renegade craft fair: new york edition


I love a good fair. Craft fair, food fair, furniture fair… really anything but a street fair. You know, the kind that shuts down part of Sixth Avenue when you’ve decided that’s the day you’re going to rent a zipcar and go to Home Depot or something.

There is no shortage of craft/food/antique fairs to choose from in New York City. For example, I’ve blogged before about the Hester Street Fair; have spent many a happy afternoon wandering the outdoor Brooklyn Smorgasburg; there’s still the Brooklyn Night Bazaar to try out, and MadSqEats in the fall is one of my favorites for food. Two weeks ago a friend and I checked out the new winter home of the Brooklyn Flea in Crown Heights after our Brooklyn Bodyburn class, and poked our heads into the adjoining Berg’n beer hall, too. I am also highly excited for the Hester Holiday Market opening on December 1st at One Penn Plaza. Hey, sometimes I’m in midtown.

Last weekend the Renegade Craft Fair came to town – it’s been here before, I’ve just always missed it in the past. Unlike some of the other markets, it doesn’t hang around. It’s here for two days and then it’s gone, so I was thrilled to finally attend, and I have to say I was really pleased to see such quality stuff, and to chat with small business owners and makers who are really excited and passionate about what they do. There was a little bit of everything – clothing for women, men, kids. Great scarves, bags, and jewelry. Really yummy bath and beauty stuff. Beautiful ceramic vases and spoon rests. And my favorite category – kitchen and tabletop goods, like tea towels, wooden spoons, cast iron pans, trivets, and aprons. You name it, someone is making it. These are some of my favorites! Enjoy.

1 planters from Cara Taylor ceramics | 2 wooden arrow spoons (plus everything else) from Amelie Mancini | 3 indigo clothing & accessories from Katrin Reifeiss | 4 ceramic sake set from Soul Vessel Designs | 5 i’d like everything from btw ceramics, but this striped serving bowl is top of the list | 6 all kinds of beautiful wooden boards and serving pieces at East to West Woods | 7 Herbivore Botanicals gorgeous Pink Clay soap | 8 i love the knotted ropes from Tack & Ward | 9 city metro maps from line posters…especially the Paris one.

cheese, please

across the pond raw cows milk cheese from lucy’s whey

i hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. we had great weather here in nyc… the kind where it’s a shame to be indoors for even one minute.

being a total cheese nerd, of course i had to go to the cheese market and dairy bar at the new amsterdam market on sunday. i love this market – it’s steps from where the famed fulton fish market was held for years before moving to the bronx, it’s in lower manhattan, which is steeped in the (to me) fascinating history of the first dutch settlement in what we now call manhattan, starting around 1609, and it’s right on the water, with the brooklyn and manhattan bridges posing nicely in the background. it’s also held directly under an overpass of the fdr freeway, making it a wonderfully loud and uniquely nyc-style experience.

in addition to buying as many goodies as i could carry – including some amazing sullivan street bakery bread with tomatoes baked right in –  i also had a milk tasting. it was kind of like having a flight of wine… but instead you sample milk from different breeds of cows. how great is that? see more photos from the afternoon below…

(all photos by laurakinsey)

friday favorites…

happy friday, everyone.

don’t ask how, but i managed to come down with a major sinus infection during the heatwave we’ve been having here on the east coast. i’m hoping to shake it by tomorrow so i can practice some baking. turning on the oven might sound like a dumb idea, but there are so many fruits and berries available right now… it just seems like the perfect time to experiment.

if the weekend lasted more than two days, i’d love to do each and every one of these things:

the cheese market and dairy fair at the new amsterdam market tops my to-do list on sunday!

visit monet’s garden exhibit at the new york botanical center

check out williamsburg’s farmers market

a class in making and decorating model boats? sounds interesting…

take a tour of castle williams on governors island

visit the cloud city exhibit by tomás saraceno at the met

(image credits herehere, and here) 

hester street fair

last summer i became a huge fan of the hester street fair, which is held every saturday on the lower east side in manhattan. well, every saturday from mid-spring to mid-fall, that is, and when they closed up shop last october, it gave me mild anxiety. which is why i was so excited when i heard saturday was opening day. i contemplated going at 10 on the dot but waited until the more respectable hour of 2pm to stuff myself. and i ate enough calories to cover me for about 3 days…but it was totally worth it.

favorites? the korean bulgogi from we rub you. grilled, thin-sliced marinated beef with sesame apple slaw, plus shredded carrots and cilantro on a challah roll. i mean, come on! i could have eaten two. or six, but i wanted to save room for other things.

i scarfed a couple of pork tacos from brooklyn taco. enjoyed a to-die-for cup of salted caramel crack ice-cream from ample hills creamery. downed a mini mojito flavored cupcake from prohibition bakery and a little s’more from s’amore! (which i love – see this old post). the sugar was starting to hit and my friend betty jo and i were super full. she got coffee from the amazing cafe grumpy and we walked around some more, looking at prints and jewelry and old books… but thoughts quickly returned to food. should we get a lobster roll from luke’s? a ricotta cheesecake pie from pie corps, or maybe a popsicle from la newyorkina? i did buy the fruit & nut granola from spatzi’s and thought about buying some pickled cauliflower from sour puss pickles. but i was too full and suddenly my bag felt to heavy. i know what the solution is.  i will have to go back next week.

(the hester street fair runs saturdays 10-6 from april 28th – oct 27th. more info here)

snack of the week: cookies!

did you know there is a cookie bar at whole foods on houston street? a COOKIE BAR! what are they trying to do to me? i was there to get spelt flour and a few other things, including a salad, when i spotted it. i couldn’t resist the vegan gingersnap sandwich cookies with vegan frosting (top photo). they got a little banged up on the way home, but they were tasty… and if they weren’t labeled as vegan i’d never have known. (i’m not a vegan, but i like to taste-test vegan baked goods sometimes to see if they taste as good as the real thing…. these did!)

in other cookie news… Gourmet Guild opened recently in my neighborhood, and mk and i stopped in last weekend to see what’s going on in there. it’s great – kind of like a mini-market of brooklyn-based (or at least new york based) food artisans. several companies i recognized from the outdoor summer markets, like La Newyorkina and Kings County Jerky, but there were some new-to-me faces, too. couldn’t pass up a package of chocolate chili cashew biscotti (bottom two photos) from Whimsy & Spice. they are seriously divine, and they tasted sooo good dunked in my afternoon macchiato.

on the Whimsy & Spice website, i loved reading about this brooklyn-based company run by husband/wife team Mark & Jenna. he does the baking, and she does (among lots of other things) the packaging and product photography, AND manages the blog sweetfineday. i’m adding it to my list of daily must-reads.

(photos by laura kisney)

nothing’s better than: a weekend brunch

i’ve been dying to try it, and last weekend it finally happened.

brunch at the fat radish. i’ve been obsessed ever since eating a rhubarb trifle from their table at the hester street fair earlier this summer.

it was so good. as i shoveled that trifle into my mouth some man took my picture. he said he worked for the NY Times and could i sign this release form? they were working on a story about how popular street fairs and flea markets have become. duh.

they didn’t use the photo for the article. (i must have been chewing with my mouth open!) still worth reading, though.

back to brunch. potato and cheddar cake over sauteed brussel sprouts with a little bacon and a perfectly poached egg. spiced poached pears with a little homemade ricotta cheese. perfect meal… beautiful space with whitewashed brick walls and gorgeous, sophisticated holiday decorations. love.

snack of the week: s’mores from S’amore

this saturday, i made my first stop at Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market. it’s a mix of food and retail vendors selling their wares out of salvaged shipping containers. great idea, right?

except that now i have what could become a serious problem – constant cravings for homemade s’mores from s’amore.

i had the classic combo – homemade honey graham cracker with homemade vanilla marshmallow and a little bit of chocolate. the marshmallow gets toasted with a little mini-torch, and damn if it’s not the best thing i’ve eaten in the last 4 days.

the great thing is that you can choose from all kinds of marshmallows… vanilla, peppermint, chai…and different kinds of graham cracker… chocolate, salted caramel, pumpkin…and instead of a square of chocolate, you can have nutella, a peanut butter cup, or cream cheese frosting! (these are just a few options – see more here!)

the other great thing is that two NYC gals started this business. love that!

(photo courtesy of

who needs flowers…

photo by laurakinsey

…when an arrangement of lettuces is just as fetching? these are from the farmer’s market that’s held behind east hampton town’s american legion hall. they were picked this morning, and made a fantastic base for my lunch salad.

perfect sunday: the new amsterdam farmer’s market

one of the best things to do on a beautiful NYC weekend is to scavenge around at a local farmer’s market for some good eats. i’m not alone in this opinion – new yorkers are becoming flea and food market crazed, and for good reason. they are fun.  

radishes. gorgeous, right? (photo by laura kinsey)

the other day i biked my way over to this season’s debut of  the New Amsterdam Market, located in the quietly fantastic South Street Seaport neighborhood. aside from the things that draw tourists but rarely draw locals (some bad restaurants, the TKTS booth, the chain retail stores), there is a lot to love down here – a great wine shop, a pet boutique, some restaurants that are actually good, cobblestone streets. and with all those boats, a reminder that manhattan is actually an island. (i think we tend to forget!)

this market differs from the hester street fair and the brooklyn flea (more on that to come) in that there are no beaded necklaces, stuffed animals, or mismatched china sets for sale. it’s all about food, both of the eat it now and take it home and cook it variety.

the only thing i didn’t eat on the spot was a tiny jar of smoked pork rillettes from Brooklyn Cured. i had a sample on a small piece of toast and was hooked. but there’s more. ohhh… much more.

roasted vegetable and goat cheese toasts from Sunday Gravy (photo by laura kinsey)
lobster roll from Luke's Lobster (photo by laura kinsey)
sweet & savory pie pops from Pie Corps. (photo by laura kinsey)

these little pies on a stick were the highlight of the day. savory option was bacon jam, sweet option was grapefruit. am i nuts? i got the grapefruit, and it was fab. never had a grapefruit-marmelade style pie filling before. tough choice, though. next sunday i may have to bike back for that bacon jam version.