May 3, 2012
It was a surreal feeling, driving past Seaside's City Center at the corner of Fremont and Broadway late last month on the way to the debut Independent Marketplace.
The City Center was originally intended to be the locale for what was happening at that very moment in Sand City: A happy collision of farmers market-style fare, craft beer, wine tasting, high-grade hot food and live music.
Like usual, the City Center complex was quiet.
Over at The Independent, the former Design Center, an uncanny scene was spilling across thousands of square feet of space. Even though the massive bottom story goes on like a stadium pavilion, it was packed. Here's video proof:
Co-creator Patrick Orosco, who pitched Seaside on the project a couple of years ago, tells me the Sand City edition was approved to run throughout 2012 by the City Council just last night.
"Everyone's happy," he e-mails. "Sand City [is] very supportive of new business endeavors and community-centric events."
Staff at next-door Post No Bills tell me people have been coming through every Thursday in hopes that it's a weekly engagement.
It's not, which means the interceding month wait until Thursday's 4-9pm installment has served to re-drum up anticipation to match that of the opener.
And allowed time to gather 27 Reasons to Check Out The Independent Marketplace for each of the 27 days we waited for it to return:
1 • Artisan breads and salts from arguably the best in the West, Big Sur Bakery.
2 • Todd Champagne and Patrick Orosco's outfits. The market co-creators wore overalls and electric green bandanas. Enough said.
3 • Wine tasting. Yes. Last week it was Kristilynn, this week another similarly small-batch, locally-sown winner.
4 • Cal Stamenov's fried chicken. When one of the best chefs in the state is fresh frying poultry in a parking lot for you for cheap, you are in luck. (It's unclear whether he's back this week.)
5 • Ryan Sanchez of Surf and Sand, who'll host a tequila tasting this time around.
6 • Art offerings presented by local legends Andrew Jackson of Outer Edge Gallery and Scott Grover of The Alternative Cafe.
7 • Three of a Kind craft sodas out of Pacific Grove.
8 • The Offset Project, on hand to sort compostables and recyclables.
9 • Fancy chocolate from Ashby Confections.
10 • Local organic produce from small-farm incubator ALBA—plus goods from Avalos Organic Farm and Everett Family Farms.
11 • Taquitos Nayarit taco truck from Watsonville.
12 • Fresh seafood from Local Catch Monterey and Ron Allioti’s California Star Seafood.
13 • Coffee Chris pulling espresso shots with Mexican single origin coffee beans.
14 • Aquaterra Executive Chef Dory Ford's Double Double spin-offs. Juicy, cheesy, maybe better and fresher than In N Out's. This week he's doing "goat mole empanadas" and banana leaf tamales while Aquaterra's Esteban Jimenez adds hand-rolled and fresh-grilled flour tortillas stuffed with Yucatan tomatillo chicken, in keeping with a loose Cinco de Mayo theme.
15 • Happy Girl Kitchen Cola Azteca and Lavender Lemonade and pickles and jams.
16 • The big warehouse setting: Since most of the bottom floor is empty, it provided an epic urban backdrop, and as big as it was, it was still packed.
17 • Free admission—and free bike tune-ups! And free veggie valet (aka a place to stash your shopping finds)!
18 • Gladys Parada of Baballoo Cuban Food Truck sizzling up delicious Fred and Ethel fish sliders. And melty Ricky Ricardos.
19 • Long hours. A 4-9pm window allows busy hunter-gatherers the flexibility to get what they need without mad planning stress.
20 • Treats from Sweet Elena's Bakery and Cafe, Fluff Cupcakery and Penny Ice Creamery.
21 • Beer you can drink while you shop, eat and mingle! And craft beer from Monterey Beer Festival's Jeff Moses, no less.
22 • A Kids Zone with crafts and games for the little marketgoers.
23 • Meat and eggs from Watsonville's Fiesta Farms.
24 • Rich goods from Friend in Cheese's Tabetha Stroup.
25 • Arabian Bites Food Truck naan wraps.
26 • Artisan sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture.
27 • Live music - and the fact that this kind of delicious chaos will happen each month until at least December.