Street-fair crawling is thirsty work, so loratliff was grateful to find that Madison Square Eats, the open-air noshing and shopping bazaar, pours a refreshing hibiscus lime rickey from P&H Soda Co. This Brooklyn-based company makes soda syrups in small batches from natural ingredients, a world apart from the mass-produced stuff. loratliff's quencher (other flavors include ginger and cream) struck "just the right balance of sweetness without being cloying." For a different kind of quaff, she suggests a beer at the bar run by Resto, perhaps the Belgian-style white ale from Allagash Brewery in Maine.
Madison Square Eats is the new springtime incarnation of the Madison Square Market, an annual pre-holiday event that's become a hound grazing ground, and several past favorites are back, including Roberta's from Brooklyn. loratliff enjoyed its Bee Sting pizza, with a kick from spicy soppressata tamed by a touch of honey. Another familiar sight is Calexico, the popular cart-and-restaurant outfit, which is hawking tasty tacos with pork or ground beef, among other things.
Newcomers include Hong Kong Street Cart, with a menu that includes pillowy wheat buns filled with roast duck, cucumber, and hoisin, and Spices and Tease, with an eye-catching and aromatic booth that offers an inviting array of herbs, teas, and spices, including dried long peppers, juniper berries, and the North African seasoning ras el hanout. Among numerous dessert options, kathryn recommends the unusual bourbon-flavored ice cream from Goat Town.
There are around 30 vendors in all—here's a partial list—so loratliff suggests scoping out the whole layout before plunging in. The market is open daily through June 3 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Madison Square Eats [Flatiron]
West side of Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue between 26th and 23rd streets, Manhattan