Morning at the Midtown Farmers Market

Overcast day at the Midtown Farmers Market

Let’s get the unpleasantness straight out of the way, so that we can concentrate on all of the wonderful things that were at the Midtown Farmers Market this weekend.

They are now charging you to park.

Listen, farmers market folks.  I know that parking is at a premium in Midtown.  I know that you’re competing with the thronging horde lined up outside the breakfast klub and people hungry for eggs and chorizo from Tacos-A-Go-Go.  Hell, you’re even competing with your own restaurant, t’afia.  But charging people $3.00 to park in a muddy pit a whopping ten feet away from the market itself is utterly pretentious and directly contrary to the entire down-to-earth, communal spirit of a farmers market in the first place.  Ya feel me?  It really sucks.  It sucks more than places like Dolce Vita and Molina’s all-but-forcing you to valet your car.  Stop it.

UPDATE:  According to Andrea from t’afia (please read Andrea’s comment below; very interesting stuff), it’s the Continental Club who owns — and is charging for — the parking lot, despite t’afia‘s attempts to contribute their own money towards the cost so that their customers won’t have to pay the fee.  Boo, Continental Club.  I thought you were a lot cooler than that.  How very disappointing.

Okay, onto the good stuff.

For Sale

We bought some greens and carrots (seen below), which were all very reasonably priced as you can see from the quaint pricing list above. 

Deformed Carrots

I was totally in love with these oddly-shaped little carrots.  They reminded me of one of my favorite books as a kid.  Trust me on this one.

Houston Dairymaids

The Houston Dairymaids were there as usual, plying their delicious, creamy wares.  They had other treats besides cheese this time, though.

Hey Honey

Honey!  It’s Native Nectar, which is guajillo honey made in South Texas.  Flowery and light; good stuff.

Keeping Cool

I wanted to abscond with every basket of fresh greens I ran across.  I could have been quite the little felon that day.

Sharpened

This delightful man sharpens and fixes dull or broken knives.  He sharpened eight of my mother’s knives for only $41.00, after which they were sharp enough to split a hair.  Seriously impressive, not to mention a hoot to talk to.  He’s also got a glut of knives for sale out of his van (what?) if you’re in the market.

Other vendors included a new group of utterly charming kids in highly-creased Wranglers with enormous, shiny belt buckles selling fresh pullet eggs and — next week — fresh beef.  The grass-fed cows will be slaughtered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then brought to the market on Saturday mornings.  They take orders in advance and their price list was on par with what you’d pay at your local grocery store or butcher.  I’m eagerly awaiting next Saturday morning so that I can get some oxtails and a porterhouse.

We also grabbed some lettuce from the folks at Last Organic Outpost and some ready-to-eat dishes (chickpeas with olives and parmesan…NOM) from inside t’afia before picking up my mother’s knives and heading out into the day.  Next time, we’re definitely getting there early to sign up for Monica Pope’s new Green Plum Cooking School.  Maybe we’ll see you there…

Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth

One of my favorite bloggers and food photographers, Evil Chef Mom, posted a sumptuous picture of three ripe persimmons yesterday on Flickr:

persimmons
Photo courtesy of Flickr user evil chef mom.

And I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite food poems, just in time for Food Poetry Wednesday.

Today’s poem comes to us courtesy of Li-Young Lee, a Chinese poet who was born in Indonesia but raised in the United States.  If you’re unfamiliar with Lee, he’s led a fascinating life (as did his parents and grandparents) which has strongly contributed to his bold, broadly-appealing, and deep yet accessible style of poetry.

The poem — which is quite long — is after the jump…  Happy reading!

Continue reading Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth

The Smell of Good For You

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.

My officemate, who is perfect in all ways — even down to her three perfect triplet boys and her perfectly matched outfits and her perfectly packed healthy lunches and her perfect balance of work, life, church, husband, children, friends, health and shopping — is determined to not have my sickness interrupt her perfect life.  And to that end, she’s forcing me to drink a — well, a JUG — of carrot juice this morning.

2774371636_d9ff6be091_o
Image courtesy of Flickr user Joan Thewlis.

It’s awful.

And I’m not just saying that out of petulance. I love my officemate, despite her unimperfections. The stuff is horrendous.  It’s thick, slimy and unappetizingly vegetal, with a smell like a rancid, untended community garden. My officemate disagrees.

“Cindy, this smells like the bottom of a produce bin…ugh.  It smells like dirt and old vegetables,” I whine.

“That’s what ‘good for you’ smells like,” she snaps back.
 
“The smell of ‘good for me’ smells like potato rot.  What’s in this, anyway?”
 
“CARROTS.”
 
“Just carrots?  It tastes like it has dirt in it.  And lima beans.”
 
A long, annoyed pause.  “JUST CARROTS.”
 
“I don’t believe you.”
 
She gets up from her desk and brings the glass container over to me, its interior coated with the coarse, orange flesh of the carrots like a landmine took out an entire carrot party, the carnage splattered disgustingly on the walls.

“Damn, look at the bottle, girl…  Ingredients: ‘carrots.’  See?  But for you, I’m gonna make it extra easy to understand…”

She then takes a Sharpie and writes in big black letters on the bottle, “CARROTS, FOOL.  Now drink your damn juice.”  And huffs off back to her desk, as I reluctantly begin gulping the sludge down again.

Tough love.  Works every time.

Monday Morning Melons

Good morning, sweet potatoes!

It’s a busy day around the office, so you’ll have to keep yourselves occupied with the comments sections below.  You have your choice of debacles, though: the vending machine pizza atrocity or the far more interesting high-fructose corn syrup debate.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this mosaic (so addictive, I tell you!) of my delicious, juicy breakfast:

1. Canteloupe, 2. Sectioned canteloupe, 3. cut canteloupe no red corniers, 4. Canteloupe 

Be back this afternoon with a few reviews…

Link Sandwich

Two links for you this afternoon, with a little bit of blathering in between, for a delicious link sandwich…

Top Nine Underrated Sandwiches

Let me tell you how glad I am that (a) banh mi is on that list and (b) the heinous monstrosity of a “sandwich,” the Monte Cristo, is not.

And for the other slice of bread, news about the new Montrose Farmer’s Market that’s having its grand opening this Saturday at La Strada:

Montrose Farmer’s Market: It Begins

Mmm…tasty!

Free Wi-Fi in Downtown Houston

At last!

While this has nothing at all to do with food, I was very excited to hear that we finally have a rudimentary network of free wireless locations throughout downtown.  Sure, I don’t live downtown.  And I don’t work there or even get out there very often, but it’s a start, dammit!

Hopefully, we can soon join the ranks of other cities around the world with free (or “limited to two hours a day” free, which is still good) access in most parts of the city.  Until then, check out where you can surf for free downtown:

Wi-Fi Is Go!  Sort Of…

And if you happen to be downtown on Thursdays, don’t forget to check out the Green Market Farmer’s Market that runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday at Discovery Green.  You can get some fresh, organic produce while checking your Gmail.  Everyone wins!

Miracle Berry Party

No, I haven’t written anything here about the Flavor Tripping party yet.  That’s because I was giving it the fancy-pants Houstonist treatment with slideshow and obnoxious usage of the Royal We.  Ch-ch-check it out!

Tripping the Light Balsamic

I’m eagerly looking forward to doing this again, perhaps on a smaller scale…