Category Archives: Markets

Scharf & Zoyer at Brooklyn Oenology and Smorgasburg News

BOE-Kugel-cookingKugel warming up

Tuesday night, Scharf & Zoyer, the food vendor I’ve been cooking for at the weekly Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, held its first-ever pop-up at Brooklyn Oenology‘s tasting room.  About thirty or so folks gathered to nosh on Noah Arenstein’s takes on classic Jewish flavors re-invented in sandwich form while imbibing from BOE’s wine and beer list.  From the cleared off serving trays, raised glasses, and general good cheer, it seems as though the evening was a fantastic success.

BOE-Savory-KugelSavory Kugel

On the menu were some of the items for which S&Z has become known in the press and at the market.  We had half-size pieces of our Savory Kugel, with a green bean-spinach-walnut pesto, dill crème fraîche, and topped with fried chicken skins.  Creamy, tangy, crunchy.  This bite hit every savory, salty note, and it has been a huge hit with many of our fans.

Sweet Kugel

Sweet Kugel

For dessert, we served up our most popular item – the Sweet Kugel.  It’s the same noodle kugel that is used in the savory dish, one based on Noah’s grandmother’s recipe (several cousins were on hand to verify the authenticity of the taste).  After the kugel is fried golden brown on both sides, it’s topped with maple-farmer’s cheese, apricot-orange preserves, and topped with crispy shallots.  There’s a bit of creaminess and sweetness contrasted with a hit of savory and crunchiness given by the shallots to balance it out.

Gefilte Fish SliderGefilte Fish Slider

We also served a few other items not usually on the Smorgasburg rotation.  One of these was the Gefilte Fish slider above.  Noah’s family serves these meatball-style patties rolled in breading, fried and then allowed to get cold, rather than in the usual liquid base.  As someone who did not grow up with this dish, it’s taken a bit of converting, if you will, to win me over to them.  A dash of horseradish-mustard mayo and a dollop of carrot slaw anchor the slider firmly on a soft, squish potato bun.  The first time I had a taste of it, I was surprised at how well the flavors all melded together.  We had these on the last weekend that we did the market and they sold all right, although we did meet with some skeptics.

Meatball SlidersSweet-n-Sour Meatball Sliders

Another slider we prepared exclusively for this event featured Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs served on Potato Rolls with a sliver of Provolone cheese and a side of Mushroom Ketchup.  They were a bit messy to handle, which might be something we work on for the next time we hold a pop-up, but they were devoured by the guests and met with rave reviews from a few of them.  Having snacked on several of these during our prep sessions, so I wasn’t at all surprised, as I knew how delicious they were.

Latkes w Farmers Cheese and AljoukLatkes with Ajlouk and Farmer’s Cheese

No exploration of Jewish cuisine would be complete without latkes.  For the pop-up, we used them to showcase our Ajlouk, a savory, spicy spread with a harissa base that we usually served made-to-order with an omelet-style egg and farmer’s cheese on toasted marble rye bread.  In this incarnation, the latke served as the “bread” with a schmear of the cheese and a heaping spoonful of the Ajlouk, this time made with eggplant instead of our usual zucchini version.  Cool, hearty, crunchy all in one bite.


The other dessert we served was Mandelbrodt.  I have to brag a little bit about this one, as I’d never baked these before and took my instructions from a recipe that Noah had emailed me that was his grandmother’s.  These cookies are similar to Italian biscotti in that they are cooked twice and allowed to get dry and crispy.  Noah gave me a thumb’s up after we took them out of the oven after the second baking cycle, telling me that I’d nailed the recipe.  Whew!  He packed up the extras from the party to enjoy at home.

PicklebackPickleback at BOE

We had several other offerings on the menu as well, including Pimento Cheese, Chopped Chicken Livers, and Tuna Salad, all served to get the evening started.  To close out the night and to toast how well our first pop-up event went, Noah, Emily Hanhan (aka Nomnivorous, a mutual friend who offered to help us out for the evening), and I slugged down a pickleback from BOE’s drinks menu.  It was delicious and refreshing, and it completely hit the spot after all the prep and hard work that we put into making the night happen.

Scharf & Zoyer signScharf & Zoyer at Smorgasburg

Unfortunately, despite the success of this event, there is also some sad news to share.  Scharf & Zoyer will be taking a haitus from the weekly Smorgasburg market.  Serious Eats has been covering Noah’s progress and the development of the business this season.  Having had a front row seat as we’ve worked hard to make his concept a reality, it is disappointing that we might not be back.  There’s so many terrific food vendors in the market whom we’ve gotten to know each week.  For the complete interview and Noah’s thoughts, click here to read the article.  Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us at the market and who came to our event on Tuesday night!

Buon appetito!

New Amsterdam Market – June 2013 Market

New-Amsterdam-Market-sign1New Amsterdam Market – Information table to greet visitors

Sunday was the much-anticipated market day for the New Amsterdam Market.  At one time, I’d seen it advertised as the opening day for the summer season for this market, but it turns out, it is going to be the only one held for the next few months.  I wrote here previously about the hearings that took place at City Hall in support of the market, as the city reviews a proposal by developers for how to revamp the entire South Street Seaport area.  There is overwhelming support for the market from New York City residents, farmers, food artisans, and chefs, many of whom came out in droves on Sunday to shop, buy, eat, and to hang out and to catch up with friends.

P n H Soda - Candy Cap Mushroom & Toasted Almond Egg Cream

 P&H Soda Co. – Candy Cap Mushroom and Toasted Almond Egg Cream

One of my first stops was to grab a soda from P&H Soda Co. to pick up something refreshing to drink.  While there, I ran into Anton Nocito’s wife Erica and their adorable little guy.  Anton had on display his new book about how to make syrups and sodas at home using seasonal ingredients and experimenting with flavor combinations.  I also saw some of the group from Serious Eats hanging out nearby, enjoying some market treats, too.  I asked them what they recommended, and they pointed me in the direction of Lonestar Taco.

Lonestar Tacos - Carnitas Taco
Lonestar Taco – Carnitas Taco

They did not steer me wrong.  Although there was a bit of a wait for the taco, as they were one of the busier stands on Sunday, it was well worth it.  I opted to go with the Carnitas Taco with lots of perfectly-seasoned, rich chunks of pork nestled in a corn tortilla and dressed with mouth-puckering pickled onions and a sprinkle of cilantro which balanced out the rich, luscious meat.  It was great to see them doing so well at the market, like so many of the other prepared food vendors.  Several folks, like Luke’s Lobster and Mosefund Farms also had lines and sold out of many items before the end of the day.

Suleiman Goods - Zatar Pita
Suleiman Goods – Zatar Pita

The market on Sunday also highlighted many local farmers and food producers.  At one end, there was a bread pavilion with displays from Hot Bread Kitchen, Orwasher’s Bakery, and Runner & Stone, to name a few vendors.  There were cheese selections and other dairy products to sample and for sale, lots of gorgeous fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from area farms, and even regionally-caught fish to take home.  It was also wonderful to catch up with some of my favorite food entrepreneur folks like Jen and Liz from Liddabit Sweets, Cyrilla from Nuts+Nuts, Scott from Brooklyn CuredChris from Kings County Jerky, and Leana from Anarchy in a Jar.  This was a terrific chance to stock up on some of their terrific products, which I had been used to seeing on a weekly basis at this market the past couple of seasons.

Spicy 'N Sweet - display
Spicy ‘N Sweet – Try their new smoky sauce!

The energy and the vibrancy of the market was palpable on Sunday, and its contribution to the community, to feeding it and to creating and fostering it was really in evidence to anyone who stopped by.  Everyone seemed really happy to be a part of this effort to revitalize the downtown area, which was so hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.  It was almost as though it was a reunion with vendors, food writers, photographers, bloggers, NYC-ers, and first-time visitors all milling around enjoying themselves amidst all the vast selection of products and nibbles to try, lots of hugs, and tidbits of local news being exchanged.  This is one of the truest expressions of how New York City is really just a large small town at heart with folks coming out to lend support to the folks who make this a more enjoyable place to live.

La Newyorkina - ice cream
La Newyorkina – Strawberry & Creamy Lime Ice Creams

At the same time, however, as I slurped down my last bite of the day, the fantastic ice cream by Fany Gerson of La La Newyorkina (who also had to rebuild her business after the storm), I felt that this gathering was somehow bittersweet.  Several of the folks with whom I spoke also seemed a bit wistful, too.  The future of this wonderful market and all the hard work that has been done to keep it going is still in jeopardy.  I don’t know that there’s a fixed date for another session, although from what I heard, there might be another one in September.  The fate of the Fulton Fish Market and the old market buildings is still being disputed as well.  I’m definitely keeping my hopes up for my friends who are vendors there and for all of us who enjoy being able to eat great food and to be able to talk to the people who produce what we consume, that there are many more wonderful days for the New Amsterdam Market like the one on this past Sunday.

Buon appetito!

For more information about New Amsterdam Market and what is going on with regards to the re-development of the former Fulton Fish Market site, you can visit their website.

Ramps Roundup!

Ramps at Moutain Berry FarmMore ramps at the Greenmarket

These piles of ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket might represent the last of this year’s harvest.  I spoke to one of the vendors who told me that there’s really only another couple of days they’d have this seasonal green at the market.  I know, sad tears are flowing down your cheeks at this news.  While you can still get your hands on them, here’s a few recipes to try with ramps.

Greenmarket Fritatta


Looking for ways to incorporate lots of great, seasonal produce?  Try this Greenmarket Fritatta with ramps, peas, asparagus, goat cheese, and basil.



Asparagus, Ramp, Goat Cheese Tart



Asparagus are now coming in to the market in NYC, how about this Asparagus-Ramp-Goat Cheese Tart to show them off?

Sauteed Asparagus & Ramps




Sautéed Asparagus and Ramps are a simple side dish to throw together and another terrific way to show off seasonal produce.



Ready to eat


Looking for something unique and special to bring to a summertime gathering?  How about these Ramp and Jarlsberg Gougères?  These have been a huge hit with everyone who’s eaten them.


Ramp Pesto 1


Hang onto the vibrancy of spring and the arrival of these greens by whipping up a batch of Ramp Pesto.  So easy to make, and it’s terrific to add to all sorts of dishes.

Labeled Butter



Another way to extend the season’s bounty is to put together a batch of Ramp Butter.  It’s a wonderful thing to keep on hand to add to vegetables, put on meats, mix into rice or try with other dishes.


Ramps in a bowlRamps ready to use

Hopefully, this post has given you some great ideas for how to use ramps.  I’m already getting my thinking cap on to figure out what to do with the rest of the ones that I have in my fridge before they go bad.  That may mean I set some time aside for recipe testing over the holiday weekend!

Buon appetito!

Smorgasburg Opening Day 2013

Smorgasburg – previous location

Smorgasburg – new location, just across the street

Spring seems to be taking its own sweet time getting started this year in this area, but that hasn’t stopped us all from longing for its impending arrival.  One such marker of the onset of warmer weather is the opening of the outdoor seasonal markets in the city.  Yesterday, Smorgasburg kicked off in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in their new location at East River State Park, just across the street from their previous venue which had been a vacant lot and is now slated for development.  It was a perfect, sunny day, if a bit crisply cool, to explore some of the treats on which local food vendors have been working to bring us this year.

Dough‘s display

I kicked off my day at the market with a donut from one of my favorite places (and that of many other folks, judging by the lines): Dough.

Dough donut at SmorgasburgDough donut – Passion fruit and Cocoa nibs

This year, it looks like there have a couple of new donut varieties, or at least ones that are new to me.  I tried the Passion fruit and Cocoa nibs which combined tropical flavors with a bit of a chocolately crunch.  Next time the Earl Grey and Chocolate version is on my list to try.  Can either of these unseat my usual favorite flavor, Hibiscus?  Only time (and more donuts) will tell.

Butter & Scotch – Bananas Foster Trifle

From reading market vendors’ posts on Facebook this week, I knew that one stand I couldn’t possibly pass up visiting was Butter & Scotch.  They’d mentioned something about making a Bananas Foster Trifle just for opening day.  Creamy, boozy, incredibly decadent, this is dessert made the way it should be.  In some ways, it was just fine that my friends were going to be late meeting me because that meant I didn’t have to share this with them at all.

Bellocq teas

Meandering through the food stalls, I enjoyed the new configuration where there’s two main rows with venders on either side without the space in the middle where some of the vendors were set up in the two previous years.  There seemed to be ample picnic tables and extra space on the grass where groups of folks were seated with their friends, enjoying the beautiful weather and great eats.  I also had a chance to pick up some things for my pantry, like the Afghani Chai from Bellocq teas.

Anarchy in a Jar jams

Another staple in my kitchen is the delicious jams from Anarchy in a Jar.  My refrigerator has been suffering from a deficit of them during these months, as I’d eaten my way through the stash I normally keep on hand.  I picked up a couple of jars to restock my supply, although it was really difficult to limit my choices, as there were all of these wonderful flavors.

Momo Dressing display

Aside from seeing friends and catching up on the latest news from vendors after not seeing each other over the last few months of the pause in the market season, there were also plenty of great new products (or at least new to me) that I also tried yesterday.  I had to restrain myself from picking up lots of these goodies to keep on hand for new recipes and summertime eating.  One condiment that I think I’ll need to find some room for on the shelf is Momo Dressing‘s Asian-inspired dressings and sauces.  They had a light Non-oil Shiso, a zippy Ginger, and nutty Sesame available to sample at the market.

Kalypso Greek Yogurt terra cotta pots

Artisanal yogurt was also a new item that I saw yesterday with two vendors launching their products in the market.  I tasted Kalypso Greek Yogurt and found it to be rich and creamy with a pleasant tanginess and none of the chalky backnote that I find that some yogurts have.

White Moustache Yogurt display

Another item on my shopping list for my next visit will be a pot of yogurt from the folks at White Moustache Yogurt.  I think some of this will work well with the granola-yogurt parfaits that I love having when the summertime berries come into season.

Nut Butters from The 3 Nuts

Like peanut butter?  Why not check out these nut butters from The 3 Nuts.  I really enjoyed tasting the Coconut Cashew and Salted Caramel varieties.  These would be perfect for snacking or making satays or adding to noodles.  Looks like there’s another item I need to find space for in my kitchen.

Floyd Beer Cheese

Another big hit for me and for a few others I spoke to at the end of the day was the savory, sharp, tangy Floyd Beer Cheese.  Served on a Ritz Cracker, this was a perfect snack, and one that I can see gracing the cocktail platters of many a retro-Southern-inspired party this summer season.  The only reason I didn’t take any of it home with me from the market is that I was afraid that I’d crack open the container and just eat it all in one sitting.

Pimento Cheese with jalapenos from Scharf & Zoyer

Pimento Cheese, another Southern culinary delight, made its debut yesterday at the market courtesy new food vendors Scharf & Zoyer, who were cooking up some tempting grilled cheese sandwiches.  This stuff was spice-y, maybe a bit too much so, but I could see it being a wonderful accompaniment slathered onto some creation or other.

Tuna Melt from Scharf & Zoyer

This vendor also had a Tuna Melt on an everything croissant that received high marks from several food scene folks who noshed on it.  It’s also high on my list of things to eat while there next visit, unless I get distracted by another of their amazing-sounding sandwiches.

Fixing up a brisket sandwich from Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque

There was some fierce competition yesterday for the longest line to stand on at Smorgasburg.  Usually, this honor goes to the folks at Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque for their brisket sandwiches.

Fried Chicken & Waffles from Buttermilk Channel

Buttermilk Channel‘s fried chicken and waffles might have actually taken first place in wait times this time around.  I had tasted this dish last year at the market and had enjoyed it.  It’s on the list to try again this year.

Short-rib Taco from Takumi Taco

Despite all the nibbling and tasting and sampling, after walking around checking out all the tables and stalls, I still had a bit more room left to try a little something.  At the indoor version of the Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson Place, I’d had a chance to eat Takumi Taco‘s Japanese-Mexican concoctions.  By the time I worked my way back to their table, they (along with many other vendors) had run out of some of their offerings, but their Short-rib Taco really hit the spot.

As usual on the open day for any of these seasonal markets, all the activity and hubbub are a lot to capture in just one short post so I uploaded lots of photos into Flickr to showcase the day.  There was such a positive energy in the air yesterday and whiff of anticipation for many more lovely summer afternoons to come.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit there and to discovering some more fantastic edible eats.

Buon appetito!

Support the New Amsterdam Market

New Amsterdam Market Opening Day 2012

Regular readers of this website know that I’m a huge fan of the seasonal markets here in New York City.  They are the perfect way to kick around a different part of town on a sunny, weekend afternoon.  Taking a little stroll around the market stalls, nibbling on a sweet treat or noshing on a plate of something while enjoying people watching and the pleasures of the vibrant NYC food scene gives this bustling city a more relaxed, small town feel.  One of my favorite markets to visit is the New Amsterdam Market, founded by Robert LaValva.

New Amsterdam Market at the Fulton Fish Market

Right now, the market takes place in a parking lot on the site of the former Fulton Fish Market.  For years, Robert and his supporters have been requesting that they be granted space in the abandoned fish market buildings, the development rights for which are owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation, who also holds the lease on Pier 17 in the Seaport area.  I’ve attended two hearings about this project.  One of them was last week, where a large number of people gathered to show that they are in favor of the market being included in the redevelopment plans for the area. In fact, so many folks came to support the market that the meeting had to be postponed so that it could be moved to the city council hearing room at City Hall itself, and the room was still packed.  Here’s one article summarizing the proceedings.

NAM street sign

The time to act on this project is now, while the City Council is in the public review process.  Here’s how you can help:

    • Sign the petition the New Amsterdam Market website.  Add your name to those of the thousands of other New Yorkers who would hate to see this market go away
    • Contact your city council member to let him/her know that you would like to see this market continue and to have it find a place in the re-development plans for the Seaport area.  (At the meeting on Thursday, March 14, the council people who spoke said that their constituents had told them how much having this market in the city adds to their quality of life, and is it a revenue generator and job creator, which is also important to the council)
    • Participate in the rally at City Hall tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19, from noon until 1:00 p.m. to add your voice to the others that would like to keep alive this valuable public assetRally postponed due to inclement weather.

See what chefs and others who support the market are saying about it.  Hopefully, we can all pull together to find a permanent home for the market and to have it as a integrated part of a new, dynamic South Street Seaport area that all New Yorkers will want to use.

Buon appetito!

Hurricane Sandy Updates

Tree down on the Upper East Side

It might seem as though I’ve been very quiet during the past few days, but if you follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you will see that I’ve been using my social media streams to communicate with others in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to direct folks to resources, food, water, gas, and other things that they might need.  I’ve also been checking on friends and family to see how they are and to offer a place to stay for those who don’t have power or access to their homes.

Water at the entrance to the FDR Drive

Fortunately, everyone seems to have come through safe and sound.  Folks will have to empty out their refrigerators and clean up their homes and yards, but at least they are all right physically.  Some of us took hits during last year’s Hurricane Irene, including my parents who lost power for several days.  So, this year, while I was prepared for the worst, the damage was minor, despite my hearing construction equipment flying around outside of my building on Monday night.  Today, there’s a steady hum of chainsaws and jackhammers going on outside of my window.

Debris on the FDR Drive (closed to traffic by the NYPD)

The food blogging community and food community in New York is amazing and has been sharing information and resources (especially about where to find food and water) to help get this mess cleaned up and to get the city in shape again.  I saw a Tweet about an initiative launched by Creative Culinary and Jenn Cuisine to write up a post for today about a comfort food that you’d take to a friend or a neighbor and to tag posts for today with the hashtag #FBS4Sandy.  They also ask that you donate to the relief efforts.  I’m putting up this post with a list of additional resources and tangible ways that you can contribute to helping out at this time and in the months to come.  I’m skipping over the comfort food recipe because, frankly, to be blunt about it, my friends who have had to evacuate from their homes and/or who don’t have power are not really going to be making those anytime soon.

Trash washed up on the East River shoreline

If you are are a regular reader of this website, you’ll know that I strongly support local food artisans, area markets, and the farmers markets in New York City.  I don’t have enough words to write about these terrific people and what they contribute to the city.  Right now, these folks need help, too, and may not be in a position to get loans or other types of assistance.  They have lost wages, have had inventory destroyed,  and have been unable to get to their clients during this time.  Some of them have no idea when they will get back into their kitchens or storage units.  Help them out.  Shop at their on-line stores, drop by the local NYC markets to visit them and to buy from them, send your friends and family gifts for the holidays or just because.  Also, get out there to the area markets on your next trip to the city.  These people create jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers and are an invaluable part of our community and way of life.  For more about some of them, listen to Heritage Radio Network‘s series of interviews about the storm’s aftermath:

Storm remnants - East 95th StreetConstruction site strewn down East 95th Street

Here’s a list of suggestions for places to go visit in the city this weekend, if you need to get out of your home and would like to support the city with your wallet.

Eater (also has list of where to make donations)

#EVopen (restaurants open in the East Village)

Greenmarkets (note that the Union Square one is moved to Madison Square Park)

Brooklyn Flea (Saturday and Sunday)

Smorgasburg (Saturday and Sunday)

Village Voice (list of various resources, including food distribution centers)

New Amsterdam Market is closed this weekend due to the hurricane damage, but they are hosting their Peck Slip Pickle Festival next weekend.  Also, New York Mouth is donating a portion of the proceeds from these gift packs to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. 

Here’s a partial list of other ways that you can help out with the relief efforts or get help if you need it.  I am not endorsing one organization, website or company over another.  The best way to find out what they need is to follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter, which seems to be being updated more frequently than their websites.

American Red Cross (

Brokelyn ( – various resources

Brooklyn Based ( – various resources

Brooklyn Exposed ( – various resources

Brooklyn Recovery Fund (

City Harvest (

Citymeals-on-Wheels ( – for a list of resources to access if you need food, water, food stamps, click here (


Food Bank for New York City (

Food Systems Network NYC (

Food + Tech Connect (

Friends of Firefighters (

God’s Love We Deliver (

Manhattan User’s Guide ( – lists various resources ( – including Parks Department clean-up opportunities

New York Blood Center (

New York Cares (

New York City Coalition Against Hunger (

New York Food Truck Association (with JetBlue setting up food trucks to feed people)

New York Irish Center ( – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways

Occupy Sandy (

Red Hook Initiative (

Restore Red Hook – taking funds for businesses that were in a particularly hard-hit area of Brooklyn

Salvation Army (

Slow Food NYC (

The Brooklyn Kitchen/The Meat Hook ( – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways