Any excuse is a good excuse for butternut squash (doughnut, $1.50). Rockville's recipe uses the farm's own eggs, too.
Rockville Market Farm Starksboro, Vermont www.RockvilleMarketFarm.com At Smorgasburg, April till mid-November Saturday: 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, Dumbo, Brooklyn
Once a year, members of this Burmese congregation dole out home cooking. The personal touch is everywhere in evidence: In the wrapping of the spring rolls, in the mixing of the elaborate salads, in the snipping of chili peppers to add a kick to just-griddled parathas. Many dishes are made to order, mixed by hand (gloved hand) immediately before serving for maximal stimulating freshness.
Paella without rice: Short strands of thin noodles are the foundation of this Valencia-style fideuà (fee-day-Wah). In many recipes the noodles are toasted before squid and shrimp are added, so the shellfish are lightly cooked, not overcooked as they sometimes are in paella. Served here with aioli.
When this factory was built in the early 1920s, Ridley's was well-established as the oldest confectioner in New York. Founded in 1806 at 1 Hudson St., Manhattan, the company had expanded to a second, "up-town" facility at 1149 Broadway, near Madison Square Park, by the time of publication of 1872's Great Industries of the United States.
That book roundly praised the quality and purity of Ridley's "numerous and varied" ingredients, "a singularly agreeable array of things wholesome, flavorsome, delicate, and aromatic. They include, first and foremost, sugar; then the auxiliary substantials of honey, molasses, cream, gum arabic, almonds, filberts, cocoanuts, peanuts, chocolate, licorice, jujube, flax seed, coriander seed, caraways, cinnamon (i.e, the cassia of commerce), cloves, and Iceland moss. Next are the flavors, which are birch, boneset, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, hoarhound, lemon, musk, peppermint, raspberry, rose, sassafras, vanilla, and wintergreen."
As to the time and manner of Ridley's demise, I can't say. Current leads on local birch candy are equally elusive.
Ridley's Surviving signage on 34th St. between Queens Blvd. and 43rd Ave., Long Island City, Queens
Even better than a Cuban sandwich: half a Cuban and half a "Meridian," split 50-50 with a dining buddy ($16 all in). The first partners traditional roast pork, swiss, and ham with grain mustard and zippy horseradish-brined pickles; the second (also shown in closeup) is essentially a ham-and-swiss with hot-pepper-guava jelly, spicy and sweet.
Both employ Jersey-made Cuban bread that the bakery identifies as pan de manteca — lard included. It takes on a splendid golden color when pressed in the plancha.
Cafeteria La Mejor 191 Suydam St. (Wilson-Central Aves.), Bushwick, Brooklyn (one of two locations) www.CafeLaMejor.com
Lactart is the namesake of a family of sour beverages, first popular in the late 19th century, that don't rely on lemons or limes. Instead of citric acid, soda-fountain lactarts look to the "acid of milk" — that is, lactic acid — but don't taste like dairy products. Compared with a citric-acid drink of the same flavor, however, a lactart can fairly be described as less "sharp." Shown: an orange lactart ($3).
Hamilton's Soda Fountain & Luncheonette 51 Bank St. (at West 4th St.), Manhattan 212-661-1515 www.HamiltonSoda.com