Anarchy is alive and well in San Francisco. Tonight was the third, I think, Forage SF Underground Farmers Market. Underground because the artisans who bring their foods are usually such small producers that they do not yet have licensed kitchens. So we become members of the club, support them, and fill our bellies with amazing food.
“The pork belly bun,” said a woman as she passed and bit into the soft puffy bread stuffed with rich, fragrant pork belly topped with thinly sliced pickled cucumbers. “You have to have one.”
The snapshot doesn’t capture the heat, the noise, nor just how crowded it was. It was a happy crowd though, both inside and outside where a line snaked down the block.
There were a few vendors upstairs, thus the downward view of these snaps. One product I tasted upstairs was an amazing mushroom-nut spread. Just plain wow! The pair with their backs to us were manning and womanning the macaroon table. Those cookies are all the rage these days with their pastel colors and innocent-looking ways.
There was lots of food to eat right on the spot or to take home. At first I skipped the kombucha (a naturally fermented, probiotic tea that is said to build your immune system, detoxify the body, and aid digestion), but on a second pass, tried it. After all with flavors including lavendar, black rose, and smoked pear, could you resist? I came home with a bottle of housekombucha black rose.
Valerie Johnson is in my business planning class at San Francisco’s Renaissance Entrepreurship Center. She makes terrific gluten-free baked goods and tonight was her first time presenting her goods to the public. They were beautiful—can you see those fat, happy macaroons, some dipped in chocolate?! G’s older son has just started a gluten-free regimen so I was delighted to score a loaf of The Goods bread. Now we can still make sandwiches for school lunches. Whew! She gave out tastes of the bread, the scones, and the 2 granolas. All definitely yum.
Gabriel Mitchell, another class member, showed off his amazing pies and tarts (sweet and savory) as well as his decadent truffles. Gabriel is just launching Maison Mitchell, an online pastry shop, and it’s worth more than a peek. Many of us bought our sweeties his truffles for Valentine’s day.
Also showing his new food product at the event was Dirk Adolphs who makes vegetarian sausages. He was serving the very popular German street food: curried sausage—sliced sausages slathered in a curried barbecue sauce. Pretty addictive. He was tucked so deep in a corner, I could not fight through the crowds to get close enough when I went back to take a photo. He had scouts filling up trays and taking samples out into the crowd. Somehow I think Dirk will do well. There is a wonderful novel called The Invention of Curried Sausageby Uwe Timm. I read it because it was on one of William Grimes “Best of” lists when he was a book reviewer for the New York Times. So when Dirk told me he planned to introduce San Francisco to curried sausage, I knew what he was talking about. I’m not sure which I like better, the book or the dish. If you get the chance, try both.
Now this was a product I didn’t expect to see—demi-glace from a new venture, BrazeltonPrice. The woman in the center is another classmate, Genevieve Robertson, but before I saw her, I’d already decided to buy some. Way back when I worked at House & Garden magazine in New York, I wrote about the first demi-glace that became available to consumers. Until then, only restaurants and very ambitious cooks made it. I made it once. First you make stock–for classic demi-glace it would be veal stock. Then you boil it down until it forms a jelly. You then have an intensely (very intensely) flavored product. It is a luxury product and can seem expensive. Maybe that’s why it never really caught on. But, this is a product that may be even more expensive to make yourself than to buy. To make a deliciously rich, jewel-like sauce, you melt a little piece, maybe add a splash of wine or port, and perhaps a touch of butter. With demi-glaze in the freezer, you have most of the work of a special occasion meal already done.