Toffee pretzels and other Saturday morning eats

March 8th, 2008 by Dawn

Waiting at the market We’re lucky to live close to one of the biggest farmers markets in the area, in the U-District.  Open year round, it’s our favorite place to shop.  During the summer, the place is jam-packed and for some items it’s essential to get there before the 9:00 opening bell.  In the winter, however, the booths are fewer, which gives new vendors opportunity to set up shop while some of the long-time vendors are away for the season.

One new addition this winter is the guy we call the Toffee Man.  Ok, his name is really Pete Brogi, owner of Pete’s Perfect Butter Toffee.  We’ve seen him around at other markets, like Ballard’s, but when space freed up this past fall, he took up a post in the U-District.  He’s generous with his samples, and it’s pretty clear why because after you try a bite, there’s little chance that you’ll walk away without purchasing a container.  This stuff is addictive!

Last week, I walked by and he was offering his samples again.  I demurred, but then noticed a new item on the table.  He explained that he’s experimenting with toffee-chocolate covered pretzels – first a layer of toffee over a hard pretzel, and then a layer of chocolate.  I bought one, and he sent me off with a warning.  He said the first bite is extremely hard, so I should be careful not to break my teeth.

Pete's toffee-chocolate pretzels

The next day, Eric and I split it.  Pete was right-on about the first bite – you almost need a knife or something to get it started, but after that it’s fine.  More than fine, actually – this thing was just as addictive as his toffee!  The salty pretzel was a perfect complement to the buttery toffee underneath the chocolate.  It was quickly gone and we were left wishing I had bought another.  It’s probably a good thing that we had to wait a week!  Pretzels were top on our market list today.  This time we got one dark chocolate-covered, and one milk chocolate-covered with white chocolate in the middle.

Skagit River Ranch eggs. Everyone gets excited about the rare green egg (center).
Skagit River Ranch eggs. Everyone gets excited when they get one of the rare green eggs (center).

Here’s a list of our other favorites at the U-District Market:

  • Dried pluots and dried apple sticks from Tiny’s. A great snack food.
  • Bacon from Wooly Pigs. The shoulder bacon is thicker than normal bacon and perfect with some organic Brussels sprouts.
  • Cheese from Estrella Family Creamery.
  • Cherry or apple strudel from Little Prague Bakery. We get one on every visit to the market.
  • Wild mushrooms from Foraged & Found. The porcini are absolutely amazing!
  • Chicken mole pie from Pies by Jenny.
  • The best plums ever from Tiny’s. So many types, and free samples so you can choose your favorite. Peaches, too.
  • Fresh (squeaky!) cheese curds from Appel Farms.
  • Anything from Sea Breeze Farm: chicken, eggs, Pâté de Vashon, cheese, demi-glace, wine.
  • Wild huckleberries from Foraged & Found. All of their berries are the most delicious berries you’ll find anywhere.
  • Beef and eggs from Skagit River Ranch. The egg queue in the summer starts a half hour before the bell, and they sell out fast.
  • Goat milk yogurt from Port Madison Farms. Delicious with some honey drizzled in.
  • Jams, chocolate and caramel sauces, and even homemade pickles from Woodring. Free samples of everything.
  • Anita’s Crêpes. She has been at the Ballard market for a while, but just showed up this month in the U-District!

What are your favorites?

U-District Farmers Market
NE 50th St. & University Way NE, Seattle
Saturdays 9-2

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