It’s impossible to write about Williamsburg without using the word “hipster.” I’ll do my best.
On Saturday, I joined my friends Patty and Lauren and their gorgeous new baby Audra for a trip to the land of the bespeckled and heavily tattooed to consume hand-crafted foods along the water. This event, known as Smorgasburg, was something that just started as I left for L.A. last year. It’s got a lot to recommend it: fall weather, beautiful views, and some of the best food you can eat outside of a restaurant in New York.
Here’s the scene outside the gates…
And here’s the happy new family:
What’s that you say? You wanna see the baby? Ok, here she is in all her adorableness.
But you’re not here for babies, you’re here for food.
We decided to go where the line was longest, and that was for Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque.
When it comes to situations like Smorgasburg, where there’s so much to choose from, I definitely trust the wisdom of crowds. And as you’ll see from these pictures, this crowd was very, very wise indeed.
Here’s the brisket, pre-topping:
And here it is topped with pickled onions and cucumbers and, next to it, a pulled pork sandwich topped with BBQ sauce and coleslaw:
It’s hard to say anything critical about this. I’ve had BBQ in Texas, I’ve had BBQ in Atlanta (still haven’t done it the right way in Kansas City or the Carolinas) and compared to all the other BBQ I’ve had so far, this was right up there. I loved every bite.
And here’s the giant smoker they use to make it….
So three cheers for the Mighty Quinn.
Next up, we met the nice ladies of Anarchy in a Jar.
We tasted all kinds of powerfully-flavored jam.
My favorite was the simplest–just the plain berry–which I bought and spread on my toast Monday morning. It had a freshness and vibrancy you’d never find in a supermarket jam. That’s good stuff.
Obviously, we couldn’t eat everything in site. So we skipped this stuff this time around….
We also didn’t eat these fresh scallops.
Our next stop, actually, was informed by Mario Batali’s Twitter feed. Earlier that morning, he’d Tweeted about a maple bacon stick he’d eaten at Smorgasburg (I was alerted to that by @adamring). We discovered said maple stick here at Baohaus.
Here are the pieces of beautiful bacon (the thickest pieces of bacon you’re likely to see anywhere) sizzling away.
If you order one, the nice woman squirts it with maple syrup and dusts it with a spice mixture:
I mean, how could you say “no” to this?
That’s one of those “last bites on earth” kind of experiences. It’s pretty mind-blowing.
We also shared a lamb burger which was wonderfully made–it had great char on it–though I thought the potato bun overwhelmed it.
Still, we ate it eagerly.
The people at Brooklyn Grange were making salads, but we skipped that.
Instead, we went for the hardcore action going on at BonChovie. (Cleverest name ever!)
What do they serve at BonChovie? What is this toy on the table?
The answer: deep-fried anchovies!
They ship fresh ones in from across the ocean (really, somewhere in Europe, I forget where), coat them in a spicy flour mixture and deep fry them. You can get them with the heads on or heads off. We chose heads on. Behold!
How good were these? Crazy good, especially dipped in a spicy aioli. We each ate two and could’ve eaten more. But Lauren got a plate of these fried shishito peppers:
And thus ended our savory portion of the day.
On with the sweets!
We started with macarons that had been written about in The New York Times (favorably compared to the macarons at Lauderee in Paris…high praise, indeed).
We settled on a purple one, which had a violet flavor.
As often happens with things flavored with flowers, it tasted slightly of soap. But the texture was wonderful.
Next up: Danny Macaroons. The Jewish coconut kind.
Danny had quite a spread.
I asked him his favorite, he said “caramel” so that’s the one I bought. It was good and gooey, a highly enhanced version of your everyday, Passover macaroon.
At this point, I needed some coffee and found it at Blue Bottle where I ordered my favorite: the New Orleans-style iced coffee.
I love the chicory in this…it gives everything an extra bitter edge that plays nicely against the sugar they add. It’s an iced coffee not to be missed.
Did we still eat after this? We did. Two more things. First, a stop at the doughnut place:
Where we shared a dulce de leche doughnut…
Unfortunately, this didn’t dazzle. Maybe it had something to do with how far in advance the doughnuts had been made…it didn’t have that fresh, straight-out-of-the-fryer feel the best doughnuts have. Still: we ate all of it.
Finally, we visited Alison at First Prize Pies who’s currently working with my cookbook agent on a cookbook of her own.
After sampling her S’mores pie, I’m going to have to pre-order a copy right away.
(The secret to that topping is not using store bought marshmallows…she makes her own marshmallow topping with gelatin, sugar and water. I’m sure she’ll have more detail in her book.)
And so ends our day at Smorgasburg. Look at how much I wrote and I didn’t use the “H” word once! It’s a testament to the food that I barely noticed the other people eating it.