Smorgasburg in NYC

Smorgasburg in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

Lets talk about Smorgasburg. It is pretty ace.

What took so long? It has been, oh 5 weeks since I came back from NYC / Montreal / Quebec. Well, my (dis)organisational skills reached a new high when I:

– left half the contents of my memory card on a friends laptop in NYC

– met him weeks later to get them over lunch, got distracted by lunch, and failed to get the photos

– met him again to get the photos, this time over Bompass & Parr’s Crazy Golf on the roof of Selfridge’s (which is really fun – do go), and this time did actually get the photos, which I am using here

– the other half of the photos from that trip are on a memory card which I managed to break. Sweet. So, I am working on that and will be back with more stuff soon.

So: Smorgasburg. In Williamsburgh, that oasis of hipsta cool in Brooklyn, but not in a painful way. NYC hipstas are actually a friendly bunch and they really like food. Not only do they really like it, they are good at making it too. It is becoming quite the destination, Mario Batali was visiting on the morning that I was there.

I even spied Mario Batali in his trademark orange crocs wandering about

We got there early, too early, I would recommend aiming to get there for lunch. A car park overlooking Manhattan by the river houses Smorgasburg, 75 – 100 artisanal food stalls that are – in the main – making and serving great things. We don’t really have anything in London like this, and certainly not of this scale. The closest we have is Maltby St, which is great and one of my favourite spots. But we need something like this too.

Chorizo with salted caramel – made by an English couple at Smorgasburg – sounds wrong but it is very, very right

Run by the same folks that run Brooklyn Flea, in fact some of the stalls overlap, there is a wide variety of interesting and delicious food on offer. All from the area, including the drinks. Brooklyn has two wineries and a brewery, sadly I didn’t have time to visit either but therein is another fantastic reason to go back.

Fabulous kimchi at Smorgasburg

The best kimchi that I have had resides there (apologies for the brutal photograph – I was excited and unfocussed to say the least).

Fantastic jerky at Smorgasburg

Wonderful Kings County Jerky, made from grass fed beef in three flavours: classic, Sichuan ginger and Korean BBQ. They were all utterly mouth watering. Initially made on their balcony until they were advised that they really shouldn’t be making jerky on their balcony (I love that). Now they have a terrific kitchen and are talking to Selfridge’s about exporting their produce over here. I really hope they do.

Great sweets and popcorn, some of which had bacon in (you know how much I love that).

Fantastic popcorn and sweets at Smorgasburg

Bon Chovies. I like a good pun and I love good fresh anchovies so these were a hit. It still makes me smile. Served Jersey style (head on) or head off.

Bon Chovies

Bon Chovies at Smorgasburg

As I waited for my Bon Chovies, I spied a gentleman with a thermomix at the next stall, very busy. I needed to know what he was doing. A thermomix for those not in the know or obsessed is an extremely fancy piece of kit that does wonderful things and is very expensive. It grinds, stirs, freezes, cooks. It does everything. He was making foie gras poutine so I had to have some of that too. It was excellent.

Thermomix action for foie gras poutine at Smorgasburg

Foie gras poutine at Smorgasburg

Homemade mozarella, made on site and fashioned into cheesy corn dogs.

Home made mozarella (made on site) at Smorgasburg

Cheesy corn dog at Smorgasburg

Fantastically creative hot dogs from Asia Dog.

Asia Dog at Smorgasburg

Asia dogs at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn

Mario Batali papped at Smorgasburg

Great little sliders from DuMont burger. Really rich, pungent aged meat.

DuMont slider at Smorgaburg

Pretty great, eh? Just go.


Living Like a Local in Williamsburg: NYC Hipster Stylee & Where To Eat of an Evening

Fette Sau

Greetings from Montreal, folks! I have just flown in from NYC this morning where I spent the weekend. Regulars will know that my book has just come out there, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to pop up to a city that I have long wanted to visit, to eat, explore and squeeze in a book signing and cooking demo at Appetite for Books (on Wednesday, 2nd May at 6pm – do come if you are in the area).

Fabulous beer taps at Fette Sau

Before I can talk about any of that, I must tell you about my weekend in NYC. I stayed in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, somewhere that had lots of appeal for many reasons. Across the river from Manhattan, it is a lovely borough with lots of great things to do, brilliant places to eat and some bars thrown in for good measure. It is relaxed, sleepy, and energetic, it sounded like my spiritual home.

Fette Sau

We had an apartment rented through Housetrip (who I previously went to Paris with). We were by the river looking over Manhattan, the weekend flea market and brilliant food market (and part of the flea) Smorgasburg. Great coffee shops, lots of bars and restaurants, it seemed like the perfect location for me. On my first sleepy night, a New Yorker friend of mine who lives in Manhattan and is herself like a tourist in Brooklyn joined me to investigate. I had it semi mapped out, but it was so easy, everywhere we wanted to visit was on the same street.

Fette Sau

We started with some wine at Barberry, for convenience more than anything, but it turned out to be a little gem. A quick canter down the road post vino brought us to Fette Sau, a great little BBQ spot. I was a little sceptical, everyone I have ever spoken to about BBQ from the deep South slams anything outside it, but this was very good. Especially the pork belly and the beans. Prices are by weight and we got everything on that tray for just under $40. Check out the fantastic beer taps and whiskey selection too. Predictably, I was drinking wine but we had a lovely and very reasonably priced bottle.

BBQ at Fette Sau

Not much room left but Momofuku Milk Bar is down the road and I have to visit. I have heard a lot about crack pie, but I wanted to try the cookies. They were fantastic, especially the corn cookie which became my breakfast dish of choice for the weekend.  I turned into a bit of a cookie monster. The pork bun with pickle is lovely too, and for $10 I had it with a double espresso and kimchi coleslaw. A lunch time special and absolute bargain.

Momofuku Milk Bar

Not a bad start to a weekend, now, is it?