Seattle Underground Market: Let’s Keep Trying Edition

Saturday night was the fifth and I’m not ready to say last Seattle Underground Market. I volunteered as usual, bringing my friend Anna with me. The market was a smaller one, with only 14 food stations and about 400 guests, and the small size complemented itself. People generally waited in line for five minutes before getting their food, making it seem like a busy and exciting, but not frustrating, experience. Anna and I can attest that there was definitely too much food to try everything we wanted to. All the food sellers made a profit and many sold out of their food. Happy cooks, happy eaters.

The reason why the underground market may not continue is because Michaela, the organizer, cannot find enough interested vendors.** It is currently not sustainable for her to continue going the way she is. However, I am committed to keeping the market going and have volunteered to help with outreach, communication and research. I know people in Seattle love going to the underground market, and I know there are chefs out there who would love to be a part of it. We just need to keep trying.

Anyway, let’s move on to the most important thing about the Seattle Underground Market: THE FOOD!!! Saturday night was as delicious as ever, and I’m going to begin by describing my favorite, a bite of something that wasn’t even mine! That’s right, I just tried one bite of Anna’s bbq pork slides from Za’Atar and declared them the winner.

Za'Atar

The pulled pork was perfectly tender and flavorful. It had a satisfying texture–neither too chewy nor too soft. I loved the flavor of the barbeque. Everything was honestly delicious.

Preparing Cubanos

Preparing Moroccan Cubanos

But really, everything was delicious Saturday night. I loved Aaris’ Moroccan Cubanos–no gumbo this month! My Cubano was not spicy enough to merit sour cream, but the pork was tender and flavorful and I loved the pickled carrots, onion, and jalepeño.

Moroccan Cubano

I really liked the Thai carnitas–slow roasted pork with pickled cabbage, cilantro, peanut, lime, but it was sadly placed on a cold, hard, and store-bought corn tortilla.

I was afraid to try but actually enjoyed the blood sausage tamale from Feral. The girl coaxed me into it, saying the name scared everyone off. I didn’t even know how to eat a tamale and tried to eat the husk at first, but it was too tough. The sausage was like sausage without the casing. It was light and flaky.

blood sausage tamale

I refreshed myself with a sweet elderflower soda from Soda Jerk and chowed into black eyed pea fritters with a shrimp and okra sauce that was so hot, dense, and filling I could only eat half. The fritters were piping hot and stick-to-your-ribs satisfying. The sauce was so chunky it could have stood up as a stew in its own right. Shrimp and okra and gravy oh my. That brown girl sure can cook.

Soda Jerk

black eyed pea fritters with a shrimp and okra sauce

I only had room for one tiny dessert, so I tried a lemon lavender cupcake from Jessie’s Haute Cakes. I wish the lavender really pushed through the sweetness in the buttercream, but the lemon cake was punchy and delicious. I loved the flaky, almost powdery, texture. A light sweet end to a very filling meal.

lemon lavender cupcakes

Do you believe, like I do, that the Seattle Underground Market needs to continue? Do you want to try some of the yummy foods I just described? If so, get involved. Come to the market. Tell your foodie friends. Inspire the chefs in your life to give it a shot. The market is a great way to bring people together to try new food. We just need to keep trying, trying, trying.

**Post edited to reflect Michaela’s difficulty finding interested vendors. I originally wrote that she was stopping the market for financial reasons.

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About Emily Suggests

Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugarsticky girl shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother.

2 responses to “Seattle Underground Market: Let’s Keep Trying Edition”

  1. Michaela Graham says :

    Emily, I want to clarify something – the market is closing because I can’t get enough vendors together. Because of that I made the conscious decision to drop the entrance price on this one, so that I wouldn’t get more complaints from attendees. Thus I lost money – but that is only the symptom – not the cause. In order to make it work I consistently need around 30 vendors and enough attendees to sustain those 30 vendors. That’s not happening at this time.

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