Every year Union Square sets up a fantastic holiday market — local artists, bakers, you name it come to set up a booth to show both the locals and tourists what they have at their shops. While vendors come and go, some stay year after year and of course I look forward to seeing many of them! I will usually go once or twice in the month of December because it’s a lot of fun to see what everyone is selling, plus it’s a great place to take a friend who is visiting me in NYC. (I plan to take my friend Erica here when she comes on Sunday!!! I can’t wait, I know she’s going to love it.)
Naturally I flock to the food stands because 1. I am always hungry 2. You can’t shop on an empty stomach and 3. everything always smells so delicious! Last year I rushed over to the Waffles and Dinges truck, but this year after reading/browsing through photos of this year’s market on Serious Eats, I knew that there are a few new things I wanted to taste. Like, the Mighty Balls. When I arrived at the stand it was completely empty! And I surprised myself by doing something I never do… I ordered pork. One pork slider with the red sauce and some parmesan cheese. Looked good. Tasted great! What was the best part about it? The sauce! You can actually buy and take home jarred sauces from Might Balls! A perfect gift for a foodie. While buying jars of their sauces at Union Square is possible, when browsing their website you will notice they don’t typically sell online! So you have to be sure to grab some when you’re at the market.
Time to describe the actual Might Balls’ pork slider. The bun’s quality was nothing but the best, lightly buttered and cooked to add a simple, not drastic, crunch to the bun. Having one slider was perfect! When I took my first bite, my teeth easily sunk through the warm, crisp bun down into the moist pork meatball covered with a semi-spicy red sauce. The thick slices of parmesan cheese on top of the meatball complimented the sauce but the sauce was so tasty the cheese actually isn’t necessary (I never thought I would see the day where I would tell you cheese isn’t necessary). Inhaled in about 45 seconds (I took my time). I would have happily gone for another one, but I know I’m going back on Sunday so I figured I wouldn’t pig out.
Next came the Sigmund’s Pretzels stand located right across from Mighty Balls. The gigantic pretzel loaded with huge salt crystals was what caught my eye. I love salty foods, and I love it when the salt crystals are so big you get to crunch down on them. But then out of the corner of my eye I saw the word “truffle.” Ohhh they had a Truffle Cheddar pretzel — SOLD! But then a friend of mine pointed out the Feta Olive option and I surprisingly decided to move away from the choice of truffle. I eat so much truffle and I’m afraid I might get sick of it sooner than later. The Feta Olive ended up being the perfect selection — it was nice and warm and the bread was fluffed to perfection. The subtle but at the same time very flavorful feta and olive “pretzel” impressed me. My boyfriend says that he hates olives — and to be honest, I don’t enjoy eating just olives, I love them in things. The olives in this bread could barely be tasted. If anything, the gentle flavors of an olive could be noticed. So even if you aren’t an olive lover I would recommend giving this a try!
Sigmund’s has their own bakery located at 29 Avenue B at 3rd Street and if you are a tourist and don’t plan to go to alphabet city, you can find the Sigmund cart at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82nd Street and 5th Avenue.