It’s hard to miss the white tents and enticing smells of Brooklyn Smorgasburg, which gathers in Williamsburg every Saturday and Sunday. Even on a grey and wet Saturday, food trucks and other vendors pitch their tents in East River State Park, and the hungry masses soon follow. With 100 vendors, you’re bound to find a new dish each visit, be it ramen burgers, arepas, or tacos.
The Smorgasburg can get packed during the hot days of summer, but thanks to the now cool weather there’s room to move without knocking elbows. At the back of the lot, I found a crowd around Milk Truck, waiting for their cups of mac or grilled cheese sandwiches. Their truck, “Bessie,” can be found roaming Manhattan most days of the week. Their mac and cheese bar was rated #1 by the Village Voice in 2013, hence its major popularity. With aged Gruyere, Wisconsin blue, Asiago, and aged cheddar cheese, Milk Truck revitalizes these comfort foods and the result is warm, cheesy deliciousness.
But I was not here for the cheese; I was there for the shakes. Made from custom-blended small-batch ice cream, the milkshakes are creamy and thick. It’s tough to choose between Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Dark Chocolate, and Crushed Malt Ball, but ultimately I went with their 62% cacao dark chocolate shake, and I have no regrets.
Shake in hand, I made my way to Palenque, a truck with a mission to bring homemade Colombian fusions to New York City. Palenque was founded by Viviana Lewis and Nena Sierra, and was awarded Best Gourmet Food Truck in 2013 by Tanger Taste and Style. Their menu features authentic and alternative arepas – bread patties topped with protein, queso de hepa, chorizo, and guacamole. For the gluten-free or health-conscious, they have quinoa or multigrain arepa patties.
To compliment the arepas, they offer refreshing drinks like Agua de panela and Colombian sodas. Agua de panela is a drink from South America made with hardened sugar cane pulp (panela), lime, and ginger. It goes perfectly with the spicy arepas, even on a chilly afternoon.
After making a circuit of the vendors and laboriously choosing their meals, people sit on benches to eat, or walk to the rocky shore of the East River. I opted for a concrete slab to enjoy my mini-smorgasbord of shake, arepa, and ague de panela, knowing full well that I will have to return soon to continue my sampling of New York’s gourmet vendors.
-New York Area Guest Contributor, Quinn Milton