Smorgasburg Food Fest

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

This past weekend, my friend and I went where I told myself two summers ago I'd never again go: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was so very traumatized last time I went (May 2010) by the faux hipsterdom that thrives and then infests everything in Williamsburg that I never again wanted to step foot in the neighborhood. So it was with not a little trepidation that I agreed to meet my friend at Smorgasburg, a flea market type of food festival in a lot along the East River in Williamsburg. (I mean, who can resist a portmanteau, especially when one of the words has Swedish origins???)

As usual, I stalked the vendors' menus prior to arriving, but upon seeing the masses, I ended up grabbing what I could without having to stand on a line of 15+ people. I was hungry!

I settled on Choncho's Taco's "baja asada" taco (a grilled fish taco) for $5 (or 2 for $9). It was good, but quite small and though the fish was well-seasoned and very tender, it was buried beneath a sea of tasteless cabbage shreds and mounds of sauce. Most of all, the tortilla itself seemed to be on the stale end of the spectrum -- a bit chewy in a bad, my-jaw-is-sore kind of way. Not the best I've had.

After making several rounds to survey the selection, I settled on "the Mash" hot dog from Asia Dog. I bought into the 2 for $8 deal when I split the order. A weird combo of hot dog, jalapeno mustard, sweet and spicy ketchup and crushed chips, of all things. It was good, but I couldn't but help feeling terribly unhealthy eating it. I would like to say the chips served a completely unnecessary purpose, but I was grateful for them -- I can handle hot, but that combo was hot! Asia Dog offers more Asian flavors, such as a kimchi hot dog, a Thai-style hot dog, a Vietnamese hot dog and I believe a Japanese one as well.

My friend got a blood orange glazed yeast doughnut from Dough which could've gone wrong. So many glazes are half of what they should be -- watery and sugary. But no, the blood orange flavor was unbelievable. It was like the best gourmet orange juice in doughnut form. She also taste-tested a plum-ginger soda and a concord grape-fennel soda from Brooklyn Soda Works before purchasing the concord grape-fennel one ($4 for 12 ounces, I believe). The plum-ginger, which I'd had my eye on, was surprisingly watery and ... medicinal? The grape-fennel one was surprisingly not medicinal, like grape juice with just a hint of herb.

Afterwards, we checked out an indoor flea market called Artists & Fleas just up North 7th Street, and then turned onto Bedford Avenue which wasn't nearly as traumatizing in early autumn as it was in late spring. I had the best chai latte I've had in the U.S. in a long time at a place called Verb Café, and then later an amazing, amazing gyro sandwich at Kabob Shack on Havemeyer Street. I might have to stop in Williamsburg every so often just for the food.

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  1. I'm glad you gave Williamsburg a second chance. I very nearly stayed there last year during my visit to New York - a friend knew someone staying in that area but I ended up somewhere touristy in Times Square instead.
    I love markets. Blood orange glazed yeast doughnut sounds very strange. I dont think I will dare give that a try. I love hot dogs but it's hard to find good ones here in Sydney that aren't terribly expensive.



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