Buggin’ Out at Hawkers Market – Feb 28 2015

It was the first Hawkers Market of the year and it was a fun one. Way too much for one person to eat, but I hope you enjoy the pics and thoughts below. You can read about my previous Hawkers Market visits here, here, here and oh also here. As you can tell, I enjoy the combination of music and food in a warehouse party-type environment. 😀

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The last few Hawkers Markets have been held at The Independent space on Kingsway near Broadway. Great central location, plenty of room, ok washroom facilities (always important for drinkers), diverse crowd.

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Side lot with food trucks. Some trucks in attendance were Fliptop and Local Omnivore.

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Some difficulties at the door when we arrived around 6:00pm. Massive slow-moving lineup. Some confusion about what to do if you’re at ticket-holder or non-ticket-holder. A line-up formed for people with tickets wanting to get in. Tickets were actually sold-out the day before, and they were selling limited tickets at the door.

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We’re in! It was pretty busy the whole night but not so crowded that you couldn’t walk around.

Around The Market

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A few random photos of the space and crowd.

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Those bubble letters are all over Instagram 😉

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My favourite! How did they know?

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La Santisima performing.

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Hot Art Wet City had a pop-up gallery. Their actual gallery is just down the street from Brassneck 🙂

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Ya hoser!

Hehe, Canadian classic.

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Niiice.

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Niiice?

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RIP.

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The magical polyhedron.

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It’s the Bug Chef having a nibble and a drink.

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Speaking of bugs, Next Millennium Farms was selling cricket flour.

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I like the simple, to-the-point ingredient list.

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Cricket Brownie. It actually tasted like all-brownie, no-cricket!

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“Intimate cooking classes” available through Tartine and Maple.

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They were offering samples of pickles. I assume you could take pickling classes with them.

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I heard you could get a free choux pastry if you followed them on social media.

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Wicca got a choux. She said it was great.

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Caramel corn by Heritage Canadian Bakery.

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Organic churned butter by Churn.

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Matcha & Dark Chocolate butter!

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33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale. A great go-to beer that they have at Hawkers Market regularly.

The Bug Chef: David George Gordon (The Guy with Three First Names)

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I’m glad it’s revised.

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The Bug Chef handing out chocolate-dipped crickets. He was handing out free bug food throughout the night.

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Scorpions were also on the menu but I didn’t go to his table at the right moment to sample them.

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Tarantulas. He serves them fried.

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A buggy assortment. Not sure why the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are there…

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Grasshopper skewers, with a squeeze of lemon of course.

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Chocolate with a bit of Kahlúa.

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Chocolate-dipped cricket. Chocolatey with big woody straw notes. Actually not a ton of flavour to the crickets themselves. You might’ve seen “Crickettes” for sale at the Victoria Bug Zoo.

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Alex Newton (Chef Beer Belly) getting his bug on with the Bug Chef.

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“It’s food!”

Actually, I couldn’t hear what he was saying. That guy on the right does not need any more protein 😛

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Insects bring out the best facial expressions.

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Having a taste of fried tarantula leg.

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Crickets and corn.

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I think I’m getting used to the texture.

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Yum. Insects are the protein that tastes like carbs. Dry, strawlike, fibrous carbs 😉

Two Kinds of Popcorn with Chef Beer Belly

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Le menu. I went for both kinds of popcorn.

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Alex Newton (Chef Beer Belly) rocking the Edmonton Oilers hat. Last time I met him, he was working with the Local Omnivore food truck guys. I had a rockin’ bacon cheeseburger.

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A shot of the Smoked Sablefish Brandade with spent grain crostini. I didn’t try it.

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Popcorn in a paper bag.

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Togarashi & Maple Syrup Popcorn on the left, and Hop Salt & Butter Popcorn on the right, with 33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale in the middle.

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It was freshly-popped and delicious. Munch, munch, munch, chug, chug, chug.

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Closeup of the Togarashi popcorn. Sweet plus heat (just a tickle). I preferred the salty one over the sweet one cuz that’s how I like my popcorn at home.

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Bacon-Wrapped Dates. Bacon by Local Omnivore. Very big, sweet, bacony bite. The bacon was so good! I describe artisinally cured bacon as like comparing supermarket brick cheese to real, artisinal cheese. Fuller, more natural flavour. The bacon didn’t rely on salt (sodium nitrite) or liquid smoke like commercial bacon.

Chef Beer Belly is also the chef at the upcoming Big Rock Urban Eatery at West 4th and Alberta St.,  so he’s gonna have these on the menu. I admit that Big Rock Grasshopper wheat ale was my gateway beer many many many years ago. I haven’t been impressed by Big Rock beers since discovering other craft beers shortly after that moment where I turned “craft”, but am curious and willing to see what Big Rock can bring to the BC beer scene.

Trucks etc.

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New operation, EzLING Street Eats, grilling up food outside for service inside.

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Octopus was sold out by 7:00pm 🙁

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Chicken Satays looked amazing though. Didn’t try 🙁

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Fliptop are at every Hawkers Market.

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Local Omnivore.

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Special menu of mini-burgers and wings.

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I saved room for these. When we got home later, I thought, “I should’ve got a mini bacon cheeseburger to go…” Ah well, they’re around town if you follow them on Twitter or Instagram.

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Local Omnivore Fried Chicken Wings with what I think was a spicy mayo.

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Juicy and amazing. Crunchy batter. Simple food but executed well. A highlight!

Smoked Carnitas Grilled Cheese Sandwich by This Sandwich That Beer

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Another highlight was This Sandwich, That Beer‘s Smoked Carnitas Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Too bad they were located in a dark corner. I think a lot of people missed it. Even I missed it the first and second go-around.

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Kevin of the TSTB blog does a lot of sandwich throwdowns featuring different restaurants competing for best sandwich/beer pairings. Past throwdowns have been at places like Portland Craft and Portside Pub. The last time TSTB did a sandwich at Hawkers Market, I loved everything except the bread. Will it measure up this time?

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Smoked Carnitas Grilled Cheese Sandwich with salsa verde (made with 33 Acres of Ocean Pale Ale), cheddar, mozzarella, and sourdough by Olivier’s Breads. Minor niggle is that I wanted the fillings to be spread around more, not just in the middle. But when you’re one guy making a bajillion sandwiches, I’ll cut you some slack 😉

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Lots of butter on the outside for a rich, crispy product. Bread was the perfect vehicle for the fillings. It just did its job being crisp, buttery, sliiiightly tangy, and let everything else speak. The carnitas were so tender. Don’t know what carnitas are? If you’ve eaten tacos at La Taqueria, you’ve probably had carnitas. Like a cross between pulled pork and confit. In the taco version, carnitas are crispened up on the outside after cooking in fat.

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I get red after half a beer. And I absolutely hate seeing fugly nails in food photographs. I finally know why hand models exist. Sorry for bringing this sandwich down.

I love that Kevin showed bits of the process/prep on his Instagram account and that we got to eat the final product. Quite a few people were asking me where I got the sandwich. I pointed to the dark corner and mumbled, “THERE!”

Juno Kim and Merchant’s Oyster

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I really liked Juno’s braised beef brisket at his 33 Acres Monday Night Dinner Series. I was getting full but saved room to try the Ramen cracker thing.

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I really believe that chefs are always foodies first but are crazy enough to choose cooking as a vocation.

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Juno Kim x Merchant’s Oyster Ramen.

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“Ramen” featuring crispy pork belly, wakame cracker, soy and shochu emulsion, pickled shiitake, and shiitake dust. Fussy, frou-frou, but also a fine bite of food. The cracker part was quite amazing…so thin and crispy, with shades of okonomiyaki chips. He could sell these by the bagful. I don’t go to the right parties to have enough of his cooking.

He told me he’s doing chili tomorrow night at 33 Acres! Now that sounds exciting and polar opposite on the casual vs fussy scale. Read more about his Monday Night Dinner Series at 33 Acres here.

Fife Bakery

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Felix of Fife Bakery. I was quite taken by his passion for boulangerie at the previous Hawkers Market in November (that I didn’t post about).

Addendum: I forgot to mention that his sourdough uses einkorn flour, made from a non-hybridized form of wheat.

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Sourdough on left, Ciabatta on right.

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Also Sourdough on left, Ciabatta on right. Don’t be scared by the colour. But I guess if you are scared by the colour, you might not appreciate this bread?? 😛

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I can’t get enough bread shots.

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He had great boxes for his bread this time. I got two sourdoughs and one ciabatta. Bread freezes very well.

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Great die-cut boxes. The die-cuts also serve as ventilation. Smart. Did you know that the razor used to make slashes in bread is called a “lame”? Pronounced “lahm”, of course.

We were there for about 4 hours, just having a great time eating, drinking, relaxing, grooving to the music, singers and resident Hawkers Market DJ, DJ Cito.

Back at Home

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Sourdough, Ciabatta, Sourdough. The sourdough on the left had a slash on top.

Note about the “burnt” parts: I don’t consider it burnt unless I can taste burnt bitterness. And I didn’t.

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Sourdough.

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This is just bread porn basically…for the hardcore who made it this far in my post. This is the sourdough.

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And this is the Ciabatta.

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And this is the sourdough with the slash on top. I noticed that both sourdoughs came out differently. The one with the slash was a bit denser and heavier than the other. Both tasted good but I liked the one without the slash better.

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All sliced up and ready for the freezer. I’m kind of a bread fiend and usually have at least a couple different breads in the freezer at any given moment.

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My come-down snack of Fife bread with butter and sprinkling of Murray River Inland Salt Flakes (thanks Charity!). The sourdough brought memories of Nelson the Seagull’s sourdough, which is a very very good thing. Felix has some good levain/mother/sourdough starter going on.

So, I dunno how to end this other than to say that earlier in the day I spent hours trying to fix our downstairs toilet and it was a big relief to have a good time at Hawkers Market. I now know more than I ever wanted to know about toilets.

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