Thursday, April 30, 2015

A few of my favorite things at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market.

The Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market starts up again this Saturday, May 2. Here's a summary of favorites that I'm looking forward to enjoying this season.

Sauces from Big Daddy's BBQ bring on the heat with a touch of sweet. Their Cherries Flambé hot sauce is resplendent in both cherry flavor and heat! The savory and sweet combination of cheese and caramel popcorn, more popularly known as a Chicago Mix is available by the bag from Brandmeyer Popcorn.

I appreciate the plethora of produce that Cleverley Farms offers including heirloom tomatoes, Big Daddy onions, potatoes, chiles, and a dizzying assortment of greens.

A new vendor at this year's Market is Capes Kafé, serving up the wonderfully diverse doughnut creations of Joe Formaro's Djonuts. Baked and butter-dipped instead of deep fried, these doughnuts are delicious enough if not for the exciting array of toppings and cookie butters employed.

Cheeses and meats from Frisian Farms, Harvest Barn Marketplace, Maytag Dairy Farms, and Timber Ridge Cattle are always top notch.

Gooners offers a fun take on fried Rangoons with a variety of fillings paired with cream cheese such as peanut butter and jelly, and bacon and jalapeño as shown above. Thelma's Treats' ice cream cookie sandwich cookies are exemplary such as this, above right, with chocolate ice cream between Thelma's own peanut butter cookies.

Juan O'Sullivan's gourmet salsa stand is always a popular spot at the Market, but as Labor Day approaches things really start to heat up when they break out the chile roaster to offer freshly roasted chiles. At L&L European Delight you can get a pierogi fix with fried pierogis stuffed with potato, mushroom and cheese, or seasoned cabbage.

Hugely popular are the pupusas from Pupusas El Salvador. Try my favorite, a hefty, meal-sized spinach pupusa with curtido, a colorful pickled cabbage slaw, and the spicy salsa verde.

Rinehart's Family Farm not only sells a fine variety of produce but they know how to prepare it as well, as evidenced by the grilled corn-on-the-cob and tasty asparagus, bacon, and egg sandwich, shown above. A tasty potato cutlet from Saloo's Indian Cooking, filled with either savory ground beef or curried vegetables, is a must have every Market season.

Something Italian serves up a wide assortment of breakfast pizzas from their stand, just down the stairs from their Skywalk restaurant in The Kirkwood. SI likes to mix up their offerings so aside from the usual crowd favorites, there's usually a specialty pizza available like this slice, above center, with bacon and poached egg. On a good day, you'll also find slices of frittata like this example, above right, with gorgonzola and ricotta cheeses.

Vander Ploeg Bakery is best known for their Dutch letters, but also offer a wide assortment of baked good such as macaroons encased in chocolate cookies, and thin, crisp, and oh-so über sweet cinnamon crispies. Strudl Haus represents with fine Austrian influenced baked goods such as this delectable almond pastry, above right.

Strudl Haus also excels with their selection of German sausages. The Polish White Lightning, for example above center, is aggressively spiced with red pepper flakes. And what better pairing with a link than a pretzel bun with sauerkraut.

Tamale's Industry does as their name suggests with fine tamales, as from left, spicy chicken with green chile, spicy pork, and mild beef.
One of my favorite eats, corn-on-the-cob with mayonnaise, queso Cojita, and chile seasoning can be found at Tacqueria 3 Hermanos' stand. Though not an official Market vendor, Fong's Pizza opens its doors at 9 a.m. to offer Bloody Marys, mimosas, cold beer, biscuits and gravy, and slices of breakfast pizza.

Another unofficial vendor is the Mexican family-run burrito stand inside Pints. They offer, IMHO, the best breakfast burrito at the Market, along with breakfast tacos and made to order omelets with seasoned potatoes.

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