This past weekend the weather was pretty much perfect. It was a great day to visit the opening day for the Red Hook Ball Field Food Vendors, where you can find some of the best and most authentic food from Central and South America, as well as Mexico. If you’ve never heard of them, the vendors started out selling food to people at the Red Hook Ball Fields who were there to watch futbol; after a few years word got out and the operation got noticed by the Health Department. They ended up forcing the vendors to get trucks and permits, a very expensive proposition for most people. At this point they need as much business as they can get, to make it financially worthwhile. Sure, you can get great tacos and fresh fruit juices, but there are also specialized things you can’t get very many places in NYC. Above you see pacaya, something I look forward to getting every year. It’s a bamboo-like part of a palm tree, and on its own it is so bitter to be almost unpalatable. But when you deep fry it in an egg-based batter and cover it in pico de gallo and salsa picante, then wrap it in a couple of tortillas, it becomes something truly special — lots of interesting flavors and textures melding in your mouth. Whatever you get, just go. Make a visit once and you’ll want to go back the following weekend.
Red Hook Ball Field Vendors — Corner of Clinton St & Bay St., Sat & Sun 9am-9pm