My nephew culinary visit: day 2 / part 1 - Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We could not miss the occasion of my nephew's visit to go to Smorgasburg, the food festival that takes place every year in Brooklyn. We kept thinking that we should go so many times, but we had this image that it would be a pain, because far. We were wrong. In fact, recently, I ended up quite few times there and really enjoyed it, drooling in front of so many cool restaurants...
image of Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

So here we are, at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg (it was a Saturday), located few minutes from the subway stop! Big place with a beautiful view of the New York skyline:
image of Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

Despite what you may think looking at the photo, it was packed. 

We were very excited and decided to look around before hitting the first food joint, but it did not take us too long to start our food experience. First stop was Milk Truck Grilled Cheese:
image of Milk Truck Grilled Cheese at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We do not have grilled cheese in France, just croque monsieur, but a simpler version than the one you see in restaurants: no béchamel, just butter and a slice of cheese that will be cooked in a toaster. So it is pretty similar.

We decided to try the Ham and cheese:
image of Ham and cheese from Milk Truck Grilled Cheese at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

It was made of Niman's ranch applewood smoked ham, Vermont aged cheddar and Colman's mustard on Blue Ribbon Bakery rosemary Pullman bread. It was very good, hot, perfect for a cold day. It had lots of cheese and a thick slice of ham, and the bread was deliciously crispy. 

We also tried the Milk Truck classic, made with aged Wisconsin gruyere, cultured butter on a Balthazar levain Pullman bread. 
image of Classic from Milk Truck Grilled Cheese at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

It was delicious, with tons of cheese and, again, this delicious crispiness of the bread.

Next stop was Brooklyn Piggies for pigs in a blanket:
image of Brooklyn Piggies at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY
Another dish you will not find in France: sausage wrapped in a dough, whether croissant, biscuit or , like here, a puff pastry.
image of Pigs in a blanket from Brooklyn Piggies at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We decided to eat them with mustard and a BBQ sauce. They were delicious: the puff pastry was light and flacky, perfectly paired with the sausage that had a bit of smokiness.

Then we ended up at an interesting stand: Cheese Pops.
image of Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

They serve cheese of course, but like lollipops or skewered, and propose a raclette one:
image of Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY
A bit of France there, but also Switzerland as they melt the cheese the way they do in that country for raclette, under a heated source:
image of raclette cheese from Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

So, the raclette pop is a skewer with pickles and roasted vegetables:
image of Veggies and bread skewer from Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

They will melt on top the cheese:
image of raclette pop from Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

Et voila!
image of raclette pop from Cheese Pops at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

It was good, but there was definitely not enough cheese and the $9 we paid were not worth it...

Our next stop was at the BeeHive Oven:

image of Beehive oven at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

There, they serve biscuit, that I love! They were cooking them on premisses, so they were fresh and hot.
image of Beehive oven at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We decided to order the simplest one: with butter and honey for $2 a piece.
image of Biscuit from Beehive oven at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

That was so good! These biscuits were one of the best I tried so far, and so comforting. 

Next to it was Inglorius Yakitorius:
image of Inglorious Yakitorius at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

Where they propose yakitori of all sort: beef or chicken, but more intriguing, heart, liver or cartilage, cooked on their grill.
image of yakitori from Inglorious Yakitorius at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We decided to try the chicken heart and the chicken liver.
image of chicken heart and liver from Inglorious Yakitorius at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We decided to have them salted rather than with a sauce, so we could really taste the meat. It was very good, tender, but I was missing the char I love on grilled meat. Not to mention that Jodi was horrified, especially when she saw a valve on the pice of heart I was going to eat.

The last savory stop was Brooklyn Bayou for alligator chili:
image of Brooklyn Bayou at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

It was made with alligator, andouille sausage, pork shoulder, tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic. We could see the pots of chili behind the counter:
image of chili pots from Brooklyn Bayou at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

They served the chili with some rice (overcooked) and some sour cream to counteract the spiciness.
image of alligator chili from Brooklyn Bayou at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

It was good, but a bit overpriced ($10), although I do not know the price of a pound of alligator...If you ask me what it tasted like, I would be unable to answer, because they were so many ingredients smothered in the sauce, that it was not possible to identify it. I guess the only components we clearly identified was the sausage.

The last stop was S'more bakery:

image of S'More Bakery at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We could not let Valentin leave without trying a S'more! 
image of S'More Bakery at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

We went for the S'morgasm, a sandwich made of two cinnamon sugar and clover honey graham crackers, a layer of Callebaut semisweet chocolate ganache and a bourbon-Madagascar vanilla bean marshmallow that is torched:
image of S'More Bakery at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

And here is the little sandwich:
image of S'More Bakery at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

Not only it looked good, but it tasted heavenly good! The marshmallow was so gooey and sticky, with a nice char taste. Definitely a great way to finish this culinary experience!

That was fantastic and I am happy that my nephew (and I) could try some food that you cannot find where he lives. My only regret is that we did not go earlier to Smorgasburg!

Enjoy (I did)!

Milk Truck Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon

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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!

Delicious food at The Food Truck Festival in South Street Seaport - NYC, New York

image of The Food Truck Festival in South Street Seaport - NYC, New York

Yesterday, Jodi and I went to The Food Truck Festival in South Street Seaport. This festival takes place couple of times a year, always at the same place, and features close to 30 food trucks from all over the city!

We decided to go in the morning, at around 11:30am as last year we went later and it was packed! This year, we picked the correct time! Not that many people, so limited wait! Our plan was to go to different trucks and try one of their dish on the menu.

We started with Chinese Mirch.

Mirch means chili in Hindi. This truck is a fusion between chinese food and indian food. We decided to try the Tibetan Momos, that are hand-rolled pan fried dumplings. We picked the vegetarian ones, made with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and some "secret" spices. 
The dumplings are served with a hot or sweet sauce. We chose the sweet as it was hot outside. The dumplings were pretty good: the shell was light and well cooked (I was surprised to see it steamed as they advertised pan fried!). The stuffing was delicious and flavorful. The only negative was that there was not enough sauce. Besides that, I really enjoyed it! The 5 dumplings costed $4.

The second truck was The Kimchi Taco Truck.
I love Korean food and was eager to try a fusion taco! What was great is that they proposed a tasting of 3 tacos for $7. Our pick was (top to bottom on the photo):

  • Tofu edamame falafel: tofu, edamame and chickpea blended with Asian spices with kimchi infused refried beans, cucumber kimchi, pickled daikon and pico de gallo.
  • BBQ beef short ribs served with their signature marinade, topped with red cabbage, apple, pear kimchi slaw.
  • Fried chicken, battered in sweet rice flour tossed in organic blue agave nectar and ginger, garlic Korean pepper sauce and served with pickled diakon, queso blanco and sesame seeds.
They put the tacos next to each other and the shells were too small for the quantity of stuffing, so it was a bit messy to eat! The tofu edamame falafel was a bit mushy: I did not like it. The BBQ short rib was pretty good: it was tender and not dry thanks to the marinade. The last one I tried was the chicken one: I would have never thought it was fried chicken! Last, the taco shell was a bit hard on some parts of the tacos.
I was a bit disappointed: I think they put too many things on the taco and you lose the main flavors.

The next truck was Nuchas truck that serves empanadas.
They offer different types of empanadas: meat, veggie or sweet. We ordered the Argentine empanada ($3): ground beef, onions, pepper, scallions, potatoes and olives.
When the empanada came, it looked like the cocas that my family cooks with sheshoukah! It really liked it although it was a bit greasy. It had nice flavors and was just a bit spicy, but not too much. 

Then was the long awaited Valducci's pizza truck!
We were looking forward to get a slice from that truck since we tried it last year! It was so good! So we reordered the same slice: thin crust, pizza sauce, just a bit of cheese and olive oil.
This pizza is the proof that less is more! The crust was incredibly crispy and the sauce amazing! I think it is one of my favorite pizza in New York! I would not have liked to try other trucks, I would have gone for another slice! The slice costed $5.

Next to Valducci's was the Gorilla Cheese truck, specialized in grilled cheese.
They have standard grilled cheese as well as more elaborated ones. I decided to try a standard one and picked the Cheddar grilled cheese with white bread.
For sure there was a lot of cheese.
But, for $6, you can expect a better cheese and a better bread! I can make a better grilled cheese home for cheaper! Disappointing!

Then, we were on our way to leave when we saw the Red Hook Lobster Pound! Last year, I ate a fantastic lobster roll there! With all the food we ate, I was not sure I could have one. But Jodi knew how to find the good words to convince me: "If you do not get one, you will regret and keep talking about it!". I did not need more to order the $16 Connecticut lobster roll:
It is pricey, but there is a lot of lobster in it (I got 2 claws for sure as you can see on the photo), making it a bit challenging to eat! I love the Connecticut one: it is poached in butter! Better than with tons of mayo that could overpower the lobster taste!
The bread was deliciously buttered and toasted. If you do not like butter, it is not for you! I love this place!

After that, I was full and could not even try any of the desserts trucks. This is a great festival and I am looking forward for the next one!
On a side note, it was funny to see people eating at the terrace of the restaurants next to the festival: why would you pay overpriced food when you have an incredible event like this next to you?

If you went to the Food Truck Festival, let me know what you think!

Enjoy (I did)!

Chinese Mirch on UrbanspoonKimchi Taco Truck on UrbanspoonNuchas on UrbanspoonValducci's Pizza (Food Truck) on UrbanspoonGorilla Cheese NYC Mobile Food Truck on UrbanspoonThe Red Hook Lobster Pound Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Urban lobster shack food truck in NYC, New York

If you tell French people that you are eating a lobster in a piece of bread, they will think you are crazy! Not me! Since I discovered lobster rolls, I love it! Not all of them though: I hate when they smother the whole lobster with tons of mayonnaise, to a point where you do not even taste this divine ingredient!

I think the first time I tried it was in Boston, at Faneuil Hall. Since then, I have tried it in many forms, such as the Lobster roll benedict at Anthony David's in Hoboken, NJ.

Then, last year, I went to the Food Truck Festival at South Street Seaport and tasted a succulent Connecticut style lobster roll (poached in butter!!!) from The Red Hook Lobster Pound (see the related post: Food Truck Festival at South Street Seaport (NYC) on August 20th!).

Then, I noticed this red truck on the corner of 52nd and 6th in New York: Urban Lobster Shack. With a name like this, there is no question what it is about! They have in fact a brick and mortar restaurant Midtown, as well as one in the Financial District. I spoke with the Chef who told me that they started couple of month ago with the truck. The menu is defined everyday, based on her mood. For instance, the second time I went, I did not see the different dishes made with crab: she was not in the mood for it!

So, I tried several of their rolls.

The traditional ("Our famous lobster roll").

This was my first. At first, I was surprised by the size of it as the roll is a tiny hot dog roll. For $13, it was a bit small. But the taste was amazing: the lobster was perfectly cooked, tasty, perfectly seasoned, with a nice buttery taste (the roll is toasted and buttered). 

Then I tried the Chef's scampi lobster roll.

Good too, but too much garlic! It for sure protected me from vampires for a month. However, it was filled with lobster! Yum!

The last one was the Chef's creation: Asian Lobster Roll:

It was served with celery, a wasabi soy sauce topped with sesame seeds. I like the originality and the taste of the dish. But the traditional one is my favorite!

I like the fact that they propose many different types of Lobster Rolls and wish they serve more often crab rolls as an alternative...But $13 / $14 seems a bit overpriced, although the rolls are filled with the lobster. I would eat again there, but not everyday!

Enjoy (I did)!

Urban Lobster Shack on Urbanspoon Urban Lobster Shack on Urbanspoon

Happy 4th Of July! Don't get the Crisp!

Image of Food Trucks in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
Hoboken is going to be crazy today as it is the best spot to see the Macy's fireworks! Imagine that people already started to setup their spot in the parks along the Hudson river in this heat!

Smartly, the city allowed some food trucks to settle next to the ferry. Considering the number of people who will come in the afternoon and tonight, they will get some good business! The trucks we saw are:

  • Max's: hot dogs and burgers. 
  • The Taco Truck: well known in Hoboken! But they had a reduced menu...
  • Luke's Lobster: they were not yet ready when we when there! Bummer! It is a perfect day for a lobster roll!
Then there was the Crisp truck, a vegetarian truck that serves Middle Eastern favorites (falafel) with a twist! 
Image of Crisp on Wheels Food Truck in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
The twist comes from the different ways they serve their food. You can for instance pick a falafel sandwich with the following combinations:
  • Mexican: cilantro pesto and avocado, corn, salsa, nachos with jalapeno dressing.
  • African: North African peanut sauce, sweet potatoes, corn salad, cherry tomatoes, green onions and habanero harissa.
  • Mediterranean: sundried tomato spread, eggplant parmesan flakes and garden greens.
  • Parisian: sundried tomato spread, goat cheese, roasted peppers, garden greens and red onions.
  • Athenian: herbed yogurt, greek salad and green onions.
We decided to go for the Parisian one.
Image of Parisian sandwich at Crisp on Wheels Food Truck in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
The sandwich was conveniently placed in a box that allows you to eat it without too much mess, although, making a little mess when eating a falafel sandwich is part of the experience...

They gave us some tahini sauce with the sandwich that I poured as there was no dressing. The tahini was very liquid... What I liked about the sandwich was the sundried tomato spread that was a nice addition. Also, the goat cheese added some extra freshness to a sandwich that could have been, without these two ingredients, bland. The main problem I has was that the falafel where in the bottom of the pita! So first you eat the salad and then the falafel...Too bad! I would have preferred layers of both! The falafel were a bit mushy, but I am wondering if it was not because of the tahini sauce.

Besides the sandwich, they also propose some hummus salad bowls with international flavors:
  • Salsa pignolias: pine nuts, salsa, greens and tahini.
  • baja fresh: cilantro pesto, corn, salsa, jalapeno and nachos.
  • Acropolis: olives, feta, greens and vinaigrette.
  • Aubergenius: eggplant, greens, parmesan and vinaigrette.
  • Mama mia: sundried tomato spread, roasted peppers, greens and red onions.
  • Dolce vita: sundried tomato spread, sweet potatoes, greens and red onions.
  • Garbanzo extravaganza: chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, greens and lemon garlic sauce.
We selected the Aubergenius.
Image of Aubergenius salad bowl at Crisp on Wheels Food Truck in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
It was a bit disappointing: For close to $9, you only get two falafel??? Although I have to say that they were really good: correct amount of spices, crispy and not greasy. Also, there was very little eggplant. At the end, I had the impression I was just eating a salad with some (pretty good) hummus!

On top of the disappointing food, we ordered a passion fruit ice tea and a gaucho mint ice tea: lacking sweetness and taste!

Our bill ended up being $20. For that price, I would go to Mamoun's falafel on Washington street in Hoboken or Taim in NYC!

So, if you go to Hoboken, avoid the Crisp: it is not worth it!

Happy 4th Of July and Enjoy!

Crisp on UrbanspoonCrisp on Urbanspoon

The Drive-In Dinner at Brooklyn Brewery on April 18th!

Do not miss the Drive-In Dinner at the Brooklyn Brewery on April 18th!

This 5 courses Food Truck dinner paired with beer is organized by the Brooklyn Brewery and Edible Brooklyn ( For $40, you have one course at a Food Truck (Bongo Brothers Cuban Food Truck, Coolhaus, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Feed Your Hole, The Morris Truck), paired with a beer. 

Do not miss it!

The Brooklyn Brewery
79 N11 Street,Brooklyn, NY11249,United States
April 18, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

More information here.

My Shawarma! At The Halal Guys Food Cart in NYC, New York

Image of Lamb Gyro at The Halal Guys Food cart in NYC, New York

I already mentioned a food cart SW corner of 53rd and 6 avenue in New York.They are called the Halal Guys. They are wearing yellow sweaters, but in fact, in each corner of 53rd, either on 6th or 7th avenue, you see the same yellow sweater.

I really think you should try it.
Here are few reasons:
- I have never been sick eating there. I know that some people are scared to eat at food carts. It is true that they do not have the grades like restaurants and not all of them maintain some hygiene standards.. 
- The food is delicious. The lamb gyro is my favorite! The meat is cooked perfectly and is very tasty. It is a bit burnt, giving a nice taste to it.
- it is cheap compared to a Shawarma you would eat in a restaurant.

I also tried the rice platter, but did not really like it: the rice was too dry. Definitely the sandwich is better!
Image of Lamb rice plate at The Halal Guys Food cart in NYC, New York

The legend says that these guys are so profitable that they turned down a $1 million offer on their license! After seeing the number of people waiting in line, I am not surprised!

Try it and enjoy (I did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!
Halal Guys - 53rd and 6th (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon