Give Visiting Friends a Taste of Bellevue

"Quarry Stone" on the far right

We had friends in town the past several days, and while my part-time job chauffeuring my three children hither and yon prevented me going into full-time tour guide mode, I did manage to get them to the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market. Big, big hit.

Big, and perfect for slicing!

Doug and Kim had already sampled Rockridge Orchards' luscious Quarry Stone Hard Apple Cider at our house the night before, so we bought another bottle of it, along with some of the Skipping Stone Berry Cider and Tayberry Wine. Haven't opened the Tayberry yet, but the two hard ciders went over well, with Quarry Stone still my favorite. I've already promised to bring it to a 4th of July barbecue. Seriously, you have to try it. Just be sure to leave me a bottle. Tastewise I'm not a beer fan, so the Quarry Stone leans to the fruity, rather than the dry ale side. It was absolutely perfect with the Skagit River Ranch burgers we grilled up on Saturday, topped with Market lettuce and a Kittitas Valley Greenhouse tomato. For those who prefer drier hard ciders, Wade Bennett has those as well.

I fully intended to try something new at The Box, but my kids demanded another Kahlua Pork Hom Bao and made such loud mm-mm sounds eating it that Doug got one, too. Thank you, Chef Reis. The branching-out will have to happen next week (or when I don't have the kids). Please keep that mini bagel burger around another week!

Our friends' youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy, so Kim eyed the gluten-free offerings at Manini's with interest. Scientific American  reported this week that children who grow up in urban settings are more likely to develop food allergies than those raised in rural areas(!). Since nowadays our kids largely eat the same Big-Ag food, whether they're country mice or city mice, researchers are still theorizing as to cause. Do rural kids have better immune systems because they're around more dirt? Are city kids exposed to more pollutants? The jury's still out, but--hey--if your suburban kids need a gluten-free muffin, Manini's can set them up.

Gluten-Free bread mixes, if you go for semi-homemade

And finally, while a swim meet prevented me from making the Saturday Market last week, I do have a tidbit on it from the week before. Please welcome Millingwood of Lake Stevens! Dave Mills has a flock of 335 chickens, roaming freely on five acres and producing 130 dozen of the tastiest eggs per week. Such natural, organic egg goodness went into my daughter's homemade Red Velvet birthday cake, and I like to think those two eggs offset the whole bottle of chemical food coloring I dumped in next. Yikes.

See you all Thursday! Don't be surprised if I stop you and ask how you plan to cook some of the goodies in your shopping bags.