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Night Market--any advice

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Hi all,
I'm planning to head to the night market in Mount Airy tomorrow (Thursday, August 16, 2012) night. I tend to enjoy food festivals (or festivals with lots of food) but also get overwhelmed very quickly and often wind up either not getting anything to eat or getting the first "easy" choice so as to avoid the crowds and "stress" of deciding what to order. Any advice on how to manage the Night Market? Are there certain must-have vendors; are there others I should avoid? Do most vendors offer snack-size options or are most selling meals (meaning I would pick fewer of them to patron)? I work in the city near a lot of food trucks, but never get out to try any of them, so this seems like an exciting opportunity. Your advice is appreciated!
p.s. Though I am going with others who eat just about anything, I am a vegetarian who isn't a huge fan of spicy foods or "traditional" vegetarian fare, and who loves dessert.

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  1. We've been to night market twice. It can be a bit confusing. The last time we went some places weren't open at the beginning and, by the time we circled back the lines were just too long. Having said that, we really liked Gigi and big R-great jerk chicken (obviously not for you) and also great sides like sweet potatoes and collard greens ...Had a great cupcake at the sweet box truck both times, but I'm ready to try some other dessert. On my list to try are smoke truck, Foo truck and Vernalicious.

    7 Replies
      1. re: Laura D.

        I went to the Mt. Airy Night Market last year with friends, and after swearing up and down all year that we wouldn't go back...we're going back. The best advice I can give is to have a snack beforehand so you're not desperate and ravenous, wandering up and down the avenue. That was our chief mistake last year, and it made everyone cranky. They say they're having twice as many food trucks this year, and that may help, but Mt. Airy LOVES its street festivals, and it's very easy for a ton of people to walk to this event, so I would expect it to be packed. I'm planning to go with the attitude that I'm hanging out with friends, we'll definitely get some beers, and maybe I'll even get lucky enough to snag some food. Otherwise, I'll count it as reconnaissance for which food trucks I want to try in the next year. Oh, and you can always go into the restaurants that are open: Avenida, Earth Bread & Brewery, Wine Thief, etc. if the crowds get to be too much. Have fun!

        1. re: oliviasaru

          Uh oh, you're making me nervous! Just kidding, in that I'm always overwhelmed by this sort of event because of the number of people, which is why I often wind up not eating. Worst case, we'll head to a nearby restaurant. Best case, we'll eat there. I like the idea of going in with the attitude that it is more of a social event than an eating event, as perhaps I'll be less likely to be disappointed if I don't get to taste what I had hoped for. Thanks again!

          1. re: Laura D.

            So, what did you eat? Our favorites tonight were terrific pork tacos with a green sauce from Avenida, an heirloom tomato, basil,and corn salad from Yumtown, a curried quinoa wrap from foo truck and cupcakes from Jimmies . We had more, but those are the ones that stick out. This was a much more manageable night market than the others I've gone to.

            1. re: stillnotdon

              Unfortunately I think you did better than I did. We got there about 8:00pm and walked through the entire festival. I know it would have been difficult to pull off, but it would have been great if the map said exactly where things were and said exactly what each vendor would offer, as that would have helped with the decision making process. We shared the fried cheese curds and my fiance got two mini burgers, fries, and a salted caramel milkshake from Little Old Souls. I had some of the fries and milkshake. They were both good, though the milkshake was a little too strong, i.e. salty and caramely, for me to want more than a few sips. I was disappointed that they didn't have any veggie burgers at Little Old Souls because that was going to be my back-up dinner choice.. I was very disappointed that all of Say Cheese's grilled cheese options had meat in them, as I had been looking forward to trying them. Honestly, by the time we made our way through the crowd I was kind of nauseated so nothing looked that good. And, all of the fried food I did consume probably didn't help. I'm glad I went, but I probably wouldn't go again as I think that most of what I'd want from these trucks wasn't offered at this event, given that their menus were limited. And, I personally don't seem to do well fighting through crowds in an attempt to read a menu or wait in line for food. Thanks for your feedback, though!

              1. re: Laura D.

                It's a shame you didn't get a chance to sample some of the superb vegetarian options we came across (one of my trio got a veggie hoagie from Kung Fu that he raved about - I didn't try), but had I seen your post yesterday I would have offered one piece of advice - GO EARLY!! As Oliviasaru notes, no one loves street festivals like Mt Airy-anites. We were able to get down by 6:30, and although some of the lines had already started at Pitrucos, Foo Truck and Ka-Chi, there were still manageable waits for others including the amazing popcicles from Lil Pop Shop I missed last year because they had sold out by 8:00PM. We strolled from Mt Airy Ave to the end of the festival, and were quite full by the time we had meandered past all the options. This year the vendors seemed to manage a bit better, and there were definitely more of them available, but by the time we had made it all the way to the end and were walking back towards home, the lines had definitely started to snake and I would not have been able to get quite as stuffed (maybe not such a bad thing after all). My major disappointment was that we started by McMenamins, serving draft beer at $6 a pint, and pouring mostly foam. Wish we had started our sips at Earth Bread and Brewery, where they were pouring someof their excellent brews for $5 - $4 refills! But we rectified the error quickly!

                1. re: Laura D.

                  I think it helped that we went really early and started at the less densely populated end. By the time we turned around and tackled the more crowded side we weren't that hungry and, luckily, there weren't long lines for the cupcakes!

      2. The Slaw Dog from Dapper Dog alone was worth the trip (albeit short, I live in the neighborhood).