Last night Andrew and I participated in a most hipster event: the SF underground farmer’s market. The SF underground farmer’s market is essentially that: it is a below the table, slightly illegal farmer’s market that takes place in various venues in San Francisco. They get around the illegal thing of selling food made in non-commercial kitchens by making you sign up as a member of a club. You also have to pay a five dollar cover charge to get in.
This was my first time going and it was quite an event. Tons of people were squished into the Public Works building at Erie and Mission (a part of San Francisco that I’ve never been to) along with vendors and musicians. We drove up to Millbrae and took the BART into the city which is much better than having to try to find parking on a Saturday night in the city. We got there early so were one of the first people in line so we got to check everything out before it became too packed. We also got a free sample of waffles from Angry Man Eats.
While the population of eaters was not too varied, mostly people between the ages of 25-40 white and hipster, the food ranged from charcuterie to raw and vegan. I probably ate too much, but it was so hard not to! I wouldn’t say the food was amazing or anything that you couldn’t get at your local farmer’s market, but it was still good and there were some standouts.
While standing in line in between two groups of hipsters, one computer programming types and other flannel decked, bearded kind, we were offered a free sample of waffle from Angry Man Eats who does fried chicken and waffles. I really regret not getting in line immediately once inside the building because I missed out on getting some later.
Once inside we sampled some potato slices from Wolf Creek Potato Slicing, which is just a fancy name for a potato chip. They were great! I think I slipped past their stall three times to get more. They were crunchy and flavorful without a lot of grease or salt.
Next we went upstairs to get away from the already forming crowd downstairs. Upstairs we checked out homemade poptarts, bolani, charcuterie, and something called bacon crack. We didn’t eat the poptarts or bolani. I can make damn good poptarts at home and the bolani had cilantro in it which is the kiss of death for us. At the charcuterie stall, Boucherie, we sampled some bacon, it was lacking, and Andrew bought some gumbo, which I found to be lacking in flavor and overly mushy.
Gumbo from Boucherie charcuterie.
Now onto Bacon Crack. Bacon Crack, according to the man behind Nosh This, is a bacon toffee with almonds covered in dark chocolate. I did not buy any Bacon Crack because I do not like bacon and chocolate. Yes, I know that bacon and chocolate has taken the Foodie world by storm, but I’m just not a fan of the flavor combination. I did buy some balsamic and sea salt chocolates as well as some black pepper and sea salt chocolates. I ate these chocolates the next day and they were absolutely amazing. I had been worried about the balsamic being bitter but it was sweet and tangy, a perfect compliment to the cloying sweetness of the caramel. The black pepper and sea salt was also good with the peppery spiciness of the black pepper balancing out the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. My friend Maddy is thinking about recreating these.
Balsamic Salted Caramel
By this time in the night my friends Maddy and Nan along with their friend Nikki had joined up with us and we made our way back downstairs. They wanted to check everything out, get a sample of a few things, and move onto the bacon wrapped mochi from Jordan Grosser. Another thing that I regret not trying because it looked absolutely delicious.
We then moved on to get something to drink because it was incredibly hot and we were all thirsty. We pushed our way through the skinny jeans and clever monogrammed t-shirts to Morgans Menu which was selling Hawaiin food including hibiscus tea, homemade spam rolls, and something called a loco moco. Now, I usually do not go for decadently over the topic heart attack food, but this I just had to try. They won me over with a fried egg. I love fried eggs. Unfortunately, this fried egg still had runny whites when I ate it, the gravy was room temperature, but tasty, and the beef patty had huge chunks of onion in it which does not float my boat. The mixture of the gravy with the rice was great though. I think I could have just eaten a plate of the rice and had been happier. The hibiscus tea from this stall was one of the real winners of the night for me; it had a slight cinnamon flavor added to it which was just perfect. It was also incredibly refreshing.
During the time I was waiting for my loco moco, Maddy and Nan picked up croque monsieurs with french fries fried in duck fat from Boffo Cart. I did not have a chance to sample their croque monsieur sandwich, which looked incredible, but I did sneak a duck fat french fry. I’m not sure if I understand all the hoopla surrounding duck fat. It was a good french fry flavor wise but could have been a lot crispier.
Nikki bought some macaroni and cheese from SF Delicious Chef which was hands down one of the best food bites from the night. I should have gotten a whole plate of that instead of the loco moco. Man, my mind keeps going back to how disappointing that loco moco plate was. Such high hopes.
We went upstairs to eat all our food, taking shifts to leave and come back with more. The place was packed and we were lucky to find a place to breath let alone sit.
It was packed.
Andrew got a slice of chocolate pecan pie from Marge’s and Nan bought a mini chocolate pecan pie as well. I had a pecan pie and it was delicious. They were also selling other kinds of pie and homemade pop-tarts.
After the pecan pie, I sent Maddy off on a mission to find a pork belly banh-mi from Kitchen Sidecar. This must have been incredibly popular because it took her about thirty minutes to get them and come back. Definitely not worth the wait I have to say. The roast pork in the sandwich was incredibly tasty and the smaller pieces of pork belly were crisp and delicious, but the larger pieces were chewy and fatty. The sandwich itself had far too much mayonaisse on it, which both Maddy and I agreed upon. Any mayonaisse is too much for me, but Maddy likes the mayo and said it was too much for her. Another thing I did like about the sandwich was the inclusion of pickled ginger. We should have just shared one sandwich.
The last food item I tried for the night was a bite of Andrew’s tri-tip sandwich from Hubie Q’s. I really wished that I had known there were food booths outside because if I knew there had been tri-tip sandwiches and ribs outside I would have totally passed up on the banh-mi.
Overall it was an incredibly fun experience that I would probably never do again unless I were a vendor which would be amazing.