New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

A jolly journey eating through the wondrous Bryant Park Winter Village

The Culture Desk brings you their recommendations on the best eats that you can’t miss on your next trip to Bryant Park.

When it comes to holiday markets, Bryant Park Winter Village is a must. There’s ice skating, a decorative tree, stands selling knickknacks you’ve never even heard of, and perhaps the best part — the food. But after falling one too many times on the ice and shopping your heart out, the last thing you want to do is stand in a long line for a mediocre sandwich. Thankfully, we visited various vendors and rounded up our favorites, so you don’t have to. From spicy pickles to indulgent egg tarts, these were our top picks.


– Elena Portnoy, Beauty and Style Editor

A person in a black coat holds out a green pickle.
A pickle from Pickle Me Pete. (Andrea Lui for WSN)

A TikTok recommendation and staple of the Winter Village, Pickle Me Pete remains at the top of their pickle-making game. Whether you’re craving an original kosher dill or are looking for a quirky take on the classic Vlasic, this vendor will not leave you feeling sour — unless, of course, you are looking for one of their sour pickles. As a self-proclaimed pickle connoisseur, my top requirements are as follows: juicy, crunchy and full of flavor. 

In order to sample as many of their pickle variations as possible, I chose a three-pack of small pickles for $5. The three flavors I chose were a kosher dill, a super spicy and their new half-sour pickle. Both the kosher dill and the super spicy were bursting with salty, sour goodness, while the half-sour pickle fell short. While I prefer a traditional dill, the mini, skewered fried pickles offer a delicious departure from the traditional cornichons. No matter if you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a full gherkin, Pickle Me Pete has what you’ve been searching for.

Indian street food and hot chocolate

– Juliana Guarracino, Culture Editor

A person wearing a red jacket holds a yellow cup of hot chocolate with two hands. On top of the hot chocolate is a layer of whipped cream and red sprinkles.
Vegan hot chocolate from the Winter Pie Shop. (Andrea Lui for WSN)

As the resident vegan at the WSN Culture Desk, I am happy to share that there are plenty of options for plant-based folks at the Winter Village. I go every year and always leave pleasantly surprised and positively stuffed. This time, I stopped by Mysttik Masaala, an Indian food stand, which offers a number of vegetarian and vegan options. For a small but hearty meal, I recommend the vegan samosa chaat — crushed vegetable samosa smothered in chana masala and garnished with sweet chutney, onions, coriander and crispy chickpea noodles. The crunch of the fried pastry dough and chickpea noodles alongside the smooth sauces made for a satisfying texture, and the chutney perfectly balanced the savory samosas. Overall, it was filling and flavorful with just the right amount of spice. 

For a post-meal sweet treat, I got the vegan hot chocolate at the Winter Pie Shop. Made with oat milk and Belgian dark chocolate, it is decadent despite ditching the dairy. The dark chocolate adds richness to the drink and the oat milk provides balance with its creaminess. Don’t forget to add vegan marshmallows! Although, if you’d prefer a non-vegan version, we also tried the Belgian hot chocolate at Wafels & Dinges. With whipped cream, marshmallows and rich chocolate, it is deliciously indulgent and will keep you warm as you stroll through the rest of the market.

Pulled pork sandwich

– Sabrina Lee, Identity and Equity Editor

A person in a black coat holds out a pulled pork sandwich on a white paper plate.
The limited-edition pulled pork sandwich from Casa Toscana. (Andrea Lui for WSN)

Casa Toscana is known for its bomboloni donuts, but I went for the limited-edition pulled pork sandwich. The Tuscan-style artisanal bakery has branches in Urbanspace food courts in Union Square and West 52nd Street. Tuscan sandwiches, or crusty sandwiches filled with meat, cheese and flavored creams have been popularized by All’Antico Vinaio, a Florence street food sandwich shop. These sandwiches are made with schiacciata or focaccia bread that is crispy on the outside but soft and moist on the inside. In Florence, these comically large squares of sandwich sell for as little as seven euros. 

At Casa Toscana, the pulled pork sandwich doesn’t claim to be a tuscan sandwich. But ever since All’Antico has opened stores in New York these past few years — one of which is on Sullivan Street and close to campus — my standards have been raised. While Toscana’s pulled pork sandwich is pretty good, it can’t compare. But if you’re at the holiday market and want a more savory, heavy option, Casa Toscana has you covered. Or you can try their bomboloni, the Italian custard-filled donut they’re better-known for. 

Whoopie pie and Portuguese egg tarts

– Andrea Lui, Dining Editor

Various desserts are displayed in wrappers on three layers of shelves inside a refrigerated case.
Whoopie pies from Whoopie Company. (Andrea Lui for WSN)

To end off the evening on a sweet note, I got a Snickers whoopie pie that threw my taste buds in for a whoopie. The Whoopie Company is a mainstay dessert vendor at the Winter Village, serving up the most plump and inviting cake sandwiches reminiscent of giant Oreos. Half-dipped in an indulgent milk chocolate coating and topped with a signature Snickers piece, the Snickers whoopie pie didn’t disappoint in the chocolate department and even left me gasping for a sip of water. However, I wish it was more generous with the cream filling, especially since I was met with bites of crumbly cake that could’ve been better held together. I’m a clumsy girl to begin with — I don’t need whoopie pie crumbs all over my sweater.

Portuguese egg tarts from Joey Bats Café. (Andrea Lui for WSN)

After downing that whoopie pie and taking a digestive walk around the market, I suddenly recognized a toasty smell in the air. Having visited Porto, Portugal for Thanksgiving, I realized that smell wasn’t just any smell. It was none other than the alluring aroma of “pastéis de nata,” also known as Portuguese egg tarts. Although my Portugal trip had occurred only a couple of weeks prior, I was feeling egg-tart withdrawal and desperately needed a fix, so I bought six from Joey Bats Café. The gooey custard, flaky pastry and warm cinnamon sprinkle all perfectly intertwined together for an explosion of sugary goodness in my mouth. If there’s any dessert to get at the Winter Village, look no further than this sweet treat.

Contact the Culture Desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Juliana Guarracino
Juliana Guarracino, Culture Editor
Juliana Guarracino is a senior majoring in Global Media, Culture, and Communication and Romance Languages. Aside from writing, she has a passion for cooking, travel and art history. When she's not working, she enjoys reading, playing cozy video games and journaling at cafes. She will take any book recommendations, but cannot promise you that she will read them. You can find her @juliana.guarracino on Instagram.
Andrea Lui
Andrea Lui, Dining Editor
Andrea Lui is a sophomore at Stern studying Business with concentrations in Finance and Computing & Data Science and a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology. She developed a profound love for writing while performing poetry, prose and dramatic monologues for over 10 years as a competitive public speaker. At NYU, she's also an Admissions Ambassador and serves as the External Relations Co-Director of the Board of Undergraduate Stern Women in Business. Andrea is on a mission to try every single restaurant in New York City … Check out @lui.andrea on Instagram to see if she succeeds.
Sabrina Lee
Sabrina Lee, Identity & Equity Editor
Sabrina Lee is a senior majoring in Journalism and Public Policy. Born and raised in Singapore, she is interested in evaluating questions of culture, identity and community in our changing world. Outside of work and school, she’s building Pinterest boards, cooking meals to replicate tastes from home, or perched on her fire escape.
Elena Portnoy
Elena Portnoy, Beauty & Style Editor
Elena Portnoy is a junior studying Dramatic Writing and Art History. As a Beauty and Style editor, she's combining her passion for fashion and her love of the written word. When she's not sifting through racks of vintage clothing or burying herself in a good book, she's telling people about her fabulous vintage finds and good books.

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