Every spring and fall, Manhattan is blessed with Madison Square Eats, the bi-annual outdoor food festival where New Yorkers can enjoy an eclectic mix of food and drinks under the shadow of the Flatiron building. Some of the city’s most coveted food stalls will gather from April 30 to May 27 to dish out their specialties – everything from kimchi hot dogs to Cheetos-white chocolate macarons. Here, we list our top picks for you to celebrate street food with the festive crowd and talented chefs at 5th Avenue between 25th and 26th Street for spring 2016:
Sicilian street food with stands at Essex Street Market and MCU Park (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones), and coming soon to Whole Foods Market
What they serve: Arancini, or Sicilian-style rice balls made of creamy risotto mixed with different combinations of meat, vegetables, cheese or chocolate, then deep-fried. And to drink, granita, or crystalline ice (similar to a snow cone slushy) sweetened with sugar and flavors like lemon juice, oranges, strawberries or coffee.
- Bianco Rosso Verde – bright basil pesto with melted mozzarella and fresh cherry tomato for a rice ball version of a hearty pasta dish
- The Schwartz – blended bits of bacon, egg and cheese for a breakfast classic
- Nutella – a dollop of hazelnut and chocolate spread melted into sweet rice and topped with sugar crystals for a fun take on rice pudding
A boutique empanada company with a stand at the High Line; they also sell wholesale
What they serve: Empanadas, or fried dough that is crispy and flaky on the outside and tender on the inside, filled with different combinations of well-seasoned meat, cheese and vegetables.
- Coconut Curry Chicken – chicken breast with Caribbean curry mixed with sweetened coconut milk that is so tasty you will go back for seconds
- Classic Beef – spiced ground beef with sofrito, carrots and peas for an Argentinian version
- Queso – rich melted whole milk mozzarella and salted ricotta to please grilled cheese aficionados
Thai food made from original family recipes with two pop-up restaurants in the Gansevoort Market and the Urbanspace Vanderbilt Market
What they serve: Rice bowls and pad thai with different combinations of sauces, steamed buns, and beverages served in coconut shells.
- Pad Kra Pow Kai Dow Spicy Chicken or Tofu Basil – rice bowl with chicken or tofu, hot chilis, garlic and basil topped with a fried egg for an explosion of textures and flavors
- Pad Thai – stir fried noodles with chicken or tofu, eggs, lime, pepper, sprouts and peanut sauce for a taste of Bangkok
- Moo Palo Bangkok Pork Belly Bun – Thai five spice braised pork belly with a sprig of fresh cilantro cradled in a soft steamed bao bun that is the perfect size for a snack so you can have more than one
A Belgian gastropub in Chelsea with every part of the animal on its menu
What they serve: Meat-centric sandwiches packed with juice and flavor, as well as hot dogs, sausages, grilled cheese and a selection of beer, ale and cider.
- Pig’s Head Cuban Sandwich – carved pork, Vermont ham, pickle slices, gruyere and mayo on a pressed baguette for a thick and melty meal
- Grilled Cheese – succulent pork belly, crisp bacon, gooey cheddar and gruyere as the complete comfort meal
- Hot Italian Sausage – a spicy sausage sandwich with sautéed broccoli rabe & a rich parmesan cream sauce for a high quality version of the original street fair food
Two French patisseries, one in the East Village and the other on the Upper West Side; macarons also for sale in boxes of 6, 12 or 24 in their online shop
What they serve: Macarons, or a sweet and chewy pastry/cookie sandwich with a ganache or buttercream center. They put their own spin on the traditional macaron with flavors like sweet corn, earl grey, s’mores and lemon basil and they also offer macaron ice cream sandwiches, where they add a scoop of ice cream instead of the usual icing center.
- Care Bear Stare – salted caramel ice cream sandwiched between two tie dye macarons that is almost too pretty to eat
- Candied Bacon Macaron – bacon macaron cookies with a maple cream cheese filling for a burst of sweet and salty
- Cheetos Macaron – orange colored macarons with Cheetos infused white chocolate ganache topped with cheese dust for an unexpectedly wild yet sophisticated treat