After yesterday’s dud of an exploration, we didn’t have high hopes for the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. But the good thing about having low expectations is that you’re almost always pleasantly surprised. The Columbus Circle market is teeming with good eats, both in terms of gift-worthy bites and on-the-go snacking. Behold your four best bets.
Gul Böreks from Mmm … Enfes (pictured above): In between picking up overpriced soaps for your nieces and deciding which decorative Christmas tree ornament would be better for your office Secret Santa, carboload at Mmm … Enfes, a Turkish food stand (also at Bryant Park) selling böreks and gözleme, a sort of stuffed, griddled flatbread. Our favorite is the giant, circular-shaped feta- and parsley-stuffed börek ($6). It’s a floppy, cheesy mess to eat, but the exceedingly generous portion tastes of pure Turkish comfort.
Empanadas from La Sonrisa: Two empanada sellers grace the Columbus Circle market, La Sonrisa and Sizzles. Go for La Sonrisa, which operates a food truck out of Jersey City. Their dough is crisper, the fillings are more flavorful and of seemingly higher quality, and they’re cheaper ($3 versus $3.50, or you can get two for $5). Made to order, the golden pockets are stuffed with either beef, pulled pork, roasted chicken, veggies, or, our fave, coconut curry chicken. Wash one down with a coffee con leche ($2) and you’re good for another hour of fighting off tourists.
Sea Salt Caramels from Charley’s Organic Toffees: Salted caramel is basically edible crack. You can never get enough, and before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole package of sweets. For gourmet snacking (or stocking stuffing), head to the Charley’s Organic Toffees stand and pick up a package of the sea-salt caramels ($8). Soft and sweet with a fine crunch of salt, these buttery bites are perfectly balanced and downright delicious.
Sausages from Charlito’s Cocina: In addition to the sweet treats at the market, you’ll find some super-tasty pork products. Charlito’s Cocina sells all sorts of charcuterie favorites, from lardo to chorizo. One fave is the black-truffle salami ($15), which smacks of the musky fungi in the best way possible. Serve this as an hors d’oeuvre on Christmas. Or Hanukkah if you’re a New York Jew (meaning delicious pork products are totally kosher).
Hungry for more? Check back in tomorrow, when we pay a visit to Bryant Park as we continue the holiday-market-eats beat this week.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2011