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New Amsterdam Market

It’s been a while since I’ve just taken a Sunday to stroll around the New Amsterdam Market.  Now that it is being held every week, I have to admit that I’ve skipped it many weekends to do other things around town.  Some of my favorite food vendors are here, so I took advantage of the drop in temperatures from completely miserably hot and stifling to just merely humid and disgusting to drop by and see what was going on there.  I also found some new items that I thought were really fantastic.

This year, due to work being done on the Brooklyn Bridge, the market has moved a bit further down from where it was so that half of the lot where it regularly sits can be used for parking cars.  This means navigating around this area before you can get into the market.  Fortunately, once inside of it, a whole world opens up, and you are greeted by gorgeous arrays of fresh, local produce like the kind from Do Re Me Farms.

To go along with some of these vegetables, you could pick up some of Bambino’s Ravioli‘s many pastas in various shapes and sizes, filled and not filled.

Or maybe you’d like to add some meat to the sauce as well to make a ragu, now that the weather has gotten a smidge cooler.  Dickson’s Farmstand Meats had some beautiful-looking dry-aged ground beef for sale.  They have a wider selection of meat products at their Chelsea Market location.

If you’d already started to get a bit peckish looking at all the great food items to pick up for your pantry, you could have stopped by King’s County Jerky to sample some of their flavors.  I’m still a big fan of the Orange-Ginger for its layers of citrus and spice.  Their Korean Barbecue tastes remarkably just like it sounds, but buying it here saves you the task of heating up your own kitchen.

As a special treat today, the market had Chef Galen Zamarra from Mas (La Grillade), opening up in August from the same group that brought Mas (Farmhouse) to the city.  I saw lots of folks happily munching on ears of perfectly-charred, grilled corn while walking around to see what other delicious things they could find in the market today.

One of the items they could have snapped up for their kitchens were these amazing and different Pickled Strawberries from Anarchy in a Jar.  I really enjoy all the flavors that these guys produce, but this was a unique experience.  Made with our area’s early season strawberries, these have a sweet, sour, tart, tangy composition that makes your mouth pucker and your brain say, “WOW! I was not expecting that!”  Like many pickled items, they make you want to go back for more to see what other tastes you can find in them.  These would be perfect for cured meats and patés as well as on a cheese board to liven up any meal.

For the bread to go along with that meal, you could look no further than Orwasher’s, one of my favorites, which was also at the market today.

Or, perhaps, some duck breast or duck proscuitto from the Hudson Valley Duck Farm folks, who were at the stand next to the Anarchy in a Jar team.

For some greens to add to your feast, you could pick up some of the many seasonal items that Z Food Farm had on display.   They are certified organic and specialize in growing heirloom varietals.

Looking for cheese to go on that plate, too?  Jasper Hill Farm was there with their amazing Clothbound Cheddar and their Landaff.  What tempted me, however, was a newer cheese that I hadn’t tried before, the Moses Sleeper (left in photo), which was described as mildly-Camembert-like.  After tasting a sample, I thought that was a good explanation for this soft cheese that seemed to melt on my tongue without that pungent, funkiness that can sometimes turn people off.

Paté from Brooklyn Cured could also pair well with the pickled strawberries.  You’d get that sweet, savoury, salty, meaty, fatty combo in every bite.

Or maybe some sausages from Mosefund Farm, who had samples of their Italian brats available for tasting?  Once I think I can stand to turn the heat on my stove again, I’m picking up a pack of their fabulously, delicious bacon.  It is worth every single penny, and the saved fat is perfect for frying up other things, too.

Sour Puss Pickles has some additional items that would make that charcuterie plate dance for joy, with its many kind of pickled vegetables just looking for a home.

If you wanted to look for something a bit different to go with the meats on your plate, as well, you should check out My Friend’s Mustard, a new addition to the market this week.  I’ve really enjoyed having this condiment at various food festivals, so it was so nice to meet the people behind this brand in person.  I picked up a jar of their award-winning Spicy Brown Ale version to have at home.

By this time, I was feeling overwhelmed by all the choices and in need of a little pick-me-up.  Fortunately, one my my favorite additions to the market this season, Pie Corps, was ready and waiting for me with all sorts of delicious-looking choices.  Eccles Cakes, my usual snack, are on hiatus for the moment, so I went with this Lemon Tart.  I usually gripe that folks don’t put enough lemon into their items, as I like lots of this citrus taste.  Not here, this puckerable delight was filled with lemon on the inside and the glaze was super sweet-tart and tangy.  The crust is amazingly light and flakey making this, for me, a perfect hand-held treat.

If I’d been tempted to try making one of these pies at home, I could have picked up some gorgeous eggs at Terra Firma Farm.  That probably won’t happen until the temperatures drop quite a bit more.

For those nagging cooking questions, the market has brought in Joshua Stokes as Grill-A-Chef.  I have to say, I’ve usually seen him talking to at least one person each time I’m there, so I guess folks are taking advantage of this resource.

One of the vendors whom I saw doing a brisk business to cool folks off today was Blue Bottle Coffee with their iced drinks.

Other folks found Kombucha Brooklyn to be their refresher of choice for the day.

I decided to stop by and say hi to Anton at P&H Soda Co. and grab a Sasparilla Soda (photo below).  I’d never had one before, and it sounded kind of old-timey and fun.  It was light and refreshing with a hint of root-beer-ness to it.  I don’t think it will replace the Hibiscus Lime in my pantheon of favorites from them, but it was a pretty darn tasty choice for today.

How convenient that right next to Anton were the folks from Jimmy’s No. 43 with a Citrus Pork Taco.  The homemade salsa verde was a bright, herbal complement to the smoky flavor.  Nestled in a corn tortilla with a crisp lettuce leaf along with a dusting of salty cheese.  This was a great bite to keep me going while I explored the rest of the market.

The folks at People’s Pops came equipped for the day with a large block of ice to make their shaved ice treats.  Did you really want that Snoopy Sno-Cone maker as a child?  I bet it didn’t come with Rhubarb and Sour Cherry syrups like they have here.

This was the first week I’d managed to be at the market on the same day as the folks from National Crab.  They brought with them their Crab Cake Slider, which I saw being nibbled on by several people today.  I’m still living off of the fumes of the ones I had at Market Lunch a couple of weekends back, but I’ll plan on trying one of these before the summer is out.

Another one of my favorite market vendors, and makers of some of the best, most addictive sweet treats around, Liddabit Sweets had this great selection on display.  I picked up  the Breakfast of Heros, which I haven’t treated myself to in a while.

What I had really hoped to have, though, was some of the Maple Cotton Candy that they were supposed to have been spinning (see photos).  Jen, who was manning the stand today, explained that the humidity was wreaking havoc with attempts to make these, but she gave me a taste of a sample one anyway.  I could see what she meant, as the usual fluffiness wasn’t exactly there; however, the lovely, delicate maple flavor came through in each sticky bite.

I have been eyeing the Brooklyn Butcher Blocks that were on display at the next table for ages.  Made of reclaimed wood, they are beautiful and functional.   These are definitely on my kitchen wishlist.

If I’d had more room in my freezer at the moment, I would have stocked up on the wonderful Ruis Bread from Nordic Breads.  This hearty, chewy rye will make a convert out of the most die hard white bread lover.  It is the perfect platform for sandwiches or even just butter and jam at breakfast time.  I notice from their website that they are also carried in Whole Foods in Manhattan, if you can’t make it to the market on Sundays.

If you’d hoped to pick up a nice bottle of wine today to go along with all of those meals that you’ve been planning with the other things you’d gathered from the market, the folks at Brooklyn Oenology had a selection of some of their vintages.

What better to go along with this wine than some chocolate from Taza.  They have a fragrant display of stone ground, organic, fair trade products to choose from.

Combined with some bread from Sullivan Street Bakery, you could make a mock pain au chocolate to munch on while taking in the rest of the day’s events.

Or maybe you were looking at one of the savory loaves and thinking that you’d prefer some cheese with that? The Pampered Cow had a goats cheese and their Hudson Red, a semi-soft cheese.

For fruit-lovers, Flying Fox had this colorful display of baskets of in-season peaches, apricots, and plums.

As did Toigo Orchards, which also had some homemade jarred sauces for sale as well.

To wash some of it down, Bellocq Teas had several of their varieties on display.  I was told that they are still in the process of finishing up the details to open up their tasting room.  I’m planning to head out to Brooklyn to check it out when it is ready for visitors.

Olio di Melli was a vendor I hadn’t seen in the market before today.  I’m fully stocked up with olive oil, but this display could have convinced me that I needed just one more bottle.

To put with that oil, I could have picked up a wide variety of herbs that the Wild Food Gatherers Guild had brought with them.

Having passed by so many great prepared food stands, I was ready at this point to pick up something for my lunch today.  I started off with the Shrimp Roll from Luke’s Lobster.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive to pick up a shrimp roll from a lobster place, but one bite of the cool, creamy, delicately salty shrimp cradled in a buttery, soft, slightly crunchy roll, will change your mind about that.

The Morris Grilled Cheese folks have been at a few markets, but the line is always too long for me to wait on when I’m hungry.  Today, with the lighter crowd, I decided to check out their Classic.  What a perfect combination of toasted sourdough bread from Orwasher’s with aged New York Cheddar and New Hampshire Landaff cheeses melted together within, making a sharp, ooey, gooey combination.  Now I get why everyone else is patient enough to wait around for their sandwiches!

I have a friend who has been excited about the return of Steve’s Ice Cream ever since she spied them in her Brooklyn neighborhood.  I never really bought into the mix-ins that they did, partially because we had a local version in college that was completely amazing (Remember Rocky’s anyone?).  An Ice Cream Sandwich of two soft chocolate chip cookies with salt holding a block of salty caramel ice cream decorated with a slather of chocolate beer fudge was seriously decadent.  I would have loved to have savored it some more, but the humidity of the day made eating this a race against time and the elements.

It was wonderful to see all the new terrific food items at the market today and to have a chance to check in with some old favorites.  What I’m really saving my next trip down there for, however, is the New Amsterdam Market Ice Cream Festival on August 21st.

Buon appetito!