Okay, I really intended to get this post up days ago, or at least sometime before Sunday (today), because today is the day of the weekly Kingfield Farmers Market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. at 43rd and Nicollet Ave. S., but life got hectic, and I had to go to Chicago for a conference, and so here it is, 9:20 a.m. on a Sunday morning. So I’m going to do a quick post and then jump on my bike and ride over to the market for breakfast.
The Kingfield Market is pretty small, in terms of the number of vendors and shoppers, but the gastronomic batting average is pretty high: both Rustica, the terrific artisan bakery at 46th and Bryant, and the Grand Cafe, at 38th and Grand (one of my favorite restaurants), have stalls at the market, selling bread, cookies and pastries (UPDATE: the Grand Cafe will be there twice a month); and Clancy’s Meats (43rd & Upton, sells bratwursts – they were missing last Sunday, but are supposed to be there every week (UPDATE: starting in July). And the Ikawa Coffee Company sells Rwandan coffee – hot, cold and by the bag – to raise money for its projects to help Rwandan coffee farmers.
The gastronomic highlight of last week’s visit, though, was discovering the Akshay-Paatram stall, run by Anasuya Mahabeshwari and Tina Ray. They offer a small selection of Indian vegetarian dishes, as well as a vegan sloppy Jane and little fruit turnovers, all very reasonably priced.
Akshay-Paatram does not have a restaurant, but does operate a catering service; for a menu or more information, contact them at 612-964-1954, or e-mail them at email@example.com.
When I asked Anasuya about the name of the stall, she told me a charming story from the Mahabarata. I will make a complete hash of the story if I try to retell it, so instead I am pasting the Wikipedia version below.
“Akshayapatra: अक्षयपात्र) meaning inexhaustible vessel, in Hindu mythology, was a wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by the Sun god, Surya, which held a never-failing supply of food to the Pandavas every day.
“When the Pandavas began their exile in the forest, Yudhishtra was despondent at his inability to feed the holy sages and others who accompanied him. At this, Dhaumya, the priest of the Pandavas, counselled him to pray to Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira’s prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.
“Lord Krishna also once partakes food from the Akshaya Patra, when sage Durvasa arrived at the Pandavas’ place with his disciples. When Durvasa arrived, there was no food left to serve him, since Draupadi had already finished eating. The Pandavas became anxious as to what they would feed such a venerable sage. While Durvasa and his disciples were away at the banks of the river bathing, Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for help. As always, they were once again saved by him, who partook of a single grain of rice from the Akshaya Patra and announced that he was satisfied by the meal. This satiated the hunger of Durvasa and all his disciples too, as the satisfaction of Lord Krishna meant the satiation of the hunger of the whole Universe.
Akshayapatra, in current usage, refers to any store that is inexhaustible.”