Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Smorgasburg: A Review

For the past two weeks, I've been meaning to head across the rivers (yes, "rivers", as in more than one river) to check out Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For opening weekend, May 21st, I was in California. The following weekend, I was swamped with errands and didn't find the time to make it there. This past weekend though, I just knew I had to have a Smorgasburg outing.

Wait, what? You haven't heard of Smorgasburg?

Let me school you then. Smorgasburg is a spin off of the Brooklyn Flea market. Except it's all about food.  The website refers to this event as an "all-food bonanza" and that's a pretty accurate description. Food is everywhere! There are vendors selling food they prepare on-site. There are other vendors selling food for later consumption. There are even vendors selling food-related products. You can't get away from food here. Not that you would want to, because it's all delicious and it's what you came here for. So bring it on.

My foodie friend, Ya-Roo, graciously volunteered to spend a few hours with me so that we could properly check out the wares. The weather was pretty decent, so people seemed to be out in full force. And since the Smorgasburg location is right on the East River waterfront, many people were grabbing food and sitting near the water to relax for a bit.

Of course we were only mildly interested in this at the time, since we were starving.  We veered toward the Smorgasburg area, which was enclosed by some aluminum fencing, and we were immediately assaulted by the amazing visuals and odors that comes with having so many talented individuals in one area. There wasn't an actual map showing which vendors were located where, so Ya-Roo and I began wandering around.

Our first stop was at a bakery called Dough.  They were a few regular as well as exotic donut flavors on display.  We hadn't arrived at Smorgasburg until after 2pm, so the selection was pretty slim by that time.  But if I judge Dough by the selection that was left over, I'm sure the rest of the donut flavors were utterly delicious.

The next stop was Liddabit Sweets.  The main attraction for me was the shiny cotton candy machine!  I'm a huge cotton candy fan and I pick up a cone or a bag whenever I can.  I've even been known to purchase the packaged cotton candy that you know has been prepared weeks ago and is not very light and fluffy.  But I have to have it!  Turns out Liddabit was selling maple cotton candy.  Yes, please.  However, in a surprising move, I opted to pass on the cotton candy (only temporarily though) since I wanted to try some actual food before inhaling too many sweets.  In the meantime, I purchased some of their caramel corn and "Beer and Pretzel" caramels.  I can only fight one craving at a time.

Pushing our way further into the maze of tents, I passed a biscuits and chicken tent.  I'm not exactly clear as to whether or not this is the actual name of a store or truck, but it's evident that they were making some good food there.  The menu looked appetizing, the aromas were very promising and the line was several people deep.  I moved on though, as I spied a lobster roll that needed to be in my immediate future.

Now if you know me, you know that I can be a little "all-over-the-place" sometimes.  Well, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Flour City Pasta.  Pasta is near and dear to my heart. I don't eat it all that often, but whenever I see pretty pasta, I'm always itching to buy it.  I detoured over to the Flour City Pasta tent.  My new best friend who was working at the tent (I don't actually know his name, but he was very helpful) explained the different pastas to me.  Each pasta purchase also comes with a recipe that you can try out.  I ended up leaving the stall 15 minutes later with $20 worth of pasta: Sweet Potato Pappardelle, Wild Mushroom Fettuccine,Wasabi Fettuccini, Red Onion Linguine, and Curry Linguine.  Unfortunately, I didn't see the Rasta Pasta blend until I was ready to leave.  I was tempted to also purchase the mix of sweet potato shells, lime rigatoni, carrot thyme radiatore and cayenne fusilli.  But instead I vowed to come back another day, once my newly acquired stash of pasta has been taken care of.

After a few more moments checking out the surrounding tents, I was definitely ready for a lobster roll.  Red Hook Lobster Pound makes a weekly appearance at Smorgasburg.  There were two styles of lobster rolls at their tent: Maine-style or Connecticut-style.  Maine-style is cold lobster served with mayonnaise while CT-style is warm lobster served with butter. I'm not a big fan of mayo, so Connecticut-style it was.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  The roll was soft, buttery, and warm.  The lobster was also warm, succulent, and plentiful.  There seemed to be a few dashes of a paprika-based seasoning on top and a light sprinkle of green onions.  I wasn't a huge fan of the paprika seasonings, but the rest of the sandwich most definitely made up for this.  I would eat this roll anytime of the day or night.  Lobster Love.

In the meantime, Ya-Roo purchased a pupusa from Solber Pupusas.  I'll admit ignorance here and say I didn't know what the heck a pupusa was.  Apparently it's a hand-made tortilla that's filled with cheese.  (It can be filled with other items too.)  It looked really good, but I was so into my lobster roll I missed out on an opportunity to taste this.  Hopefully I'll get to try it the next time I'm there.

As I devoured my lobster roll and Ya-Roo worked on her pupusa, I dragged us over to the Kelvin Natural Slush Co. line.  This is called multitasking, people.  I was first introduced to Kelvin's slushies at last month's Hell's Kitchen Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar.  I've been a convert ever since, but because I don't live or work in the city, it's hard to get my fix.  Now was my chance.  I ordered an Arnold Palmer slushie with a Pink Guava mix-in.  In my opinion, you can't have enough of either flavor and I loved the combination.

Cool and refreshing

Ya-Roo went on to sample some oysters at another tent while I wandered over to the waterfront to play with my new camera's panoramic feature.  You like?

Just ignore the chain link fence to the right.
Let's focus instead on the beautiful Manhattan skyline.

Then it was time to head back to the city (that's New York City).  But not before we stopped back at Liddabit to finally get a maple cotton candy to snack on for the ride back home.  The cotton candy was made-to-order once we requested it.  It only took a minute or two before the spun candy was stuck between our fingers and making its way to our mouths.  It was tasty and maple-y and I totally regretted agreeing to share a cone with Ya-Roo because I could eat the entire thing by myself.

As we walked away from my first Smorgasburg experience, I knew it would not be my last visit there.  There were so many vendors whose food we didn't get to try.  But my stomach is only so large, and unfortunately that is the limiting reagent in this equation.  It appears that next time I will need to make this an all-day affair which will allow me some "downtime" in between pig-out sessions.  Who's up for this challenge with me?

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