Source: Flickr User Phillie Casablanca
Mall operators like Macerich Co. and Westfield Group are beginning to open markets inside their properties, where vendors can sell, among other items, gourmet prepared foods and groceries such as heirloom coffee, small-batch vinegars, artisan meats, and wine. One market in Santa Monica will even boast a cooking school, as well as a soufflé bar.
Yesterday I introduced you to the Bay Area buzz machine that is the San Francisco Underground Farmers Market, an under-the-radar bake sale of sorts that's been getting plenty of attention from San Francisco foodies. I was slightly skeptical of the event — as I am with many faddish food concepts — but in the end I was the one who had to concede. While the crowds were out of control, the food was, for the most part, the stuff that dreams are made of. If you were salivating over the currywurst and bacon IPA caramels, here you'll see even more.
If you thought street food was too elusive to track down, then get ahold of San Francisco's latest pretty young thing: the underground farmers market. The idea was first introduced to San Francisco last December by Iso Rabins of wild foods community ForageSF. Frustrated with his inability to get a booth at the city's established farmers markets, Rabins organized a private local foods fair — publicized only by word of mouth — that didn't require artisan vendors to obtain permits from the city's health department. The concept turned out to be a hit with the community. It's only been six months and ForageSF has already held three underground markets, including one that took place this week, with twice as many vendors and three times as much turnout. After eating my way through the prepared foods portion of the market, I caught sight of the line, which had grown to as long as a city block — a reminder that the early bird gets the worm. See what I filled up on when you keep reading.