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Friday Night At Madison Square Eats

Tonight, we walked over to Madison Square Park to explore the plethora of good food that has temporarily landed in General Worth Square. Madison Square Eats has brought nearly 30 food carts and restaurants to the tiny square for the remainder of May and into early June.

There’s an overwhelming amount of delicious food in such a small area, so we started by making a few laps around to size up our options. While we were deciding what we wanted to sample, we started with a homemade soda from P&H Soda Co.

P&H is Brooklyn-based and makes all of their soda syrups from fresh, all-natural ingredients. Our hibiscus lime rickey was just the right balance of sweetness, without being cloying.

Next, we wandered across Spices And Tease. The Spices And Tease booth was awash with the aroma of, well, spices and teas, and the colors and textures of the various spices and teas made for some fun photos.

They don’t yet have a permanent storefront, but their selection included some really rare things that I’ve actually never seen in the city before—dried long peppers, Ras el Hanout, and juniper berries, to name a few. They also had their own proprietary blends of rubs and teas.

Our next stop was the tent for Roberta’s. We love Roberta’s, but we don’t get to make it over to Bushwick as often as we would like, so getting the chance to have a Roberta’s pizza close to home was a treat.

We went for the Bee Sting—tomato sauce, mozzarella, and spicy soppressata, finished with a drizzle of honey. The soppressata had a nice kick, but just as the spice began to take hold, the smooth sweetness of the honey drowned it out. It was an interestingly simple combination, but certainly one that I would try again.

The Hong Kong Street Cart had a Beijing Ya bun that I wanted to try, so we got that and then headed over to former Vendy Award winner Calexico‘s cart. My duck bun didn’t disappoint, and I don’t think Ryan’s gringo ground beef taco did either.

By this point, we were pretty full so we settled in at Resto‘s comfy bar (in the middle of the Square) and shared a glass of Allagash White Ale. (By the way, we didn’t try it, but Resto apparently has a pig’s head Cuban sandwich that is so good that they keep selling out. Maybe if you get there early enough, you’ll get to see for yourself.)

The evening wasn’t complete without one last treat though—a hand-shaved ice with rhubarb syrup.

Madison Square Eats runs through June 3 and is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy!

– Laura

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San Francisco: Flour + Water

Local halibut crudo with green and red strawberries, fava beans and wild arugula.

When researching our San Francisco dining options, we both somehow stumbled across Flour + Water and decided that it was a must-try. Our dedication to trying it was much rewarded.

Located in the Mission District, Flour + Water is dedicated to local ingredients (what San Francisco restaurant isn’t?) but still relies heavily on some traditional Italian preparations. They make eight pastas in-house daily and also have a dough room where their pizza dough rises. (It can also be used as a private dining room, if you so desire.)

Our first course (shown above) was a crudo of local halibut. The buttery slices were nestled in with freshly-shelled fava beans, wild arugula and a mix of green and red strawberries. The whole thing was topped off with a simple dressing of oil, salt and pepper. We had never had green strawberries before and were impressed by their tart-sweet flavor and firm texture.

Whole-wheat strozzapretti with wild guinea hen, broccoli rabe and bresaola.

For our pasta course, also shown above, we had their homemade, whole-wheat strozzapretti with tender chunks of wild guinea hen, broccoli rabe and little cubes of bresaola. This dish was the perfect combination of umami and bitterness, as the bresaola and hen added salt, whereas the broccoli rabe gave some necessary bite. The pasta itself was just toothsome enough and also sturdy enough to stand up to the hearty guinea. Ryan claims that this dish was good enough to eat a whole container of, solo.

Pizza with morel and hen of the woods mushrooms, ramp pesto, melted leeks, and fontina.

Our last selection was the fungi pizza, with morel and hen of the woods mushrooms, ramp pesto, melted leeks and fontina cheese. This was the least impressive dish of the night, not because it was bad, but because the other two were just SO good.

We both loved everything about this meal; in fact, we loved it so much that we wanted to return but ran out of time. We found out after our dinner that one of the chefs at Ryan’s restaurant is friend with one of the chefs here, so now we have even more incentive to return in the future.

We opted out of dessert (sadly), but only because Humphry Slocombe is right around the corner, but that’s a tale unto itself. (Preview: balsamic caramel ice cream and Amarena cherries.)

– Laura and Ryan

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