Paul and I had a wonderful time at the North Market Apron Gala last night. It’s one of the events that we both look forward to every year – not only because of the wonderful food, but also because we are North Market regulars who will always do what we can to support the market.
For those of you not familiar with the market, let me take you on a small tour of the market, though our eyes, and let us take you to the event vicariously though us. Click through for the tour (be aware that it’s VERY picture intensive, and the page may take a while to load). If you just want to see the pics, here’s the Flickr set.
First stop was Heil’s Deli. We love Heil’s for their great (and cheap – at .99/lb, it’s one of the best bargains in town!) potato salad and selection of cheeses. They make the best deviled eggs ever. Thoughout the day you can get a selection of sandwiches and salad as well. They offered these deviled eggs along with a spread of sandwiches.
Across from Heil’s is North Market Produce, who in addition to having very fresh produce all year long, also has a lot of local Ohio produce during the growing season and occasionally has harder to find things like black truffles, morels, black walnuts, and the like. They always have the best strawberries (barring farmer’s markets, mind you – seasonal Ohio strawberries from the farmer’s markets are a thing of beauty) in town, even out of season. This is one of those places that I stop at every time I’m in the market, no matter what. He provided this lovely veggie tray:
Further down is Jose Madrid Salsa. I’m not a huge salsa person, but I absolutely love their salsa, and when I’m in the mood for something salty/crunchy, will pick up a couple of jars of their stuff (they have the full range from mild to really really hot, but I tend to prefer the fruity salsas like raspberry, strawberry, peach and pineapple) and a bag of tortilla chips. Their salsa is also great on chicken or in other recipes. And their guacamole rules. They offered a selection of salsas and some chips, along with a few other things.
Caddy corner to Jose Madrid is Bluescreek Farms Meats, who has a wonderful selection of hormone-free lamb, beef, pork, goat and veal raised on their Marysville farm. They have the best looking short ribs in town, and when I’m making beef stock, I can get my marrow bones here for a song. Their bacon is amazing. They offered one of my favorite dishes of the night – ham balls, along with chorizo balls (which I didn’t try). I have to find the recipe for this!
Next on the list was Curds and Whey – for a cheese lover like me, the spread Mike laid out had me in pure heaven. Mike knows his cheese, and you can find just about anything here, including butter and the double-smoked bacon I’m always going on about. Look at this spread:
Awesome! I could have happily just spent the entire night nibbling on cheese, cheese and more cheese.
Next up on the list is Pam’s Market Popcorn, one of my guilty pleasures – so much so, that I will confess, I’ve actually bought the tin, which I refill whenever I get a craving. The best part? Refills on the tin are half price! 🙂 Their Sweet & Salty popcorn is my favorite, because I love that combo in just about any dish. She made Swedish Meatballs, with popcorn as one of the ingredients.
Next to Pam’s is one of my husband’s favorites, CaJohn’s Flavor and Fire. They have a wonderful selection of hot sauces (or so says my husband, I’m a wimp who can’t handle too much heat).
They laid out one hell of a spread thoughout the night, starting with chicken tortilla soup:
and fruit salsa:
and ending the night with Brisket Soft Tacos:
Next to CaJohn’s is another one of my favorites, Omega Artisan Baking. Amy Lozier (the owner) and her staff take great pride in their work, consistently offering wonderful breads, cakes, and other baked goods. Every Saturday morning I will fight the crowds that inevitably gather in that corner of the market to get my grubby little paws on one of her wonderful cinnamon rolls, or a chocolatine. This is bread the way bread is supposed to be, crusty and chewy and baked with skill that takes years to develop. They offered a selection of breads for the Gala:
Across from Omega is Best of the Wurst, who hands down has the best hot dogs in town. Absolutely huge, crisp outer skin, which when you bite into, explodes into your mouth in a burst of spicy flavor. Dressed as a chili cheese dog, it’s one of my favorite lunches ever. I also love to get proscuitto here – prices are very reasonable, and the care in which they take in slicing it (and separating the slices just so) is hard to find in this day and age. She also offers amazing panini sandwiches, which she served as part of the gala:
Nida, the woman who owns Best of the Wurst, also owns Nida’s Sushi, which is just across the aisle – the sushi here is very fresh, and compares with many of the other good sushi places in town. Check out this nigiri:
Caddy-corner to Nida’s is Sarefino’s, who regularly offers pizza, strombolis, and the like. I’ll admit, I’ve never tried their stuff, but considering the lines that I always see there, I’m assuming it’s great. Based on the piece of stromboli I had, this is someplace I’ll be trying soon:
And across from Sarefino’s is Mozart’s Bakery, another place that I admittedly don’t frequent that often – they offered a plate of biscotti:
Flavors of India offered pakora, and later on in the evening, chicken tikke makni:
Pastaria is another one of my favorites – to their always fresh and varied pastas and raviolis, to their sauces, to even their always good tiramisu, I love this place and will often stop here to pick up the fixings for a great meal. They served one of my favorites, the mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette, along with grilled chicken breat with tomato-rosemary sauce, polenta cake, and asiago cheese.
China Market, another vendor I’m not very familiar with, offered this General Tso’s Chicken along with other Chinese specialties.
I love Bubbles Tea & Juice for their smoothies – made with fresh fruit, and especially for the boba (bubbles) that they put in the smoothies. Eric’s offering for the Gala was Mimosas, made with freshly squeezed orange juice:
I’ve raved on the blog before about how good Jeni’s ice cream is – if the line for her desserts last night is any indication, I’m not the only one who thinks so. She made these miniature versions of her macaron ice cream sandwiches:
along with these (Jeni or Charly, can you comment and tell me exactly what was in these?). I’m thinking it was vanilla ice cream with bourboned or brandied cherries and some type of cherry juice or soda, but I’m not sure.
You can almost always find me at Lac Viet whenever I go to the Market, because of their wonderful pho and banh mi sandwiches (best lunch deal in Columbus, IMHO). Their offering was refreshing summer rolls:
Across from Lac Viet is another one of my favorites, North Market Poultry and Game, where Anne Marie and her family regularly prepare some of the best and most unusual hot dishes I’ve ever had, including bigos, stews and soups, paprikash, mielones, meatloaf, cassoulet in colder months. You name it, it’s probably graced their counter at one time or another. If you’ve never bought their chicken meatloaf (either prepared or the mix), make it a priority. It’s THAT good. This is *always* my first stop at the market. Especially on weekends when their excellent breakfasts pretty much disappear as soon as they appear. Their offering for the evening was wings with various sauces. Here’s just a couple of the ones they offered:
The Fish Guys is one of the few places in town to get really good clam chowder, along with their regular offerings of fresh fish, tasty seafood salads and other goodies. Their spread for the gala last night included this smoked salmon and beautiful shrimp:
Firdous Express is one of the last outposts of Firdous in town, along with the Firdous Express at the Polaris mall. I live for their hummus and pita, which they offered along with Greek salad, and kebobs that I unfortunately didn’t get around to in time to get any (and hubby neglected to grab one when he took this pic ::pout::):
Daniel of Pure Imagination rolled out his Elevation line officially at the Gala, many of which I’ve already had the pleasure of tasting, including my all time favorite Eruption (thanks, Daniel, for setting a few aside for me – your kindness and generosity is much appreciated!). You gotta love that smiling face. Does he look like he’s having a good time or what?
Among the new chocolates (and excuse the quality of the pics – we had to take them quickly because of the LOOOONNNGG line behind us). I give you the Wild Blueberry & Gouda truffle:
The Rain truffle (white chocolate w/ white chocolate ganache flavored with I’m not sure what, but very cooling and refreshing):
and one I’ve never tried until last night, the Marco Champagne truffle (very creamy center):
No pics of the Eruption or Prince of Darkness truffles, as I’ve already reviewed them here previously. But I think he’s got a winner with this new line. 🙂
Across from Pure Imagination is Sabor Mexicano, which served Beef Fajita meat with Black Beans and Spanish Rice:
Kay at North Market Cookware was handing out these really sturdy wooden spoons – as I told her, one can never have enough wooden spoons. This is one of my first stops for cookware – I’ve bought almost all my Le Creuset here, along with a few knives – and many other things. She jokes that I must have one of the best outfitted kitchens in Columbus. I think I agree with her.
Barry’s New York Deli has some of the most tender corned beef in town, and makes sandwiches piled high with the stuff. Their offering last night was some of their New York Cheesecake:
Early in the evening, I ran into Lisa upstairs in the Dispatch Kitchen, where we sat sipping champagne (Firelands Riesling Champagne, to be exact – amazing stuff, and I can’t find it anywhere in town – this coming from someone who doesn’t appreciate wine or champagne under most circumstances), talking, and munching on appetizers prepared by the chef in kitchen. Isn’t the lighting amazing in this shot? I guess it has to be for a TV studio, but I *really* need a setup like that in my own kitchen. Also upstairs we got some basil and rosemary plants from Market Blooms.
All in all, we had a wonderful time and can’t wait until next year. If you haven’t visited the North Market yet, do so – not only will you be supporting your local public market (which every town needs, in my opinion), but you’ll get some great locally produced food. It’s somewhere I take out of town visitors all the time, and is one of Columbus’ gems.
If you’d like to visit, North Market, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, 614.463.9664.