(Not So) Local Eats: The Atlanta Underground Market

November 01, 2011

A few weeks ago we visited Atlanta with my parents so my dad could dive with the sharks at the aquarium.  It was his birthday wish and we were more than happy to oblige.

Before leaving I happened to get an email that the Atlanta Underground Market was the same weekend.  What luck!  I had attended once before, but Wayne had never been, so I signed him up and we were on our way.

The underground market started originally in San Francisco. The short (or maybe long?) version is this: it can be cost prohibitive for a food vendor to begin selling.  Let’s say you have a great idea for the next best foodie thing and want to see if it could be successful.  You’ll have to pay for licenses, get your kitchen certified (or rent a certified kitchen), complying with city, county, state, and federal regulations.  Then you have to make sure everything is appropriately labeled.  Not following these steps is a huge legal gamble.  As you can imagine, this deters many sellers.

The Underground Market is an opportunity for these sellers to try out their ideas and see how successful they may be.  It is also a great way for smaller food vendors to broaden their audience. Basically, it serves as an incubator for food vendors.  To avoid health department concerns, the producers of the market set it up as a private event.  Each attendee has to sign up in advance and sign a waiver.  Names are checked on the way in.  You get the idea.  Okay, enough words.  How about some pictures?

The cupcake queens at Iced had a fig cupcake with goat cheese icing.  Yum!


Ginger cookies anyone?  (They were awesome…kudos to Dr. Sweet’s.)

Ginger Cookies

I promise, we didn’t just eat cake and cookies!  Dal Cuore Market had two amazing dishes – a vegetable strata (all local) and a dish of caramelized plums with goat cheese camembert.  It was an amazing blend of sweet and savory.

Carmelized Plums w/Goat Cheese Camembert

Sweet potato balls?  Of course I will!

Sweet Potato Balls


Three Day Cure has great cured salmon that they served with cream cheese on cucumbers.
Three Day Cure Salmon

Probably my favorite thing was a cookie (no real surprise there!).  The type of cookie was a bit shocking….beet anyone?  Kim at the Cookie Underground makes cookies that less sugar & more veggie.  Awesome idea right? Even better when you taste them  – you would literally never know!

Veggie Cookies

Last but not least was the Arepa stand.  By the time we made it over it was too dark for a photo.  Don’t know what an arepa is?  I didn’t either.  I’m still not completely sure, but I can tell you is that it was a perfect blend of cheesy and melty.

Other than what is listed above, we also tried: green chili mac & cheese, veggie pasta, puff pastery with herbed goat cheese and fig compote from Q’Bella (double yum!), a lazy cake from Bear Maker Bakery, veggie spring rolls, and a fantastic ginger lemonade.

I didn’t get a shot of the crowd as a whole (not tall enough….as usual), but Atlantic Station was nice enough to post this video:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOjdVRlWoz4 [/tube]

It was an amazing evening and a great way to support local small businesses! I will definitely be in search of a few of the yummy things we tried while there.

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