Before I went to New York for work back in August, I'd read about the newest thing to hit the food radar since cronuts: the ramen burger. I'd read that it was only available from a vendor at Brooklyn's weekend food flea market, Smorgasburg, so I pretty much changed my ticket to fly in early to go to it. (And see my cuz, but that's a secondary reason, haha).
Anyway, Smorgasburg is a two-day flea, in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Dumbo on Sundays. Uh, and guess what? The ramen burger stand is ONLY at the Williamsburg edition. And guess what else? I went to the one in Dumbo. Damnbo!
That's not to say I regretted hitting it up. You couldn't swing your eyeball 10 yards without spotting a cutting-edge hipster food trend. And while I love to make fun of hipster stereotypes, what I love more is eating their food. And what is thy bread and butter, o hipster? Try-hard food combinations from bizarre food groups (may I offer you a hibiscus doughnut? A pie shake perhaps?) Upscale renditions of old-school fast food or comfort classics (You don't want a hot dog. You want an ASIA DOG. That's hot dogs, with some serious Azn flava). And desserts that are really small (Cake? How about cake pop. Cheesecake? How about cheesecake bite.)
Let's check out the contenders.
Pie shakes. As in, a pie, blended with ice cream, into a shake. Sounds amazing. But not necessarily US$10 amazing. Plus, if you commit to a pie shake, you're pretty much giving up quota for like three other things. These things sound filling.
You can't go to a food fair without a lobster roll. It's a classic of the genre. They're never particularly cheap, but they're almost always good, because there's so little on-site chance for screw-up. As long as your lobster is decent and your bread amply crisp and fluffy, you're all good. This baby's from Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Eggs 'n' Hash. Totally unmemorable but I think I ordered it for something to do with the egg. Took ages to make. It was hot and crispy but nothing flavour-wise that would blow your mind.
Brooklyn Wok Shop's crab rangoon, duck-confit dumplings and I think eggplant dumplings? Can't go wrong with fried food!
Strawberry-basil lemonade was THE BOMB, and one of the more reasonably priced investments if you don't count slightly excessive amounts of ice... ($10 buys you a mason jar you can take home for future hipster presentation needs, but we just got the $3)
We had gone to the 'burg early, a little after opening, 11:30am. And BFC kept us hankering for an hour till they opened -- and a line started forming about 15 minutes before that. We didn't end up getting our fried chicken with waffles till almost 1 due to the wait, but it was worth it. So crispy-skinned and juicy.
Porchetta sandwiches, $7 a pop but no one was biting. I gave it a pity twirl, the meat looked juicy enough and there was no line. No line usually means no good. The porchetta was good, but that was some dry-ass white bread.
Doughnuts from Dough! Really good, squishy but chewy texture. The Hibuscus in red was the one I ended up with, because so many of them were sold out. I wanted the Dulce de Leche so bad. Or salted chocolate caramel! Or chocolate Earl Grey. Yum.
On our way out, we picked up truffle-infused popcorn, which was just small popcorn with no truffle infusion whatsoever and a little teensy bit of truffle scent. It cost $5, which was less than the candy shop down the street, thank God. The popcorn actually wasn't bad, but what's up with the lack of truffle, guys? Truffle saves lives, and let me tell you, lives were lost in that retro-tastic paper bag of popcorn.
My experience with Smorgasburg was the same as at any food fair. Awesome ideas, awesome vibe. Sitting on the grass in Brooklyn staring at the river and bridge made for such a perfect chilled-out Sunday. Did any of the food really blow me away? No, probably not. Most of the meals I had in New York (favourites like Jungsik, Blue Ribbon, Umami Burger or Momofuku Ssam) were miles better. But sometimes you want to just kick back, put on your big sunnies and your Marant wedge sneakers and join the hipster party. If hipsters have pie shakes, then I want to be a hipster.