Fridays Under $40: Best Kept Secrets

Posted on: August 28th, 2020 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Sara Graham

In our new Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” Boogie contributor Sara Graham again hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times.

This week it’s all about taking advantage of the best fresh food deals downtown, during these unofficial last days of summer. I found a new spot to get fresh veggies, an incredible grilled seafood pop-up, and the cheapest wine you’ll find south of Broome Street. Consider this walkabout next time you host a socially-distanced picnic.


Photo: Sara Graham

There’s a new Farmer’s Market in town and it’s worth the trek. I don’t know if you’ve had a fly problem at your local grocer, but with every head of kale I bought in July, I got a free fly family. Imagine my relief when the Astor Place Greenmarket opened earlier this month. I leave with two ears of corn, a beefsteak tomato, and two honeycrisp apples with zero flies. And with the way I cook, this is like threee meals at least.

Also of note: they’re making it easier to eat well on a budget by accepting SNAP/EBT, WIC and FMNP checks. For every $5 spent in EBT, customers receive a $2 Health Buck coupon to purchase additional fruits and vegetables.

Astor Plaza South, E 8th Street and Lafayette
Total: $8.80
Open Tuesdays 8 AM-5 PM
Through November 24


Photo: Sara Graham

Next, I head to Mulberry Wine Shop for a bottle of Pinot Grigio I’ll enjoy with dinner tonight (and most nights). The bottle of Simonetti (check for it in the fridge) is a 2018 vintage from the Veneto region in Italy and is a crisp, bright complement to pasta dishes with veggies and seafood. And it’s only $5. It’s the best secret of Little Italy and now, it’s yours.

Mulberry Wine Shop
Total: $5.44
177 Mulberry Street
Daily 1 PM-9 PM


Photo: Sara Graham

On a different day altogether, I stopped by the Sea Monster pop-up at 276 Grand Street, in front of Aqua Best Seafood. After the Queens Night Market in Flushing Meadows Park was cancelled for the season, the owners of Sea Monster (follow them on Instagram) got creative and set up shop on Grand Street every Saturday. They serve Southeast Asian grilled seafood and it’s fantastic. Choose from single shrimp skewers or full meals with coconut rice, lobster tails and skate. I leave with a skewer of 5 chili-garlic grilled shrimp for $5, with the best of intentions to put them on a salad at home. But instead, I eat the whole thing on a bench in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Happy eating.

Sea Monster NYC Pop-Up
Total: $5.00
276 Grand Street
Saturdays 12 PM-6 PM

Total cost of walkabout: $19.24
Costs recorded do not include tip, so tip generously. Wear a mask.

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