cooler. He points out the darkness of the meat and the cream color of the fat, which he says are both indicators of an all-grass diet and make for naturally lean meat. A cut from the McCulloughs’ will average about 92 percent lean. Another bonus to the grass diet: It makes those cows taste delicious, as evidenced by the array of sausages ($5) Susie David’s carries in addition to their meat cuts.
LESSON #4: “Moist” is the new “dry and crumbly.”
There is a man on the front lines of a war, fighting the good fight against scones that crumble like crackers. He calls himself the Scone Ranger.
David Ainley is adamant about this moist-scone thing, and upon trying one of his many flavors of scones ($3 each or two for $5), it’s easy to join his side. Ainley’s scones come in several flavors, like chocolate peanut butter and lemon blueberry, his most popular being the huckleberry scone. Ainley says he takes joy in showing people the moister side of breakfast pastries. “I love to watch people’s faces when they try something they like,” says Ainley.
LESSON #5: It’s perfectly natural to fantasize about falafel.
Dave Ryle inherited the Taza Truck from a friend, and along with it came his friend’s authentic Middle Eastern recipes. In no time, Ryle has mastered them, easily whipping up some of the best (and the only) cuisine of its kind around these parts. His falafel sandwich ($7) comes served in a hot pita with baba ghanoush, caramelized onions and fresh veggies wrapped up with some fantastically tender falafel. The truck’s menu also includes rare items like Turkish coffee ($2) and some seriously rich pistachio baklava ($1.75). If you’re not sold, just take a look at people eating Ryle’s creations — they look like they’re getting deep-tissue massages. That’s a pretty universal sign of success.
Spokane Public Market • 24 W. Second Ave. • Open Thursday- Saturday, 10 am-6 pm • spokanepublicmarket.org • 624-1154