Welcome back to our Guest Blogger of the Week series! If you’re playing catch-up, check out Aliyah’s Weinstein’s Pittsburgh food truck exploration and Benjamin Sherman’s examination of food truck location-finding challenges. Today, foodie-finance guy Seth Rubin is sharing his insight on Smorgasburg, Brooklyn’s buzzy seasonal outdoor foodie market on Saturdays, offering 75+ vendors and skyline views. But first, a little more about Seth…
Seth is living in Manhattan and works in the financial district, though his passion lies with his search for delicious food to please his experienced palette. In between his food adventures, he enjoys Mets games, nerding out about sports, and trying to make his girlfriend take interest in these hobbies. You can find him on Twitter tweeting or blogging about his food/ sports affairs or whatever random thoughts pop into his mind @SRGourmetSports and on Tumblr at Wall Street Gourmet. Take it away, Seth!
Food Trucks and Fun in the Sun at Smorgasburg
During the week, thousands of hard working New Yorkers venture into the streets for lunch or dinner looking for that perfect meal to that will fill them up and help them make it through the rest of the day. For many of these patrons, they go to the ever-popular food trucks in the New York City Food Truck Association, as the mobile units make their way around the city each week to different sections. This allows New Yorkers to get a great taste of all that the food trucks have to offer in a convenient and delicious manner. For those who cannot get their fix of food trucks during the week (such as me) or who thoroughly enjoy the food they offer and want to have more of it on the weekends (also me) there are a few options. One of which is the Prospect Park Rally where every 2nd and 4th Sunday in Brooklyn, where you can find some of your favorite members of the New York City Food Truck Association. The other very popular option these days is Smorgasburg.
Smorgasburg, for those not aware is a large outdoor food market conveniently located on both Saturdays and Sundays in Brooklyn. On Saturday, you can find it located in East River State Park; located just a few blocks away from the L train’s Bedford Avenue stop in Williamsburg. On Sundays it moves south to Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 and offers breath-taking views of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Sunday is even easier to access via the subway with access from three different subway stops:
- Jay St.-Metrotech (A/C/F)
- Borough Hall (2/3/4/5)
- Court Street (N/R)
And all just require a short walk down Joralemon Street.
However, Smorgasburg differs a lot from the Prospect Park Food Truck Rally in that there are actually no food trucks. Despite the lack of food trucks you can find four of your favorite members of the New York City Food Truck Association going off-road to operate stands. These four members are:
One of my personal favorite food trucks, the Milk Truck brings its delicious selection of grilled cheese and milk shakes that they serve during the week on the truck, named “Bessie,” to their Smorgasburg stands every weekend. The grilled cheese is absolutely fantastic using some of the freshest and most high quality ingredients. My normal lunch from the Milk Truck consists of the three cheese grilled cheese with gruyere, cheddar and blue cheese caramelized apples and a milk shake. The apples really add a unique take to a childhood classic that I truly enjoy.
Another option is the all-day breakfast sandwich with caramelized onions and a fresh egg. However, the all-day breakfast sandwich is one of those specialties that the Milk Truck only offers on the weekends. The top quality and freshness of the ingredients allows the cheese to shine and bring out all of the great flavors. And what would grilled cheese at the Milk Truck be without a milk shake? The milk shakes are really creamy and the dark chocolate made of 67% cacao really hits the spot on a summer day. During the weekend at Smorgasburg the Milk Truck also offers macaroni and cheese in addition to the normal menu. If you really can’t get enough of the Milk Truck during the week for lunch, you can enjoy it on the weekend and try something that you can’t necessarily get during the week during your lunch break. Also, a meal from the Milk Truck is very convenient to carry around for a nice walk in the park along the water making it a top choice.
Another one of my personal favorites is the food truck ranked number one in America in 2013 according to the Daily Meal: the Red Hook Lobster Truck. Known for its fresh lobster, the Red Hook Lobster Pound offers a few delicious varieties of lobster rolls at Smorgasburg. For $16 you get a quarter of a pound of lobster served in a hot dog bun or if you prefer to skip the carbs, you can use a fork. My favorite roll that Red Hook offers is the Connecticut style served hot topped with butter and lemon juice. The butter and lemon bring out the great flavor of the lobster that is cooked to perfection. While some may argue that $16 is a hefty price to spend on lunch, at Smorgasburg the lobster roll is a great meal and you are given a good sized portion. In addition, it is easy to carry and walk around with, especially at the Brooklyn Bridge Park location where there is limited seating.
One of the most popular choices at Smorgasburg, always with long lines, is Kelvin Natural Slush Co. There are three things that make having Kelvin Natural Slush on the weekend at Smorgasburg so enjoyable:
- Refreshment – there is nothing better on a hot and humid day than a cold slush drink which is the perfect beverage to cool you down under the hot summer sun and refresh your palette after a hot item from another vendor (especially after a hot grilled cheese or lobster roll).
- Variety – no matter how picky you are there is always an option for you at Kelvin’s. First, one gets to choose the base which rotate between ginger, green/black tea and even Arnold Palmer. Within the base you then get to add a flavor which ranges from Blueberry to Mango to even Pink Guava. Within these options one is guaranteed to be right for you. I personally went for the Arnold Palmer with raspberry syrup but if you have trouble picking the right one for you, the friendly people at Kelvin Natural Slush will gladly help you find a good pairing of flavors.
- Portability – just as the Milk Truck and Red Hook Lobster Truck are able to provide great portable meals, Kelvin Slush is a very easy and portable drink to carry around. With Smorgasburg being located on both days at parks along the East River, most attendees are going to want to walk off their lunch taking in the fantastic views of Manhattan and the bridges. What better treat to cool you down and carry on your walk than slush?
These three reasons alone make Kelvin Natural Slush a perfect treat to enjoy on a relaxing day at Smorgasburg.
The final NYC Food Truck Association Member that currently operates at Smorgasburg is Palenque, a Columbian food truck that offers arepas. Palenque offers a wide variety of options so that no matter what kind of dietary restriction one may have they can find the delicious arepas that are right for them. There are options for vegetarians (Honguisa with Portobello mushrooms and melted cheese) and vegans (seitan or Portobello and hogao) so that no one has to worry about finding something that is right for them. (Don’t worry they offer Arepas with chicken or beef for those meat eaters out there). Also Palenque, similar to the other food trucks that operate stands at Smorgasburg, offers options that are easy to carry around and delicious to eat.
If you are like me and love to get your lunch at food trucks and can’t get enough of them then you can go to Smorgasburg to see four of your favorite members of the New York City Food Truck Association. Taking the trip to Brooklyn for some can seem like a shlep to some, but for the relaxation at the park, the amazing views, and most importantly the amazing food, it is well worth the time and effort to make your way over the Brooklyn.