Monday, May 20, 2013

Taste-Testing at the Kenosha HarborMarket Pt. 1

This weekend, I headed back to the Kenosha HarborMarket with Mama, since she told me she has never been there before. Well, we've got to fix that, ASAP! And what better time to head out than during the HarborMarket's 10th Anniversary Celebration? Although we still couldn't spend an infinite amount of time there like I would've wanted to (we had to get new grass seed put down before the rain came), I think I still got the gist of it all.
So, what's the difference between the outdoors and indoors markets? Well, the outdoors version is HUGE!!! Just look at those tents stretch on and on...


Every vendor in the winter HarborMarket can fit in a single building, but you have to cross the street to see everything during the summertime. So, I suppose it goes without saying the outdoors HarborMarket has a much bigger variety of booths than the indoors one. You can find a map of the vendors on the Kenosha HarborMarket's website, if you don't believe me. I didn't have enough time to stop at each and every table, so I decided to focus on the food vendors you can find selling their wares out during the summer. I mean, duh, it's only natural. This is a food blog, right? And the best part about the food vendors? I'd say about three quarters- strike that, maybe more like 85% -of them offer free samples. The ones that don't, however, have really bad food. That's why they won't give you anything to try before you buy. Makes sense, right? But  all joking aside, it's time for some taste-testing!

The first booth I stopped at belonged to Taste of Martha's Kitchen, which sadly does NOT have a website I can give you the link to (I think the reason for this will become obvious soon enough...) Anyway, they offered a lot of different baked goods, like pies, which you can purchase whole or by the individual slice. But what really caught my eye were the unique bread loaves that Martha's Kitchen produces. There was pizza, cinnamon raisin, apple cinnamon, and banana nut, just to name a few.
I asked the lady working behind the table (who was dressed in an apron and a bonnet) if I could take a few pictures, and reluctantly she said no, not of the people. But of the table was okay. Trying not to take it personally, I told her that was fine, that's all I really wanted pictures of anyway. She kept giving me a strange look the rest of the time at the table. It was a bit unsettling, to be perfectly frank. I mean, I told her it was for a blog, and sure, it may be strange for a kid to have a blog, but I was trying to act as professional as possible here. Trying not to let it bother me, I asked the lady for a sample of the bread, and she asked which one. I went with the apple cinnamon, since I'm more into sweet-tasting breads than savory ones. She said that one is a great bread for making French Toast with. I don't doubt it! The bread was thick and dense, and had a great, pronounced apple flavor. There was a light cinnamon-sugar covering on the crust that made it taste a bit like apple pie, but it wasn't overly sugary. Pretty good!
I thanked the lady and then left, wondering why she had seemed so edgy around me. Turns out, Martha's Kitchen was AMISH. No wonder she didn't want pictures! I must've offended her. I felt bad when I had realized what I had done. Honestly, I thought she might've been a nun. She had that whole spacular and coif look going on. And it also could've very well just been a costume that employees had to wear. But no, she was Amish. And I had asked her for pictures. And had tried to reassure her it was just for a blog. Like that'd help any... But, oh well, live and learn!

Here is Sandy's Popper's, which is a local business downtown. They sell a whole bunch of crazy-cool popcorn flavors, and also offer ice cream and candy confections down at their store. They weren't offering any samples today, however, not that I was aware of. I wish I could tell you something about their popcorn, but I've never had the chance to try it. I'm not a big fan of popcorn, you see. I'd rather save the calories for something like their ice cream. I'm sure their popcorn is very good, nonetheless! I've heard great things about it from friends and others around town.

I took a quick stop at Pedro's Food next, which serves up Mexican dishes like tamales, tacos, and what-have-you. What looked really good there was the Tres Leches cake, which I have pictured above. Doesn't it look like an absolute dream? The way the strawberries on top are such a shiny, bright red and dripping in their own syrup, and how the chocolate drizzling stands out against the white frosting.... And the cake on the bottom comes in either vanilla or chocolate! It looks just  too good to be true! I was given a small forkful to taste, and man oh man! it was good! The cake had soaked up a bunch of cool, sweet milk, and tasted like the angel food in Strawberry Shortcake after the milk and whipped cream have had a good chance to soak in. It was all mushy and cool, like it had just come out of the fridge... Yum! I wish I had gotten a slice to take home...




I also stopped at  Laura's Kitchen & Mentoring Garden Market's booth, which had dozens of different flavors of homemade granola, like cranberry and chocolate, for example. According to their page, the Mentoring Garden Market is, "an educational, 
youth- mentoring, fund raising project sponsored by The ARK Schoolhouse & The Educare Foundation, Inc., an IRS certified 501c3 non-profit organization in good standing. All profits from the sale of goods help support programs at The ARK and to the community." Hmm... I'm not sure what 501c3 means, but then again I'm just a kid. I'm lucky to even have such a dignified taste for stuff like granola. Speaking of,  I was given a small morsel of cranberry granola to taste, and it was oh-so sweet and delicious! Very hearty too. It had little bits of fruit baked in with the oats, which made it crunchy and chewy at the same time. I love granola, and Laura's Kitchen offers up some pretty darn-good options! Sounds like a great snack on-the-go, don't you think? Even my little brother loved his chocolate-flavored sample, and he turned his nose up at the idea of eating some "healthy" granola at first. But really, even the man running the booth said it was tastes just like a cookie. Truly healthy or not, it's good stuff!




Over at the stand for WisConian Delectables, I ran into my friend and fellow upper-classman, George. (Good service, you guys. Give him a raise!) He eagerly pushed me to sample the different kind of chips they had for sale there, so I did! According to him, WisConian Delectables' chips are healthy, homemade, all-natural, and trans fat-free. He might've said "low calorie" too. If only that were true.. I'd eat a whole bag if that were the case! I tried the "Apple of My Eye" chips, which had a cinnamon-sugar coating and were super sweet (loved em'), and the "Now THAT'S a Pizza" chip. I was also really excited to try their "Twisted Cinnamon" chips, but they weren't out that day... Oh well! There were several other chips I could've easily tried as well (and really wanted to, but saved myself from doing so). All the chips are very light and crisp- almost close to a potato chip in terms of airiness. They nearly melt-in-your-mouth. I also had a taste of WisConian Delectables' salsa on top of their corn chips, and the salsa had just a pinch of spice to it without being too spicy. I'll definitely be back again to try more chip flavors. They were great!

There were people making fresh crepes over at Crepe Wiz that day. I've never actually had a crepe, believe it or not ("Wait, are they the really thin pancakes? Oh my god, I love those."), but watching them being made on the griddle gave me a huge craving for one! Crepe Wiz has savory crepes: like, for instance, I was watching one crepe being filled with ham and cheese- but they also create sweet crepes too. I really wanted to order a Nutella-filled one. Crepe Wiz has a photo of what they're supposed to look like on their website... And all you have to do to get one is say, "I love crepes."
Just kidding! But I'm pretty sure they'll appreciate the kind words, anyway.

Rushing Waters, from Palmyra, Wisconsin, had a couple plates full of smoked fish and a few containers of salmon spreads distributed around their table. I tried a quick bite of the smoked salmon (or at least I think it was the salmon), and it was quite tasty. I'm not a big fan of salmon to begin with, but even I couldn't complain about the taste of Rushing Waters' fish.















There's even food products without actual food in them at the Kenosha HarborMarket. Like these soap booths! From the table pictured on the upper left, I had purchased a soap that smelled just like a Cafe Latte. Mmm... one of my favorite flavors, by the way! The women who made these soaps also had scents like Chocolate and Honey Almond, which both smelled exactly like their namesakes. And the table pictured on the upper right had cute, lil' soaps shaped like cream pies, lemon wedges, banana bunches, and strawberry shortcakes! Looked good enough to eat! (But I wouldn't suggest doing so! Bleh!)


One of my favorite vendors, Aleka's Kitchen, was back again as well to enjoy the great weather outdoors. They were selling Greek (and my very own) favorites, like Baklava and Tiropita. I taste-tested their pita chips, which had a great crunch to them, and two of their all-natural dips: Tzatziki and a spicy Feta cheese spread. The Tzatziki had a nice, light consistency, and provided a great, refreshing taste. It's hard to explain, but the feeling of Tzatziki is similar to that of when you bite into a York Peppermint Patty. The coolness of it all is so intense- it hits you as soon as it lands on your taste buds. Makes your eyes widen, like an owls, y'know. The Feta cheese spread was good too: Thick- firmer than I thought, but was also very rich and had a distinct Feta, cheesy flavor.


The Wisconsin Soup Company was ladling out free samples of their Spicy Tomato & Dill soup when my family came to the market that day. The soup was very creamy, like a bisque. I didn't find it very spicy, maybe just a pinch of heat, but creamier soups like this leave more of an impression of "sweet" in my mind. I even checked out the ingredients in their Spicy Tomato, and it turns out honey is one of the main components! No wonder! Well, either way, it was a delicious, indulgent soup! I wanted more than just a small, plastic sampling cup. I could've had a whole bowl! Then gone and tried all the other soups (and there are A LOT of them) on the menu too. All I have to say is, "Yumm-o!"

But my adventures in eating at the Kenosha HarborMarket don't even end there! Click here for Part 2!
Well, have I got ya'll excited for the HarborMarket in any shape, way, or form? What delicacies looked most delicious to you? Post your comments down below!

Till' then, this has been RiRi Ri-porting!
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