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Food report: Underground Farmer's Market (11 September 2010)

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I misread the hours for this evening's Underground Farmer's Market, so I showed up a full hour and fifteen minutes before the opening time of six o'clock. Not wanting to go home, I stupidly stood in front of the entrance while the line slowly grew up behind me. The upshot was that I was the first to enter the farmer's market (at 6.07 — they were running behind). The downshot was that I had to stand there like a dolt for an hour and a half, and the place was jam packed within seconds of opening time. Seriously, there was almost no breathing room it was that crowded.

Tonight had a number of repeat vendors, and a lot of new ones. Despite it being the last night of Rosh Hashana, there were a ton of pork-only places that I was unable to try. They seemed very popular, however, and probably pretty yummy.

The standouts for this evening were:

1) The Indonesian food stand. They were only offering gado-gado, a traditional Indonesian street food salad with peanut sauce. The vendor, an extremely pleasant woman, told me that she hand made and hand roasted the peanuts for the sauce. It was extremely fresh and light.

2) Laar's Bars. I've written about this stand previously, but it is always extremely good. Lots of vegan and wheat-free energy bars. Lots of chocolate, and lots of healthy ingredients. I'm an addict.

3) Jerk. I complain bitterly about the disappointing selection of Caribbean food in San Francisco. Jerk doesn't hit it out of the park, but it is an extremely good facsimile of Caribbean home cooking. I had their chicken and peas. The chicken was delicious and tender, but not spicy at all. They also did not offer any hot sauce to add extra punch.

4) Immaculate Confections. This stand sells alcohol-inspired bun cakes. I tried the chocolate kahlua with an espresso glaze. Extremely good, extremely yummy. Plus, the stall's owner is super friendly.

5) Kitchen Sidecar. This was the only stall I tried that was set up outside. I thought about getting some while I was waiting to enter, but decided against it. By the time I made it back outside, they were sold out of all non-beef options but the shrimp banh mi for $9. It was extremely, extremely good. Lots of good crunch, and not too heavy on the mayonnaise.

The evening also had some offerings that were not as successful:

1) Challah. The gentleman there enticed me with the "world's best cheesecake." It was not the world's best cheesecake, I'm sorry to say. I found it lacking in flavor and too watery.

2) Homeroom Mac and Cheese. This was the only stand that actually had people standing in the crowd handing out flyers, which seemed a little overly aggressive. Furthermore, their mac and cheese was not good at all. They had two offerings, one with hot dogs (called the "trailer mac") and the other without meat ("spicy smoky mac"). I tried to meatless, which was supposed to be "spicy." It was overly gooey and tasteless. There wasn't even the tiniest hint of spice. I felt very confused by them.

There were so many other booths, but my stomach only allowed me to sample so much. Can't wait for next month's!

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  1. I don't mean to be a pest by correcting you, but it's actually called Underground Market. It's not a "farmer's" market. I mention that because I know people who went expecting something different that what it is. It's prepared foods, more of a gourmet food court. Good stuff there though.

    Here's the link to get the invitation. It's worth going, but the crowds are no joke. http://foragesf.com/market/