Smorgasburg | Tastes, Craves, and Wishes

8:10:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

It's mid-week and I cannot stop thinking about sunny food-filled weekends. Even though Smorgasburg at any location is usually unbelievably crowded, there is nothing else like it where a group of friends can disperse and buy a bunch of treats to share picnic style at the park. It is hard to pick a wrong spot when each of the 20 something odd vendors are handpicked by the organizers. Some are brand-spanking new Smorgasburg-exclusive food ventures and quite a good bunch are long-time Smorgasburg favorites.

Call it a tourist trap if you'd like. Crowded and expensive it definitely is. But then again so is a majority of the eateries in the rest of New York City. To each their own! The best I can recommend is to pick a good time to visit either their Williamsburg or Prospect Park location. The earlier it is, the less packed it will be. Most people are probably still asleep at 11 AM on a Saturday or Sunday. If an Instagram trendy vendor is a must-try, pre-noon is a wonderful time to avoid lines. They only get busier and busier as the day progresses. The only other times when crowds are small and lines short is when the forecast is dreary. While most vendors do end up showing up, the number of visitors who turn out pales in comparison. Downpours aren't fun for anyone; drizzles are perfect.

Tastes


lavlilacs Smorgasburg Raindrop Cake

Raindrop Cake. The hype for this water jelly last year was unreal. I get it, the perfectly smooth round blob looks beautiful in person and in photos. The taste is refreshing and light—a stark contrast to typical Western delights that are carby and creamy. But if you really think about it, this is just congealed water with syrup and soybean powder and it costs almost $10. Make some at home with honey and peanut powder.

If experimenting in the kitchen isn't your thing but you "gots to have", split one amongst 2+ friends. Otherwise it isn't worth it even for a photo.

lavlilacs Smorgasburg Carnal Beef Short Rib and Bone Marrow

Carnal. There is something so primitive yet so satisfying about being served meat on the bone. Short rib is one of my favorite types of beef, but I have only ever had it braised and grilled. Smoked and slow-cooked is something completely new to me. Having such a large slab of short rib is even more uncommon.

Don't be fooled by their sign; even though it is described as Beef Short Rib with Bone Marrow, the meat part is the star. Don't even think about being civil. Going hands in and gnawing is the best option. The ligament that holds the meat to the bone is not quite cooked down enough in this fashion to eat with a fork and knife. Pack a toothpick or flosser, be prepared to stand on a long line, and get ready to munch on some good meat.

lavlilacs Smorgasburg Mofon•GO Fried Pork Mofongo

Mofon•GO. My favorite part about Smorgasburg is discovering new foods. I tend to gravitate more towards Asian flavors whenever I search Yelp, especially if dining in Manhattan. Even though I would love to try other cuisines, the number of options and unfamiliarity to the menu is intimidating. Vendors at Smorgasburg, however, are specialized. Many have 1-3 item menus and the variety comes in the form of toppings and sides.

Mofongo refers to the Puerto Rican dish of fried mashed plantains and stuffed with meats. The one we tried was filled with fried pork and served with sriracha mayo. I think they currently offer it with shredded pork. I am not sure if I am not a fan of mashed plantains or if this could have used something juicier/saucier. I remember it being on the drier side. Is this normal for mofongo?

Craves


lavlilacs Smorgasburg Lumpia Shack Sampler

Lumpia Shack. Hands down favorite at Smorgasburg that my friends and I get at least once every year we visit. Skinny lumpia is pure love and joy. If frying foods at home wasn't so messy, I would gladly make and stock my freezer with these babies.

Although Lumpia Shack is must-have in general, it isn't a must at Smorgasburg if you'll ever be around the West Village and Washington Square Park as they have a Lumpia Shack Snackbar nearby.


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Goa Taco. I wish I knew about the deliciousness that was paratha tacos earlier even after taking just one bite. Even though I have eaten scallion pancakes before, it was just a dish on its own. Wrapping it around meats and veggies is ingenious, might I daresay even better than standard corn tortilla tacos! The flatbread is crispy but still has flaky chewy layers.

Like Lumpia Shack, Goa Taco has 2 storefronts in the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village. If the crowds at Smorgasburg are unrelenting and there are other vendors to try, take a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge afterward and grab Goa Taco on the other side.

lavlilacs Smorgasburg Big Mozz Mozzerella Sticks

Big Mozz. How can anyone not like fried cheese sticks? Lactose-intolerant excluded. These are giant and heavy in all respects. The mozzarella core is the chewiest and stretchiest. Yet it is worth all the calories.

Wishes


Since I haven't gone to Smorgasburg yet this year, here's a list of a few new vendors I want to try.


Burrito Juárez. I just love food wrapped with anything carby. They supposedly make their tortillas fresh and don't stuff with rice (which is usually what a majority of burritos are filled with).


Kreung Cambodia It is still Asian eats but Cambodian food is definitely something new even in New York. I think I read somewhere that said profits made go back to helping the owner's farm in Cambodia.

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Ube Kitchen They had me at ube. I won't deny my bias towards anything purple. While halo halo seems easy enough to put together at home, the hardest part is having just enough toppings on hand to not be eating the mixed dessert all week long.


Rutte's Dutch Waffles Stroopwafels are the perfect combination of everything I like: sugary, gooey, and crispy but soft. I've only ever dreamed of having it fresh and hot. All my praises to the person who finally brought the made-to-order version of the Dutch treat Stateside!


Dulcinea Churros & Co. Because one ice cream snack is never enough for an ice cream monster. Although, I am sure I would regret wishing for an ice cream sandwich. My sensitive teeth and (assuming) the hot sun will not make good friends with this sweet treat. Regardless...it looks delicious!

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