Monday, September 28, 2009

Red Hook for the Win!

Mmm, Trix Ice Cream
I woke up Saturday morning incredibly groggy-I'd had an awesome time the evening before-but incredibly excited. It was time for the annual Vendy Awards! And for me, it was time to repeat my Vendy volunteering. With eleven carts, and four different awards up for grabs, I know it would be an amazing day, and oh, it was. (Early 'I'm sorry' for not eating everything and not a great photo montage, I was too busy trying to raise money for the Street Vendor Project.)

The Unisphere
The morning runners were still going down the paths of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as I walked from the 7 to the Unisphere. As I rounded the corner to the space where the Vendys would take place. There was definitely more room than last year, but with nothing set up yet, it was hard to imagine how it would all come together in a matter of hours.

Setting Up
Amazingly enough, some trucks were already there. Of course, as the morning progressed, more vendors showed, but I was so busy focusing on helping out, I didn't even realize the hubbub around me.

The Line Forms
Before I knew it, the Vendys were to begin in mere hours, the tables and chairs were set up, and vendors were whipping up the eats. And the nominees are:

The Awards

For Main Entrees:

Chef Meru!
Biryani Cart-Meru Sikder, 46th Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan

Spicy Biryani Cart
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
The King of Falafel-Fares "Freddy" Zeidaies, 30th Street and Broadway, Astoria

The King of Falafel's Meal
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.

Belly Dancers!
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 Team
Rickshaw Dumplings-Kenny Lao, check their Twitter

Rickshaw Dumpling's Meal
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
Jamaican Dutchy-O'Neill Reid, 51st Street & 7th Avenue, Manhattan

Jamaican Dutchy's Meal
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
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:

Mmm, Trix
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck-Doug Quint (with Bryan Petroff), check their Twitter

Wasabi Peas Sampler
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
Wafels & Dinges-Thomas DeGeest, check their Twitter

Mm, waffle covered in chocolate
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 Getting Ready
Cupcake Stop-Lev Ekster, check their Twitter

The Mini Elvis Cupcake
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:

Cravings Opening Up
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 Setting Up
Schnitzel & Things-Oleg Voss and Jared Greenhouse, check their Twitter

Schnitzel's Meal
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.

Picnik Smoked
Picnick Smoked-Kevin Pomplun and Will Goldfarb, Mannahatta Park in front of 120 Wall Street fountain

BBQ, Good For You's Meal
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:

Schnitzel & Things Wins!
Best Rookie Vendor went to Schnitzel & Things.

Wafels & Dinges Wins Dessert!
Best Dessert Vendor went to Wafel & Dinges

Biryani Cart Repeats!
Grey Poupon's People's Choice went to Biryani Cart (a repeat!)

Country Boys Wins!
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.


rinda in brooklyn said...

I found your site through and read your blog from time to time. I didnt realize you were Blondie from Blondie and Brownie until i read the last part about you "bringing the sign" next year!

I was the volunteer siting behind you guys watching over the bags!

I remember you were very excited when you brough over the plates of schnitzel :)

Fresh Local and Best said...

What an amazing event! Your pictures made me want to be there - badly!

Siobhan said...

Hi Rinda, lady with the most important job there!!! Yup, that was me. I have the sign hanging up in my room!

@Fresh-you have to go next year! It's just keeps getting bigger and better.

Chubby Chinese Girl said...

awww... i didn't think paying that much for the vendy awards was worth it, but after seeing your pics, i feel like i really missed out, i must go next year! =) thanks for sharing