As Henry from Hong Kong Street Cart puts it, park food often consists of just “dirty water hot dogs and pretzels.” At Park Here, we worked with The Shaved Ice Shop’s Carson Yiu to curate a selection of local vendors who bring fresh-made, artisanal foods to the park. This weekend, the pop-up park has Hong Kong Street Cart, Stuffed Artisan Cannolis, YaYa Tea Garden, Nolita Mart & Espresso Bar and Intoxicating Confections. A much bigger food vendor, Starbucks, will be here on Saturday too. My favorite? YaYa’s crab onigiri. Your favorite? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and you may win something amazing. Like a Fatboy or a dozen foodie treats.
Hong Kong Street Cart
Yan Lins’ Hong Kong Street Cart is inspired mostly by homecooked meals that “touch the soul and comfort you when you taste it.” From their ginger dumpling soup to Thai iced tea crème Brulee, the local Asian street-food vendor’s recipes change with the seasons. (The boom box is evergreen, though.) Experimentation is also key – like the flaming hot chili-laced edamame with a vinegar dipping sauce and the ginger honey tea with slices of ginger root. To close out Fall, Hong Kong Street Cart was up at Madison Square Eats. Follow on Twitter @hkstreetcart
Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
Have you had the Lavazza-infused cannolis yet? The coffee flavor is just one of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis 75 artisan varieties. Run by Brielle Dahan and Anthony Fontana, Stuffed is equal parts Little Italy and LES where Dahan and Fontana brick-and-mortared until recently. “We realized that there weren’t many dessert alternatives to cupcakes, donuts, cookies and ice cream,” says Dahan. “We took a good ethnic dessert and made it better by introducing recognizable flavors.” There’s been strong desire for the cannolis.
Stuffed grew out of the 176 Stanton St. – and Attorney – location and Dahan and Fontana plan to relocate at the start of 2012. Till then, you can find Stuffed at Hana Pastry in Brooklyn and at Park Here in Nolita and popping up throughout the year at San Gennaro, Hester Street Fair, Madison Square Eats and Union Square. Join Stuffed on Facebook + Twitter @stuffedcannolis
A cake is to a handle of liquor what a cupcake is to … how about a shot? That’s the way Jenn Tang thinks about her boozy cakes, cocktail-flavored cupcake “shots” made by Tang, a former bartender. “I’m pretty good at making cocktails and I also love to bake. So I combined my two hobbies into one!” Intoxicating Confections got started when Tang headed to a baby shower with Mudslide and Margarita boozies. Liqueur taste without the alcohol! “They were a hit, and after a few more showers and parties, people started to tell me my cupcakes were good enough to sell, so I went for it!”
Nolita Mart & Espresso Bar
I’m willing to bet that there’s more good coffee in Nolita than the densest sections of Vienna. Gimme Coffee, Fiat Café, Café Habana, Café Gitane, Vive le Crepe, Ceci-Cela, Tartinery to name a few. But south of Kenmare, the options peter out quickly, leaving Nolita Mart & Espresso Bar as lone rep. Turns out their espresso is fantastic and their custom-draw Stumptown coffee at Park Here is too. Nolita Mart carries more than just beans. It’s a mini oasis in an otherwise barren strip of Mott St. They curate cheeses, beers on tap and in the bottle, gift baskets, Rick’s Picks and plenty of other artisanal items. “We only sell what we like,” says owner Selina Ho. Join Nolita Mart on Facebook and on Twitter @nolitamart. If you’re into pictures, they Flickr too.
YaYa Tea Garden
YaYa’s the most fun foodie name to say even if founder Mindy Cheung doesn’t always love it. Cheung’s rice balls – filled with crab, salmon and other fantastic fillings – are a hit at YaYa on Chrystie Street and at Park Here. Same goes for the lychee green tea and other organic flavors. Come check them out or visit YaYa on Facebook + Twitter @yayatea.
Join more than 7,500 fans on Facebook + Twitter and see the full Park Here lineup featuring free concerts, wine tastings and a dozen local food vendors at ParkHere.info. Headdown to 201 Mulberry St. in Nolita for the free pop-up park. Park Here is open from noon to 8 pm daily. Mommy Mornings is open from 8:30 am-noon daily. Spring St. on the 6 train, Broadway-Lafayette on the B,D,F,M.
Greg Spielberg | December 15 2011
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