It's been a little hard to keep track of the dates for the New Amsterdam Market down by South Street Seaport, but the good news is that it will be open weekly starting on September 12. And that will be a very good thing because the assortment of vendors here is astounding. I stopped by over the weekend and spotted and tasted artisan food samples (breads, cheese, wine, you name it) from Hot Bread Kitchen, Consider Bardwell Farm, Marlow & Daughters, Mast Brothers Chocolate, and more. We also ran into a bunch of friends including Brad Thomas Parsons who vouched for Saxelby Cheesemonger's peanut butter and Maytag blue cheese sandwich on a Sullivan Street raisin walnut roll, which I didn't have a chance to try. Here are some highlights of what we did try.Not too long ago I watched the Fleisher's Meats guys break down a whole pig at an event at the Martha Stewart Omnimedia offices. Then, get this... they did a raffle to give away the parts for everyone to take home. It was random, so you could have gotten the pork belly or ribs, or you could have gotten the feet. I didn't win a thing? Seriously, it seemed like everyone but me took something home. This hotdog, the "Fancy," made up for that. It was topped with sweet Portuguese relish, spicy Caribbean hot sauce, and onions. Drool... The guys at the Fleischer's stand wore t-shirts that say "Bacon -- The Gateway Meat." I'm not sure what that means, but I want one.This is the Caramel Corn with Candied Cocoa Nibs and Honeycomb Crumbs from Liddabit Sweets. We ate the whole bag on the spot. You would too. Next time I gotta try their Beer & Pretzel Caramels.You already know I'm a little crazy for popsicles, right? (Example 1 and Example 2.) I'd been meaning to try People's Pops, but just never had the chance before now. That's the raspberry and basil popsicle. It's just about as close to fresh fruit as you can possibly get. We're talking chunks and seeds and all. I loved when they told me to give the pop a minute to warm up because it was so cold, my tongue might stick to it. And check out that slab of ice. They were making fresh shaved ice cones -- awesome. All in all, this was a great event. Yeah, it was way too hot on Saturday, but the New Amsterdam Market will be awesome when it starts running weekly in September and the weather cools down a bit. Now you know where to find me.
Supposedly NYC is going through a Mexican food renaissance lately, but I ain't buyin' it. Lucky thing for me, I stumbled upon 1776 Tacos at the Hester Street Fair for their inaugural weekend. I heard the girl at the counter saying something about how she knows Su-chin Pak, but I swear I stopped by for the food. I ordered, and then she asked me where I'm from and if I was a fish taco aficionado. I told her I'm originally from Queens, and no, I'm definitely not an aficionado, but I know what I like and don't like, and it's hard to find a decent fish taco on the East Coast, period.I love their crazy-short menu. Fish taco, carnitas taco, watermelon agua fresca, and that's it. For me, a simple menu is a good sign. Get the basics right first. About the food, if you're gonna bring a date to the Hester Street Fair on a hot and sunny day, you've probably already worked passed the I-feel-awkward-eating-in-front-of-you stage. That would be a good thing because:1. The tacos are a mess of yumminess -- that's a good thing -- topped with a fruity salsa and lime crema.2. You might be salivating/drooling after a few bites, just thinking about how good that was.3. You will definitely be going back to order another one (or two) for an impromptu taco fest because these things rock.There were mumblings about seeing how the stand goes first and the possibility of eventually opening a permanent shop. Fingers crossed...Of course I had to stop by and check out the latest offerings at La Newyorkina, and they did not disappoint. This bit of heaven on a stick is tamarind flavored. As another customer commented after tasting it, the first lick/bite is a little bit intense if you're not sure what to expect. Then you become one with the pop. I challenge you not to fall in love with this thing.Last stop -- I suggest you walk straight west on Hester Street towards Chinatown. Just before you get to Bowery, you'll find Teado on your right. This is a bubble tea shop for people in the know. Yes, I'm aware that bubble tea shops are nothing new and way too common in Chinatown, but Teado is doing something special. Don't ask me what it is... I'm not a bubble tea aficionado either, and I order mine without the bubbles. But there is a freshness here that tops every other place I've tried. I opted for the honey and lemon green tea -- very refreshing.
Now that frozen yogurt joints are almost as common in NYC as Starbucks shops, I think we are in desperate need of a new frozen treat trend. Pops have come to the rescue. I recently raved about La Newyorkina's mango-chile pop at the Hester Street Market. Last weekend I stopped by Popbar in the West Village. The wondrous item above is a coconut pop, dipped in flaked coconut, and drizzled with dark chocolate.Popbar pretty much rules because they're all about customization. Dunking, dipping, drizzling... you name it. Go with friends and share your creations, because it's going to take a long time to try them all.Speaking of the Hester Street Market, I'd been hearing about "Montreal bagels," but they were nowhere in sight the first time I visited. I stopped back on a Saturday and spotted the Mile End booth. They told me they import these bagels from Montreal every week. You can read more about that (and ordering some) here.This is "The Beauty," served with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and capers. At $8, I guess it's a little pricey by street food standards, but it's pretty darned tasty. The bagel itself is a bit denser and chewier than a standard NYC bagel, and definitely one of the more flavorful bagels you'll ever try. Don't get me wrong, I still love NYC bagels, but this Montreal thing has got me excited. Now you'll know where to find me on Saturday mornings.