Due to my commitments to the local food scene, my readers, and my love of homemade Asian eats, I dragged my decimated carcass out of the bed I’d been convalescing in for several days in order to attend the Holiday edition of the Boise Urban Market on Sunday. Here’s what I loved this time out…
|Cranberry Bliss Bar from Mixed Plate|
Okay, so I didn’t love this first item. I didn’t even try it, it was a gift I brought back home for my roommate despite the fact that she said I was being overly dramatic about the plague that laid me low for most of the long Thanksgiving weekend. Seriously, what kind of nurse talks that way to a dying man? Anyway, she ate half of it that night and half the next day. She said it was good the first night but better the second day due to being refrigerated overnight, and that other than having more frosting and less orange flavor it was very similar to the Starbucks version.
I hit a few old familiar favorites, including a little habanero salsa from Sassy Sadie’s (much more tolerable to my wimpy self now due to it being past peak pepper season) and a couple of my new favorite steamed pork buns from the gals at Chubby Buns. Sadly, the planned Japanese-style curry from the latter fell through, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a future market. Then it was on to my beloved Asian tables…
|Japchae from Korean Kitchen|
First I picked up some Japchae from Korean Kitchen: a stir fry of rice noodles, marinated beef, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, onions, scallions, green and red peppers, carrots, spinach, and both white and shitaki mushrooms. I loved this dish, especially the tender bits of exquisitely-flavored beef and the red peppers. This was probably the best thing I’ve ever had from them, surpassing even the amazing seafood pancakes I had at the first BUM event I attended. Unfortunately, I was given to understand that this might have been their last appearance at the BUM. Here’s hoping that some mind-changing will take place, or that someone else will step in to take up the torch.
|Tom Yum Hed soup from Nor-mai|
While I really just wanted noodles this time out, Gina from Nor-mai wasn’t about to let me off so easy. After hearing about my condition, she insisted that I take some of her mushroom soup. Now mushrooms I can take or leave, but the lemony, slightly spicy broth was just what I needed. I’m learning more and more to just trust Asian chefs when they recommend food to make me feel better. She also talked me into trying a bit of her Red Curry Duck, and while I was skeptical since she knew of my aversion to coconut curries, I have to admit that this was the best version of that combination that I’ve ever tasted. But the truly amazing thing was the duck, which almost melted in the mouth and suffered from absolutely none of the gamy flavor or oiliness generally associated with that meat. Truth be told, if that had been her only entrée this time out I might have taken some home, but as I said there were noodles to be had…
|Pad See-Ew from Nor-mai|
To be honest, I couldn’t pick a favorite noodle dish that night and I still can’t. It really was an apples and oranges thing. The Pad See-Ew consisted of wide, pan-fried noodles, chicken and pork flavored with toasted Thai chilis, and mixed veggies (and god how I love baby corn). This was a much heartier, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish full of differing textures, and the pickled peppers gave it the heat needed to clear my head of both congestion and grogginess. The only thing missing now was dessert, and while there were a ridiculous amount of dessert options available (I’d say too many, to the point where business was slow for most of them), the problem is that I’m not much of a dessert guy. Lucky for me, one woman is able to step up to the challenge.
|Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies from Mixed Plate|
Pam from Mixed Plate is a woman after my own heart, one who has come to the conclusion that pretty much anything can be made better by the simple addition of bacon. Case in point, the cookies she had on hand that night. Now I’m pretty picky about chocolate chip cookies, and these were exactly the type I like: thin, with a perfect crispy/chewy balance (I HATE cakey chocolate chip cookies), and not so heavy on the chocolate that you can’t taste the cookie itself. PLUS she put bacon in them. I mean the only way they could have been better would be to have a little more bacon in them, but keep in mind that this is coming from a guy who has contemplated sprinkling bacon bits on his bacon.
The next Market is rumored to be less than three weeks away, and I can’t wait to see what’s available this time (time, money and sanity permitting of course). Go sign up already!