Spring is in the air again, which can only mean one thing: Madison Square Eats is BACK! This mini food festival, organized by the pop-up market geniuses at UrbanSpace, brings together some of the city’s hottest vendors for hordes of hungry New Yorkers and curious tourists alike.
While it’s more than worth the trip, MSE can be overwhelming for the first time visitor. With over 25 stalls serving over a hundred different dishes, where do you start?! Here’s a tailored plan to get a taste of the market without breaking your budget.
Roberta’s changed the NYC pizza game forever when it opened its first outpost in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2008. Nearly a decade later, the wait for a table is still crazy long, and…did I mention it’s all the way in Bushwick? Skip the J train and head to their MSE stall instead, where they’re offering four of their signature pies – in a 12″ size – for around $10. The best part? You can watch them make it front of you in their signature wood-fired oven. Pro tip: it’s hands only (no silverware allowed here), so grab extra napkins and dig in!
Inday, besides being some of the most ‘grammable food at MSE, is also some of the most unique. Their fast-casual cafe, blocks away in Flatiron, offers an elevated take on traditional Indian food with “build your own” grain bowls and wraps. Their MSE stall sells dosa, or waffles made from fermented basmati rice and lentils. Traditionally, dosas are drizzled with sweet chutney, but Inday is topping theirs with a variety of yummy offerings, including smoked salmon belly and chicken tikka. Don’t miss the carnitas dosa, topped with fresh cilantro, cotija cheese, pickled onions and a drizzle of honeyed yogurt.
If you’re craving something on the lighter side, look no further than Two Tablespoons. The brainchild of two vegetarian chefs, Two Tablespoons strives for clean, fresh, wholesome dishes without the BS. All of their food is gluten-free, seasonal and extremely veggie friendly – plus, most of their ingredients are locally sourced! Dig into their Asian-style plates, from rice paper spring rolls and glass noodle salads to freshly-brewed teas and lemonade. They also make all their raw dipping sauces from scratch.
Ice & Vice
Ice & Vice is my favorite new ice cream shop in the city, and I was thrilled to see them on the MSE lineup this year! This NYC-based start-up – and 2014 Vendy Winner for Best Dessert – is innovating frozen treats with ingredients like smoked dark chocolate and lemon charcoal. They’re collaborating with boutique vendors The Konery and Squish Marsh for truly spectacular ice cream creations.
If you happened to follow Ice & Vice during their Blogger Battle Royale promotion, their MSE stall is also offering a BBR themed sundae every week! Last week’s was inspired by foodstagrammer Coffee & Champagne: Cherry almond cobbler topped with almond ice cream, espresso chocolate shell, champagne marshmallow fluff, whipped cream and a dusting of espresso & cacao nibs. You heard me.
The Paella Shack
Why do I love The Paella Shack? Three words: Nutella-stuffed churros. I mean, if you drizzled Nutella on my arm I’d probably eat it, but there’s something straight up magical about the combination of crunchy churro and rich, velvety chocolate. Oh, and did I mention they’re rolled in sugar? Forget about it! The Paella Shack serves three to an order, and I promise…you’ll be fighting over that last one!
Madison Square Eats only runs through the end of the week, so be sure to stop by before it’s gone!
None of these dishes strike your fancy? Check out some other Reader Favorites:
Tamales at Masa
Animal Burger at Beatrice Burger
Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese at Melt Kraft
Lobster Roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound
Madison Square Eats. Worth Square; 5th Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets.
Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM, rain or shine. Runs through May 27th. http://urbanspacenyc.com/mad-sq-eats/