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.

Recent Stories

Subway Tribute to Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg

Less than 24 hours after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, the street memorials started popping up around the city. Indeed, the artist largely known for manipulating city-issued signage (e.g. Aretha Franklin) struck again Saturday afternoon with a tribute to the late justice. This time, at the 50th Street subway station on the Eighth […]

Get a Piece of Mission Chinese Food Before it Closes

Mission Chinese Food is permanently closing its flagship restaurant on the Lower East Side, as previously reported. It lasted nearly six years on East Broadway before coronavirus imposed the business, like so many others. And now Mission is selling off some of its furnishings and ephemera with a stoop sale today. Items include restaurant equipment and […]

‘Sour Mouse’ Game Hall Launches on Delancey Street Next Week

Six months delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown, a basement game hall is finally set to open on the Lower East Side. Headquartered beneath 110 Delancey Street (former home of discount retailer Rainbow), Sour Mouse relies on bar games with the hope of “revitalize community” in the neighborhood. To that end, the establishment boasts billiards, shuffleboard, […]

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the 1900s Lower East Side [PHOTOS]

Sundown tonight marks the beginning of the Jewish new year with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. To celebrate, below is a small collection of photos, courtesy of the Library of Congress, illustrating how Jews of the early 1900s celebrated the holiest of days while living in the ghetto of the Lower East Side. You’ll notice […]

The New Museum Returns to the Bowery from Pandemic Sidelining

After being sidelined for six months, the New Museum is back. They reopened their doors earlier this week to the public at large. As previously noted, three new exhibits will grace the space and run through the remainder of 2020; “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment,” “Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,” and “Daiga Grantina: What Eats Around […]