The Westside Provisions District Farmers Market, which just started for the season, was humming Sunday with sunny browsers picking up produce, handmade candles and kimchi. But the draw for me was Chef Hector Santiago, whose insanely missed Pura Vida tapas restaurant was my favorite spot in the city for years.
At the El Burro Pollo burrito stand, he rolled me up a lunch so tasty it took me back to the orgiastic delights of Pura Vida — those flaky empanadas packed with juicy meat, the sweet and sticky pork puff pastries, the silky fresh seafood ceviche… and the avocado ice cream. Ah, yes and truly … the avocado ice cream.
Hector also had Pura Vida’s sister sandwich shop, Super Pan; appeared on “Top Chef;” and served as executive chef at Abattoir for a while. Lately, he’s been doing “pop-ups” like this one at fairs and markets around town. (You can keep up with his appearances on Facebook and Instagram.)
Now he’s planning a one-night return on June 25 to Pura Vida, with a pop-up at the old spot, 656 N. Highland Ave., now home to Sweet Auburn BBQ.
Any of that avocado ice cream planned?
“Oh, man,” he said. “You know, I could do that as one of the desserts for the pop-up.”
And he says he’s about ready to share details of his upcoming spot, which could be El Burro Pollo or Super Pan. He didn’t want to talk about the location on Sunday, but media outlets have reported it will likely be in Ponce City Market.
That’s almost as close to my home as the old Pura Vida. I’ll take it.
Here are some pics from Sunday’s market. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through September, at Howell Mill Road and 14th Street. Click a picture to make it bigger; mouse over to see the captions.
RELATED: Ponce City Market sign says a lot PHOTOS
RELATED: The ‘BeltLine Culture’ VIDEO, PHOTOS
RELATED: Westside is booming PHOTOS