It's the most wonderful time of the month! You guessed it: Atlanta has hosted another Underground Market. I really enjoyed the first two events, and I was excited to attend another! The May 7th event took place at Planters, a high-end landscaping service located next door to a local favorite, Sweetwater Brewery.
Mmm...beer...so close I can taste it. We had planned on it, actually, but our bellies were so full from the fine vendors at this month's Market that we never made it over there!
Before I begin with my usual food commentary, allow me to say a few words about this month's venue. Most festivals in Atlanta are held outdoors this time of year. And why not? Look how beautiful the weather was!
I looked up in the sky and saw nothing but clear blue. When I looked down, however, I saw lots of teeny tiny red bugs. Yep, chiggers. I walked away from the event with a few bites on my ankles, and those kind of nature battle scars are never fun...unless maybe there's a kayak involved. I guess that's the drawback of hosting an event like this at a landscaping center. Landscaping brings critters! No biggie though, nothing a little clear nail polish can't fix.
Now then, on to the noms!
We started off at The Food Relationship Coach, where we had arroz con pollo.
Not only was it delicious, it was autentico! What really made this place unique was their chef, Shelley Chapman. Listening to her talk about her passion for food was absolutely enchanting. Her philosophy is that "your approach to food is your approach to life," and I couldn't agree more. It's always refreshing to meet interesting people.
Next up, we visited Chubby's Kitchen. You may recall that they were a favorite of mine at the last two events. I was drawn to their originality and their willingness to take risks with their dishes. I'm sad to say that I did not feel the same this time around. Dave had a taco from them with pulled pork, which was good but not very unique.
I had their white gazpacho with almonds and grapes. I'm not usually a huge gazpacho fan, but I figured I'd give it a shot since their last two soups were so good! It was good, but not great. I felt that it needed a second dimension to make it a little less bland...maybe some cracked pepper?
Let me stress, however, that this is a review of these particular dishes, and not Chubby's in general. I felt that these dishes were the exception and not the norm. It's always good to try something new as an experiment...that's part of the creative process!
We then got some arepas from Arepa Mia. The soft corn patties were filled with tender beef brisket and veggies, served with cilantro jalapeño sauce along side an ice-cold lime-sugarcane drink. Oh. My. Goodness. This one won best in show in my mind.
Dear Arepa Mia, please stock up a food cart and set up a little street food gig outside of Grady Memorial Hospital so I can eat your delicious snacks for lunch every day. Thanks.
Next, we ventured over to Sugar Bear Sweetery, where we sampled both savory and sweet. For the savory dish, they offered a cornmeal crepe filled with your choice of vegetarian black eyed pea gumbo or BBQ pork. Either option was served with Parmesan potato chips. I had the gumbo, and it rocked.
I, unfortunately, neglected to take a picture of the red velvet truffle that I had for dessert, but I assure you it was delicious.
Next, I visited Wicked Pies. I loved their branding...what can I say? I'm a sucker for good color and font choices! I had one pie filled with apples, butternut squash, and asiago, and one filled with peaches and thyme. I found the dishes very creative, and an excellent merge of sweet and savory.
Dave had a Cuban sandwich and some tres leches from B & B Catering. He has high expectations when it comes to his comfort food, and he was happy to report that these dishes were legit.
There were a couple of other really good savory dishes, but they didn't have signs so I have no idea who made them! There was this really good chile verde with beef from whatsherface...
...and some awesome West African dishes from some other vendors:
Y'all, it does not matter how good your food is. This is the best way to yourself memorable:
We decided that we'd had our fill of savory dishes, and thus began our tour of desserts. I started out with some dessert sushi from Timbre: white chocolate risotto and a peach slice wrapped in chocolate, served with ginger plum, whipped cream, and a blackberry drizzle.
Serious bonus points for originality and plating.
Next up, my favorite dessert from the last Market: Cake Balls by Nikki. Once again, they did not disappoint! I resisted the urge to order the delicious red velvet again, and decided on the key lime pop. Look how pretty!
It tasted like a green Skittle. Yummmm. Also, the folks at Nikki's are just so nice. They love talking about their treats, and are happy to answer any questions. I was really excited to hear what tricks they have up their sleeves this fall! Is it bad that I'm ready for pumpkin to come back in season already?
And finally, we visited Cecilia's Bakeshop. These dishes are all made with natural, organic ingredients. They don't use bleached flour, refined sugar, or anything artificial. Additionally, they are vegan-friendly. At first, I was skeptical about coconut flour, agave nectar, and flax seeds in baking. Plus, they specialize in raw pies, which made me even more skeptical! After I devoured their raw cheesecake, I had changed my mind.
Thanks for introducing me to a new concept, Cecilia's Bakeshop!
We left with very full bellies.
Despite my chigger bites, I think this Market was the best one yet. I really enjoyed the concept of having it outdoors, and I hope to see more of that in the future. I did notice a lot more Latin dishes at this event, which I think reflects the growth of that population in this city. Maybe I'm a little biased (because I just married a Cuban-American), but I hope that food trend continues to grow!
Did any of you attend this month's Market? What'd you think? How did it compare to previous events?