Unless you’ve been trying to not follow the DC food scene, the name Union Market shouldn’t be a mystery to you. The new open air market from the developer Edens has been a hot talking point for DC foodies and those interested in the changing landscape of NoMA/H St. Now I’m not here to debate whether it’s good or bad for the area (I think it’s probably ultimately a positive) or whether or not it’s good for the food scene (again it’s probably ultimately a positive, but I’d like to see the prices be a little more reasonable). I’m here to tell you how much I love it.
Since its opening in September, Union Market has become a Sunday ritual for yours truly and fellow ETD editor Evan. Around noon on Sunday this fall you may have noticed a man wearing a faded Patriots jersey (Mike Vrabel) and slippers. That’s me, wandering the market looking for something to strike my fancy. I’ve sampled the wares of almost every vendor and have developed a few favorites. I’m not going to gripe on what I don’t like (we’re positive people at ETD!), but rather tell you about my two absolute favorites.
Border Springs Farm. Now, I love lamb. It’s probably my single favorite meat. So a lamb farmer is a slam dunk. Serving up fresh lamb from Patrick Spring, VA, this is a can’t miss. Serving both prepared foods and offering up different lamb cuts to take home, Border Springs has a lot going on.
If you’re ordering something to eat right away, my two favorites are the lamb sausage sandwich and the stew. The sausage sandwich comes with a chorizo sausage on a baguette with goat cheese and mango chutney. The flavors that are at work here are incredible. The subtle heat of the chorizo mixed with the sweetness of the chutney are simply a joy. Add in some fine goat cheese and I’m in heaven. The lamb stew, which is rich and hearty and topped with a parmesan crust, is great on a cold winter’s day.
From the raw meat section, the lamb sausage is the stand out. Evan and I will disagree on our favorite type, but I’m telling you go with the Simple Sausage. (Evan prefers the Merguez.) It’s mighty tasty and allows you to add your own flavors. Some of the other sausage variations can overpower, but never the Simple Sausage. My favorite preparation is to make my own Sausage McMuffin using cheese from number two on my list of favorite spots, Righteous Cheese.
Speaking of Righteous Cheese, oh my the cheese. As many of you know I’m a cheesehead. I love it, but I’m also obnoxious about it. Any old cheese won’t do. I crave your obscure Swiss varietals or a new sheep’s milk cheese from a small town in Wisconsin. Righteous Cheese blends good cheese with knowledge of their stock and a very good staff (they put up with me every week). The best new cheese I’ve had so far is the Challerhocker. Oh it’s good. It’s nutty and delicious and hits the spot every time. Pair it with a fresh baguette from Lyon Bakery down the way and you have a great afternoon football snack.
My single gripe with Righteous Cheese is their cheddar selection. As you know I’m insanely particular about my cheddar. They have some good cheddars, but no English Coastal cheddar. This is really pretentious nitpicky problem, but alas. The good news is that they frequently rotate their cheese, so Carolyn if you’re reading this, more cheddars please!
I’m excited to see how Union Market continues to evolve. There is a lot still to come. John Mooney, Red Apron, Cordial wine shop, a beer garden(?!?) are all yet to come. The rotating vendors also make for nice diversity. Head down to Union Market, stock up on some meat and produce and whatever else you may find. There’s always a new treat in store for you down in the warehouse district. And if you’re there at noon on a Sunday, stop us and say hello.