Madison Square Eats last week. Even though we tried to arrive on the tail end of the lunch hour, it was still packed. So we did a walk-through to strategize and split up to divide and conquer. We bypassed old favorites like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sigmund's Pretzels, or Eataly in favor of new things we hadn't eaten.
I waited in line at Asia Dog and she at Roberta's. I was torn between all the delicious dog flavors but opted to go more summery with a chicken dog topped Sydney style (Thai style relish with mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, peanuts and fish sauce). The dog itself was superb (hard to believe it was chicken!) and the relish was refreshing. We scarfed that up quickly while waiting for our pizza. We had both wanted to try Roberta's especially after 1000yregg's post. Finally the kale, leek, and ricotta pie came out. The crust was more chewy than crispy, almost like Indian naan. I kind of liked it, but I think petitesoeur was disappointed -- still hungry enough to wolf it all down though.
Mayhem and Stout, after smelling the aroma of the braised meat emanating from their stand. You get a choice of meat -- brisket, short rib, or pulled chicken; sauce -- dragon sauce, harissa, or blueberry sriracha; and relish -- pickled chilis, cucumber salad, and asian slaw. We opted for brisket with blueberry sriracha and cucumbers. Since we wanted to keep grazing, we just ate everything with a fork and left the bread. I also got a coffee popsicle from People's Pops. Petitesoeur stopped me from getting sweets from Momofuku Milk Bar because we had a bakery destination to head to in Soho.
While walking downtown, we stumbled upon L. A. Burdick Chocolates. We were drawn in by the sidewalk chalkboard offering the adorable-sounding "Chocolate penguins and mice." They were indeed very cute! Apparently Mark Zuckerberg had the penguins as party favors at his wedding. The nice girl behind the counter who tole us this also offered us a taste of the Earl Grey bonbon. In classic drug dealer style, she knew that giving the first taste for free would get you a hooked customer. So after that one we decided to buy the Richelieu -- milk and dark chocolate center with cherry liquor, dried cherries, and cumin. The cherries had a great pop of flavor, while the cumin was very subtle. The chocolatier is from New Hampshire, with locations also in Boston and NY - a great find!
Finally, we reached Dominique Ansel Bakery, which had been getting rave reviews from Serious Eats. They were out of their famous DKA ("Dominique's Kouign Amann") -- which are like croissant balls with a caramelized crust. So we ordered 2 desserts and coffee. A ganache-frosted chocolate caramel torte, and a blueberry religieuse (choux pastry filled with custard and topped with blueberry cream). They weren't bad, but they weren't great either. The crust of the chocolate caramel torte was dry. The religieuse was fresh and moist, but too sweet for our taste. It was a so-so and definitely not worth the long walk. The coffee was lame as well.
We both agreed the big winner of the afternoon was the Asia Dog. We'll have to make a point to try all the different toppings - at the Flea or Smorgasburg or Summerstage or their store in Nolita.
66 Kenmare Street (btwn Mott and Mulberry in Nolita)
NY, NY 10012
261 Moore St
(between White St & Bogart St)
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Mayhem and Stout
At the Dekalb Market, Brooklyn
L. A. Burdick
5 East 20th Street
NY, NY 10003
Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson)
New York, NY 10012