Summer Must: Smorgasburg Market
This past weekend the city did a major glow up and finally broke the seal into the Spring Season. It let the sun shine on us and the weather climbed up enough for us to enjoy some outdoor activities. It was a beautiful weekend to take part of the cities’ many open aired markets, including my absolute favorite Smorgasburg!
On its 2nd weekend open Smorgasburg was packed and buzzing with many people despite the winds that had few tents and hats shaking around. Everyone seemed happy to join the masses and take part in eating some great food, drinking refreshing beers, and taking in the waterfront scenery. I was excited to venture out on my first, but not my last, attempt to eat my way into this festival. Although last year I only got to it twice, I do plan on going back many times this summer but let me tell you how I probably had my perfect Smorgasburg experience thus far.
First off the details. Smorgasburg is in Brooklyn. Saturdays in Williamsburg (90 Kent) and Sundays in Prospect Park. I have only been to the Williamsburg location which also features the Brooklyn Flea Market. The market runs from 11 am to 6 pm, rain or shine, but I suggest going on a nice day as there are too many people and the walkways may get too crowed for you and an umbrella. It is free to go in but make sure to bring cash as some vendors don’t take cards. The market runs from April to October… and I already did the math for you … it is about 28 weekends… PICK ONE AND GO!
Once there do yourself a favor, go with time. Don’t go at 4 pm or 5 pm. Most vendors start packing up at 5 pm anyways. The other problem? They sell out of the good stuff! I suggest anywhere from 1 pm to 2 pm. Gives you enough time to look around, pick a few things, take a break, and eat more. Which was exactly my plan of action. My date and I arrived closer to 3 pm, did a lap around starting on the entrance by the water front. Hmm Mofongitos, had that last year… Luke’s lobster uhh I’ll come back for that later in season, spaghetti doughnut! WTF! I’ll pass. Then… DUMPLINGS! I see you boo! Churros.. maybe. But then I got the side eye from my partner in crime like “we can do better!” Towards the back, BAR! Yes, you can have alcohol. There is a section closed off for drinking but you can’t walk out with your drink. So, either you eat then go drink … or buy some food go sit and drink... then go back and eat more. I opted for the intermission beer break.
So here is what I ate my first trip this season.
First was appetizers… We had dumplings from Destination Dumplings. Destination Dumplings serve you dumplings with a modern twist by incorporating flavors from other cultures like Jamaican and Greece. Now the food god’s were on our side from the start. We were indecisive between the Jerk Chicken or the Duck Dumplings, but, because you know we were feeling a little bad and boogie at heart we ordered the Duck for our refined tastes palate (lol). But then… they call our order and give us a dish. AND to our surprise it wasn’t our order… so we get called back again and we get our correct order and are told to keep the other too! So, we got both Jerk Chicken AND Duck Dumplings. Off to a bomb start, right?
OK let’s pause for a quick tip… Mighty Quinn’s booth is adjacent to the dumplings. Dumplings take about 6-7 minutes to get your order. Get on line at Mighty Quinn and keep an ear out for your name from Destination Dumplings. We could eat our appetizers while online for the next meal. Thank me later!
Now back to Dumplings. Honestly they were really good. The duck was my favorite as it was juicy, tender, and saucy but the chicken was good too with a sweet spicy kick. Jerk chicken came with a pineapple sauce over it. Really yummy! 4 To an order so good enough to share.
First major course was BBQ! Might Quinn’s brisket sandwich was next on our agenda. Just the art of the slaw thrown on the meat got me excited and you got NY’s own "salt bae" sprinkling some crush salt over the meat right before the sauces are piled on. It was everything and more. The bread was fresh, the meat was juicy and flavorful, and the slaw gave it the right crunch and acidity. We shared this as well, as the sandwich is a substantial size.
So as half time approaches and I am starting to feel full we do a beer break. We head to the back and grab an IPA and a White Ale but you have a wide array of German selections plus wine and cocktails to choose from. We seek the sun to warm us up and the cold brew washed down the fatty residue of that bomb ass brisket. After our beer break we decided to do another go around to see what else are we going to conquer today.
Honesty hour… At this point I could have gone straight for dessert BUT as the great partner I am I cut the bullshit and told myself “You can do it!” I was ready for more food!
Next up was Goa Taco. We got the pork belly taco which had a great cabbage filling and instead of a traditional shell the use paratha shells. I wasn’t crazy on the pork belly texture, maybe if I wasn’t so full but it turned me off a little. The cabbage though... bomb. Goa Taco only has two options; pork belly or tofu. A little shout out to my Vegans!
And to round out our savory portion of our meal we had Salvadorian pupusas. It is a traditional dish known of a thick corn tortilla that comes stuffed with cheese, pork, beans, or others. On top of that goes tomato salsa and a spoonful of curtido (cabbage slaw with vinegar and chiles). We had the chicken stuffed pupusas. This was good and not has heavy as I thought it would be. The acidity of the cabbage helps balance the thick corn tortilla. The stuffing is not over bearing either. It is just enough. I liked that we finished off with this and I am going to have it again.
To wrap things up and finally give in to my sweet tooth we ordered cheesecake ice cream pops and smores in a cup. I am not a big marshmallow fan but the wind got to me and I was feeling a bit cold. This was the perfect gooey sweet dessert to warm me back up. Other dessert options were the Churros (I’ll Be Back) and the ice cream sandwich which is really good as I had it last year.
In all we lasted about two and half hours and had a great time. Ended the day by the waterfront taking a must needed selfie with the spectacular view. The best thing is that if you are not ready to end the night there are a few bars nearby that you can hit up for the much-needed bathroom break and continue the drinking portion of your night.
I hope you all make it out to Smorgasburg. My next mission is to try the Prospect park location and see if options are different.