Check it out, it’s a vendor’s POV! To all the hungry & curious foodies who came and tolerated the lines & mini-tornados, thank you! To all of you using exclamation points and all-cap online expletives (& you’re not Kanye) because it was too cold, too packed, too long of wait, um…sorry? (POV is old skool, don’t try to call me out on that one. Doesn’t work.)

I arrived around 9:20am to set up and because I had been checking the weather for a few days, I knew it was going to be a Not-In-Kansas-Anymore Day so I came prepared. Ricardo, my man and biggest supporter was off getting the Kimchee Shepherd Pies from the kitchen so I was having a focused moment of strategy and planning with the table. We all were. Many of us food vendors have been a part of the Hester St. Fair fam since day one, and we are always checking in on each other. It felt like Christmas. Like, butterflies and uncertainty and excitement all in one. Plus, none of us ever get any sleep the night before market. It’s part of the beast and we like it. Otherwise, we’d probably be out getting shitfaced with the rest of you. We live vicariously through y’all’s hangovers and then go tie ’em on heavily after 6pm. Trust.

So, I kept checking my watch to see how close we were to official “opening” time. 10am rolls around and there are a few heads peeking around. None of us were really ready yet. We all knew this was gonna be a big one…we just didn’t know HOW big. Skimkim doesn’t usually do hot food, just the product line of Market Fresh Skimchee/Kimchee Butter/Bloody Kim Jong-il Mix/& Asian Green Goddess. But, I knew this was gonna be a banger so the Kimchee Shepherd’s Pie was a must. It started out slow with people sauntering around, taking it all in. Then the hunt began. You could see it on y’all’s faces. Like we were the defenseless wildebeasts at the watering hole.

At 1:30pm, all National Geographic-y and in slow mo, you went in for the kill! It was awesome. Some of us didn’t fare as well and had to yield to your impressive line-waiting skills & commitment to excellence. Of course, Skimkim was there guarding her babies till the end. We sold out of Kimchee Shepherd Pies too early and I felt like an idiot for not dreaming bigger. I definitely apologize for that one. But we did have plenty of the product line and did extremely well on that front, too. I’m not gonna stick up for the vendors that sold out at noon. Makes the rest of us look bad. Like the slutty friend who can’t hold her liquor.

Kim, my beautiful black Supertaster, was my righthand man this weekend and I couldn’t have done it without her. We kept giving each other high-fives. Does that make us losers? So. We’re gonna be on TV, shut it. We also were quite impressed by how literate you guys are. We must have heard, “Did you hear about the kimchee shortage in Korea??? The price of cabbage…??? It was in the Times.” Yes. I read it, too! We are peers! It was funny because we must have heard it 50 times. What y’all don’t know is that I made that shit up and leaked it to my friend at the AP so that we would have something to talk about at the table. That is also why I had Rolaids, Pepto, Beano, & Imodium available. Not because of the spicy kimchee, but because I knew you wanted to know why I had it there. FOR WHEN YOU WERE DONE WITH YOUR DAY OF OVERINDULGING…made you talk to me! I’m so smart.

Really, I pat all of the Hester St. Fair team on the back. They had an idea and have watched it become a force in downtown shopping. Not just for outdoor venues, but as a destination. I’m so proud to be a part of it. To all the folks who poo-pooed on the lines or how sardine-like it was, look, we can’t make everyone happy. We can only learn and make it better. But for our first time, I think it was HUGE SUCCESS.

We’re doing a special Holiday Market at OpenHouse Gallery, December 17-23rd. I will keep you updated with specifics as we get them. Better start doing your shopping stretches. I’m getting a credit card machine…

Note: Thanks to KKNY for the shout out & pic! Also, this month’s Fagat Survey is this Wednesday, stay tuned for another international entry.