Trolley Stop Market
The monkeys (Satchel, 8, and Jiro, 6), Warren, and I were anxiously awaiting the opening of the Trolley Stop Market, which is the brain child of our favorite farmers, Jill and Keith Forrester of Whitton Farms. Every week when we picked up our CSA we'd ask, "When is it going to open?" Eventually we had to stop asking because I could tell that we were probably one of hundreds who asked week after week while they sorted out permits and the million other things they weren't expecting to delay their opening day. Keith was looking a little stressed to say the least.
I did get a sneak peek though when I interviewed Jill and Keith for a couples profile, and was reminded of the good old days at Squash Blossom, the natural food store that used to be in Midtown. (I worked there in college.) The Forresters' concept was simple--food from the farm, cooked up nice and hot as well as a market full of local produce and handmade products.
I told Jill and Keith that I would eat there at least once a week after they finally opened, and I have. Look how cute this place is. I love all of the handpainted signs. The store definitely has the same homey feel as their farm.
Their brand spankin' new logo stands out a bit due to its extreme polished-ness, but I kinda like it too.
And I feel that I should point out that it is actually located at a Madison Avenue trolley stop. Someday we may actually take the trolley (or ride our bikes), but we haven't yet.
Last week, Warren was home with the boys and I was at work, so we all met up for lunch. I suggested we go at 11:30am to beat the rush, but apparently the rush starts at 11am, because it was already packed when we got there! The monkeys had been once before during opening week, and went directly to the pizza case.
I informed them that now they have table service, so after scoping out which slices we wanted, we grabbed one of the few empty tables. (I also noticed that there were way more tables since my last visit just before our vacation. I wondered if maybe they should have named it the Trolley Stop Cafe instead. The market is still there but it seems it's qucikly becoming more peripheral than integral.)
Per usual, there were several people I knew there, but there were also tons of people I'd never seen. Our waitress informed us that the Commercial Appeal just reviewed them, so that explained the even bigger than normal crowd. She took our drink orders--water all around--and quickly returned with paper coffee cups with lids for the monkeys and large glasses for me and Warren.
The kids had slept til 10:30 (!!) so this was technically their breakfast. Or brunch, I guess. We placed our orders and soon found ourselves with a table full of deliciousness.
Jiro calmly explained to me that he wanted TWO slices of pizza; one cheese and one pepperoni. The slices are big, New York style slices and I knew he probably couldn't eat two, but I was one step ahead of him. His leftovers would be my excuse for eating more than one slice myself!
Satchel ordered a slice of pepperoni and a cup of cream of chicken soup. He had the soup on his previous visit too and once it came out he said, "That's what it was!" "What?" I asked. "Celery!" he said. "Just pick it out," I instructed. And he did.
My pizza with chicken, squash, and yellow cherry tomatoes was awesome. Their crust is perfection. Their sauce is perfection. And it tastes great with every topping imaginable. I mean, who else would even think to put squash on a pizza?
To be "healthy," I ordered a side of beets. I love beets. Warren's been roasting the ones from our CSA. Theirs were pickled like when I was a kid. They had a really intense flavor that was enticing, but hard to pin down. Peppercorns were definitely involved and maybe anise?
Warren boldly ordered the BLT with pimento cheese. It seems that pretty much everyone who writes about the TSM raves about the BLT, so it was a safe bet since I steered him away from his usual order of a burger. (I had a burger on one visit and found it mediocre, despite its Neola Farms origins. Warren can't pass up a burger!) I told him that the de facto side was Ruffles potato chips, so he paid the extra $1.50 to get a veggie. He chose crispy cucumbers. When his sandwich arrived I was very impressed. It was huge! Thick homemade bread, garden fresh maters, huge strips of bacon, and spicy pimento cheese.
I wondered how he was going to eat it, but he had no trouble. He offered me a bite and I have to say that it was incredible. I don't usually like pimento cheese, but the spicy seasonings made it suit me just fine.
Everyone was very happy with their lunches and Satchel gave TSM his highest honor. "Can we come here for my birthday?" he asked. "Of course!"I said.
Our happiness must have been apparent because the waitress wasted no time tempting us with dessert. Jiro had spotted the brownies when we were at the pizza case, so he was sold before she even opened her mouth. The browines are huge, so the boys split one, and Warren and I impulsively decided to try a slice of chocolate chip chocolate cheesecake. The kids' brownie came out pre-cut and they each had their own half on their own plate, which I thought was sweet. Warren and I were each given a fork to dig into our scrumptious cake.
Words simply cannot do this cake justice. "Celestial" comes to mind.
While we waited for the check, Satchel and Jiro complained of being cold and wrapped themselves up in our tablecloth. We were sitting right under a huge vent. With the outside temps hovering near 100, I was enjoying the artic breeze! While the monkeys continued to cocoon themselves, I went to get a peek at the bathrooms. They were very clean and nice, but no changing table.
We went to the register to pay up ($34 plus tip), chatted with Jill a bit, then said our goodbyes.
The Trolley Stop is also open for breakfast and dinner. The dinner menu is somewhat limited, but they do theme nights which sound fun. (Monday is Vegan Night, Tuesday is Taco Night, Wednesday is Burger Night, etc.) They also have music and special dinners from time to time. Jill says she hopes to have a special dinner once a month. "Like" the TSM on Facebook and you'll get daily menu and special event notices. There are daily lunch specials. The spaghetti is my favorite so far!