Brooklyn, you sly dog, you. Luring me down to your hipster-y shores yet again with the promise of a veritable feast of foods unknown, satiating both curiosity and #hanger at the fabled foodie outpost that is Smorgasburg.
If you’re a New York local, you’ve probably been to or at least heard of Smorgasburg. Heck, I’d heard about Smorgasburg before I even moved to New York and immediately added it to my bucket list. Somehow it had always managed to elude me, so when a friend suggested we check it out over the weekend, I was all for it – until one of my coworkers – the friendly office curmudgeon from Long Island – asked me what I was doing over the weekend.
“Smorgasburg? That thing down in Brooklyn?” he replied, smacking on his gum with his Long Island accent. “Oh, it’s disgusting.”
“Disgusting? Well thanks for that, you’re really hyping it up…now I can hardly wait….”
“No, I mean it’s awesome. But disgusting. Don’t eat before going. Plan on clogging your arteries. Try one of everything. You will leave feeling disgusted with yourself but it’s worth every calorie.”
Still not quite sure what to expect, I did some research. It can’t be THAT bad if Mario Batali calls it “The single greatest thing I’ve ever seen gastronomically in New York City,” right?
Open every Saturday from April through November, Smorgasburg in Williamsburg is a veritable food experience, boasting anywhere from 50-75 different vendors selling an array of delicious, different, experimental, sometimes-downright-weird foods from all over the globe (or at least from all over New York).
After deciding that we were going to sleep in and wake up without alarms, we agreed to meet off the L train’s Bedford Ave stop at 1pm to walk over together to Smorgasburg, located on the waterfront along the East River and offering “unparalleled” views of Manhattan – or so they would be if not for the second coming of The Great Flood in which Noah and his ark apparently bypassed the gluttonous heathens of Williamsburg, leaving them to drown in their own self-induced food comas.
Since the weather in New York took full advantage of the “30% chance of light rain” to 100% drench the streets with a downpour rivaling scenes from The Day After Tomorrow, we took full advantage of the fact that we were already there/soaked to stroll through the venue and order whatever we wanted–with almost NO LINES. Almost. If you have ever been to NY, you know that the most popular fads/trends/tourist attractions ALWAYS have a line, until they are no longer popular/trendy. My unsuccessful 3-hour wait in the line at DŌ to literally abandon the line WITHOUT product in hand is proof of the absurdity of this city and its inhabitants (an experience I will not likely repeat; smuggling bottles of sparkling sangria to enjoy with my friends while we waited in line…that, of course, I have no qualms repeating ;)).
In any event, we were happy to peruse the stalls before diving right in with our first tasting:
Truffle Fries from Home Frite
Crispy-as-chips hand cut fries tossed in Parmesan-garlic truffle oil and served with a side of aioli dipping sauce….’nuff said. Even though this was the most conventional, it was probably my favorite thing that we tried and I would wait in a line 10 times as long to get (my own) cone.
It was still pouring when we got these, so we kind of hobbled over to a table and took turns holding the fries/an umbrella/relishing in the deliciousness before us. I swear to god these were the most delicious, crispiest french fries I have ever eaten. It may have been raining around us, but under those umbrellas there was nothing but sunshine…and afterwards, an overpowering thirst. Which led us to our next destination…
John’s Juice is a fun, slightly (okay totally) overpriced way to get your healthy fruits and stay hyrdated on a warm summer day. We both wanted to try their passion fruit juice, but this wildly popular drink was sold out, so we settled for a pineapple juice and a watermelon juice. At this point the rain had mostly stopped, so we were able to watch the workers in the back of the stand hull out different fruits, blend the flesh with an immersion blender, and pour it into containers held in ice-cold coolers before repouring it back into said hulled-out fruits. We both remained purists – no additives or anything, just 100% juice. While a little gimmicky (and definitely would have been better with the addition of some vodka or – Malibu!), it certainly quenched our thirst after salting up on some fries.
After our appetites were properly whetted (and that’s not the only thing that was wet…seriously, my shoes are still drying…), it was time for the main course:
Baguettes from Raclette
Imagine a giant wheel of cheese being heated up to the melting point, then scraped onto a hot and toasty baguette spread with Dijon mustard and sprinkled with baby gherkins and green onions, than slathered with another schmear of melted cheese for good measure. If the thought itself (or the above picture) doesn’t instantly transport you to Europe, one bite of this brilliantly-simple yet delicious baguette will do the trick.
Which leads me to my final treat, the dessert-to-cap-off-all desserts:
Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches from Dulcinea
I’m not really a huge churro fan (they’ve always been kind of overrated/bland to me), but if these were the very first churros I had ever tried, I’d have been hooked from the start.
Back right: Peanut Butter Toasted Banana ice cream topped with a layer of nutella and rolled in cookie crumbles
Front left: Salted Caramel ice cream topped with a layer of caramel sauce and rolled in cookie crumbles.
Devoured in: Approx. 90 seconds (give or take 10 seconds)
This post honestly doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the stuff offered at Smorgasburg. In between some of the more conventional stuff, you’ll find an array of crazy confections such as the famous raindrop cake, sushi burritos, korean bbq, ramen burgers, and even spaghetti donuts:
I kid you not – these were “flavors” of spaghetti formed into the shape of a donut – disgusting even for a self-proclaimed lover of donuts AND Italian food. After I sent this picture to a friend in Italy, he responded “We Italians don’t like this…please don’t send us any more pictures of them.” Agreed, my friend. Agreed.
To find out what else Smorgasburg has to offer, you can check out their official site for information on hours, location, and different vendors.
Oh, and the office curmudgeon? He was right. I didn’t touch food for the rest of the day…but I DID walk 13,000 steps according to my friend’s pedometer, so…it all evens out in the end 😉