There are lots of good reasons to celebrate Pybus Public Market’s 1-year anniversary today. The fact that the place is big, beautiful and a bang-up success are some of the more obvious ones.
What we like best about Pybus, though, are the surprises. One day we wander around and think we’ve seen everything. But the next day — yikes! — there’s a completely unexpected basket of fully ripened California black figs. And those bad boys are calling our name.
OK, we’re first to admit that our chief joy at Pybus is the food — both on menus and on the shelves. So let’s take a look at some of the yummy, random surprises we found just last Wednesday on a one-hour stroll through the shops:
Quail eggs: Holy cheepers! Not only are these the perfect casings for bird embryos, but a 12-pack of the speckle-shelled wonders is a work of art, something you’d like to hang on a wall if you didn’t have to keep it refrigerated. These beauties ($5.29 a dozen) come from Begin Homestead in Cashmere and sit on a shelf right above huge honkin’ duck and turkey eggs from Magler Farms of Quincy. Find them all at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market’s Country Store.
Dragon fruit: Aliens walk among us, and the proof is in this exotic fruit. These red, ovoid pods (called “pitaya” in Asia, where they’re grown) have green shoots that reach toward the stars (see? aliens). They’re actually, go figure, the fruit of cacti. Cut one open to discover a whitish, seed-dotted flesh that’s somewhat sweet, slightly juicy and very refreshing ($5.99 each). Find them at Auvil’s Select Fruit.
Yakima Smoked Salt: You’re thinking the whole gourmet salt fad has run its course and, jeez, isn’t salt just salt? Well, before you commit to a lifetime of Morton’s Iodized, grab a jar ($11.50 for 3.7 ounces) of this stunning concoction — high-grade sea salt actually smoked over Yakima apple wood. The taste and texture are amazing and, yes, the apple-wood smokiness is distinct and flavorful. There’s even a sheet of recipes you can grab. Find it at Apple Blossom Roasted Nuts & Fine Foods.
Coratina Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil: We’re not olive oil snobs, but this batch (the first this year from Italy) had us reaching quickly for a chunk of soppin’ bread. The Galatino family, who grow olives exclusively on an estate called La Fenice Coppa Malva (which we think translates into “not for french fries”), hand-pick their crop and have very limited production. The oil ($16.95 for 375 ml) is described as having “floral and herbaceous notes trending towards green apples.” Don’t know about that, but it sure is tasty. Find it at D’Olivo.
Dyson Airblade: This isn’t a food, and it’s not exclusive to the Pybus Market, but every restroom there has one of these fun gizmos. It’s simply the best blown-air hand dryer on the market — the only such machine that doesn’t make you wish you had a wad of paper towels to finish the drying job. The Airblade’s blast of air is strong enough to actually rake water off your hand and dry it in about 10 seconds. Ingenious.