Sunday, December 2, 2007

Farmers Market: Third Tier

You've seen the best, now here's the rest. The unexciting, uninspired and just plain bad. Unfortunately, most of my new tries ended up on this list. I guess there was a reason I hadn't been going to all of those places.

Charlie's Coffee Shop

I would love to recommend Charlie's. It has a great old-time diner ambiance, even though it's only a stand. The staff is friendly, not in the corporate "Hi my name is Joe and I'll be your server" way but in a genuine and empathetic way. Breakfast regulars abound and are greeted with a knowing, "Hey Bruce, the usual?" The place exudes the small time old school charm that is the best of the Market. Unfortunately, I'm a food blogger, not an atmosphere blogger, and the food at Charlie's is pretty unexceptional. Sure they do up a fine French Toast and a decent breakfast, but nothing to rave about. Still, go by and breath in the atmosphere.

Magee's Kitchen

Magee's is the original FM food stand, dating back to early in the century when the Market really was occupied by farmers selling goods and they needed some sustenance. Magee's has a two prong menu, one with carving station type meats (corned beef, roast beef, etc.) the other with very old school Mexican (enchiladas, tacos, etc.). Neither are very good, but they do make a mean horseradish, which you can buy by the jar.

China Depot and Peking Kitchen

The Farmers Market is bookended by these old school, steam table Chinese eateries with their one, two and three item plates of fried meat nuggets with bright, sweet sauces. If you must have Chinese at the FM or have that odd hankering for orange chicken, go to China Depot, on the east side of the Market, which does this genre decently. Peking Kitchen, whose logo is suspiciously similar to that of Panda Express, gets no stars in my book.


The dishes on the menu of this souped up diner are good in concept, but the execution is lacking. I had food there that was both poorly seasoned and poorly cooked. Ten years ago, I might have put Kokomo in the second tier, but the quality has definitely declined since then.

Ulysses Voyage

Ulysses Voyage, the Greek sit-down restaurant at the back end of the Market, has its defenders, but I'm not one of them. On my most recent visit I reconfirmed my earlier impressions...they offer a wide variety of fairly bland and unexceptional Greek classics. If I want hummous and kabobs, I'll go to Moishe's.

Bryan’s Pit Barbecue

This place smells great, so take a deep sniff...and keep walking past the dry, bland meats at this poor excuse for a barbeque pit.

Deano's Gourmet Pizza

Middling pizza and pasta.

La Korea

Basic Korean standards. You really want Korean food? Drive 15 minutes east and you'll have hundreds of choices.

Sushi A Go Go

One small step up from the Ralph's sushi bar.

Phil's Grill

Basic Jewish deli faire done competently but not spectacularly.

Market Grill

Burgers and fries...nothing special.

The Salad Bar

Only if every other food stall in the market burned to the ground would I consider another meal at The Salad Bar, which serves lackluster salads and sandwiches. There was absolutely nothing to recommend the $8 tuna fish sandwich, which pretty much anyone I know could have done better at home. The exotic tropical juices were sickly sweet and the pathetic salad bar looked like something out of the early '70s...this place was a huge bummer.

Next week: The Final Tally

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