Summer, chased out of town by a hurricane, has quickly given way to fall—you can tell by the flavors of the street-fair cupcakes. At Madison Square Eats, the twice-a-year outdoor food bazaar in the Flatiron, loratliff discovered a winner for the season: a pumpkin spice latte cupcake from Robicelli's that is crowned with smooth, light espresso-mascarpone butter cream and topped with spiced, chocolate-covered espresso beans. It pairs perfectly with Milk Truck's malted-ball vanilla shake, which, loratliff says, "had us fighting over who got to eat the delicious candies crushed at the bottom."
The market's menu runs savory as well as sweet. loratliff says Madison Square Eats newcomer Red Hook Lobster Pound makes a standout shrimp roll seasoned with "a decadent blend of zesty tarragon mayo and roasted garlic." And Roberta's, a hound favorite, is back with inventive pizzas like the Brussel Mania, topped with Brussels sprouts, mozzarella, pecorino, and caramelized onions. "We could eat these pies all day," loratliff says. Good thing she didn't or she might have missed the tasty, tangy barbecued-pork bun from Fatty Snack, a pop-up eatery spawned by the Fatty Crew culinary empire (which also includes Fatty Crab and Fatty 'Cue). But FoodDabbler reminds us that street-fair grub can be uneven, and says the pork bun was disappointing because it consisted of bland meat on stiff, dry bread.
But the monthlong bazaar offers pleasures beyond the palate. "As we made our way back down the avenue, we watched a spectacular sunset," loratliff writes, and even in very early fall, "we could already feel just a bit of its crispness in the air."
Madison Square Eats will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through October 21.
Madison Square Eats [Flatiron]
West side of Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue between 26th and 23rd streets, Manhattan
Discuss: Madison Square Eats Fall Report