For Main Entrees:
Biryani Cart-Meru Sikder, 46th Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan
Anybody who knows us knows that we love kati rolls, and Chef Meru. His offerings were similar to last year: a kati roll, some chicken tikka, and chapli kebab. As the 2008 People's Choice winner, Meru isn't new to the Vendys experience. He brought a small army of helpers making the line move exceptionally fast.
The King of Falafel-Fares "Freddy" Zeidaies, 30th Street and Broadway, Astoria
This was my first time eating from The King of Falafel and I was amazed by the size of his servings. Three of these falafel in a pita is definitely a meal worth getting, you Midtown carts better take note! And it was seriously delicious and crispy.
Another Vendys veteran, he was a 2007 finalist, he knew he should rely on more than food for votes. About halfway through the awards, he whipped out two belly dancers to give the audience some entertainment. In a matter of moments, Freddy was dancing along, much to our enjoyment.
Rickshaw Dumplings-Kenny Lao, check their Twitter
I'll admit, I've never been overly impressed by Rickshaw Dumplings. I do give them credit though for having a huge following, one that got them into the Vendys. Their crew was very energetic, excited to be there, and dealt with some long lines during the day. I got their Chicken & Thai Basil dumplings at the very end of my day, only managing to have a bite or two.
Jamaican Dutchy-O'Neill Reid, 51st Street & 7th Avenue, Manhattan
Finally, finally, finally, I had a chance to eat Jamaican Dutchy. They served different types of chicken, minced beef with cabbage, and rice and beans. For dessert, you could get squash bread or carrot cake. Erin Zimmer, that wonderful lady, managed to pick me up a plate and bring it over to the booth. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get a chance to try any until it had turned cold! I will have to work in a Jamaican Dutchy lunchtime trip stat!
Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck-Fernando & Yolanda Martinez, Red Hook Ball Fields & Saturday Brooklyn Flea
When I talk about huaraches from Red Hook, I'm talking about Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck. These were the first huaraches I ever had in my life, and since that first one, I've craved theirs on a regular basis. Mmmm, huaraches, I want one right now. And just like at the ball fields, the wait for a made-to-order huarache topped 45 minutes from what I hear. No, this is another I didn't get to try, but I'll rely on my food memories, and they are awesome!
Now onto the Desserts:
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck-Doug Quint (with Bryan Petroff), check their Twitter
Doug has managed to come between two girls. Brownie has a tendency of visiting him and eating ice cream without telling me. This makes me upset. I planned on getting back at her with some crazy Big Gay Ice Cream mash-up, but that never happened! The horrors! My only bite was a sample of the wasabi peas. No Thanksgiving Sundae for me, epic sad.
Wafels & Dinges-Thomas DeGeest, check their Twitter
Brownie & I haven't visited Wafels & Dinges in many moons, but for me, I still have a soft spot for their Liege waffle, especially when it's smothered in Nutella (food of the gods.) Wafels & Dinges was one of the few vendors dishing out samples to the volunteers right before opening. And true to their personality, they included a Vendy haiku!
Cupcake Stop-Lev Ekster, check their Twitter
As you can see, Cupcake Stop brought every flavor they could pack on the truck. I decided to try their version of the Elvis cupcake, a banana cake with peanut buter frosting, and of course, bacon. I was surprised how moist the mini was, those wee ones can be tricky, and when the Great New York City Elvis Cupcake Competition occurs, and it should happen if only to find out "The King" of the Elvis', this is definitely in the running.
And here are the Rookies:
NYC Cravings-Thomas Yang, Diana Yang, Eric Yu, check their Twitter
Argh! Another truck I've been dying to try thanks to all the amazing things I've heard from Zach Brooks. Blasted! They brought their Taiwanese-style fried chicken, rice, meat sauce, and dumplings.
Schnitzel & Things-Oleg Voss and Jared Greenhouse, check their Twitter
Brownie has brought me random things from the Schnitzel & Things truck before, but schnitzel is fried, and fried doesn't hold up well. For the Vendys, they brought an incredible spread of food including beet & feta salad, Austrian potato salad, braised sauerkraut, cucumber salad, and of course, pork, chicken, & eggplant schnitzel. I liked mine though I thought it would be better fresh. I liked that they offered some semi-healthy sides, and I'm a sucker for beet & feta salad no matter how ubiquitous it gets.
Picnick Smoked-Kevin Pomplun and Will Goldfarb, Mannahatta Park in front of 120 Wall Street fountain
Picnick Smoked, Good for You BBQ gave out little pulled pork sandwiches, cookies, and Arnold Palmers, not what you usually expect from a truck. Their vinegary pulled pork was good, but I don't think it was enough of a taste for me. I also wasn't too fond of their addition of the cole slaw-I'm not a mayo cole slaw fan.
And the winners are:
Best Rookie Vendor went to Schnitzel & Things.
Best Dessert Vendor went to Wafel & Dinges
Grey Poupon's People's Choice went to Biryani Cart (a repeat!)
The Vendy Cup went to Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck!!!! Tacos for everyone!!!
I'd like to say thank you again to everyone at the Street Vendor Project including Sean Basinksy and Ali Issa; all the committee members including Amy, JoAnne, Morgan, and Merv; all the volunteers including Julian, Samantha, Lilly, and last but certainly not least, Maya. And congratulations to all the vendors for being nominated, but of course a HUGE congratulations to the winners! I cannot wait until next year (and yes, I'll bring back the sign if you want me too!)
For some great coverage complete with spectacular photos from two people who could try everything, check out SE:NY's coverage here.
Or if your interested in dessert only-who needs savory!-check out Dessert Buzz.
Lastly, for my full set of pictures, check out my slideshow.