We have been hearing and reading good things about that new gourmet farm to table market in downtown St. Pete, so yesterday we saddled up our trusty steed and trotted our happy selves over to the Locale Market. Siri directed us to 179 2nd Avenue North and there we were with nary a parking spot in sight. But, there was a valet parking attendant right at the Locale. Free parking? Alrighty dude, here be the keys. Free is great but a $5 gratuity on pick up ain't gonna kill anybody. Just sayin'.
The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I wandered in and wandered around while wading past the huddled masses ... tourists and downtown office workers waiting for their food to be prepared and served in Styrofoam boxes with plastic utensils.
As we meandered, we kept wondering where to sit and eat. The indoor and outdoor tables were pretty much ocupado. We kept walking ... and walking, past the fish monger, the butcher, and the condiments.
A couple of thoughts came to mind whilst sashaying through the market: that was a mighty anemic seafood selection, and holy cow was that beef beautiful. It has been like forever since I have seen such beautifully marbled meat. Locale had an amazing selection of cooking and drizzling oils I have looked for and never seen before in the Bay area.
On a subsequent visit we were a bit underwhelmed as we shopped the produce department. Several of the leafy green choices were rather wilted, and some of the other veggies appeared a little dried out. We walked on.
Upstairs at the Locale were hints that we might find gastronomic nirvana or at least sit-down dining with table service. So, up we went and there in the distance I spied the culinary pot of Sea Salt gold at the end of the rainbow. The Belle and I had a leisurely two hour lunch at this unrelated eatery and then returned to the market for a bit of shopping.
We came away with coffee beans, a French aperitif and some damn fine root beer.
We haven't tried the coffee or Bonal yet but that 5.9% alc/vol root beer can kick some booty. It's as good tasting as the Barq's I remember from my youth, but I never got a mellow buzz from Barq's.
After several trips to Locale I was a little surprised to see that Travel+Leisure magazine had already included Locale in its article, The World's Best New Food Halls
You may access Locale from 2nd Avenue or through the Sundial complex.