By Ming Hu
April showers bring May Madison Square Eats…food avalanche. Any other time Worth Square is just a tiny, forgettable pedestrian space on 24th and 5th, but from May 4th to June 1st, it’s an impressive display of some of the city’s most popular eateries. I admit, I’m not one for food festivals as the crowds and lines for food make me angry and lose my appetite, but the energy at Madison Square Eats is euphoric and mouthwatering.
Most of the vendors serve fancy wine and beer too – total foodiewin. You’d think that in such a small space, these eateries would have limited and boring menus, but then you’d be terribly, terribly wrong. The selection and variety are so eclectic and vast that you’ll find yourself circling tiny Worth Square a few times while the paradox of choice kills you internally. Once you’ve grudgingly made a decision and paid for your food at one stand, you’ll see something someone else is eating and cry with buyer’s remorse. Luckily, Madison Square Eats will be around every day from 11am to 9pm, so you can try anything and everything a few times over.
Members of Madison Square Eats Team 2012:
Graffiti | Mehtaphor
Hong Kong Street Cart
Hot Blondies Bakery
Mayhem & Stout
Momofuku Milk Bar
Red Hook Lobster Pound
Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
I often venture to Madison Square Eats for a second lunch, coffee break, pre-dinner snack, and a post dinner bite. Most recently, I tried the Pork Belly Buns from Hong Kong Street Cart which were really 50% fat, but I wasn’t complaining. The fatter, the better. It was moist, savory, and smoky.
The Shaved Ice from Sunflower Ice was very different from any shaved ice I’ve had before. Instead of a pile of snow, I found sheets of smooth, soft, and creamy ice. The ice resembled so much like sheets that I almost returned it to the food stand because I thought they mistakenly put wet napkins in my dessert. I almost had an “OMG, EW” moment, but I came to my delicious senses. I don’t know how they do it, but it was really good.
Next, I dived into the Nero di Seppia from Arancini Brothers, a deep fried, lightly breaded squid ink risotto ball with spicy shrimp filling. The filling wasn’t at all spicy, but it was perfectly cooked inside – moist, flavorful, and chewy. Nothing was missing. It was perfect as is. It kind of tasted like a familiar Chinese dish, but I can’t put my finger on it.
I can’t wait to try all the other goodies during the next few weeks! That’s right, I said weeks. If you see a woman gorging on food, with her pants looking slightly tighter each day, that’s probably me. Come say hi and tell me what’s your favorite thing from the menus.