Welcome to this week’s installment of The Food Guy: Capitol Market Edition!
In the interest of full disclosure, I do sit on Capitol Market’s board of directors, a hard-working group of community leaders who want to see the market thrive. But so many of you love the Market that I’d be sharing this week’s news regardless of my affiliation.
In the midst of an extended dark cloud of quarantine, closings, gathering restrictions and social distancing, Capitol Market offers a bright spot with its outdoor market opening to the public Wednesday with safety precautions in place to protect the health and safety of its growers and customers.
Blessed by city, county and state officials, these temporary restrictions include a limit of 40 customers in the outdoor market at a time, a single point of entry/exit, social distance markings at each register, and carts sanitized after each use, plus additional hand-washing stations and gloves/masks for staff handling products and money.
In addition, customers are asked to limit themselves to quick visits to pick up only what they need. Tables and chairs will be removed from the porch, and public restrooms will remain closed during this time.
Although this week’s cold snap has resulted in only a couple of farmers setting up Wednesday, more are expected to move in Thursday through the weekend to bring the outdoor pavilion to life.
I know many of us have thrown ourselves into activities like cooking and gardening as a means to cope with continued isolation, so if you need top-quality, locally grown plants and flowers (and eventually fresh produce and more) to get you through, you can now swing by the outdoor market for a quick and safe visit to stock up.
As a reminder, some of the market’s indoor stores are offering curbside pickup, with The Purple Onion still welcoming a limited number of customers inside the store. For information on all merchants and farmers, visit www.capitolmarket.net or the market’s Facebook page.
Speaking of Capitol Market, Soho’s has been hustling with daily Facebook updates, videos and more promoting the restaurant’s full menu now available for curbside pickup.
We tried it this week and couldn’t have been more impressed. I even had someone else do the ordering and pickup, and they reported a pleasant, seamless experience from start to finish.
The end results tasted just as good.
We passed on some of our favorite pasta dishes in favor of a delicious wedge salad with crumbled pancetta, diced tomatoes and creamy bleu cheese and our two favorite pizzas: the masterpieces better known as Pepperoni & Salsicca (a classic pie with pepperoni, sausage and blend of cheeses and spices) and the Al Funghi de Basco (a white pizza with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, Italian cheeses and herbs drizzled with olive oil).
I loved the new-to-me bourbon sriracha-glazed salmon and shrimp served with delicious veggie rice and a medley of sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers. The salmon maintained its moisture, even through takeout, and that tangy sweet-and-spicy glaze was bangin’.
The restaurant even graciously let us order a favorite sandwich from the lunch menu at dinner time, the Melanzane alla Griglia featuring grilled eggplant with roasted peppers, tomatoes, basil, thick discs of fresh mozzarella and house-made pesto on crusty bread.
It was a delicious feast that we thoroughly enjoyed on our deck before this week’s weather took a cold and wet turn.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Soho’s at Capitol Market is open for curbside pickup from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. To place an order, call 304-720-7647, visit www.sohoscrw.com or visit their Facebook page.
A few days later, I saw on Facebook where The Wine Shop at Capitol Market was having a super sale on gourmet cheeses — all 25% off at the time. Noticing my home wine supply was getting dangerously low, I placed a big order of wine and cheese that was ready to be picked up in less than 30 minutes.
While my favorite part of wine shopping is usually browsing through bins and labels to see what I can discover, much like a kid in a candy store, this wine takeout experience offered pleasant surprises of its own.
I ordered a case of Terrific Tens (bottles of wines from all over the world priced at $10.99 or less) and a selection of cheeses, just telling them what general types I liked and didn’t and trusting them to make the picks.
When I got my boxes home, I was like a kid at Christmas, pulling each bottle out to see what Santa picked. Those cheeses were a delight, too, with one of my favorites ever (a well-aged, rich and nutty Dutch Beemster) along with a Norwegian Nokkelost specked with cumin and clove and a dank (in a good, cheesy way) Belletoile triple crème brie from France.
Ordering was quick, pickup easy and the wine sublime. What’s not to love?
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Wine Shop at Capitol Market is open for curbside pickup from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. To place an order, call 304-343-9468 or visit their Facebook page.