Even rain couldn't dampen our enthusiasm and appetite for huaraches, ceviche, pupusas--you get the picture--at the Red Hook Ballfields Serious Eats meet-up on Sunday...
I was first turned on to the delicious wonders of the Red Hook Ballfields Vendors a couple of years ago via the excellent food blog The Pork Chop Express where I've followed the struggles of the vendors as they worked hard to meet compliance with the city's regulations. The vendors have sunk a lot of money into the process--not to mention the lost revenue from 3 months that they couldn't operate. I wasn't able to make it out to support them on their first weekend of the season, but fortunately my persistent craving for elote perfectly coincided with the Serious Eats Meet-Up.
It was so strange to arrive at the park and see all of these trucks and carts in the place of the familiar tents and griddles. With the conversion to trucks the vendors lost some precious cooking surface space so the lines were long, but for the most part people seemed willing to wait. After all, good food takes time.
We were sad to discover that Hernandez Huaraches was not coming back. They were our go to huaraches place. Sniffle. The line for Martinez Huaraches, the only remaining Huaraches place stretched way down Clinton street. The three people at the grill were working as hard as they could to get tacos and huaraches to the masses, but the reduced cooking surface space made everything a bit slower, but people were good humored about the situation and that and the promise of the tasty huaraches made the wait more bearable. At last I came away with a pork huarache, a chorizo huarache, and chicken tacos.
Tastewise I remember the Hernandez Huaraches as being more flavorful--however this might have been influenced by the previous cooking surfaces which Lawman posits 1) had greater capacity and 2) were hotter and allowed for a crispy meat exterior. That said, these were all together quite good.
Red Hook wrap up...while the prices have gone up a little, the food is still quite good and makes for a fun weekend afternoon. It was great to meet up with all the Serious Eaters and fellow Serious Eats readers as well as JSlab from the Pork Chop Express and the Grub Street Gang. And Thanks to IKEA, Red Hook is more accessible than ever via bus and even Water Taxi!
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