‘Tis the season to spend mad money on everyone in your life. If you’re not down with buying booze or quirky gifts for your loved ones this holiday season, the city’s bounty of holiday markets offer a nice selection of unique presents. Even better, most markets offer a selection of snacks, foodie gifts, and full-on eating. Throughout the week, we’ll be highlighting the culinary offerings at the city’s holiday markets. Up first: the South Street Seaport Holiday Market.
Truth be told, we’re going to start off the week with the worst. It’s not so much that the South Street Seaport market is a total dud, but it’s not really worth going there unless you live or work in the immediate neighborhood. The gifts mostly comprise scarves, hats, and ornaments, while the food is limited to three stalls. But of those three stalls, here’s what to order:
German Christmas Market’s Smoked Cheese Sausage With Sauerkraut: Brats and sausages are a common sight at almost all of the city’s holiday markets, ostensibly because of the portability of a sausage in a bun. Two kinds of sausages are available: a classic bratwurst and a smoked sausage filled with cheese. The cheese option is the clear way to go. It’s got good meaty flavor and the squirts of cheese every now and then add to the excitement. Top it off with some sauerkraut and mustard and you’ve got a winning lunch. At $6, it’s not cheap, but it’s a better deal than the market’s sweet options.
German Christmas Market’s Crepe With Nutella: The market also boasts a stand selling overpriced crepes. Admittedly, the Nutella used in the crepes is the European kind, which is better because it has less sugar and more hazelnuts (and uses vegetable oil instead of palm oil). That part of the crepe was good, but the crepe itself was doughy and wasn’t spread out well on the griddle, resulting in unwanted lumps. At $8, this can be skipped.
Mrs. Smith’s Salt and Vinegar Popcorn: The final food stand (though there is a stand selling hot drinks) is Mrs. Smith’s Popcorn, which happens to be setting up a brick-and-mortar shop on Pier 17 in the spring of 2012. Naturally, this stand specializes in kettle corn and flavored popcorns, the surprise hit of which was the salt-and-vinegar popcorn. Maybe we’re biased because salt-and-vinegar is our favorite potato-chip flavor and we’re always looking for more ways to incorporate salt and vinegar into our life. If you like popcorn, the $7.99 bag might be worth investing in.
From an overall culinary standpoint, however, this market was probably the worst of all the ones we’ve visited. But that just means we’re saving the best for last. Check back throughout the week for roundups of the eats and treats at the Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square markets. Season’s eating is just getting started.