Last weekend my hubby and I checked out the first ever Atlanta Underground Market. Turns out we brought our camera sans battery, so sorry for the lack of photos!
The secret location turned out to be the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. And from what I saw, the secret was definitely out - when we arrived right on time, the line was wrapped around the building. So much in fact, that we were ushered to the front by a policewoman to start an entirely new line.
The natives were restless, so we set a 7 pm deadline for getting in. 6:55 PM rolls around, and miracle of all miracles, they started ushering in my little 2nd string line. Worried we would start a hipster rebellion, I was comforted by the fact that skinny jeans would restrict their ability to kick me. I have no idea what led to us beating so many others in, but I just chose to keep me eyes firmly planted on the ground and away from the gift horse's mouth.
Turns out that despite the wait, it wasn't overly crowded in side. We took a lap around before deciding to split up and make purchases separately. We started with empanadas, a black tie bbq sandwich, and chile verde tacos from not-yet-opened restaurant Bounty. Blah, so-so, and delish, respectively. Considering the empanada line was one of the longest I saw there, I was surprised by how very bland they were. If anyone in Atlanta is making truly authentic, meaty empanadas I hope they'll sign up for the next market!
I've heard raves about Black Tie BBQ, and I still assume (hope) they've got better things on offer than what I tried. The sandwich wasn't bad, it just didn't stand out in any way. Fortunately, where I least expected it—from an unknown vendor I'd never heard of without a long line—came deliciousness. The chile verde came with a burst of flavor and reminded me what's so exciting about an underground market. The whole point is to try something you couldn't get anywhere else.
Other standouts were the apple zeppoles, Nona Rosa Pizzelles, and vanilla shortbread and an apple cheese tarts from Little Tart Bakeshop. We saved the apple and cheese tarts for breakfast the next day. Toasted slightly, I loved how the flaky, cheesy crust contrasted with the sweet apple filling. Yum!
Despite a somewhat slow start, we left full and contented. Considering the organizer is new to town and not a professional planner, I was impressed, and I can only imagine the event will get better. My hope for next time will be smoother entry and even more risk taking and unusual flavors from vendors. Years ago I was awed by the amazing variety at the Red Hook ball fields in Brooklyn, and it would be amazing to have a similar experience in Atlanta. I'm far more likely to pay $2 to try a sample of something wacky, than I am to order a full plate of it at a sit down restaurant!
Regardless, we had more than enough good food and enjoyed the buzz of being part of something new and "underground." Congrats to Michaela and the vendors for pulling it all off!