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Hester Street Nights – Turning Up the Heat on Street Food

Food fairs are popping up everywhere these days and we say the more the merrier.  In our opinion, the next best thing to a great meal at a restaurant is an equally great meal at summer street festival where you get to sample the best of several talents in one foul swoop instead of investing your appetite in one restaurant with just one chef.  Not to mention how affordable street food is.

Over the past few years, Hester Street Fair has been a veritable tasting ground, a one-stop shop for our favorite vendors and artisans.  But the festival upped its game last week with the debut of Hester Street Nights.  What’s it all about?   In a nutshell, it’s an all star line-up of terrific bites from the sweet to the savory — alcohol-infused cupcakes, lobster rolls, Peruvian pastries, tater tot mac n’cheese… you get the drift.

The line-up returns every Thursday night at the Eventi Open Air Plaza from 4 to 9 pm through Labor Day.  Here’s a tip: Get there on the early side. (By the time we got there last week, the Gourmet Mac n’ Cheese had already sold out of their signature, tater tot mac n’cheese.  No matter.  There’ still Schnitz NYC’s tasty take on Israeli schnitzel — a perfectly fried chicken thigh, breaded with panko and parsley, tucked into a soft pretzel roll with a generous smear of caramelized onion dijon mustard and their housemade pickled daikon, cucumber, shallot, and ginger relish. That’s not the half of it.

From Israeli street food to Japanese “junk food”, Mimi and Coco offers Teriyaki Balls — stuffed with your choice of country sausage, organic potato, or shrimp — topped off with teriyaki sauce, light mayo, tempura flakes or sliced almond.

But enough of the savory, there’s sweets to consider, too.  Melt Bakery is on hand serving up crazy good ice cream sandwiches (chocolate cookies stuffed with peppermint ice cream), while Jessy’s Pastries has got a great selection of alfajores – two buttery cookies stuffed with Nutella or Dulce de leche.  But the real show stopper here are the boozy cupcakes courtesy of Prohibition Bakery. We highly suggest the Pretzels and Beer, a bite-size cupcake packing some serious pale ale punch, Nutella, pretzel, and truffle,  the Margarita or Irish Car Bomb. Alcohol and dessert in one?  Genius.

RG Writer: Ali Baker