Every year the Street Vendor Project, which acts on behalf of the more than 15,000 street food vendors in NYC, has a big fundraiser event known as the Vendys. The event brings together street food vendors from all over the city, serving all kinds of different food, and gives out awards in multiple categories. This past Saturday the Vendys were held in Brooklyn for the first time, in scenic Industry City, and I was there. I had a lot of good food, so here’s the best of what I ate. Above you see the offering from the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck. Unlike most of the other trucks, which gave out small samples of their food, the Cinnamon Snail gave out a huge meal, including two donuts for dessert. I was only able to eat about half of this food, even though it was all delicious, and after I did I needed a nap.
One of the best savory dishes I ate was the Malaysian vegetable stew from the Mamak Truck. I was impressed that they even brought a vegetarian option (not all of the vendors did), and they even asked if I was vegan or I was okay with the hardboiled egg on top. In another thoughtful move they asked if peanuts were okay. The food was a great mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures; the stew was hot and soft, there were sweet and sour cold pickled vegetables, the crunch of the ground peanuts, and a dollop of chili sauce. A great dish all around.
My favorite dessert of the day was this espumilla, an Ecuadorian dish from Cholita Cuencana. It looks like ice cream, but it’s actually a mousse made from egg whites and sugar. It had the texture of a liquid marshmallow (if you can imagine that), with a slightly fruity favor. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, and I really enjoyed it. It was a dish that really divided people — they either loved it or hated it. I loved it.
The folks at Itizy Ice Cream won Best Dessert, and the samples I had were both very good. The mint straciatella was refreshing and delicious, but the special flavor of the day — brown butter bourbon — was even better. Not too alcohol-y and not too sweet, it had an almost savory finish from the brown butter. And you can feel good about eating Itizy’s ice cream, because “for every 5 scoops of ice cream or sorbet purchased, we donate 1 school meal to a child in need.”
The two big awards were announced at the end of the event. Luke’s Lobster won the
Longest Line People’s Choice award, and El Olomega, pupusa vendors from the Red Hook Ball Fields, won the Vendy Cup. It was nice to see an old school street vendor win amongst all of the newcomers.
All in all it was a great event, and there was too much good food to mention in one post. See the rest of my photos from the 2013 Vendys here.