Two weekends ago Ottawa held it’s first ever Ottawa Underground Food Market thanks to Privé Food Thought. For more info on the group click here.

My awesome friend Sondra was able to attend and here is a guest post from her all about that very awesome night!

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It`s All About the Food Baby: A Night at The Ottawa Underground Food Market
Sondra Rogers

The various smells and sounds hit me as my friend and I made our way up the escalator. Trendy looking men and women from their late 20’s and up, were coming and going, excitedly chatting away, sipping on glasses of wine and happily noshing on plates of food. My mouth began to water. I think this is going to be a good thing, I thought to myself.

On Saturday, November 30th, my friend Christina and I decided to check out Ottawa’s first Underground Food Market, which was held at The Ottawa Convention Centre, and organized by Privé Food Thought. Based on the idea of bringing local chefs and street vendors together to share and show off their culinary skills, it offers an affordable and fun way for people to sample combination of foods never tried before and a way to get various, small, local businesses known.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when walking into the main area, but once there, I felt like a kid in a candy store or better yet, an adult at Sugar Mountain. A dj was spinning some electronic beats in one corner, crowds of people were either lined up everywhere, waiting to get a taste of something, sitting down or walking around with plates on hand, looking at other local vendors selling jewellery and art. I was so overwhelmed at first, where do I go? Which food to try? Churros! There are churros here! Oooh look at that? What’s does he have? Let me tell you, my friend and I quickly learned at this event, it’s not rude to stare outright at what people are eating, and there’s a strange sense of being overjoyed when someone asks you what that delicious concoction you have on your plate. No paranoid, self-consciousness here!

Pupusa by Flickr user roboppy

After agonizing for what seemed forever, we decided to plant ourselves in one of the longest lines of the night. Most people had no idea what they were lining up for, just that it was food and it looked good. It was the Pupusa line. Pupusas are a Latin American or more specific food originated in El Salvador, a thick corn tortilla that looks like flatbread, filled with either cheese and refried beans or pork and served with cabbage slaw, kind of like sauerkraut, and salsa. Made by Liyana Hospitality, it was one of the hits of the night. A couple of times they had to stop serving as they sold out of the pork pupusas, and only had one outlet to work with as the demand for it was growing. About 30 minutes in, we finally took our first bite of pupusa de queso (cheese and beans). Pure heaven. Plus we were starving; waiting in line gets you hungry. That was pretty much how we spent the night, moving from vendor to vendor, waiting in line and trying out the yummy samples. We ended up going to about four. Rare beef sandwich, with fried oysters and topped off with sauce bourguignonne, Korean wontons, “fake” jerk chicken sandwich made by Lovefoods (Another hit, I had 5 different people in a row ask me what it was and where I got it) and finally dessert, pure deliciousness of hot mini doughnuts sprinkled with whatever you choose, vanilla ice cream jammed between them, topped off with a cherry on top and appropriately named Hot Cream Holes.

Overall, a great and fairly inexpensive night, most items ranged in price from about $2.00 to $10.00. Aside from the incredibly long lineups and not enough chairs or tables to sit at (there’s only so much time you can spend walking around eating, until your feet start hurting) I would say that The Ottawa Food Market was quite a success. I’m already looking forward to Ottawa Privé’s next event, Sip n’Slurp, Ottawa’s Noodle Fest. Yup, my mouth is watering already, can`t wait! For more info, check out, http://privefoodthought.ca/ and https://www.facebook.com/Privefoodthought

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