A great way to spend a couple hours on a Sunday, shopping and dining, is to visit the SOWA Open Market in the South End. It is also a good way to start an entire day touring around the South End. Now, at the market, you'll find a rotating selection of food trucks, giving you even more dining options. On my most recent trip to the market, there were about nine different trucks, and I sampled foods from several of them.
Grillo's Pickles, a local pickle company, and if you don't know about them then you should. They have a small selection of products, including Italian Dill Pickles, also available in a Spicy Version. A quart of pickles costs about $6, and they are top-notch pickles, with lots of flavor and a crisp snap to them. You can even try a couple pickle spears for only $1, my favorite being their spicy version. They also sell a relish, pickled carrots, pickled green tomatoes and more. When you visit the market, you must stop here for some pickles.
Clover is also well known, a vegetarian food truck which usually would not raise my interest much. But, they make popovers, which I love, so I had to try them. The popovers are very good, large and with a tasty, eggy interior. I would have enjoyed them even more if they were warm and slathered in butter, and next time will buy some to take home with me. So, even if you are not a vegetarian, it is worth checking out the Clover truck.
Boston Speed Dog truck, and it will certainly not be my last. These are no wimpy dogs and you better have a good appetite if you want to finish one of these half-pound dogs. The all-beef dogs are marinated in apple juice and brown sugar and grilled over charcoal. You can get a number of toppings on your dog, such as mustard, chili, BBQ sauce, relish, onions or their special sauce. The hot dog rolls are soft and fresh, and large enough to accomodote the hearty dog and toppings. When you bite into the dog, there is a crisp snap as your teeth break the skin and taste the meaty interior. It has real flavor and you will enjoy it even without any toppings. Yes, this has to be one of the best hot dogs in the city, and I fully understand the raves it has earned.
Grilled Cheese Nation basically makes grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Their sandwiches are made from Iggy's breads and cheese from the Vermonth Butter & Cheese Company. I ordered The Boston Common, Grafton Vermont Cheddar on Iggy's Organic Pan de Mie bread with tomato and bacon, and a small cup of tomato soup. Sadly, it took about 25 minutes for me to receive my order, despite being told it would only take about five minutes or so. It was not due to them being too busy, and I suspect it took them much longer than usual to prepare the grill, though they did not give me any reason for the long delay. The sandwich was very good, and it is even better that the ingredients are local, but it was not worth such a lengthy wait.
Bon Me truck serves Vietnamese inspired food, including sandwiches, noodle salads and rice bowls. Though the food looked good, I only ordered a ginger lemon iced tea, still too full from all of the other food I had eaten. But, on my next visit to the market, I will be sure to check it out.
I did made a final stop at The Cupcakory, more curious than anything else. Another cupcake place? Yawn! But, I have strong standards for cupcakes and decided to see if they could measure up or not. Whenever possible, they use local and organic ingredients, so that was an appealing trait. Their cupcakes generally cost $3 each, similar to many other places, and I tried their Double Vanilla and a Pecan Streussal Coffee Cake. Surprisingly, the cupcakes were pretty good, fairly moist, and better than many others out there. I especially liked the frosting, which was lighter, more like a whipped cream frosting, and not the thick, overly sweet frosting you more often find. It is worth checking out, offering some of the better cupcakes out there.
So if you decide to visit the SOWA Open Market, be sure to bring your appetite and sample what the food trucks have to offer.