Patience is a virtue … right? Right.
This is a mantra we repeat to ourselves at festivals. And a sense of patience was critical last night at Bauhaus Brew Labs‘ “First Ever Northeast Night Market,” a celebration of arts and beer and street performance … and, apparently, huge crowds. Lines were long — notably to get into the party (ID check), for any of the four-plus beer stations, and for most of the food. So long, in fact, that many would-be attendees drove (or biked, or walked) by and opted to skip the 25-minute wait to get inside.
But if you, like us, were willing to let the shortest lines guide your evening — a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts — there was plenty to keep you entertained. Instead of loud, amp-fueled bands competing for airspace, small groups of buskers played acoustic guitars, fiddles, and hand drums while street performers juggled and mimed. Tents of artists and other vendors spanned the gamut from apparel to pottery, beard oil to a quirky mini-bus plastered with magazine photos, playing cards, and local photos.
Beer lines were long, so enticed by the scent of smoked meats, we headed to Create Catering‘s booth and grabbed a one-third rack of andouille-spiced ribs ($8, above right). Fall-off-the-bone tender with a nice, crunchy exterior, these ribs were texturally lovely, but too aggressively spiced — especially the smaller pieces.
Frio Frio ice pops served as the perfect palate cleanser. We tried three ($4 each), and found the flavors pleasantly diverse. Grapefruit carrot (above center and far right) was a true ice pop in texture, with the bright sweetness of the carrot carrying the flavor — but we would have preferred a stronger showing from the grapefruit. The strawberry balsamic basil (above left) proved more substantial in both flavor and texture: chunks of strawberry prevented it from getting too syrupy, while the balsamic added a funky edge to the end. We liked the avocado lime (above right) best — creamy, wholesome, and tangy, with a complexity reminiscent of the addictive lime cardamom frozen yogurt from Jeni’s that we can’t really afford but can’t help buying anyway.
The lines came back to bite in a big way when we headed to Brooks High Beer Battered, which hit the streets last week. Delays with the fryer led to a 30-to-45-minute wait — and subsequent sell-out — for both menu items. Chalk it up to the beer, “Minnesota Nice,” or — more likely — that the delay was communicated prior to ordering, but the crowd seemed in good spirits. We got one of the last baskets of the night of cheese curds ($6, above right), and found it well worth the wait. Each wholesome, white cheddar curd was encased in crisp, light Wonderstuff beer batter, eschewing the usual fried-curd pitfalls in favor of an ungreasy, not-at-all rubbery, toothsome treat.
Lessons for next time? Arrive hungry (but not hangry!). Arrive early — as the ID-check entry lines seemed to grow as the night progressed. And arrive with patience — you’ll need it!
The next Northeast Night Markets will be held at Bauhaus Brewery on July 21 and August 18. For more information, visit their Facebook page.