CHOW Tour
Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. rss
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Flea Market Food in Brooklyn

No food-focused trip to Brooklyn would be complete without a stop at the Brooklyn Flea, a Saturday outdoor flea market that has become ground zero for the Brooklyn artisanal food scene. It's held in a schoolyard in Fort Greene. Residents Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler started the flea two and a half years ago, says Demby, as a spot for vendors, including those traditionally parked at the Red Hook Ball Fields. (The much-loved vendors have ongoing issues with permits and the city.) Antiques dealers, crafters, and other food vendors followed suit, and the Flea suddenly became a kind of testing ground for everything from start-up candy makers to kimchee-topped-hot-dog sellers.

Even though it was really, really hot out, the market was packed with people checking out the assortment of midcentury modern furniture, antique pendants, groovy used threads, and seriously good food. From the group of more than a dozen stands, we gravitated immediately toward People's Pops. We tried their sour cherry shave ice, made old-timey-style from a giant block of ice and a scraper, and an apricot lavender popsicle. The shave ice was natural tasting, rather than syrupy and artificial, and the popsicle had a nice flavor too, although Roxanne wished it had had a bit less fruit pulp, and more juice.

We caught the insanely fresh-looking lobster rolls from the Red Hook Lobster Pound on camera (you can actually see big pieces of red-tinged meat, rather than mystery chunks doused in mayo). However, it was too hot for us to want to commit to eating one. We picked apart a quality soft pretzel from Sigmund Pretzel Shop: It had a substantial crust, giving way to a good chewy body. We learned that Sigmund, which also has a brick-and-mortar outpost in the East Village, has just landed a coveted contract for a cart outside the Met where they'll begin vending soon. Nice goin'!

We were sad to see that Brooklyn Soda Works (we've written about them before) weren't at the market, nor were Liddabit Sweets, makers of addictive beer-and-pretzel caramels. But that's the beauty of the Flea—you never know who will be there, or what new treats might make the scene.