Seattle Underground Market: A Carnivorous Feast
Mmm mmm mmm, I was in a meaty mood last night at the Seattle Underground Market. The temperatures are getting colder and I need to my foods to be getting warmer and heartier. There were plenty of vegetarian and sweet options, but I wasn’t buyin’ ’em! (okay, maybe a few…)
My favorite by far at this month’s market was Sweet Caroline’s Chipotle Pork Carnitas served on Corn Pudding topped with Cilantro Nectarine Chutney (pictured above). Unlike corn bread, which is often dry, the corn pudding was so moist and gooey, with some crispier pieces mixed in and little hunks of real corn! The chipotle pork melted in my mouth. It had such a great flavor–I could taste the chipotle, but the spice wasn’t overpowering. The texture was also perfect; this meat had not even a hint of chewiness. This pork and corn were amazing eaten together, and I loved the light cilantro chutney that was dabbled over the top. A perfect way to end my feast!
Later on in the night, at home with Ben, I finally tried the treats I bought from Kelli, the so-nice Vivacious Baker with the most reasonably priced foods at the market (and her website has recipes!). The three sweets I bought, which she packaged for me in a handy to-go container, cost $2 all together! And they were so healthy… all organic and gluten and dairy free! Ben and I first shared the cranberry chocolate nut bite, that rectangular-shaped snack pictured below. It tasted like the most healthy, delicious, and homemade breakfast bar that ever existed. Ben loved it so much… and he hates bars! It would make a perfect healthy-sweet breakfast.
Next, we shared the mini chocolate coconut pumpkin muffin. Honestly, it was so soft and moist it was like a bread pudding in the shape of a muffin. Again, Ben was ecstatic. He generally hates when pumpkin flavoring comes out every autumn because it can be so overpowering and hijack the flavors of the dish. However, this pumpkin was so light and subtle, and still added a great flavor, that he said will be willing to reconsider his pumpkin-hating ways.
Finally, the mini berry (marionberry, blueberry, raspberry) pie. THANK YOU FOR ALMOND FLOUR! When done right, gluten-free deserts can be so decadent with a hint of that nutty almond flavor. This tiny pie is almost indescribable. The almond flour crust was made of a thick, moist, and sweetly crumbling shortbread. The berries inside were tart and fruity, and I loved the treat of popping a whole berry into my mouth. My only complaint is that this wasn’t an extra-large berry pie, so I could keep on enjoying it for days.
Like last month, I somehow saved the best for last at the SUM. But that doesn’t mean the food I ate in the beginning wasn’t also delicious! I started out my food journey tonight with Chicken Adobo and Jasmine Rice.
The chicken was so tender and flavorful and fell right off the bone. My only complaint is that I wanted more chicken and less rice! A popular sentiment I’m sure.
Conversely, I was underwhelmed by the Hickory Smoked Baby Back Ribs and Coleslaw by Girls Gone BBQ. The pork seemed to have gone past the point of a good barbeque or char and moved right on into burnt. I heard from other market attendees that the ribs were better last month, so maybe I just got a piece from an overcooked batch. The coleslaw had too much mayo and not enough flavor. I have eaten a lot of great coleslaw in my life–both vinegary and creamy–so I am pretty hard to impress on the coleslaw front.
My next try was right on-point. Tot’s Low Country Lumbee Indian Collard Sandwiches (collard greens, hickory smoked bacon, lacy corn bread, bourbon peach apricot sauce) were amazing with a great mix of flavors. The corn bread was neither too dry nor too moist and was firm enough to hold the sandwich together. The bread was spread with a generous amount of bourbon peach apricot sauce–a sweet and tangy sauce whose drippings I may or may not have scooped up with my index finger after the sandwich was gone. The collard greens were subtle and did add a rich earthiness (with no chewiness), and I’m always happy to be eating a vegetable. The bacon added a great salty, savory, satisfying flavor–and the sound of bacon frying certainly didn’t keep the crowds away!
Tot’s Low Country also had a Brunswick Stew (pork shoulder, brown sugar, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, sweet corn, apple cider vinegar) that I didn’t try but heard was delicious.
Next up: empanadas! This isn’t a picture of the empanada I tried; the sweet empanadas (cranberry, mandarin, walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese) were uncovered and available for picture-taking while the two savory empanadas were kept in warming trays. I opted for the Thanksgiving Dinner empanada with oven roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry over the Barolo Braised Osso Buco empanada with lamb shand, demi-glazed lamb shand, roasted garlic, horseradish, and mashed potatoes.
My Thanksgiving empanada was delicious. The turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce were sweet, savory, succulent, and satisfying. While eating the first half of my empanada, I wished there were more fillings and less air space inside the empanada. However, everything meshed perfectly in the second half and I understand I was working with true professionals.
I saw this beautiful foggy iced tea at the same booth as the empanadas. Foggy Orange Pekoe Cranberry Herbal Iced Tea to be exact. There are little dry ice cubes at the bottom, which keep this tea frosting so beautifully. What an attention-grabber. I could never pass up something so cool.
These POPShrimp were a yummy and interesting try. They’re made up of ground shrimp that is stuck with popcorn kernels, then popped. They came in four flavors: original, cheese, curry, and spicy. I tried the cheese because Michaela, the event organizer, bought some for herself and offered all the volunteers some to try. I think this would be a great bar snack, and the vendors told me they hope to have a food cart sometime in the near future!
To close, I so loved Big Food‘s Seared Ahi Tuna with pickled jalapeños lime dressing and Napa Cabbage slaw over aromatic Basmati rice. I developed a love for ahi tuna during my days at Maxie’s, and I’m also happy to be eating jalepeños and slaw. My one complaint was that the slaw had a bit too much dressing on it, but my tender tuna and aromatic rice more than made up for that extra sauciness.
And that’s it! Don’t you feel full? I don’t know why I’ve been on such a meat kick lately. And last month I was craving those comfort foods. We eat what we like!! I wonder what I’ll gravitate towards next month.
Last night’s market was definitely busier than last month’s SUM. It seems like people are getting the word out and getting excited about SUM events. Here’s a tip: I volunteered at the market this month, and I learned that next month’s market is going to be a SUNDAY BRUNCH instead of the usual Saturday night. Get excited!!