Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meetup Can Support the Foodie Adventurer in You

So it is time to come clean. I am a Food Network junkie. I can't get enough of the shows, the fantastic reality tv and the personalities. To feed this habit, I spend hours watching the shows, just imagining what it would be like to taste some of that amazing food.

Recognizing that scoring tickets to a show in New York was unlikely, as was traveling across the country to visit one of the featured restaurants, I started pursuing an alternative to making my food fantasies a more interactive experience. I began doing some research and found Meetup, a channel that connects people to local groups with a wide variety of interests.

The list of groups is endless and focuses on everything from knitting to dancing. In fact, it didn't take long to find a local group that hosts a monthly underground food market modeled after similar groups in Oakland and San Francisco. Of course, I didn't waste a second asking for more info about the "secret" foodie group.

Tonight was my first experience with Atlanta Underground Market and it was an amazing. I had anticipated this event for weeks and even planned ahead to secure a membership card so I could guarantee access to the secret location!

The market was held in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood here in Atlanta, a eclectic area that is heavy on warehouses, lofts and likely place to secure that unique piece from an up-and-coming artist. The building itself was a unfinished commercial property and its rustic look only contributed to the whole mystique of the underground market concept. Although, I may have risked ruining that since I did check-in on Foursquare.

The vendors were as diverse as one could imagine and included everything from Middle Eastern food to local artisan popsicle makers. It was a lot to take in, but I won't forget that lime, cucumber and cilantro popsicle, the zucchini lime soup or the charcuterie plate that included salami cured right in East Atlanta. Talk about eating local!

I am already looking forward to next month's event and even after we left tonight I asked (okay begged) my boyfriend to run back in to pick-up some popsicles to hold me over! Thanks to Meetup I have a new pastime and don't think my exploration of local groups will end anytime soon.

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