My First Taste of the Underground Food Market

Saturday night my husband and I checked out this underground food market at the Evergreen Brickworks, one of my favourite places in the city. An idea that originated in San Francisco, the market, or TUM, is described as a “social food market” where amazing cooks sell small portions of their best dishes to the community. The vendors are comprised of really cool catering companies and ambitious chefs who are working their way up through the ranks at fancy restaurants. While my husband says my baked macaroni and cheese is “pretty good,” I don’t think it would have made the cut.

We found out about the event from my husband’s lovely work colleague who is not only kind but also has a British accent, undoubtedly the two most important qualities a person can have. It’s upsetting that no matter how hard I try, I can only ever obtain half of these virtues. If only my grandmother hadn’t left London during the war!  Having bought tickets in advance, the kind Brit and his beautiful girlfriend were able to walk right in while my husband and I had to wait in the rush line with all the other people who weren’t hip enough to know about this shindig in advance.

It was difficult for my husband to watch people walk past us holding various plates of food. Not only was he really hungry but it is vital for him that he be in the know at all times. After buying a single wrist band from someone whose friend didn’t show up, my husband quickly grabbed my arm and fastened the purchased band around my wrist while we waited.

“I don’t trust myself not to go in without you,” he said.

Finally securing a wrist band for him, we were able to join the masses lining up for halibut chowder, duck confit, pulled pork sandwiches and risotto balls. I couldn’t really enjoy myself at first, noticing that all the other girls had better boots than I did, but with my husband’s repeated assurances that I was crazy, I was able to forget about my deficient wardrobe and focus on the food.

Tita Flips Shrimp Fritters

We surveyed talented cooks showcasing foods from around the world, from Egypt to the Philippines. I wasn’t brave enough to try a fertilized duck embryo, but did boldly sample the free chocolate brownie with caramel in the middle.

After the butternut squash agnolotti in cream sauce and tomato soup with goat cheese, I was stuffed and couldn’t possibly eat another bite-except maybe for a couple of marshmallows available for roasting over a bonfire. Sitting around the open flame with a bunch of people I didn’t know, I remarked how incredible it was to be sitting on a log surrounded by trees in the middle of the city. I felt warm, emotionally satiated.      

Me by the fire contemplating life and whether I should have another marshmallow

Seeing people holding hot paper cups in their cold hands I decided to join in. Turning to my husband, I uttered the kiss of death of any evening:

“Do you think this coffee will keep me up all night? I’ll be fine, right? One large, please!”

Note to future Wendy: the answer to the foregoing question is always yes, that coffee will keep you up all night. 

And while we’re at it: that second glass of wine is going to make you annoying.