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A Taste Tour of the Hester Street Fair

May 9, 2010

Yesterday, Keith and I were hungry and had some cash, so we decided to eat our way through the Hester Street Fair in the Lower East Side. We had only tried the popsicles beforehand, but there were plenty of other stands that I couldn’t wait to try. I had heard a lot about the lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster in the East Village, so we went there first. They seemed a little pricey — $14 for a large lobster roll, $8 for a small — but I had a craving I needed to fulfill. They were good, with plenty of fresh lobster and a perfectly butter-griddled hot dog roll, though they could have used a little more flavor. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but next time more mayo, please.

Our next stop was Arianciata’s, which sells Italian-style rice balls. They’re new, and only sell at the Hester Street Fair (so far). We tried the broccoli and bechamel, which tasted like creamed broccoli with rice, with a crispy fried outer shell. It was good — with that combo of ingredients, how could it not be? I really want to try their sweet rice ball, for which they boil the rice in milk with cinnamon and other spices, then put in a Nutella filling and coat the fried ball in cinnamon sugar when it’s done. Sounds delish!

I needed something sweet after the rice ball and lobster roll, so we went to the Macaron Parlour stand. This stall caught my eye when we first walked into the fair. Macarons are a French treat that I can’t seem to find here (at least good ones … ) so the idea of gourmet macarons had me excited. Keith immediately gravitated to the candied bacon with maple cream cheese. I was a little skeptical — nowadays, people gratuitously put bacon in everything — but the macaron was A-MAZING. It was the perfect balance between sweet and savory, with a little piece of real bacon and subtle maple flavor. I woke up today craving one, so there’s a good chance I’ll be dragging Keith back …

Mmm, horchata pop!

Of course, I couldn’t leave the fair without a popsicle from La Newyorkina. They change their menu every week, so I wanted to see what new flavors they had. Keith tried the horchata, which is a common almond rice milk drink in Hispanic countries. It was much better than I thought it would be, with a slight hint of cinnamon and just enough creaminess without being heavy. I got the mango con chile, which was spicy and sweet, with chunks of mango. It really put me in the mood for my friend Nila’s mango salsa.

To top off our eating tour, Keith and I got a gourmet pretzel from Sigmund Pretzelshop to go. They were out of the gruyere and paprika pretzel (reason to come back?), so we got the truffle and cheddar pretz. It was peppery and soft, an interesting end to the meal.

Of course, there were tons of stalls that we didn’t get around to, but we have the entire summer to go back!

It tasted as good as a cup of coffee would.

You can't see the bacon, but it's there, I promise.

Note (from 5/11): Even though it was cold, gray and windy on Sunday, I had to go back for more macarons. This time, Keith and I tried a coffee macaron (I can’t go a day without at least something coffee-like apparently) to go with our candied bacon. SO good.

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