It is truly amazing how quickly time flies by. In this case, the end of Mad. Sq. Eats was quickly approaching (June 3rd). The combination of errands in the area and CT being out of town next weekend, motivated us to return for a Saturday lunch. I was keen on trying some of the things we didn’t get to try last time and seeing if any of the stalls had some new offerings.
Last time, we were there on a Friday night and Sunday afternoon so we missed out on ilili’s whole roasted lamb. Unfortunately, since we were having a very early lunch, the lamb was still being prepped for the spit. I for one was glad the chef covered the eyeballs with a heavy coating of spices. Creepy!
Good to go!
It was already getting pretty hot, so CT decided to cool off with an iced tea ($2) from Spices and Tease. She got the green tea, mango pineapple, roobibos and lemongrass. She graciously shared it with me. It was a great way to cool off. The roobibos was the predominant flavor, but the other ingredients were still present.
CT says: I liked that the tea tasted like tea, with just a hint of mango and lemongrass in the background.
Our other goal was to finally try the Calexico cart. Our FBM friends Goats & Cheeeese checked out the cart and told us it was worth the hype. I ordered the Chipotle Pork burrito($8) served in a warm flour tortilla with rice, black beans, cheddar, monterey jack, pickled red onions, crema and pico de gallo. The burrito was quite hearty with a mess of fillings. I would hesitate to eat this on a workday for fear of getting something on my clothes. The flavors were spot on and had a nice bit of heat to it. It was one of the best burritos I ever had in Manhattan.
I also decided to add on a Pollo Verde taco ($3) for good measure. It had slow cooked chicken in a tangy tomatillo sauce, pickled jalapenos, cotija cheese on a warm corn tortilla. The chicken was moist and flavorful, not easy for white meat. They passed the taco test with the use of two corn tortillas to minimize the chance for breakage.
CT says: I really enjoyed the burrito as well and thought it had an excellent blend of flavors. The taco was good, much lighter than the burrito, however it wasn’t that special. I will definitely be returning to this place over the summer for the burritos.
CT wasn’t sure what to get but ended up checking out this season’s offering at the Resto stand. She settled on the Pig Head Cuban($10) with pig head, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mayo. The sandwich was pretty skimpy on the meat. Also, the pig head didn’t bring much flavor. It was also missing the strong garlic flavor that usually comes with a traditional Cuban sandwich. It was sad that the best thing about the sandwich was that it wasn’t greasy as pressed sandwiches usually are. It was about the size of a set of plastic utensils.
CT says: Pass. Nothing special and definitely not worth $10 when there are so many other better offerings.
To top off the meal and also cool off some more, I got shave ice($2.50) from People’s Pops. They had three flavors available and I went with the hibiscus. I was impressed with the tool used to shave the ice and collect it. It was like a small hand sander. The hibiscus was tart and refreshing. It was especially good drinking the juice on the bottom after it all melted.
All in all, Mad. Sq. Eats keeps getting better and better. I don’t want to wish the summer away, but I look forward to it hopefully returning in the fall. I am glad that Calexico will be staying behind once the rest of the other stalls pack up. The market closes this Friday, so be sure to head out ASAP!
Mad. Sq. Eats
(bet 5th Ave. & Broadway and 24th & 25th Streets)
11 am – 9 pm
Everyday until June 3rd