July 20, 2013

Eastern Market Kind of Day—Don’t Anger the Pancake Man or the Book Man

I’m not sure when, or how, but we have become ‘market people.’ Literally. Amish markets, bread markets, Asian markets, flea markets, farmer’s market…you name it. We have learned where the best (in our opinion) pancakes are, the best breads and homemade chocolates (Amish Market), the best fruit and the best crepes (Falls Church) are….

We don’t usually buy much, mostly browse, watch the people who wake up early to find treasures amid the trash, and sample the delicious food prepared just for today. This morning, on a tip from a colleague, we went to Southeastern DC to the Eastern Market. We had some friends, who are also ‘market people’ come too! It was fun—and thankfully a cooler temperature than yesterday.

Eastern Market is located in a quaint community just behind the Capitol Building. The market is in one of sixteen old Navy Barracks. Inside you can buy fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, flowers and homemade cheese and pastas. Although it is open every day, the vendors outside only appear on weekends.

We started off the day eating the highly recommended pancakes at Market Lunch—a small eatery just inside the building. It was 0830h and the line was already LONG! Yikes, I am glad we didn’t wait any longer. As we stood inline I heard several people, obviously seasoned Market Lunchers, telling their First Timer friends to “know what you want to order before you get to the counter. The owner is similar to the ‘Soup Nazi.’” (In reference to Seinfeld’s mean soup shop owner who is notorious for yelling at customers)
Market Lunch man and our friends...they survived too!

I watched and, sure enough, he did do plenty of yelling…gratefully most of it was about the order to his staff. Apparently, people were prepared. As we arrived at the counter a young girl was taking drink orders. Both Lady Hiva and I thought she looked Filipina but we were sure. Then she asked, “What would you like to drink, sir/ma’am.” Yep, she is Filipina! (the sir/ma’am gave it away). Too her shock I answered her in Tagalog. During our conversation the owner, Mr. Yell notice us talking. He turned to me and said, “I know everything you said!”

Oh, man! I am going to be yelled at for sure! I just brought attention to myself.

Luckily, I was standing next to the always lovely, stunningly beautiful, and ever kind Lady Hiva. She was in front of me in the line and started to order as soon as he looked at her, she too wasn’t risking getting yelled at before 0900h! Haha. He pointed at her stomach and said, “That is awesome!” and spent the next several minutes telling stories about his daughter that just gave birth and asking when Lady Hiva was due. Phew! I made it through the experience without being yelled at!

The food was delicious. We didn’t regret it.

We browsed all of the stalls, admiring all of the art and fresh produce. We then went to see the Flea Market across the street and were envisioning what we would do if we were on HGTV’s Flea Market Flip…Lady Hiva and I would win I know it! HAHA..

The last part of the trip was the bookstore across the street. We thought the Market Lunch owner was intense, the bookstore owner was even worse. You walk in the narrow door and are mesmerized by the sheer volume of books strewn everywhere. But you snap out if it quickly when the old guy sitting between two piles of books, yells, “Close the door! The AC is going out!”

We spent plenty of time wandering through the three levels of book shelves. There were books from every era about every topic. I love books, but I soon became less enchanted by the books and more intrigued by the snarky, not even close to being politically correct, signs the owner put around the store. I took a photo of some of them (the ones that weren’t too over the top). He yelled at me again for having my camera bag around my back, "If you keep that bag on your butt your will knock over all my books." 

At some point I dared to ask him where he purchased all his books, he responded, “Dead people. Sadly they didn’t take their books with them.” And he walked off. WHAT?! I started laughing and then thought better of it before he turned around and yelled at me again…(that just made it all the more funny and I had to go find another room in the maze of books to not be heard!)

So, if you are looking for a place to go on a Saturday morning and you don’t mind being yelled at a bit…the pancakes are delicious! Or if you know of another market we should explore let us know!

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