I’m a multitasker.
Like most of my generation, I don’t just sit and check my email. I scroll through my inbox while working out and playing the next round of Words With Friends, with the new Lupe Fiasco album blasting through my earbuds.
I’m trying not to be a robot, but life’s so much easier when you can get a few things done at once.
Even when I’m eating. If I can get a good meal and knock a few items off my grocery list, and do it all while buying local on a budget, color me a hipster.
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Enter the Crossroads Arts District’s new addition: the Sundry Market & Kitchen at 1706 Baltimore Ave. At first glance it looks sparse, like a page out of a Crate & Barrel catalog. The more you look around, the more there is to see in this lofty space — and much of it is local: sweets a la Christopher Elbow, Louisburg Cider Mill sodas and cider, Shatto milk (they have the ice cream sandwiches and the butter, too), Glacé ice cream, Thou Mayest coffee, Rawxies breakfast bars.
It’s my happy place of the month. The shelves are spread out, giving you plenty of room to walk around and see what the Sundry offers. The small freezer section is stocked with house-made to-go meals ($5-$8), prepped fresh in foil containers. And there is a limited selection of everyday groceries like eggs, cheese, milk, cereal and potato chips, and an entire stand of baking ingredients. Beer and wine could hit shelves as early as next month.
Don’t go there expecting to buy all your groceries. But bare necessities and fun foodie finds? They’ve got you covered.
A small cafe, open for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch, offers family-style seating for about 16 people: two long tables, eight cute yellow chairs at each one. And the music is great. The last time I was there, the playlist included the Weeknd’s sultry R&B sounds. I don’t care what anyone says, the Piggly Wiggly couldn’t have ever been this cool.
It’s a little cold in the market, thanks to a lovely window-front that looks out onto Baltimore. But that’s why we wear long sleeves and jackets in the winter. Or you could order the Sundry Chai, a drink so good I want to order one right now as I type. It’s local, too: Kansas City’s Hugo Tea Co. Chai and Shatto Milk. Come spring, the patio will be ripe for drinks and sunny conversation.
My favorite Sundry finds:
“It’s not your mother’s meatloaf,” said Jordan, one of the staffers, who was showing me the to-go dinner options. All you have to do is toss them in the oven (350 for about 20-30 minutes) when you get home.
I wanted the jambalaya stuffed with lots of local ingredients, like Missouri-grown rice, Barham Family Farm’s pork and David’s Pasture chicken. It was sold out. There were macaroni, risotto and meatloaf left. “I don’t like meatloaf, though,” I kept saying to Jordan.
She kept assuring me this was the good stuff. They grind the meat in house. The Brussels sprouts on the side are just so good, and everything is fresh, she said. She persuaded me to just try it. Thirty minutes later, after walking two dogs on a cold Monday, I sat down and ate a meatloaf so good I wanted seconds.
Jordan was right. And those Brussels sprouts? Yes, ma’am.
P.S. You don’t have to bake the to-go meals. For faster results, put it in a microwave-safe dish and nuke it for five minutes.
Manifest Chocolates were one of the most requested sweets when the Sundry started stocking its shelves. That and Rawxies breakfast cookies (try the banana nut bread flavor).
I’m not a chocolate enthusiast. I typically like my chocolate with lots of peanut butter and almonds and caramel. But I was intrigued by something billed as dairy-free raw chocolate. A vegan chocolate with no nuts, soy or gluten. They use raw cacao. Instead of milk they use soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds. And one tiny square, small enough to fit in your hand, is $2.75. What is the big deal?
The mint chocolate is creamy and cool. Nothing about it screams, “I’m a healthy, milkless chocolate!” It’s fudgy greatness and just the right amount of sweet after a good meal.
All red everything
At brunch, served 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, I couldn’t stop staring at the Red Flannel Hash ($6) on the menu. Maybe that’s because it was snowing outside and flannel sounded warm like a blanket, but I ordered the meal composed of house-made pastrami (Barham Family Farm’s beef), beets and potatoes. It’s salty in the right way, and the beets take away any guilt you have about that.
At lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday), I ordered the Fishwife Pie ($8), a potato soup remix featuring house-smoked bacon, mussels, mashed potatoes and Weibe Farms cheddar. As good as it was, I needed a big bite of my friend’s Red Lentil Falafel ($6.50). Because it’s deep-fried deliciousness. And fried isn’t bad when it’s vegan, right? I mean, what can go wrong when you have falafel with tzatziki and naan croutons on a bed of arugula? Nothing. Red Flannel, Red Lentil. Just go red at the Sundry.
All right, maybe not at breakfast (7 to 10:30 a.m. weekdays). Get the Brioche Croustada ($4) with Jason Wiebe raw milk white cheddar, poblano peppers, pickled dates and sambal. But I’m not going to pretend I’m not a “warm cinnamon roll ($3) in the morning” kind of girl. Because why would I turn down cinnamon, brown sugar and icing?
Classes are coming soon to the Sundry, where there’s an entire second floor. At the Make Your Own Bacon class ($50), 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 28, not only will participants sample the various bacons at the Sundry, they will create their own custom blend to flavor that bacon. That’s right, cure your own pork belly and pick it up just in time for Valentine’s Day. Cupid runs around with his belly out, rocking a diaper and shooting arrows. I am pretty sure he’s all about that bacon life. Register and check out future classes at Sundry.com.