Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market: Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar Review

View from the entrance to the flea market

This past Sunday, my friend Katie and I partook in an amazing new-to-us event: the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar.

Has someone looked into shortening this name? Seriously. I have trouble remembering it every time.

Inflatable devil / official greeter at the entrance

I have a soft spot for a good food truck. Show me some food on wheels and I'm there. Maybe it's the convenience of ordering "fast food", or maybe it's the fact the food HAS to be good because no one's showing up for the atmosphere.

Usually I stalk food trucks on Twitter to see where they're located, then try to justify a convenient detour which would place them directly in my walking or running path. But when Katie suggested heading to a food truck festival, I jumped at the chance to encounter several trucks at once.

The following food trucks were on the roster for Sunday, May 8th: Luke's Lobster, Kelvin Natural Slush Co., Gorilla Cheese NYC, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, Vegan Cinnamon Snail Organic Vegan Food Truck, Kimchi Taco, and Coolhaus NY Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Once we got to the festival, our first stop was at Luke's Lobster truck. I love seafood, especially lobster and crab. I grew up with them and they've been good friends to me over the years. Pair these shellfish with a buttered, grilled bun, and special seasonings on top and they become out of this world. Initially, I tried to appear civilized and ordered half a lobster roll and half a crab roll. I immediately wolfed them down and was amazed at the fresh deliciousness of the meat. Each bite was a taste of heaven. We tried to wheedle the seasoning ingredients out of Ben, our new friend at the truck, but he wasn't giving up the goods and we were left to sniff it out on our own. Probably some oregano, thyme, and other herbs and spices. I may have to go back for a lot of more "research" until I get this spice blend down pat.

Half crab roll (top) and half lobster roll (bottom). They give you more lobster
on the roll than shown in this picture. I lost myself in the lobster and forgot
I was supposed to document this experience.

After our lobster and crab roll adventure, we realized that it was actually hot outside! Spring was here and the sun was beating down on us. In a search for a reprieve from the heat and also to quench our thirst, we ended up at the Kelvin Natural Slush Co. truck. They have an interesting ordering system there. There are three base flavors (Ginger, Citrus, and Tea) to choose from. Then you can choose to add a "mix-in", which could be pink guava, mixed berries, basil, mango, mint, raspberry, white peach, or a few other flavors. Katie had the citrus base flavor with a pink guava mix-in. I chose the citrus base flavor with a white peach mix-in. Let me tell you that they are not kidding when they say citrus. Wow. That thing was tangy. But after the ice melted a bit and the mix-in became more incorporated in the drink, it mellowed out and came together nicely. I bet it would be amazing if a shot or two of alcohol were added...

Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the other trucks to taste their food. Their menus looked amazing, but we just couldn't handle it. The Gorilla Cheese truck smelled delicious and as you all should know, I love my cheese. Especially melted cheese. But it was too hot that day to have a grilled cheese sandwich. I've heard nothing but amazing reviews of the Rickshaw Dumpling truck, but their line was the equivalent of at least a 20 minute wait, so that truck was out of picture fairly quickly. Ditto for the Kimchi Taco truck. I love me some Cinnamon Snail, but I had caught up with that truck the previous weekend in Hoboken and wanted to try out the other places while I had the opportunity. (I had the Basil Pesto Grilled Tofu sandwich, Raspberry Ganache donut, and Strawberry Cheesecake donut last weekend at the Cinnamon Snail. Vegan never tasted so good. And yes, I had it all at once. I had run a 5K that morning, so I deserved it.) It turned out that the Coolhaus truck had some issues and they weren't able to show up after all. That was sad. Ice cream sandwiches remind me of hanging out with friends on warm high school nights.

But the primary reason we didn't get to eat at all the trucks? We were so full! These people are not messing around when they hit you with this food. Can I get a sample size please? I need to make this suggestion.

Menu at the Gorilla Cheese truck

And to top it all off, there were desserts! We spied two dessert vendors set up at tables next to the food trucks: Lloyd's Carrot Cake and The Cavity Shoppe. They were selling sweets that looked completely delicious. Although I'm a big fan of carrot cake, The Cavity Shoppe won my heart over with cupcakes. Not just ordinary cupcakes, but cupcakes in a jar. They had a beautiful presentation and this place specializes in interesting (and boozy!) flavors, so obviously I had to have one. They only had a few cupcakes left, so I chose a Maple French Toast flavor. Delicious! It appears to be a combination of cinnamon and maple flavors wrapped up in a 3-tiered cupcake, served in a small mason jar and eaten with a spoon. So good. Only problem was I had to eat it in several installments because I was still full. Obviously even that could not stop me from eating the entire cupcake. Obviously.

To feel as though we were getting some sort of exercise, we finally walked around and checked out the eclectic vendors on the outskirts of the flea market. The flea market is always an interesting place, filled with random but fascinating people and wares. Eventually we decided to call it a day, otherwise known as "we headed to a bar". On our way out though, we had to hit Luke's Lobster again for a half lobster roll each. And it was just as incredible the second time as it was the first time. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) they had run out of napkins by this time. After chomping into our lobster rolls for the second time that day, we were left only with the scent of butter and special seasonings (come on Ben, can't you just spill the beans?!) on our hands. I shouldn't admit this, but I sniffed my fingers constantly for the next hour. I have no shame.

Our inaugural food truck bazaar trip was an amazing experience! This event takes place at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market (entrance on 39th St and 10th ave in NYC) on the second Sunday of each month. I've already spread the word that I'll be back in June. I'm looking forward to finally eating at Coolhaus as well as digging into different menu options at the other trucks. So who's with us?

1 comment:

  1. Awww thank you and very happy that you enjoyed our cupcake in a jar. It was made to eat in installments and glad it worked out. Hope to see you next month on June 12th, 2011. Also feel free to visit our website