Gorging at “Mad Sq Eats – Fall 2013”

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Earlier in the year, we hit the Spring edition of Mad Sq Eats 2013 with some serious coverage/ overeating. It took us a few months to get ready for the Fall edition, which opened on September 25 and is currently going on outdoors at Madison Square Park.

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Many of our old favorites had returned, including Roberta’s Pizza, Asia Dog, Arancini Bros., Artisan Cannoli, La Sonrisa Empanadas, Momofuku Milk Bar, Seoul Lee Korean BBQ, and many others. If you want to see what we thought of their food, check out the links scattered earlier in the post. In the meantime, we decided to try some of the new items for this fest, and found a few worth nomming on, and a few worth skipping!

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Our friends at Charlito’s Cocina were back in attendance with a few new salami’s, a spicy salami with a mighty kick of heat at the end that will clear your sinuses up, but not burn your insides to the point of no return. You can get a free sample of most of the sausages on display, but I urge you to ask for a sample of their newest flavor, which is typically refrigerated. Their new cognac salami has to be tasted to be believed, with a smooth caramel aftertaste that gives the eater a cool mouth-feel after. Definitely a one-of-a-kind salami that will be a big hit during the holiday season, do not hesitate to ask for a taste at their booth… just be prepared to buy one after since you will be hooked.

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The Bomb Chicken Waffle slider from Slide Restaurant ($6 for a single slider, $15 for three) was exactly what I was looking for at this event. Take a buttermilk fried chicken breast and top it with a (manageable) heap of spicy coleslaw and slather it in a maple bourbon pear butter, then topping it with a freshly made cheddar waffle, and you have the golden-fried ambrosia that your Sunday brunch needs.

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A really fun stall that popped up for the Fall edition of Mad Sq Eats was the “Doughnuttery” booth, making freshly fried yeast mini-doughnuts to order, bathed in flavored sugars to give you the fancy taste without the high triglyceride content. Normally found within Chelsea Market, you can now get a half-dozen of these petite donuts at the food fair for $6, seasoned right in front of you from their deep menu of coatings. I had three Cacaoboy (Cacao nibs, Chocolate Cookies, Mesquite ) and three Urban Monkey (Coffee, Banana, Coconut) mini’s, which sadly did not live up to the taste of the plain, glazed, or sprinkled ones that they were handing out for free (which were spectacular). Nothing beats a freshly fried warm doughnut, but the flavors of these were far more pronounced once they cooled down. Unfortunately, neither one had very strong flavors, as I got none of the promised flavors in my Cacaoboy, and just a banana flavor from the Urban Monkey. I enjoyed my doughnuts and definitely want to try some more, but this particular pair I will pass on the next time I swing by the Doughnuttery.

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Another favorite from the last event was the Hong Kong Street Cart. HK Street Cart does not have a brick and mortar at this time, so the only way to try them out is to head down to whatever food fest they are doing. After the great Pork Belly bun ($4) I had from them at the last event, I had to have another, and waiting this many months in between was torture. Temptation was too much for me, though, and I had to have one of their new items as well – the fried Snow Crab Claws ($10). A trio of tasty seasonal crab claws, wrapped in a shrimp paste and deep fried, came served on a bed of bitter greens and accompanied with a Sriracha tartar sauce for a great medley of spicy and sweet. I only wish there were more than three claws, or at the very least, the salad had something more than just one type of green.

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The Garlic and Parsley pretzel from Sigmund’s was a great German pretzel, along with their plain salt version. I tried a few different pretzels from them, which can be joined with a dipping sauce of your choosing (but should always be the potent German mustard), and while nothing jumps out to make me flip my lederhosen, nothing beats a pretzel and a mug of stout, so head to Sigmund’s booth after your feet get weary from trekking the rest of the show.

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This mighty meatball sandwich ($5) came from the trendy SD26, which was easily one of the most affordable new booths at Mad Sq Eats. This contemporary Italian restaurant brought some modernized old-school favorites to this food fair, and their version of a meatball hero comes overloaded with delicious meatballs and a lovely marinara sauce to keep them moist, squeezed between a soft brioche bun. Very tasty, and one of the few stalls at this event offering you a meal for under $10 (I will go out on a limb and call them the cheapest booth in the entire event, but you are welcome to prove me wrong in the comments).

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One of their show exclusives was the Prosciutter ($3), which I surmised as being a savory version of a cronut, was not too far off. A small croissant was split, and stuffed with prosciutto and bufala mozzarella, the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and savory. A great quick bite to eat, buying just one was very hard to do.

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There is plenty more to see and eat at Mad Sq eats, as there always is, but my stomach can only handle so much. Stay tuned in case I get ambitious again and try to trek back for a second helping. In the meantime, you can check out Mad Sq Eats from now until October 26 in Madison Square Park.

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