Food markets' rising stars

Taste the best of the city's new bazaars.

  • La Newyorkina

  • La Sonrsa

  • Brooklyn Soda Works

  • Melt Bakery

  • Robicelli's Cupcakes

  • Nijiya Market

  • Ragged Butte Buffalo Jerky

  • Raw Ice Cream Company

La Newyorkina

La Newyorkina

Fany Gerson, the author of a forthcoming cookbook called My Sweet Mexico, has a downtown Latin dessert shop in the works. But first, she decided to offer a wonderful palette of frozen paletas—that’s Spanish for Popsicles—on weekends at the Hester Street Fair. These bright and light $4 pops (there’s also a mini sold for a buck) come in a slew of hot-climate flavors, like coconut, tamarind, hibiscus, avocado, pecan cream and mango, the latter made all the better with a sprinkle of chili-lime salt. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (lanewyorkina.com)

La Sonrsa

Too many empanadas are soggy, leaden affairs. Not so the ones made by Ariel Rodriguez, who learned the technique for his fantastic puff-pastry patties from his Dominican mother (he sources his meat from the same Washington Heights butcher he frequented as a kid). Rodriguez sets up shop at the Hester Street Fair on Sundays, where he sells cucumber lemonade ($3) and chipotle-mayo--and-cheese-topped roasted corn, in addition to four kinds of empanadas: classic beef, roasted chicken, pulled pork and a Greenmarket veggie, all fried to order for $3.50 each. Sonrsa, by the way, means “smile” in Spanish, a reference to the shape of these snacks and the pleasure they bring. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (lasonrisa.me)

Brooklyn Soda Works

Tap soda doesn’t get much better than these mind-blowingly refreshing coolers. Caroline Mak and Antonio Ramos can be found every Saturday at Fort Greene’s Brooklyn Flea, running their from-scratch concoctions through CO2 tanks, carbonating them on the spot. Flavors include the super-fresh berry-pink raspberry mint, a killer cherry--Thai basil, and the spicy lemon and ginger—the sole staple on the menu. Rather than using the boiled-down syrups found in most fizzy drinks, the bubbly quaffs are formed from teas and fruit juices. It’s $3 to $4.25 per cup, but we recommend you bring a bigger container for a fill-up that’ll last the day. Brooklyn Flea, 176 Lafayette St between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (brooklynsodaworks.com)

Melt Bakery

Until Melt scores its own storefront (plans are under way), the frozen dairy in Julian Plyter’s ice cream sandwiches is sourced from top shops like Il Laboratorio del Gelato. But no matter: Thanks to his cookies, Plyter’s double-sided desserts are some of the best in town. As pastry chef at the now-defunct Lever House, he perfected pairings like a crispy brown-butter bourbon shortbread with peach ice cream. That’s now the Belle ($4), one of several swoonworthy combos he sells on Sundays at the Hester Street Fair. Others include salted peanut wafers with Guinness gelato (the Bold, $3) and the $4 Ethereal, strawberry ice cream paired with a pastis crackle cookie. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (meltbakery.com)

Robicelli’s Cupcakes

If you think cupcakes are overhyped and underwhelming, try Matt and Allison Robicelli’s, found at Red Hook Mercado in Brooklyn and at hot spots like Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, 212-253-0036). Allison started baking her complexly flavored minicakes—$2.50 to $2.75—to prove that cupcakes don’t “have to be crappy.” Her Romeo y Juliet is a fruity fantasy, topped with rich buttercream and a swirl of guava jelly, its buttery base hiding a bite of guava paste. The Iona, meanwhile, is a wicked mix of a pear--olive oil cake, blue-cheese buttercream, reduced port wine and candied walnuts. Nothing crappy here, to say the least. Red Hook Mercado, 410 Van Brunt St at Coffey St, Red Hook, Brooklyn (robicellis.com)

Macaron Parlour Patisserie

Those who fall for the fragile pastel cookies called macarons—intensely flavored filling between two ultralight layers of almond meringue—fall hard. One devotee is Christina Ha, a student in the pastry program at the Institute of Culinary Education, who learned the craft of these confections while working at Haute Ptisserie Pierre Herm in Paris. She now makes her delicately delicious creations ($2--$3 apiece) with her boyfriend, Simon Tung, and sells them at the Hester Street Fair on Sundays. There are more than a dozen flavors, including more traditional pistachio and morello cherry or caramel fleur de sel, as well as some decidedly more American, like bacon-maple cream cheese and peanut butter cup. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (macaronparlour.com)

Nijiya Market

If you think Hester Street’s Nijiya stall exaggerates by referring to itself as a “market,” you’d be mistaken: The stand is an outpost of a massive Japanese grocer with outlets in upstate New York. On Saturdays and Sundays, cooks from Nijiya’s food courts come to Manhattan to make iced green tea, hot taiyaki—tiny fish-shaped waffles filled with red beans, custard or chocolate—and $3 hand rolls, a wholesome savior in a market mainly filled with cookies, cake and ice cream. The rolls are light and flavorful, wrapped to order into an easy-to-eat cone of black-sesame-seed-speckled rice paper filled with warm sushi rice, freshly sliced avocado, carrots, cucumber and, if you like, perfectly pink shrimp. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (nijiya.com)

Ragged Butte Buffalo Jerky

There might be a budding boomlet of Brooklyn jerky makers—there are now at least three—but Gretchen Skedsvold comes by it naturally. Her classically seasoned, lean and chewy bison jerky is a perfect smack-of-umami snack, the right blend of sugar, salt and Worcestershire sauce seasoning air-dried meat. It’s made by her father, “Wild” Peter Skedsvold, who raises buffalo in Alexander, North Dakota. In fact, it was the Wild Man’s idea for Gretchen to sell his instantly craveable product in New York City (she’s at the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays; two ounces are $6, four ounces are $10), after he visited her in Williamsburg and noticed similar stuff on the shelves of nearby Marlow & Daughters. Brooklyn Flea, 176 Lafayette St between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (raggedbuttebison.com)

Raw Ice Cream Company

We discovered Brooklynite Mark Roth’s vegan frozen goodies—also sold at shops like Westerly Natural Market and Foragers in Dumbo—at this year's Unfancy Food Show. Both uncooked and dairy-free, they’re ludicrously rich nonetheless, thanks to years of experimentation that resulted in a creamy base blend of coconut meat, cashews and agave nectar that’s more airy than traditional ice cream, but no less decadent. He hand-packs $6.99 pints in several traditional flavors like chocolate-hazelnut and mint chocolate chip, but the star is the excellent cinnamon-vanilla.(rawicecreamcompany.com)

Sweet Deliverance Jams

Without question, Kelly Geary is one of the city’s coolest locavore cooks—the Natural Gourmet Cookery School grad caters Brooklyn rock shows, runs a food delivery service that brings insanely good bacon-chive biscuits right to your door, and teaches in the classrooms at Brooklyn Kitchen. Inspired by work on her forthcoming book on pickles and preserves, she’s now selling her handiwork—a righteous strawberry orange-blossom honey, a bracing blueberry-lemon verbena jam—at Saxelby Cheesemongers, Lucy’s Whey and Manhattan’s monthly New Amsterdam Market, returning to the South Street Seaport on July 24. The New Amsterdam Market, South St between Beekman St and Peck Slip (sweetdeliverancenyc.com)

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