My pasta must be made of gold

December 31, 2010 at 12:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today at Pike Place Market I bought the most expensive pasta ever. At least, the most expensive pasta I’ve ever purchased. And although I haven’t eaten the pasta yet, I regret it already.

Pasta price tag

Ouch.

It was really just an unfortunate series of circumstances. I had to take Nano to the vet at noon, and so at 11 a.m. I headed towards King Street Station to catch the free tunnel bus to Pike. It was going to be tight, but I can typically get to the market and back in about 40 minutes if I hurry, so it should have been no problem. When I arrived, the market seemed about normal, but once I got inside it became clear that everybody in Seattle was also at Pike — no doubt to stock up on food for New Year’s events and the long weekend. Adding to the crowds, it was our first perfectly clear sunny day in a little while — bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. The sidewalks were full of tourists and shoppers and people taking photos and families who’d carelessly stop and block entire thoroughfares while they discussed some knick knack in a store window. In fact, the crowds were so unpleasant that I caught myself hypocritically saying “I hate tourists!” to myself as a dodged between the multitudes of slow walkers.

In addition to several items for Blake, I was searching for ingredients for this pesto shrimp pasta recipe. I haven’t had pasta in a long time since Blake doesn’t like it, but when I saw this recipe I decided to just make a batch up for me alone. (I was getting authentic Mexican tamales for Blake, so he was taken care of.)

Pasta in the bagIn case you haven’t been to Pike, it’s an old-fashioned market that takes up several city blocks and is full of little storefronts that specialize in one thing or another. On a typical trip I usually stop at the butcher or fishmarket, the spice shop, one of the many produce shops, the sausage counter, the Mexican grocery, and maybe one of the bakeries or cheese shops. When I first started shopping there and didn’t know my way around, I’d just ask each proprietor where I should go for the next item on my shopping list. Now, however, I know where to find most of what I need.  Consequently, this trip should have been very easy and quick — I could just pop in and out at each place and be back home by 11:55 to put the groceries away and get Nano to the vet.

On this trip, however, everything took forever. The innumerable crowds slowed down every mini-trek between two points, and they created lines at every store. And as I was searching for the ingredients not already in my cabinet, things just kept taking longer and longer and longer. I hadn’t purchased pesto at the market before, so I had to hunt down a new store and then hunt down the pesto within that store. Then the first fish market I passed was prohibitively crowded — surrounded by people on all sides. I walked several painstakingly slow steps to the next fish market, but they only had super-expensive shrimp that was the wrong kind anyway. The third fish market had exactly what I needed, but the extremely slow fish guy took about seven minutes to process my simple one-product transaction. While I was waiting for him, I kept pulling off my glove-mittens to check the time on my phone, and it just kept getting later and later.

It was at this point that I passed the pasta place.

I’d been past it a million times. They have all sorts of exotic and interesting kinds of pasta, and 100% of the many, many times that I’ve walked by them I’ve been offered a bite of their famous chocolate pasta. (Yes, really. It tastes weird.) So, in a hurry, I decided that this was the time to try their pasta since it was right close to me and I needed to get a move on. So over I went and spent a luxurious thirty seconds choosing from their many options. (Each flavor was in a bin requiring scooping and pricing by one of the employees.) I chose the Italian Pesto Pasta Blend, decided to get enough for several meals, and asked one of the guys to get it for me. Here’s how it went:

Me: Hello, could I please have three cups of this one? (pointing)

Him: How many people will be eating this?

Me: Well, just me, but over several meals.

Him: Um.. okay. So how much do you want?

Me: About three cups.

Him: Well, usually recipes have like a number of ounces of pasta that they need.

Me: Well, I don’t have a recipe, I just wanted to get some to have on hand. So I’d like about three cups.

Him: Well, so… how much do you need?

Me: Three cups.

It just kept going. I just wanted to get my pasta and the rest of my shopping list and get the heck out of there! So while he (eventually) scooped and packed up my pasta, I juggled my gloves and moved my various shopping bags from one hand to the other and dug in my purse for my wallet and then balanced everything while I handed him my card. And then, as if from far away, I heard him say, “That’ll be $9.10.” I only barely noticed it because it was crowded and loud and I was in a hurry and we’d just had this long discussion about three cups of pasta, and it wasn’t until later that I thought… “$9.10? Wait, is that what he said? I must have heard that wrong.” But I didn’t have time to dwell on it and off I went to the Mexican grocery to get Blake’s tamales.

Pasta closeup

When I poured some of the pasta out to take this photo, I dropped one little piece on the ground. That was like $0.50!

As it turned out, I was several minutes late to the vet. I ran in from the market, dropped the groceries on the counter, stuffed the shrimp and tamales in the fridge,  scooped Nano up, and raced down to the car. (Vet report: she’s fine.) It wasn’t until much later in the afternoon when I put the groceries away that I picked up the bag and saw “$9.10” printed clearly on the sticker. Can you imagine paying $3.03 for one cup of pasta?! Good grief.

But I haven’t had it yet. Maybe it’s spectacular. (It’d better be!) This evening we were kind of tired and so I just heated up tamales for both of us and will save the pasta for later in the weekend.

So, dear readers, I will keep you posted on what must be the most stupendous pasta in all of Seattle. Or the Pacific Northwest, even. I mean, what else could possibly justify a cost like that?

…Perhaps the answer is women like me who buy expensive pasta and don’t notice the price before or after they sign the receipt. That could be it. =(
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