mardi gras at Findlay Market turned out to be a day of discovery! the only reason we headed down there was to try Taste of Belgium’s shrimp & grits waffle (special edition waffle for the event), but we ended up trying many new things in addition to the waffle.
there was a tent with free servings of boiled crawfish and potatoes waiting for hungry visitors to snatch. now i’m not a fan of the crawfish, so i wasn’t too excited about this, but it was still a free snack nonetheless, so we each took our own serving.
upon entering the double doors into the closed-off exterior of the Market, we noticed a number of new vendors lining the halls. first stop: Blue Oven Bakery. i haven’t bought artisan bread outside of Whole Foods in mason. in fact, i had even ordered bread online from Zingerman’s because i didn’t know where to get good bread in the city. friends have mentioned Shadeau Breads on main street, downtown, but … it’s downtown. a trek for someone who lives in the burbs. burbs this far north.
we eagerly tried the samples and were elated to find out that the breads were so reasonably priced! half of what i paid when i ordered bread from Zingerman’s! AND the bread was yum. they even had their version of chocolate cherry and pecan raisin breads that i used to order from Zingerman’s! yea! i signed up for their weekly bread list, and we bought a loaf of french white to munch on for home (and for the week) mmm …
next stop: Cake Rack Bakery. we eyed the carrot cake in the display case and had to have a slice! that seems to be a common favorite between cheeks and i and we are on the lookout for the best carrot cake out there. it’s been a toss up. we’ve had so many good ones!
we got to the end of this hallway, walking towards the main part of the Market and i spotted this flower vendor, Buy the Bunch. i had to stop and take a few minutes to look at the flowers the vendor had on hand, and also the floral arrangements in vases. they were thoughtfully-designed, colors chosen carefully. they called for me to stop and look.
they also set small floral arrangements on the tables inside the Market. nice touch!
we finally made it to the Taste from Belgium stall. they have really been doing well and have expanded to serving crepes, pizza and numerous desserts. i still remember when they shared a stall with Essencha, catty-corner from their current space. their space now is double, maybe even triple, in size.
ofcourse we ordered the shrimp and grits waffle, and we could not help but steal a couple of liege waffle samples while we waited for our order. and the specialty waffle turned out to be better than we expected. we could not wrap our minds around the idea, but they pulled it off. the flavor was a mix of sweet, salty and a bit of spiciness. the baby shrimps that topped the waffle cascaded off as we forked each piece. i do hope they keep this on their regular menu!
there was an exciting buzz that day in the Market, which we don’t see too often, when we visit. we were glad to know that cincinnati residents, maybe even out of towners, are finally coming downtown to over-the-rhine and experiencing what the Market has to offer. we don’t get to go as regularly as we would like, but there has always been something new each time we come to visit. for sure, you’ll never run out of places to eat!
and we could not leave the Market without making a stop at Dojo Gelato. I think it’s going to be a year now, or a year already, since they first opened. one of my favorite flavor combos is vietnamese coffee and cardamom gelato. mmm but it was too cold for just plain gelato, and i’ve had my eye on trying an affogato (espresso over gelato) for a while now. choosing vietnamese coffee for the gelato was probably overkill on the coffee flavor, but it was still good. another new thing experienced at the Market!
add Findlay Market on your list of places to check out when you’re wanting a new experience. if it has been a while since you’ve gone, go now. you’ll be surprised at how much it’s changed and grown.