Thursday, July 31, 2014

Garden State Grubber Does Smorgasburg...Brooklyn Bridge Park Edition

Smorgasburg: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Sundays 11am - 6pm

*This post is particularly about the Dumbo event.*

We liked this event location better. The view of lower manhattan is incredible, it is spread out well, and there are so many things going on at the piers for you to walk around and explore. 

The infamous RAMEN BURGER! We got to Smorgasburg relatively early and had heard rumors about the ramen burger and the giant line you have to wait on to get this culinary masterpiece in your hands, so we went there first. We waited a few minutes, but nothing crazy. Cheese or no cheese? We chose none, maybe this was an amateur mistake. Besides being an utterly weird texture, the burger itself, we're sorry to report, was just okay. Definitely try it for the sheer novelty of trying it, but don't expect to be blown away. 
Although one of us is allergic to coconuts, the other always insists on having coconut water in our apartment. Fresh coconut? Even better. You run the risk of looking like a hipster by walking around with this, but don't worry, you're in Brooklyn, you'll fit in just fine.
Peking duck spring rolls...need we say more? These spring rolls from Lumpia Shack were so delicious. They were covered in a spicy hoisin and ginger sauce. If there's anything better than duck, its duck and hoisin. Although maybe steaming hot fried spring rolls were not the best choice for a hot summer day, we would order them again in a heart beat. Also, while some offerings are a bit overpriced, the amount of spring rolls you get is totally worth it in this case. 
Shout out to Iron Chef Mario Batali and Cronut creator Dominique Ansel who were there for a RED event judging a food offering from each vendor that day. We did not stick around to see who won, but what a great way to earn money for an important charity.
And the finale... the Goodwich from The Good Batch. The salty combined with sweet creamy ice cream and the chocolate in the cookie, it is just the perfect combination making it a completely fulfilling dessert. Go there early before they run out of a flavor you may want. There is always a line, but it seems to move quickly because they are pre-made. We unfortunately were only able to try this particular "wich" because one of us has a nut allergy and the other two choices contained almonds and pecans, but it was not disappointing in any way!
We did not take that many pictures this day, we're sorry, the heat had us out of our groove. We do suggest trying the drinks that each booth offers, all were refreshing and tasty. Because of the layout, we would recommend this location over Williamsburg.

Garden State Grubber Does Smorgasburg...Williamsburg Edition

Smorgasburg: Williamsburg Edition

East River State Park (90 Kent Ave at N. 7 St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Saturdays 11am - 6pm

*This post is particularly about the Williamsburg event.*

We know this is a New Jersey blog, but with New York being a hop, skip, and a bus, train, or ferry ride away, we had to check out Smorgasburg. We heard so much about it, and honestly, is there anything better on a beautiful weekend during the summer than a fair that includes delicious food vendors? To us, there is not. Besides the vast array of food options, the best thing about Smorgasburg is that because it is there every weekend it does not have the extreme crowd and novelty effect that festivals that occur only once have. Do not get us wrong, it does get crowded, but never to the point where you are overwhelmed or have to wait on hour long lines. Our recommendation is go early, enjoy the food and the view of Manhattan, and then, by the time it starts to get crowded, you'll be stuffed and ready to leave anyway. 

We began with Dan and John's buffalo wings. Deep-fried and sauced right in front of you. You have the choice of different sauces, from mild to BBQ to extreme heat levels. Buffalo wings have to follow three rules to be a success, NO jumbo wings, NO breading, and a sauce that blends heat and flavor together. These wings delivered on all three levels. We would like to have these wings on a Sunday, watching an NFL game with beer to give them a fair judgement, but in the Brooklyn heat on a Saturday afternoon, they passed the test. 
One of us, is usually not a huge fan of sausages, but when we read the options that TXORIZERIA had to offer, the one convinced the other and we headed to the booth. The  buns were homemade, they were extremely flavorful, and the casing was not tough. The bread was perfect, not too soft or too dense. The sausage was full of flavor and of course it had the perfect snap to it. The chimichurri sauce was a great artisan touch that elevated the sausage immensely. 
We love a good scallion pancake, but wrap it around well-seasoned meat and crispy vegetables, and we love it even more. There was a bit of a wait for the beef roll from Outer Borough. They told us to come back in 15-20 minutes, but to us this was not a big deal. The pancakes were freshly made right there, and the toppings added immediately after. Fresh, delicious, flavorful, and easy to eat while walking around. Perfection!
The Cemita Mexican Sandwiches & Taco stand was probably the worst stand we visited all day at either of the two Smorgasburg events we attended. We do not even know where to start. We saw someone walking around with one and fell for the novelty of the item. Sometimes you can have too much stuff and completely ruin a good thing, this is the story here. The dry meat, wilted lettuce, and flavorless cheese united to make this monstrosity of an offering. It is this simple, when you are one of a handful of specialty booths that are out to make the best of one particular item, make it the best!
Remember when we said you could ruin a good thing with too much, apparently there was no good thing to begin with. The taco from the Cemita both sounded simple enough in the description, it was not. Too much cheese, too much sauce, too much lettuce, and way too much meat. Tacos should be simple and you should be able to fold them without falling apart. The meat was under seasoned and left the taco without a good base.Taco's are about two things, a quality corn tortilla and flavorful meat, those two things should not be disguised with nonsense. 
And the finale, last but most certainly not the least, the lemon poppy seed doughnut from Dough. One of us was skeptical, a doughnut on a hot summer day? That can't be a good choice. This one of us was wrong. The doughnut was extremely light and doughy on the inside, while being perfectly fried and dense. The lemon glaze was heavenly. If we did not have an hour commute back to New Jersey on subways and buses, we would have bought a box of doughnuts and ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until we were able to go back to Brooklyn and get more. Did we make our point about these doughnuts? A-maz-ing! Once in a while you take a bite of something and it just makes you stop and realize how amazing life is, how great the day is, and how truly important food is to all of us, this was one of those bites. 
We know Brooklyn is not the easiest place to get to from New Jersey, but it is worth the trek. Try something new or an old favorite, but you will not be disappointed! Try as many things as possible.