I had little excuse not to go to the Big Apple BBQ Block Party on Saturday: it was one block away from my apartment! Plus, I like BBQ. I was hungry. Really, there was no excuse.
I arrived by the NW corner and was greeted by this pleasant sign:
I followed the crowds and enjoyed the mirth in the air. Music was playing, children ran through fountains of water, beer-lovers stood in enormous lines for draft beer. If this were literature, that’d be foreshadowing. For as I made my way towards the BBQ, I began to notice large crowds of people. Huge crowds of people. The hot sun bore down and when I finally found my first BBQ booth the line was wrapped around it like a self-hating snake. Look at the throngs:
Ok, you can’t really tell in that picture that there were throngs but…there were throngs!
Except at Smoki O’s. Don’t get me wrong: there was a line at Smoki O’s (in fact, that’s the line in the previous picture) but not as bad as any of the other lines. I hopped aboard and waited under the hot sun as the woman in front of me smoked a cigarette. Excuse me, smokers, but why do you smoke on hot days in line with other people? Really!
Anyway, a funny thing began to happen. As people got closer, I noticed some of them would duck out under the ropes and leave. Why had they waited this long only to walk away? What was going on? Did they run out of BBQ?
Then I noticed the sign: “Pig Snoot Sandwiches–$7.”
Pig Snoot Sandwiches! Like the snout? The nose? That’s what they were serving?
According to a flyer I later retrieved, the answer is: yes! “What is snoot, well Webster’s Dictionary defines it as the anterior prolongation of the head of various animals. Smoki O’s defines it as the pig’s nose, which the nostrils have been cut away and the anterior prolongation is prepared for an exciting culinary experience.”
In a former life as a non-foodie, non-amateur-gourmet type person, I would’ve joined the rope duckers and escaped the pig snout sandwich. But I pressed on. These people look nice, don’t they?
They wouldn’t serve me pig snout if they didn’t think it tasted good, would they? Of course they wouldn’t. So here’s my pig snout sandwich in a little box which I ate on a bench:
This is tasty in a VERY disturbing way. You bite in, you taste the bread, the sauce and then CRUNCH–you are crunching the cartilage. It’s incredibly crunchy: like biting through a bunch of twigs, only pig nose twigs. At the same time, there was something pleasing about it: like gnawing on a chicken bone or like eating a shrimp with the shell still on. I can’t say I loved my pig snout sandwich, but I’m really glad I tried it.
That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
For dessert, Blue Smoke had a nice tent with three choices: chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip bars, and rhubarb strawberry bars.
“Mmmm,” said the woman behind me in line to her friend, “those strawberry rhubarb bars are the best… I’ve come back three times for them… you have some talented people working here, you really do!” She watched a woman behind the counter eat a crumb and she said to her friend: “You see that? She ate a crumb? She knows it’s the best. That’s what I call a job perk!”
Here’s the beloved bar:
Maybe this is just the pig snout talking, but this made me oink with pleasure. I mean this is already my favorite type of pastry–buttery, “short,” fruity–and the rhubarb gave it a nice tartness. I left the BBQ block party with rhubarb on my lips and snout in my soul. A worthy expedition indeed.