Farmer's Market [LI], 2011, Deer Park/Tanger
I'd rather be at the beach, but the weather being what it is, I thought it was a good day to walk down to Tanger Outlet at Deer Park to check out the offerings this season/year. Note, since I walked there, I only bought what I could carry in my backpack or eat right away.
I don't recall the vendor's name, and I threw away the container/label, but my favorite item was from a French cuisine vendor/table - Duck wings. Sounded good, looked good, was good. Dressed in a sweet, peppery sauce and garnished with mint. Awesome. They also had some respectable dessert bars. Chocolate chip, sliced almonds, berries, and the like. Not awesome like the duck wings, but still good flavors, although I thought the texture could have be better (with say, chunks of almonds or a cluster factor). Also had some French macrons (Normally I would have picked 'em up, but I had a bunch of imported ones last week), other French pastry, pickled asparagus (Curious, but I had fresh ones at home so passed for now) fresh yogurt, preserves and honey. Overall, it was probably the best vendor (Really wish I recalled the name - Help!).
It wasn't my favorite, but if I were judging, I'd give the top spot to the Swedish coffee cake from Nana Pearl's Wooden Spoon. It had a great balance of flavors that kicked in one at a time. You'd get the sweetness first, the citrus came after that, and the spices like cinnamon really through at the end. Complex and nicely executed.
Nothing really of note here. Your basic spring/summer items like strawberries and asparagus. One vendor did stand out in that it was very Korean/Asian centric. It featured a lot of items for kimchi (The napa cabbage was front and center) and also had kimchi tofu (Really must pick it up next time, as I'm always curious about attempts at making tofu exciting). I picked up a sesame based garlic sauce.
Campfire S'mores Bars from Moon River bakery. Pretty much what it sounds like. Man, oh man, it delivers the satisfaction/sugar! I thought Moon River was the most interesting on paper, with things like tea-flavored shortbreads and the like. Also picked up cranberry chocolate chip biscotti (good, meaning not dried-out, texture, but could be stronger on flavor), pecan brownies (not too dense, with nice chunks of pecans), and krazy keylime bars (bit too heavy for me, and I would have preferred a more dominant lime/acid presence). Overall, honest and more creative things from them so I look forward to their future offerings.
Picked up some chocolate chip cookies and coconut macaroons from Sweet Lady Lulu's. The cookies were average, but the coconut was excellent, with them have a nice fluffy texture (I expected a denser one). I also got some bread thingies. Basically, bread with stuff baked in them. Got two. One with chocolate and the second with sausage and peppers. Sub-par. A sausage and pepper hero from any of the sub-par pizza places near by (Hmm... Tangent coming up!) would have made me happier, as would any piece of bread with nutella on top.
Speaking of sub-par pizza places near Tanger, there are 3 I've tried (out of the 4 nearby); Papa Joe's, Richie's, and Bono's (Bellissimo is the 4th). Papa Joe's was insultingly bad, with eggplant that has thicker batter than the paper-thin eggplant and mushy, are-you-there? sausages. Richie's is interesting in that they have a sesame seeded crust, expect I couldn't chew the crust (that hard). But it redeemed itself with its "Shut up and try it" slice - Fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, balsamic (and something else?). Bono's... Nothing offensively bad, but nothing good/interesting and I think their pinwheels were horribly out of balance with the dough. I think I'm avoiding Bellissimo, just to have hope that there's a good pizza place out here. Anyway, back to the market.
Things I'll get again or want to try
Duck wings, pecan brownies and kimchi tofu (THIS CAN'T BE GOOD, CAN IT?!). And, of course, all the other vendors I didn't get to try. I'm not an alcohol person, so I stayed clear of the 2 alcohol tables. There was also a fancy pet treats vendor... Of course I was tempted to chow down on some doggie treats! That kimchi tofu is going to stay on my mind...
So, what are thoughts on the other nearby farmer's markets? Any thoughts on the one at Tanger's? Can kimchi tofu actually be good?! Does anyone know of a good bike route to the West Hampton Beach market, because I need an excuse to go to Brunetti's pizza over there (Hey, no harm in asking!).
450 Commack Rd Ste A, Deer Park, NY 11729
So, I went back and...
Tried the doggie treats. I had to. Just because. I tried the mini-muffin variety, which came in a pack of 4 (for $2.50). For being sugar and salt-free, they weren't that bad. One reminded me of corn bread (in a good way). Sure, they were all a bit doughy, but I'm thinking dogs like it that way. For a moment I thought of picking up more as a gag to see how many would choose them over "people food."
There was a table that only sold apple tarts. Presentation was an A. The apples were sliced (I think about 6 slices) and placed vertically with the pastry shaped into a cup holding them. Flavor gets a lower mark. I finished all 4 doggie muffins, but I didn't finish the tart.
Tried (and loved) the olive bread from Blue Duck Bakery; ended up finishing the whole thing. I'll go for the sunflower next time.
There's a stand that sells chowder/soups. The four options for the week were NE clam, cajun crab, vegetarian chili and one other. I got the cajun and was disappointed; it didn't have any kick to it and I got stringy pieces of crab when I expected lump. I finished it, but only thanks to the bread from the Blue Duck.
Tomato Delight (sun-dried tomato spread) from Bobby Tomatoes wasn't too shabby. I thought it was much better than the milder/tame parsley spread (which apparently they toned down since some thought the garlic was too strong).
Strawberry-Rhubarb bars from Moon River were good, as were the oatmeal cookies (But, I wonder, when oatmeal is the 6th listed ingredient, can you really call it an oatmeal cookie?). I'd like more chemistry thrown into them, but the all-natural desserts are still tasty.
Vendors I haven't tried...
An fresh pasta and Italian products table. Fresh ravioli, mozzarella and the like. Deer Park actually has a good pasta place in Deer Park Ravioli (Actually has cajun ravioli that delivers flavor), so I didn't see the point.
A table with mini-cupcakes. I like my desserts to be more on the overwhelming portions, not cute!
A produce vendor had an uncommon herb... Wish I could remember it. It was a common one with a fruity note. I fail.
From Tanger's site:
"Visit the new Farmers Market location in suite 316 between Lucky Brand Jeans and Kate Spade. The market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM - 3 PM through December 17."
Some vendors were inside the suite while others were setup outside. Of course, it's in a section of the mall that has a (glass) ceiling and a few benches.
Ooh. I'm going to have to hit it soon (I live literally 7 minutes away!). I wasn't overly impressed the last time I was there last year, but maybe the new location will be better, as it was a little hard to navigate last year (especially with a squirmy 3 year old in tow). Last year I found amazing macarons from Brown Box Bakery - wondering if they're still there this year.
As far as pizza - I haven't lived in DP for almost 10 years, but there was I think a Pizza King (?) in the strip mall/shopping area that housed Boston Market and 7-11 at the intersection of DPA and Bay Shore Road. I HATE that shopping area, but remember the pizza there being fairly good.
Thanks for the scouting!