Okay, you should all really know the deal with the Boise Urban Market by now. I've certainly mentioned it enough times. So without further ado, here's what I dug this time around...
|Pesto Roll by Pam|
This time the festivities were at the Periple Winery in Garden City. It certainly didn't have the beauty of the last Market's locale, but at least we were out of the sun and the music (courtesy of the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho) was awesome. Our first stop was by Pam's table (so far as I know, she doesn't use a "business name" at these events) for some of her rolls. The roommate and I had been waiting several months for her to make an appearance again, and our patience was finally rewarded. The larger rolls had been replaced by smaller ones sold by the pair, which was just fine because it made sharing that much easier. We got a couple of the Pesto Rolls (since I hadn't gotten to try them previously) and a couple of her most intriguing item of the evening, the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls.
|Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls by Pam|
The Pesto Rolls were great, but the Maple Bacon Cinnamon? They were on another level entirely. It was like a breakfast in every bite. There's really not much I can say to describe them that's not implied in the name. There's maple, there's bacon, and it's all wrapped up in a cinnamon roll with the obligatory icing. Not quite as evil and genius as the Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo Doughnut, but a very worthwhile entry into the pantheon of insane breakfast food.
|Clockwise from upper left: Fried Shrimp Balls, Spring Roll, Veggie Spring Roll and Khanam Jeeb from Nor-Mai|
Our next stop was at the Nor-Mai table. Some of you may have noticed how much time I devote to talking about Gina's food in these write-ups, and the reason for this is simply that so far as I'm concerned, she's the best thing at the Markets. Even though another vendor will occasionally have an item that blows me away and is hands-down my favorite thing of the night, I always love every single thing Gina does. She's never disappointed me once. This time I decided to save time and just order one of everything straight away. Because I love Asian food, seafood and street food, I went for the Shrimp Balls first. Given the fact that they seemed to be coated in wonton strips I was afraid that they might be a little heavy on crunch, but quite the contrary, I was surprised by their delicacy. I knew after the first bite and my regrets about not going back for more of her fish cakes last month that I'd definitely be getting seconds on these. On to the spring rolls: the regular variety was filled with delicious Kurobuta pork and crab, which is every bit as amazing as it sounds, but then again I have a weakness for spring rolls (who didn't see that coming?). The veggie ones didn't tickle my fancy quite as much, I mean they were delicious and great quality, but I'd just had one with freaking pork and crab in it. Veggies just don't stand up to that. Still, they were great, and my roommate was at least part of the reason the veggie rolls got made in the first place and she was pleased with them, so that's all that matters. Last I came to the Khanam Jeeb dumplings, with more Kurobuta pork, water chestnuts, ginger, green onions and mushrooms. These were a huge shock to me because they remind me of the pot stickers my mother makes at home, so not only were they wonderful but also nostalgic, at least to me. I don't know how to explain Gina's stuff other than to say that no matter how many Thai restaurants you eat at, it's just not the same as someone cooking personal and beloved comfort food, the same way that Mom's cooking is pretty much always better than restaurant fare (if you're lucky, that is). It makes me wish I'd had a Thai friend with a mother that cooked like this when I was growing up, but thanks to Nor-Mai I'm making up for a lot of lost time.
|Sassy Sadie's Jalapeño Popper Dip|
After that it was on to Sassy Sadie's Salsa to pick up some jalapeño salsa to top some homemade burritos with later on in the week, and also to try her new Jalapeño Popper Dip. It was very tasty, but I swear that woman has a talent for torturing me. How else to explain how a creamy dip still had enough heat to singe my taste buds? And that's nothing compared to the habanero salsa she had on hand, which she didn't divulge was a lot hotter than the last batch I tried until after I had a big scoop of it in my mouth already. Luckily, there was a man in at the next table selling lemonade (mixed in a cocktail shaker, of all things), and after sucking an entire glass of that down I was feeling more or less back to normal. Every time I think I'm making progress on the whole getting used to spicy food thing, Sassy Sadie's is there to give me a reality check. Once I can take down a chip loaded with her stuff without wincing, I'll know I've made some real progress. Trust me, her stuff is good enough to warrant making that effort.
|Tofu and Beef Short Rib Fusion Tacos from Korean Kitchen|
Between Nor-Mai and Sassy Sadie's was the Korean Kitchen table, which was offering fusion tacos this time around. I was skeptical, but I love tacos almost as much as I love Asian food, so why not fusion? We ordered one of each, tofu for my companion and beef for myself. She wasn't particularly fond of hers, but then again she's not really sure how she feels about tofu. We both agreed that the tortillas would have benefitted from a quick warming on a grill and that the slaw was a little moist, but personally I thought the flavors were spot on (I especially liked the sauce, comprised of chili paste, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar) and was amazed at the size of the pieces of beef. I was already getting a little full at this point, but I still polished off the entire thing. Between the sauce, the slaw and the marinade, there was a ridiculous amount of things going on in the dish, but you never would have known it considering how harmoniously it all came together. Once again, Korean Kitchen surprised and impressed me, and they remain one of the primary reasons I go to every single Market.
|Quiche from Fuel for the Soul|
My roommate's favorite dish of the night came in the form of quiche from Fuel for the Soul. She loved it so much in fact, that by the time I'd finished taking a picture of it and stashed my camera away, it was gone and I didn't get to try it. I'm willing to take her word that it was really good though.
|Cupcakes from Saint Lawrence Gridiron|
By now, my companion was running out of room to shove all these edibles into and craving dessert, so we went to take a closer look at some cupcakes we'd noticed earlier at the Saint Lawrence Gridiron table (the guy who made the superb brisket and cornbread waffle sliders at the last Market). I don't recall exactly what was in the cupcakes or what they were called, but I know that "bourbon" was in the name. While my roomie devoured her cupcake (once again, didn't get to try it, she said it was good but she's pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to pastries), I turned my attention to their entrée offerings...
|Pulled Pork Sliders from Saint Lawrence Gridiron|
Not brisket this time but still on the barbecue theme, this month's main course offering was pulled pork sliders on potato rolls with slaw. There were two sauces available, both Carolina style, one mustard-based and one vinegar-based. I don't traditionally dig mustard sauce in my barbecue and I was quickly reaching the not-so-hungry-anymore point, so I ordered just one slider with vinegar sauce instead of the more rational (and more my style) two for $5 deal. Somehow, the proprietor managed to upsell me, though to be fair it's not that difficult to talk me into eating pork. Just for the hell of it, I ordered the mustard sauce on the second slider. In what was probably the biggest surprise of the night, I preferred the mustard sauce to the vinegar one. In fact, I ended up abandoning half the vinegar one so I could polish off the mustard one when it became obvious to me that I couldn't finish both. As to the rest, what more is there to say? Pulled pork, grilled potato rolls, crisp veggies...what do YOU think my feelings were about the dish?
|A picture is worth a thousand words. The sign is worth six.|
So, all that remained was to pick my favorite item of the night. Was there ever any doubt? I mean the only thing better than shrimp is fried shrimp, and I'm of the opinion that serving food on a stick generally improves it. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but that's been my observation. I was still able to take down a second helping of these at the end of the night! I actually considered buying extras, but I'm guessing it's an item that wouldn't reheat well...
That's it for now, kids. At this point, I don't know when the next market will be, but you can bet I'll be there with money in hand (and wintergreen Tums at home, just in case). You should be too.