Thanks to the ID NYC program I recently got a free membership at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. My membership card arrived the day before the annual Chile Pepper Festival, an event I’ve never attended. Since my membership entitled me free entry to the festival, I decided to check it out. I knew my friend Chitra from Brooklyn Delhi would be there, but I was surprised to see a few other friends there. Sarah Gross (one of the organizers of the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival) was there giving out spicy samples from Rescue Chocolate, and my friends from Culture were serving strawberry frozen yogurt with chile-chocolate chips (they kindly treated me to a free cone).
With over 50 vendors it was hard to stand out from the crowd. With so many vinegary hot sauces, it’s no wonder the ones that stood out were the vendors offering something different. Some of my favorites were the vegan & gluten-free moles from HERNÁN, the lime leaf sambal from Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen, and the vegan kimchi from Mrs. Kim’s. It was a fun event, with several live bands and chile pepper-themed artwork for sale. I picked up some really interesting sauces, hopefully I’ll make good use of them. I’m not sure I would have gone, or purchased what I did, if I had to pay to enter so I’m glad I got the free entry this year.