This past Sunday was the best I’ve had in a long while. Sure, it was humid and my hair very closely resembled something like an electrocuted poodle, but I spent my whole afternoon wandering around the New Amsterdam Market in New York (fave city) with Jing (fave person, and also a fellow food addict).
The New Amsterdam market, located in the old Fulton Fish Market space in southern Manhattan, happens only once a month. The highly curated market is strictly food based and focuses more upon local, artisanal producers, though there are a few farms represented there as well. It’s complemented by the weekly Fulton Farm Stalls that run along South Street.
We started off at the farm stalls before diving into the craziness of the market. Our first stop was at Spices and Tease, a (surprise surprise) tea and spice vendor. Dozens of spices and unique tea blends were spread out in simple metal mixing bowls, with the colors lending some much needed vibrancy to the very grey day we had.
My stomach was growling loud enough to attract the attention of people near us, though, so I moved along and picked up some zucchini parmesan bread from the bakery stall next door.
It was soft, delightfully light and was delicately flavored, rather than overwhelmed, by tangy, salty parm. The zucchini also added a delectable moisture, making the bread almost buttery.
Next came Guerrilla Ice Cream, and the super friendly owners Ori and Ethan. As it turned out we got there before the ice cream did, so Jing and I camped out in front of the stand for about 15 minutes and chatted with Ori. We learned a lot; Ori works in advertising by day while Ethan is a chef, formerly of Allen & Delancey. The guys make their ice cream one quart at a time (so there are no stabilizers, preservatives, or other weird and unpronounceable things you find in store bought brands) and have crazy unique flavors with complementing toppings that they switch up on a near-daily basis.
The flavors –and their quirky, smart names– are inspired by different revolutionary movements from around the world, as is their philanthropic bent (see sign above). I had been told that there might be sticky rice ice cream with a soy-caramel sauce (hence the determination to be first in line), but it sold out the day before. Instead I “settled” for creamy cappuccino ice cream lightly flavored with cinnamon and topped with walnuts and perfectly chewy raisins (I almost skipped the raisins but Ethan insisted that I’d like them, and he was oh so right).
Jing had a rich dark chocolate ice cream cut with tangy port wine undertones, topped with cashews and slices of frozen banana that were bruléed with brown sugar right before our eyes.
The flavors of ice cream were amazing, but what really won me over was the combination of textures. Anyone who knows me will tell you I get cravings for textures of certain foods (kookaburra licorice and soft chocolate chip cookies with fat and slightly firm chocolate chunks being two of my top vices). Regular ice cream just melts away into liquid in your mouth, and chocolate chunks, hunks of cookie dough or anything else added into the mix beforehand gets frozen into hard blocks that could crack a tooth. The creamy mouth feel of Guerrilla was made even better against the soft crunch of walnuts, the pull of chewy raisins, the delicate crackle of caramelized sugar giving way to the resistance of lightly thawed banana. And of course, it didn’t hurt that the guys didn’t get the least bit annoyed with us when we took a good five minutes (after our initial 15 minutes of stalking) to make flavor decisions. PS, they’re cute too.
Next came Sweet Tallulah, a lovely purveyor of equally lovely baked goods. My eye was particularly drawn to a strawberry oat bread and her prettily packaged mixes (did I ever tell you I’m a sucker for packaging?).
Tallulah makes and designs all of the packaging herself and will change her recipes as needed based upon what looks best at the markets, guaranteeing top-notch flavors each time. We promised to come back later to purchase the strawberry bread, but it sold out … until next time Tallulah!
Our last visit before heading into the market itself was The Amazing Real Live Food Co where, if I had been wearing socks, they would surely have been knocked off by the Charousse. It’s kind of like the cheese equivalent of a Dragon Roll; inside you get a cultured, semi-soft farmer’s cheese, which is then smothered in ooey-gooey Camembert and neatly snuggled inside a bitter ash rind.
If I didn’t have an epic bus journey back to DC, I would have bought one under the logic that it contains live bacterial cultures which are definitely good for me. Unlike the cheese itself, which in more than moderate portions (self-control is not one of my strong points) is definitely not. Especially when served on top of crunchy-soft fresh baguette with a little drizzle of honey and maybe some crumbled walnuts …?
Seeing as this post is about to rival Tolstoy for length, I’ll save the market itself for another post. I also have one extra-special stop at the Farm Stalls waiting in the wings for its very own, very yummy post … so check back in soon!