New Amsterdam Market trip

One of the most unique food markets around is the New Amsterdam Market, downtown where the old Fulton Fish Market used to be in Lower Manhattan. Besides the history of food markets in this area, this isn't really your standard farmer's market (there are only a few produce stands) but more of a local food business market. The market is held every Sunday, and often has a theme for that week. Two weeks ago when I visited, it was Slow Food NYC's Slow Food Show. This coming Sunday they will have the author of Four Fish, Paul Greenberg signing copies of his book, and a dozen local fish vendors.

Most real New Yorkers know that the South Street Seaport is a bit of a tourist waste-land, pretty but also pretty useless. It's always seemed like such a waste to me to have one of the few well-preserved neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan serve as home to Pizzeria Uno and Abercrombie, but that's the way it's been for as long as I can remember. When the fish market departed, the awful stench that used to greet visitors as they walked down Fulton Street disappeared, but so did a real purpose for the area. With the exception of a little maritime museum and the historic boats you can visit on school trips (the only time I ever went), it needed another purpose.

That's exactly why I think that N.A.M's vision for this area is really exciting, and they're looking for supporters and volunteers (hint, hint). There are lots of vendors that are also at the many other spots around town (Luke's Lobster, Blue Bottle Coffee, Liddabit Sweets, King's County Jerky and more) but there are also other weekly rotating vendors you may have never seen, such as Hudson Valley Harvest  and Morris Kitchen, who were both part of the Slow Food Show, that I discovered on my last visit.

Definitely make an afternoon out of visiting this market, and supporting a little market that has big plans to improve an entire neighborhood. There is only one more market day left in 2011, and that's tomorrow, Sunday December 18 (did I mention the dozen local fisheries?!). You should go now before you'll be braving serious winter weather to check it out in early 2012.

Smorgasburg Saturdays

Liza Queen's Danh Tu StandI went this past Saturday to visit the new food-only market from the Brooklyn Flea that opened about five blocks from my apartment. I went by to take it all in, survey the options, and try Liza Queen's offerings. I had read all about her years ago when she was running the Queen's Hideaway in Greenpoint, but unfortunately it closed before I had a chance to eat there. Now, that she was back in Brooklyn cooking Vietnamese, I amazed myself by resisting the mac-and-cheese stand right next to hers, and stuck to my plan. Radish stand The market is one part prepared food stands, one part Greenmarket, so after you eat lunch you can grab a pint of strawberries or a bunch of rhubarb on your way home. I love the idea of combining these two things in one place. It's also in a giant lot on the Williamsburg waterfront, where you can take your food to the park next to it and sit and stare at the skyline along the East River while you polish off your meal. Mimi&Coco


Gazpacho stand!

PeanutButterJellified and ScratchBread stands

There were way too many things to sample in one trip. I plan on heading over to Smorgasburg every Saturday I am in the city this summer, where I will try to find a new dish or product to highlight for you. This is a really exciting market. Go hungry.

Switzel Stand

Reasons to drink Switzel

Highlights this trip:

I ate a refreshing Vietnamese cold noodle dish: Bun Thit Nuong at Danh Tu

I sampled some delicious local oatmeal: Ultimate Organic from Farm to Table

I purchased my favorite artisan jerky: Korean Beef - Kings County Jerky Co.

I learned about the health benefits of a Switzel: Black Tea Switzel at City'Lasses

Let me know your favorites as I can't wait to go back and try many more. Word of caution, mid-day this place is packed. Do not try to take photos, stand in line for ice cream and eat your last purchase all at the same time.