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DINING: Making a meal at City Market

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Dining - A&E

All through April, I’ve been exploring the newly spruced-up City Market. But in each of those columns, I’ve ignored one of the fundamental pleasures of the Market dining experience. That is: It affords the opportunity to craft your own piecemeal meal. So this week, rather than settle for multi-courses from one vendor, I opted to pick and choose.  

city-market-all Above, top to bottom, Corey Beatus makes a black mambo at Natural Born Juicers, Brecy Carman packages chips at Amazing Potato Chip Company, Deborah Fox ladels up potato soup at Circle City Soups, and Brett Wolfsie holds up a row of pretzels at A Taste of Philly. (IBJ Photos/ Perry Reichanadter)

I started at Natural Born Juicers, where I had the berry baristas mix up a Black Mambo smoothie ($5 for 12 ounces, $6 for 16, and $7 for 20). It might look like an oil spill, but it proved refreshingly thick with blueberries and bananas augmented with the nutritional supplement Spirulina and mixed with a choice of almond or oat milk. The small nearly served as a meal in itself.

Any health benefit I might have gained from the smoothie was wiped out by a bag of good-but-not-exceptional sliced spuds ($1.50) from Amazing Potato Chip Co. Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected hot in addition to fresh. They also came housed in a metallic bag, which seemed excessive and worked against the fresh feel.

I used the chips to side a Pick Two ($6) combo from Circle City Soups. The salads and the sandwiches stay fairly consistent on the CCS menu but the soups here can change out daily. On my visit, the Tomato Seafood Stew was a satisfying choice, with its rich broth dominating and the seafood giving accent to every spoonful. The Sage Aioli Chicken Salad sandwich I paired it with didn’t hold together well (half a ciabatta doesn’t make for a strong foundation), but the chicken was chunky and the mayo mild.

Dessert? Yes, there are plenty of treat options at Circle City Sweets or Just Cookies. But having spent many years in Philadelphia, I have trouble resisting a bag-o-dough from A Taste of Philly to nosh on while I walk back to the office. Here, a trio of soft pretzels (still attached to one another), will set you back $3. A bag of nuggets—since it’s nice to share—costs $2. Warning: While usually pretty close to Philadelphia quality, I’ve occasionally found the pretzels here a bit undercooked.•

—Lou Harry

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Last in a month-long series of reviews of eateries in and around City Market.

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  • Market
    Such a solid Post and thank your for shining such a positive light on the market and hope more and more people see the facelift happening.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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