Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Afternoon at the Peck Slip Pickle Fest

A Sunday afternoon spent in the company of pickles was a highlight of last fall. So when the days began to get shorter, my mind once again turned toward cucumbers and I found out when the next pickling festival was to be held. That's how we ended up at the New Amsterdam Market on Sunday for the Peck Slip Pickle Fest.

Last year's pickle festival was on the Lower East Side, in the heart of the city's pickle district. This year it was incorporated into the aforementioned New Amsterdam Market, a farmer's market near the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, in the shadow of the old Fulton Fish Market.

The pros: In addition to all the pickled goodies, there was the typical farmer's market fare of vegetables, meats and other treats.

The cons: There was less space for the pickle purveyors, or else they were cramped so closely together it just felt smaller. Some of our favorites from last year didn't seem to be there -- was this because of space constraints, lack of interest or the distance from their brick-and-mortar stores?

Still, we managed to sample enough pickled cucumbers, beets and even carrots to keep me satisfied for at least another year. Not so for Paul. He walked away with his own jar of pickles.

Paul's lunch of a hot dog topped with relish and spicy mustard kept with the pickling theme, but I went to the other side of the market and picked out a cheese-and-onion bialy. Turns out a bialy is just a bagel that's not boiled, topped with condiments where the hole in the middle normally would be. It kind of looked like a cheese danish.

The most interesting item I ate, however, was this: a whole pickled green tomato. You eat it just like an apple, except not even a core remains. It wasn't my favorite thing in the world -- a little too sour for my taste -- but I did feel thoroughly brined after my last bite.

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