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Hampden: Hampden HiFi and The Food Market are both gaining momentum

By Benn Ray, benn@atomicbooks.com

June 18, 2012

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Whew! Another HonFest is now in our rearview mirrors, and the only thing left to remember it by are the persistent feather boa sheddings that seem to get everywhere and are impossible to completely clean up. (That and the embarrassing photos, darn cell phone cameras!)

Seriously, at one point during the festival, it looked like someone had taken a lawn mower to a flock of pink flamingos — which this columnist does NOT recommend doing.

But during all the hubbub, it was easy to overlook an exciting new dining opportunity that opened the Friday before HonFest — The Food Market, 1017 W. 36th St. It is in the old location of the Hampden Food Market, and the new owners have done a fantastic job renovating the space. And the menu is ambitious, exciting and original.

As for the food? Well, my first night there, I ate so much great stuff I found myself in a food stupor, and the next day I experienced what I could only describe as a food hangover. It was that good. But take it from me, you don't need to try to sample everything on the menu your first night there. Go back for repeating samplings.

Over in Roosevelt Park, the Hampden Hi-Fi Summer Concert Series really seems to be gaining momentum. I checked it out for a little bit the other night, and I'd say there were close to 400 people of all ages sitting out in the park, enjoying a John Mellencamp cover by local band Mister Wilson.

Coming up on Friday, June 22 are the Corn Colonels with special guest Woody Lissauer. And on Friday, June 29, it's Tall in the Saddle with special guest Matt Cullinan (of The Scam). The concerts start each Friday at 6 p.m. and are over by 9 p.m. There's food, beverages and snacks for sale as well, with proceeds going to benefit The Roosevelt Park Recreation Council.

If you like your music a little bit harder and of the original variety, be sure to hit the Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St., on Saturday, June 23 to see Daughn Gibson, Roomrunner and Speedy Ortiz.

Also on June 23, Marcus Colasurdo will be having a release party for his new book of poetry, "Maps," which also features the photography of Ollivier Girard, at Minás Gallery and Boutique, 815 W. 36th St.

And at Celebrated Summer Records, 3620 Falls Road, Ignatz award-winning cartoonist and occasional Celebrated Summer collaborator Liz Prince will be in the store, signing copies of her comics and prints from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m..

And finally, on June 29, artist and essayist (and former Baltimore City Paper cartoonist) Tim Kreider will be discussing essays in his new book, "We Learn Nothing," while showing some of his new cartoons at Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.