Baking Soda Shop
Ginger snap cookies at Baking Soda Shop
Bagel and lox at East River Bread
Everything bagel at East River Bread
Cornbread at New York Cookery Chili and Jack's Chedbred
Jack Sorock of New York Cookery Chili and Jack's Chedbred
Chili at New York Cookery Chili and Jack's Chedbred
Soppressanti at Ludlow Pizza
Short rib couscous at NY Shuk
Savory kugel double down at Scharf & Zoyer
Greek yogurt at the White Moustache
Yogurt at the White Moustache
Figuring out what to eat at New York’s grubcentric outdoor markets is no easy feat. Luckily, TONY rounded up this season’s food-vendor standouts, serving alfresco delights like hand-rolled couscous, addictive gingersnap cookies and brisket-stuffed sandwiches. Don’t forget your sunblock.
RECOMMENDED: Read more on the Brooklyn Flea Market
Baking Soda Shop
Kerry Sims and Christen Sturkie—front-desk hosts at Eleven Madison Park who bonded over their love of baking— joined forces for this Hester Street Fair stall. Sims, an Institute of Culinary Education grad, reworks classic butter crunch ($8), imbuing the candy with a deeper cocoa flavor via two coats of dark Peruvian chocolate, while Sturkie turns out irresistibly chewy ginger snaps ($10), lightly sweetened with Plantation blackstrap molasses. You can buy both items by the piece, but we found it hard to stop after just one. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (bakingsodashop.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
The White Moustache
The yogurt craze has made its way to Smorgasburg, thanks to former attorney Homa Dashtaki and her restaurateur father. Dashtaki produces two old-world dairy delights: a thick Greek style and a looser Iranian variety. We loved the tart Greek custard garnished with a drizzle of fragrant orange-blossom honey and finely crushed walnuts ($6). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (thewhitemoustache.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Scharf & Zoyer
Kugel gets a handheld makeover at this new venture from attorney Noah Arenstein. Inspired by the potato pavé from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, the self-taught cook has created a kugel double down: griddled slices of the Jewish egg-noodle casserole, slathered with sweet or savory spreads ($5). Opt for Scharf & Zoyer’s dessert rendition—two slices of “bread” stuffed with creamy maple-syrup-infused cheese and orange-and-apricot preserves. Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (follow on Twitter @scharfandzoyer). Sat 10am–6pm.
Following in the footsteps of Brooklyn Flea’s popular Moto, childhood friends and pizza obsessives Milo Mooser and Jamie West set up a wood-fired oven at the Hester Street Fair.The amateur dough-punchers fire kneaded-to-order rounds in a compact stone hearth for three minutes, producing a spotted, firm crust. Traditionalists can dig into the Margherita, but keep an eye out for creative specials—on a recent visit, we were smitten with the Sopressanti ($8), oozing mozzarella and piquant with spicy pepperoni and jalapeño honey. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (ludlowpizzanyc.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
East River Bread
Former Per Se baker Melissa Weller lends a fine-dining touch to the classic New York bagel. She swaps out a traditional yeast starter for sourdough, giving these rounds—first boiled, then baked—a tangy flavor and stronger chew. Weller’s everything bagel ($2)—studded with sesame, poppy, fennel and caraway seeds—is delicious on its own, but we recommend getting the works: thin slices of peppery house-made lox and a swipe of scallion-chive cream cheese from Battenkill Valley dairy ($8). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (eastriverbread.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Weary of the instant couscous found in supermarkets, Ron and Leetal Arazi—a chef and a food photographer—took the flavors of their Middle Eastern heritage to Williamsburg. On Saturdays, find the husband-and-wife team stirring massive pots of fluffy hand-rolled semolina—the trick is to steam, not boil the grain—with hearty accompaniments such as short rib and spinach stewed in garlic, turmeric and green chilies ($9). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (nyshuk.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Chickpea & Olive
Danielle Ricciardi and Daniel Strong—who met at Dell’anima while serving and cooking, respectively—turn out vegan comfort food at their first solo venture. Using produce from the Union Square Greenmarket and Brooklyn Grange, the pair crafts market-driven sandwiches such as the Phatty Beet Slider ($6), a veggie-and-grains patty layered with baby Bibb lettuce and smear of habanero ketchup. A mushroom melt ($8)—two slices of Sullivan Street Bakery’s Pullman bread stuffed with gooey Daiya cheddar—gets a kick from Ricciardi’s peppery chipotle aioli. Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sat 10am–6pm. • Brooklyn Flea, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sun 10am–5pm. • chickpeaandolive.com
The home-cooked Italian-American tradition gets transplanted to the city’s outdoor markets. Get a ladle of the meat-filled sauce—San Marzano tomatoes simmered for six hours with beef, sausages and meatballs—on top of Garofolo macaroni or airy Grandaisy rolls ($8). The hearty stew is finished with a powdery grating of Parm and pecorino, from Di Palo’s in Little Italy. Madison Square Eats, Broadway at 23rd St. Daily 11am–9pm. • Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sat 10am–6pm. • Brooklyn Flea, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sun 10am–5pm. • sundaygravynyc.com
New York Cookery Chili and Jack’s Chedbred
Former lawyer Jack Sorock drew on his Midwest origins for this stand, hawking rich cornbread. Sorock toasts his version—made with cornmeal and oven-roasted kernels, buttermilk and aged Vermont cheddar—in a smoker until the moist cubes are warm and golden brown. In addition to the signature plain, there are flavors such as maple bacon and roasted jalapeño. David Burke Townhouse chef Jon Ellsaesser supplies the warm, spiced chili, loaded with North Carolina pulled pork, beans and chopped scallions (combo $8.50). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (chedbred.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Food and Drink Award–winning pitmaster Daniel Delaney (BrisketTown) made his Manhattan debut at the High Line in April, plugging his beloved smoked meats into picnic-friendly fare. Aptly named the Mess ($10), the Wet-nap–necessary sandwich showcases brisket-and-pork hash in buttered Amy’s Bread rolls with melted fontina cheese, lime-marinated onions and house-made chili sauce. Cool down your palate with a fizzy ginger tonic ($4) made with P&H Soda Co. syrup.
Caffe dei Fiori
A block away from Hunter College on Lexington Ave, Caffe dei Fiori hosts a seasonal menu that rest comfortably between traditional and modern. Offerings include elevated classics such as house-made tagliatelle with bolognese sauce ($26), a crunchy potato string–topped tuna tartare with lightly spiced avocado mousse ($22) and a salad of octopus, eggplant and basil ($23). While the scratch-made pasta offers the ideal fork tenderness, some of the protein-centered entrées fall short—lamb chops with wild mushrooms ($40) lack enough seasoning to complement the earthy flavor of the meat while the duck breast with pickled cherries ($44) screams out for greater attention to technical detail. On a recent visit, the skin wasn't properly crispy, the fat had not rendered and the meat wasn't fully cooked. However, the restaurant's reaction was immediate, as the maître d'hôtel quickly made amends for the failed dishes with two fresh plates of pasta covered with white truffles and parmesan. Dessert fares better. The cheesecake ice cream layered with fresh raspberry compote and buttery crumble ($12) tastes creamy and decadent and the panna cotta ($12) is lusciously smooth. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list, with bottles ranging from $50 to $630. Though a few dishes fall short, the staff more than makes up for it with your choice of freshly baked bread, tableside fish deboning and an attitude that makes you feel right at home. All in all, Caffe dei Fiori is a charming and prom
Venue says: “Caffe Dei Fiori is a hidden gem, conveniently located on the Upper East Side.”