THE Cape Town Farmers' Market: The Neighborhood Market

The Neighborhood Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town's biggest farmers' market, stretches through two massive rooms as well as several areas of the Old Biscuit Mill, a beautifully refurbished space filled with creative people and their creations. Located in the Woodstock neighborhood, it's not the easiest to get to, and I recommend taking a taxi or minibus or driving (click here for directions). Taking place Saturdays, 9am-2pm, The Neighborhood Market is a pre-noon party with all of my favorite ingredients. We're talking locally roasted coffee, organic veggies and foraged mushrooms, pesto, buffalo-milk mozzarella, local oysters paired with sparkling wine, beautiful pizzas, paella, curries, and on and on. It's enough to make your head and stomach explode.

As I wandered through the throng with my friend and his co-worker, I felt overwhelmed, as though I were eating everything through my eyes—as though I were being stuffed with options! This happens all the time in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I'll be scoping out a food cart pod, and each food cart tempting me with 10-15 options. Shall I try the six-course vegetarian menu for $6 or sample something called The Sonoran hot dog? Should I get my old standby, Koi Fusion's Korean barbecue pork burrito, or go out on a limb, ordering that awesome-looking beef-tongue pizza? The next thing I know, I'm eating some bowl of beans and rice. This is me in a candy store. This is me at age five forgetting which flavors I love and simply going for the brightest candy. Then there's the kid filling his bag with sparkling blue doughnut-shaped gummies, and I am suddenly convinced that he knows what I want. I fill my bag with that, then some bright red hard candy, and some impossibly large jaw breakers...

Pick a mushroom, any mushroom...

Have it grilled to order.

Or should I visit the Pesto Princess? Oh no: 6 types of pesto plus different 5 sauces!
Alright, I'll get one of these awesome pizzas. Wait, they look kinda thin...

Mmm. Ok.

Soon enough, I'd ordered this massive breakfast sandwich called something like the Surfer's Breakfast Sandwich. It came on a large ciabatta and you got to choose between homemade garlic sauce, spicy sauce, and some other sauce. I asked for all three. As I bumped through the crowd trying to reconnect with my friends the sauces spilled out everywhere, and I soon realized that we'd all been lost inside of our own catalytic states for over an hour. Alone, we appeared to be moving, shifting from booth to booth, but, in actuality, we'd simply been shifting weight from one foot to the other. Alone, we'd tried to make up our minds, but the options were too great. We'd figure it out, then someone would walk past with an amazing looking hash topped with eggs Benedict. And so and so on.

When I found my friends, we'd all just gotten our food. We sat on a bench together and ate in silence. Sometimes there are too many options. Just like the anise-flavored blue gummies, the sandwich had looked better than it really was. Why hadn't I gotten the pizza? Or the buttered chicken curry...

Next time, I hope to be myself, to remember exactly which flavors I like, find them and eat them.

In next week's post, I'll take a step back from the madness and visit the hardly known, exceptionally authentic African restaurant, Bebe Rose. Prepare for something exquisite.


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