When I received an e-mail from Michaela about the new direction the Atlanta Underground Market was taking, I was taken by surprise. Michaela and her cohorts have built a strong following with their pop-up food events around town in the last year, open to members only.
AUM traveled to different spots around Atlanta where guests would be greeted with budding food entrepreneurs in a space that was secret until the day before, divulged on a rapidly growing e-mail list. The events were so successful that I was contracted to shoot a set of photos for Bon Appetit last year. It was clear from the hundreds that came out that day that the market was far from underground.
Fast forward to April 15th, the Atlanta Nosh made its debut with dozens of tents at Atlantic Station. Some groups were veterans of earlier AUM events but many were new businesses just launched in the last few months. The plan is for the Nosh to be a weekly event from 12-3pm every Sunday and I think they’re off to a great start.
In the interest of full disclosure, Atlantic Station offered free admission to the event & free and discounted tastes to a number of the tents. As always, all thoughts, opinions and of course photographs are my own. In fact I’ve been highly critical of Atlantic Station in the past, but I think under their current ownership they’re making some great events.
To me, the event is more about the individuals manning the individual stalls, and in between holding multiple bags, tweeting, and eating I managed to talk to a couple of them. All photos were taken on my iPhone 4S and edited with the Snapseed app, primarily with the “tune image” function — very easy and I highly recommend it.
One of the first booths I checked out was Southern Culture Foods. They’re brand new and this was only their second event. They sell flavored pancake mixes and their items that can be found at Boxcar Grocer in Castleberry Hill. Their packaging is slick and the banana pancakes they were demoing were very good. I tried to make it back for their bourbon salted pecan pancakes but never made it back. They remind me of the early days of High Road Craft Ice Cream – savvy, energetic, & a good eye at marketing.
I also enjoyed the Caribbean Pantry stall. The owner that I spoke with doesn’t have a Caribbean background at all, but fell in love with the food while living in New York. They blend their own spice mixes and the jerk turkey wrap was on point. As many of the booths at the event, gluten-free and vegetarian options were readily available. She has plans to package the spice mixes in the future.
If you didn’t know, my parents were both born in Jamaica so another Caribbean stall caught my eye and had to stop. I met Reisha of Nellie’s Iron Pot who was happy to talk about her new venture. The business is named after her mother Nellie, and was serving food with her mother and another family member. The stall had a number of dishes from Trinidad and Tobago and two drinks as well. The sorrel drink is familiar to me and we always enjoyed it as a family especially during Christmas. The other drink, mauby was new to me and is a drink made from tree bark. The drink was sweetened and went well with the items I tried — doubles (flat bread with chickpeas) and pholoris, both new to me.
I also tried shrimp stuffed beignets from Yay! Yay!, gumbo from Eat Bowza (when they say spicy, they mean it), meatball slider from Ciao Bocca, brownies from Bear Maker Bakery, Filipino food from Sarap (get the lumpia).
I didn’t have room in my stomach for the arepas from Arepa Mia (I’ve had them before and they’re delicious, with the line to prove it), fried dough from the upcoming Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur (aka Homer Simpson plaza – Avellino’s Pizza & Ale Yeah Beer), tongue & cheek burgers from Park 75, gourmet sandwiches from Nabi’s Kitchen.
In short, there’s a lot going on and in the two hours I was there, I stopped at maybe 1/3 of the booths. They also serve booze after 12:30 (Thanks Georgia) and vendors will change from week to week. If you’re looking for hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos & burritos, you won’t find it here, but if you’re looking for a change and a bit of adventure, and perhaps a mealworm cookie, they’ve got you covered.
UPDATE! – Due to a heavy chance of rain on the 22nd, the next Atlanta Nosh will occur on April 29th 12-3pm (11am if purchasing a season pass)
THE ATLANTA NOSH – Atlantic Station, near Dillard’s. 20th Street Atlanta, GA 30363