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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just in Time

If you never made it to Madison Square Park in the last month for their outdoor food and crafts market, then I feel bad for you because today was the last day and you seriously missed out on some phenomenal food.  I can't believe I almost missed it!  These were not your typical street vendors.  Some of the city's best restaurants set up shop right next to one of the prettiest parks.  It's not often I get to cross several restaurants off my list simultaneously, but I did just that this afternoon.  When I saw all the good restaurants that had arranged booths, my eyes grew wide and the fat girl living inside my belly tried to punch her way out.

First up: Pies 'n Thighs.  Since I moved to NYC, I've heard about this place as everyone claimed I would find Southern fare to rival that of home.  I've always been intrigued but never wanted to trek to Brooklyn only to be disappointed to discover that nothing compares to the food of South Georgia.  Now I can say I'm willing to take the trip to Williamsburg because those were some quality collards.  They put a spicy bbq sauce on top that gave 'em some personality.  With all the vendors, I decided to pace myself so I just got the one side and moved on, but I'll be ready to try more of their food soon.

Next up: Ilili where I picked up bekaa markook (tortilla type wrap filled with yogurt, cucumber, tomato, olive, mint and labne).  I can neither pronounce or define half those words, but I can tell you it was delicious.  While there, I also picked up a green lemonade.  I had to ask what it was that made it green and the answer prompted me to buy: cucumber, mint, and ginger.  It was so much better than I expected.  Fresh-tasting from the cucumber and mint with a slightly spicy aftertaste from the ginger.  The best part was that it was fully strained so I didn't have to deal with any little bits floating around (yes, I also detest pulp in my OJ)  The lemonade perfectly washed down the third and final course...

Another Brooklyn restaurant I've been looking to test out is Fatty 'Cue, which blends Southeast Asian and BBQ.  How can such a combo not peak your interests?  I tried the brisket sandwich that came topped with chili jam, aioli, pickled red onion, cabot cheddar, and lettuce.  It was sweet and super smokey.  I must make it to Williamsburg to try every other item on their menu.  It wasn't Southern.  It wasn't Asian. This is a new breed of food.
The shops were also cute, but I'm guessing they'll all make an appearance at the Union Square Holiday Market in November and December, so I didn't bother with them.  The food was delicious and it was a beautiful Fall day.  I was in such a happy place, I didn't even mind having to stare at the couple sitting on the bench across from me sucking face for 20 minutes straight.  If I were you, I would start praying this food and crafts market was not a one-time thing because you'll want to experience it next year.

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