Hester Street Fair in NYC 2011
The lively, fun and, especially, the TASTY (if also: the crowded and prone-to-sell-out-by-3:00) Hester Street Fair in NYC is opened for its second season last Saturday, and was greeted with enormous enthusiasm by throngs of the hungry from all over town. Yes, the fair edition, still does have plenty of unique and talented craftspeople and designers hawking their wares, and the vendors of such items on this day were definitely all solid. But the overwhelming focus of the Hester Street Fair in 2011 is the food, with nearly half of the 60 booths dedicated to locally-made/baked/jarred/frozen artisanal culinary treats.
We had a great time on Saturday wandering and browsing and goofing and chatting with the vendors and, of course, eating the equivalent of at least two meals over the course of an hour or so. Between the Hester Street Fair, the Brooklyn Flea, and the soon-to-open New Amsterdam Market near the Seaport, we could spend every weekend, all summer long, on some great culinary adventure!
Hester Street Fair vendors rotate in and out with varying degrees of frequency, so you should either just show up willing to be surprised and delighted, or you get a peek at which week's lineup on their website, here. Anyway, here's a look at some of our favorites booths last weekend…
Those world-class chocolatiers at Roni Sue's are back again–seriously, Roni Sue's still makes the best chocolates in town–as usual sharing space with the equally world-class bakers at First Prize Pies, which showcased these five-dollar, four-bite beauties in a variety of flavors, including the incomparable 'Smores.
Marushka's Stinky & Minky booth had lots of appealing, retro-ish, punk-ish children's clothing, but it was her bold and graphic bags that really caught our eye, won our heart, opened our wallet.
The friendly folks at La Sonrisa were busy all day at the Hester Street Fair, feeding us with Pulled Pork Sliders and Empanadas in traditional (ground sirloin with market veggies) and internationally-inflected flavors (coconut curry chicken).
Arancini Brothers opened a storefront in Bushwick over the winter, the better to supply the city with their marvelous stuffed-and-fried Risotto Balls, but they'll also be at the Hester Street Fair most of the summer, and should NOT be missed.
Alyson of the I Love You Project was live and in person, living her dream of spreading fortune and good will to all via these simple but compelling I Love You shirts. It works like this: Alyson buys vintage tops of all sorts at local, charitable second-hand stores, prints I Love You on them front and center, sells them here, and sends a portion of the proceeds to her own favorite charities. Winners–and lots of LOVE–all around!
The veggie-centric restaurant Fat Radish–located right up on Orchard Street–represented as well, with two kinds of Pot Pie (Celery Root and Ham and Leek) as well as a superb Rhubarb Trifle, the sourish fruit covered in a sweet almond cream.
Miss Wit covered the funny and clever t-shirts category in style, with a wide variety of appropriately ironic and/or mash-up-ish designs.
The great Sigmund Pretzelshop had their usual delicious offerings at the Hester Street Fair, as well as one of the best cookies we've had all year, the insane Wancko's, a dreamy chocolate chip, peanut butter, pretzel chunk monster.
Mighty Balls were slinging satisfying, build-your-own sliders, with a "meat ball" base made of pork, beef, or veggie, and topped with everything from brown gravy to jalapeno jelly to cranberry horseradish to goat cheese, yum!
There was lots of cool local jewelry designers on hand, but our favorite booth in this category had to be Saru Star, with Sayo Granich-Lee's lovely and interesting pieces made with a variety of usually mundane materials such as stones, non-slip flooring, New York City street dirt, and, "unused acrylic denture teeth".
The Hester Street Fair 2011 Details
The Hester Street Fair 2011 is located on Hester and Essex Streets on the Lower East Side, in the northern end of Seward Park, and open every Saturday , from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, from now through the mid-autumn. For more information–and some great photographs of the Hester Street of yore, please visit the Hester Street Fair NYC website.