The ingredient roundup for your locavore meeting is about to get a whole lot easier. We've finally (mostly) emerged from the dead of meat-and-potato winter and the local produce is just about to start taking off. The Capital City Farmers Market, aka the Saturday Market, on Eighth Street launches this Saturday, April 17. Though you're not likely to find a bounty of ripe tomatoes and a rainbow of organically grown bell peppers this early in the season, the meat, cheese, bread and flower representation should be substantial. First stop is Zeppole's booth for a rosemary ciabatta loaf. Then swing on by Ballard Family Cheese for a bag of flavored curds (and if you're lucky, a sample of the truffle cheddar). Stop by Meadowlark Farms for a rack of locally raised lamb, and skip on down to Koenig Vineyards for a nice bottle of complementary (but not complimentary) Syrah. Along the way, keep an eye out for fresh veggies. The Thursday night market on Eighth Street, which could arguably be the better of the two with its emphasis on produce and a much smaller crowd to fight, doesn't start until June so you'll have to plan ahead for the whole week if you're a devoted market shopper.
In restaurant news, Cafe Vicino has a new menu to usher in the change of seasons. Among the most notable additions is a zucchini, basil, lemon and mascarpone stuffed quail. If that's making you salivate just a tad, try this: braised rabbit manicotti with a cream sauce of whole grain mustard, pancetta and crimini mushrooms. The latter will be featured in an upcoming wine dinner with Washington's Ryan Patrick Vineyards on Monday, April 26. As always, dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and reservations are required. Call 208-472-1463.
But if you can't wait until the end of the month to get your wine dinner fix, get on the horn and get a reservation for Monday, April 19, at Chandlers. Sixteen Walla Walla wineries will be pouring and Chandlers will offer pairing apps. Tasting is $35 per person from 5:30-8 p.m. Call 208-383-4300 for reservations.