Tasting the City at Broadway Bites

There are numerous opportunities to experience the variety of restaurant offerings in New York City, including food halls, flea markets, food trucks, and food carts. Another popular option is any of the markets organized by Urbanspace. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand Broadway Bites, a pop-up food market curated by Urbanspace.

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Broadway Bites is great on so many levels. There are 28 food vendors participating in the fall market, ranging from sweet to savory and spanning the globe with different food styles and cultural influences. Meeting up with friends who all want something different? Broadway Bites is the perfect choice! Everyone can get exactly what they want, or you can get several things to share. There’s plenty of seating scattered around the park as well.

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I was invited to taste some of the delicious food offerings, and I thought I would share some of my favorites. There was this incredible truffle cheesesteak by the Truffleist, with its perfect balance of grilled meat and peppers, cheese sauce, and crusty yet soft bread, crowned with freshly-sliced truffles from Burgundy, France. The Truffleist is known for its handcrafted truffle products, and the company is based in Long Island City, Queens. More recently, they have been participating in pop-up markets and have just opened up a permanent kiosk at Gaansevort Market in Manhattan. All I can say about this is Yum! I plan on having this cheesesteak again sometime soon!

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I love poutine, that delicious Canadian comfort food that usually consists of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds – and Birds & Curds by MeltKraft offers some creative and flavorful poutine options. The Birds & Curds people suggested that I try the “Nacho Average,” a marriage between nachos and the traditional poutine. The crispy hot fries were covered in a refried bean gravy (yes, it did have that delicious flavor of refried beans) and then topped with cheese, salsa, and pickled jalapeños. Poutine traditionalists might be shocked, but this dish was really good!

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Or how about the fresh, clean taste of Gotham Poke‘s spicy tuna poke? Poke is becoming popular in New York City, with new poke shops springing up across Manhattan on a regular basis. Gotham Poke is among the best, and its spicy tuna poke included Vidalia onion, seaweed, pickled ginger, chili mayo, and gochujang sauce, and was garnished with spring onion and thinly sliced radish.

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I was intrigued by Hai Street Kitchen & Co.’s sushi burrito, which is offered in this box, almost like a present.

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Once the package was opened, I discovered this Instagram-worthy and delicious treat – this one with salmon. The “burrito” form turns the sushi roll into a hand-held street food.

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I’m a fan of Korean food, making Chingdu New Korean’s offerings intriguing. I tried this tender bulgogi, made with ribeye steak and garnished with pickles.

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The man taking orders at Bar Suzette Creperie persuaded me to try the lamb burger, topped with carmelized onions and fried goat cheese and garnished with arugula, grainy mustard, and fig jam. The goat cheese added a tangy, creamy taste to each bite, and the mustard and fig jam balanced sweet and savory.

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What made this stop particularly fun was watching one of the guys make a delicious looking crepe as I waited for my lamb burger to cook. Doesn’t this look tempting? I think it will require a return visit to try it as well!

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Perros y Vainas has one of the most colorful kiosks at Broadway bites, and is the inspiration of the people behind New York City’s very popular Wafels & Dinges, Rossanna Figuera and Thomas DeGeest.

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Perros y Vainas offers Venezuelan street-style hotdogs, which are cooked to create a crispy exterior and then loaded with a variety of toppings. I gave Rossanna free rein to garnish my hotdog as she saw fit, and this was the result – a masterpiece of flavor! My favorite part is the crispy potato sticks (papitas) that offer an unexpected but satisfying crunch with each bite. What also makes Perros y Vainas special is that Rossanna and Thomas are donating part of their sales to organizations that provide food and medical care for children in Venezuela.

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Ending on a sweet note, I stopped by Mochidoki to try some Japanese-style mochi. The ice cream comes in a variety of natural flavors and is covered in the rice-based mochi dough. Ken Gordon, the company’s founder, presented the mochi with well-found pride, and I was excited to try it. In fact, I’ve already been back to try additional flavors since my first visit. So far I’ve tried coconut, double chocolate chip, mandarin orange cream, and salted caramel – and I’ve loved them all. Another bonus for those who can’t have gluten: all but two of Mochidoki’s flavors are gluten-free!

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Want to check out Broadway Bites for yourself? The market is located in Greeley Square on Broadway between 32nd Street and 33rd, only a short distance from the 34th Street – Herald Square subway station. (The N, Q, R, B, D, F, and M trains all stop at this station.) Don’t wait too long though – the fall Broadway Bites market only continues through November 18, 2016.

Union Square Holiday Market

I recently had the chance to visit the Union Square Holiday Market, one of the markets organized by Urbanspace. Of all of the holiday markets I’ve visited this year, this one is the largest – there are more than 100 vendors in all. There are many New York City-based makers at the Union Square Holiday Market, as well as some really neat items from outside the city as well. This article will focus primarily on the local makers.

Each holiday market I’ve visited has new, unique artists and artisans for me to discover. One of the first stalls I explored at the Union Square Holiday Market was that of Brooklyn-based DeLong Ceramics. Artisan Denise DeLong creates beautiful ceramic tiles and Christmas ornaments, with most having a New York City theme.

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I loved this tile. The colors somehow remind me of the city on a rainy evening.

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And I also love this one, with its subway setting. (You know me, I can’t resist things that are in some way related to New York City’s public transportation system!)

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I also discovered Insiders1, a Brooklyn-based company that creates bags and accessories incorporating urban photography. If you are looking for a creative gift with iconic New York images, Insiders1 is a great place to start.

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Citybitz also draws from New York City for design inspiration, as well as materials in some circumstances. Owner and designer Joan Huggard combines metal, glass, resin, photography, and other materials to create classic personal accessories such as cuff links, cigarette cases, and flasks. I loved this collection that draws from the iconic Penguin mosaics found in the 5th Ave./59th St. R Station.

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Another collection, called Manhattan’s Makeup, also caught my eye. These pieces incorporate rust and paint chips from New York City landmarks, including the Manhattan Bridge and the 2nd Avenue Subway Station. The colors are vibrant, just as the city is.

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I was enchanted by the cloth dolls of Hazel Village. Made of organic cotton, each doll is delightful, and you can buy a variety of costumes and outfits to dress them in. These dolls are guaranteed to inspire a child’s imagination.

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There was something so special about artist Eve Devore’s owl prints. Her business card asks, “Curious what you would look like as an owl?” The prints are colorful, magical, and full of imagination.

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I love this Empire Owl:

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And I’ve decided that this is how I would look as an owl. This is Java Bean Owl:

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Even though I was looking primarily for makers based in New York City, I couldn’t resist the special, whimsical poem mobiles of poziepoems. But although poziepoems’ owners now live in South Africa, they started their business when they were living in New York City, so they still fit my overall theme. Each poem extends over several pieces of wood, descending one from the other. The poem changes as the breeze causes the pieces to turn, as alternative words and phrases are on the other side. They’re such a unique gift idea, and I fell in love with them immediately.

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One of the things that makes the Union Square Holiday Market fun is that its location attracts musicians as well, like the one in this photo:

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And if you get hungry or thirsty as you shop, there are plenty of food and drink options available as well. I had a luxurious cup of hot chocolate from Brooklyn chocolatier Nunu Chocolates. Yum! (Their salt caramels would make a good stocking stuffer, by the way.)

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As the sun went down, I sampled a Belgian waffle from Wafels & Dinges – it was also delicious!

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How can you get to the Union Square Holiday Market? The easiest way to get to the market is by subway. Take the L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, or 6 train to the 14 Street/Union Square station.