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BUST Magazine Craftacular 2012

Yesterday, I headed down to Soho to check out the vendors at the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair.  I’d been to their holiday fair back in December and was looking forward to seeing lots of great food vendors there.  So, with tastebuds at the ready and camera in hand, I got to 82 Mercer in time to…stand on line to get into the event.

While I was waiting, I saw the terrific vegan food truck The Cinnamon Snail across the street.  I also spotted Coolhaus‘ ice cream truck down the block so it was tempting to get off of the line and just go grab some snacks from them.  Instead, the line moved quite quickly, and within moments, I was inside trying to figure out how to navigate my way through all the stands.

Among the first folks I saw was Sabrina of The Jam Stand – whom I also saw at the Taste of 5 Boroughs expo a few weeks back.  I picked up a jar of Drunken Monkey – bananas, lime, a touch of rum.  This is going to be great slathered on toast, maybe with some peanut butter, too.

Next to her were the irresistible treats from FattycakesNY.  I saw these at the last BUST Craftacular, but didn’t get a chance to sample any of them.  Not sure if there was a theme going on, but I was drawn to The Drunken Piglet.  A sugary, crispy exterior surrounding a chewy, toffee-flavored center studded with smoky bacon.  Hitting all the right sweet-salty-savory notes, this could be my new favorite market treat.

How adorable are these?  Hairclips, scarves, mittens, all crocheted in food-themed designs.  Although not edible, these designs by Twinkie Chan are so cute and clever, I couldn’t just pass them by.  For cupcake lovers, she also had a tower of treats for you as well.

For folks looking to wrap themselves up in sweet indulgence, The Chocolate Swirl was the table to stop by yesterday.  When I went by it, there was a line of folks gathered to try their products and to talk to them about their truffles, brownie pops, and other items.

We eat with our eyes first.  A simple statement and, oh, so obvious that I think sometimes folks forget about it at food fairs where there’s so may things to try.  One stand I passed by on my first pass through that I regret not doubling back to visit, was Audrey’s Concerto, with her gorgeous, vibrantly-colored desserts.  Next time I see her at an event, I’m definitely going to try one of these.

As I rounded the corner to hit the second set of stands, my eye was drawn to these delectable-looking sweets collection by Jazz Brownies.  I instantly remembered sampling them at the NYC Chocolate Show in November of last year.  Their fudgey, rich, chocolate texture combined with combinations like orange zest, coconut, or spice, would make this box a welcome gift.

After all those sweets, it was time to switch gears and taste test some seasonings from Beautiful Briny Sea.  Made with organic sea salt and various other ingredients (mushrooms, herbs, spices), these products have a wonderful depth of flavor, and I could see buying several of these to keep on hand during barbecue season to perk up grilled meats and vegetables.  Not a fan of Old Bay but want some of those same smoky, seaside aromas to come through?  Try their Single Unicorn.  Looking to add an earthy, pungent note to your food?  How about their Truffle version (made with Brazilian sea salt).

Who could pass up these adorable designs from Abby Berkson Ceramics?  Fortunately, you can find her on Etsy, too, if you weren’t able to drop by the craft fair yesterday.  A set of mugs or a few plates decorated with her colorful animal designs would be a perfect way to perk up the breakfast table.

Vérité Catering displayed some tempting cupcakes and slabs of vegetable-studded focaccia.  They specialize in vegan catering, with services available in several major urban areas.  On their site, they even offer a special brunch in New York, taking place in various locations around the city.  That looks like a great option for a lazy summer weekend day.

I’ve had the pleasure of sampling Emily Hanhan‘s (aka Nomnivorous) incredible marshmallows in the past, so I was really looking forward to seeing what she would bring with her to the craft fair.  Her Triple Berry variety exploded with great sweet-tart flavor.  Her Smokey Bourbon Vanilla ones were seductively sultry with hints of smoke and wood barrels.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next as she grows her Sweet Tooth Labs business.

In another room at the event space, tables and chairs were set up for folks to sit down and enjoy some of the edibles that they’d purchased.  There were also a few additional vendors there, like Sweet Things Bake Shop sponsored by the Lower Eastside Girls Club.  Their table featured some crafts as well as these beautiful-looking slices of banana bread and bags of cookies.

I’ve long been a fan of Red Jacket Orchards refreshing 100% fruit juices for years.  They are a staple at the Greenmarkets where I’ve purchased their Grape-Apple and Raspberry-Apple flavors to help me stay cool on a a hot summer’s day.

Using lemonade as a base, Lizzmonade creates different combinations of fruit drinks using fruits and herbs.  I sipped on the cool Strawberry-Cucumber and the bold Blackberry-Pineapple samples.  I wished that they sold these concoctions in bottles, as they would make great bases for summer cocktails.

With several locations around the city, Two Boots is one of the staples in many folks’ diets.  They had a great selection of pizzas to choose from, which I saw many people enjoying while hanging out at the tables set up in the dining area at the craftacular.

The folks at Mighty Balls were another hit at this event yesterday, just like they had been at the holiday fair.  Even though I’d had their Pork Slider with Jalapeno Jam and Spicy Feta at last week’s Dekalb Market, I knew I couldn’t resist having that sweet-savory-heat-filled combo again.

To send everyone off on their way, the folks at Java Love were selling cups of coffee as well as packages of their beans.  The enticing aromas were drawing many people to their table to sample their dark, inviting brews.

Even though I’d munched, noshed, and sampled my way around all the great products inside the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair, there was still that little bit of extra room left.  What else could be more perfect than to fill it up with a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich?  The sweet-salty Potato Chip-Skorbar Cookie made a chewy-crisp nest for the cool, creamy, slightly tangy Brown Butter Ice Cream studded with Candied Bacon made a delicious end to this part of my afternoon.

Buon appetito!