When I first heard about Smorgasburg, I couldn’t help but think of Fat Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. It might sound odd (and troubling) that a rat from one of my favorite childhood novels was what I thought of when I heard about a food festival, but I have a reason! At the fair where Wilbur and Charlotte are, Templeton realizes that once the fair is closed for the night there is trash everywhere. He refers to the trash-filled fair grounds as a rat’s smorgasbord.
So after hearing about it from pretty much everyone, I finally made the trip to Williamsburg on Saturday to check it out. It was a beautiful day and when I arrived at around 3pm there were plenty of people getting their eat on. I had asked a few friends for suggestions, but decided to take a lap around to (try to) see all the vendors before making any decisions. I only had so much stomach real estate and I wanted to make every bite worth it! They have pretty much everything you can think of: Thai street food, Vietnamese, burgers, lobster rolls, tacos, mac ‘n cheese, ice cream, ice pops, doughnuts, fried chicken and waffles, BBQ… the list goes on and on.
My first stop was at the Chickpea + Olive stand, where they were slinging beet burgers and sliders. I wanted one of everything, but eventually settled on their Calexico; a beet slider topped with jalapeño, pickled red onion, avocado, tomato, daiya cheddar cheese, and a chipotle aioli. The beet burger (made with beets, lentils, brown rice, and mushrooms) had a nice char to it and the toppings were awesome. The pickled red onions and chipotle aioli were plentiful and really made the slider next level. It was absolutely delicious and I was so sad when it was gone… but since it wasn’t a full-sized burger (which they do have), it was the perfect size for my quest to try a bunch of different things. I also got an iced coconut black tea which was equally delicious and refreshing.
Next up was a stop at Oaxaca Taqueria for a taco. I mean, you didn’t really think I’d go somewhere that had tacos and not have one, right?! I settled on the Papas y Rajas, which included roasted potato and poblano peppers, pickled red onions, salsa roja, avocado salsa, cojita, and cilantro. The tacos were listed as $4 for one, $7 for two, etc., but I decided to just get one since I wanted to be able to try other things. The taco was literally two bites, but it was two delicious bites. It was super fresh and vibrant thanks to the salsas, and it really was a great bite sized snack. If you aren’t planning to try a bunch of different things, I would definitely suggest ordering a few – one just isn’t enough. This was my second dish of the day with pickled onions, and again they were a great addition to the taco. I guess I need to start adding pickled onions to more things!
After the taco, it was time for frites! My love affair with frites hit an all time high when I was in Brussels, Belgium in January, so I was thrilled to see Home Frite there. While waiting in line, I weighed my menu options and eventually decided on the “Dutch” (I mean, might as well go all in), which included curry ketchup, garlic aioli, and chopped onions. It was super messy to eat, but absolutely worth it. The fries were piping hot and crispy, and the curry ketchup and garlic aioli added a nice creamy element. While I was bummed this particular version of their frites didn’t come in a paper cone, the fact that they were delicious helped make up for that.
To end my tour of deliciousness, I made a stop at Kelvin’s for a slush to wash it all down. I don’t think I’ve had a slush drink in quite some time, but growing up I was a huge 7-11 Slurpee fan (how could I not be?!). So I was thrilled to see a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. The line was long and while we were waiting they had to give the machines a few minutes to re-freeze, but it was worth the wait. They had either Arnold Palmer or Ginger slushes with a few different flavor add-ins (white peach, pear, guava, etc.). I decided to go with the Arnold Palmer with the white peach add-in, and it was amazingly refreshing.
By the time I left, I was happily satiated and wishing I could get my Smorgasburg on every weekend. I mean, what a fantastic idea! It provides people who don’t necessarily have the funds (yet) to have a storefront or food truck to showcase their delicious treats, and also those that have found success and have storefronts to reach another audience in a laid-back and fun environment. Plus, it provides people like me who love to eat and to try new things the opportunity to do that in one space, and without breaking the bank. Everyone wins if you ask me!
Have you been to Smorgasburg? What were your favorites?
If you don’t live in the NYC area, have you been to any similar food events?