Yes, yes. This is part one of a two-part post. Mostly because this was an epic two-part food excursion. And also because it took me so long to write the first post that I missed my normal timeline of posting in the morning and had to wait to get this out tonight… This may or may not be highly ambitious and/or ridiculous. But I can only say that because it took me two separate trips to Williamsburg to get this far in food tasting, I believe the experience should warrant two separate posts as well. Now, many of you may be thinking what the heck is she going on about trips and posts and food tasting – and I still don’t know what the heck Smorgasburg is! Just hold on a second for some background – let me set the scene.
I must say, I may be a bit of a snob when it comes to leaving Manhattan. But why would I ever want to? There are amazing restaurants, so many that I will probably never get the chance to go to them all before they either closer or I die. This is all to say that I can probably count on my fingers and maybe a couple of toes the number of times I have been to Brooklyn. Yes, I know, Brooklyn is supposed to be all cool now that the hipsters all moved there, but it’s not entirely my scene. I hate it when I’m on the subway and my ears pop because I’m going under water. I hate that so many places in Brooklyn are cash only. And I just find the whole “I’m really cool because I have a mustache, wear flannel, and drink PBR” vibe a bit lame. I grew up in Wisconsin. People wear flannel and drink PBR and have mustaches – and not in an ironic way. Well, my friends, allow me introduce you to Smorgasburg – perhaps the most amazing food experience I’ve had in a while. And now you know it must be good if I voluntarily left the island of Manhattan to go there. TWICE. (though these views from the ferry ride over are pretty epic)
Smorgasburg is a plethora of food vendors who get all their tents together and have epic party of sorts. Food galore. There’s vegan stands and pulled pork stands and ice cream sandwich stands and wing stands and popcorn stands and slushie stands and pigs in a blanket stands and… you get the idea. Lots and lots of food. Now perhaps the most coveted of foods at Smorgasburg is the infamous Ramen Burger. What is a Ramen Burger? Exactly what it sounds like. A burger with ramen. The ramen is actually formed into the buns for the burger. Voilá. Ramen Burger.
Now, I’m not really sure of the entire backstory around the Ramen Burger other than to say it blew up in 2013. They weren’t sold in stores or restaurants but only by Smorgasburg. I’ve heard there will be brick and mortar stores coming at some point this spring – but I’m not sure where. My friend Erin has been dying to try a Ramen Burger since they became a “thing” last year. On the ferry ride we talked strategy, where we would go first, what we would eat, and the first stop absolutely had to be the line for a Ramen Burger. And line there was! We were there at about noon, and already there was a pretty giant line for the burgers. (I tried to stealthily take a shot – it didn’t quite work)
I wasn’t nearly as excited about the Ramen Burger experience as Erin was, I had assumed that there wouldn’t be vegan option at a stand known for it’s burgers. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I met up with Erin and she had made it to the front of the line and the sign said “tofu.” A tofu option! I had no idea this was a possibility. I hadn’t read about it anywhere, and none of my meat-eating friends had heard of it either. I simply had to partake (after confirming of course that there wasn’t anything funny in it I should know about).
I have a feeling the meat burger version is quite a bit better, based on Erin’s (and others’) reactions. But the tofu one was pretty good. It could have used a little kick of some sort or a bit more flavor, but I think that’s probably to be expected when you combine tofu and ramen – two pretty bland ingredients. It was pretty fun to eat and stayed together well, to my amazement. And now I can say – I ate a ramen burger! (and let’s be honest, I’ll likely eat another one the next time I’m there). But a bit of warning if you’re heading to Smorgasburg – go early! The lines only get longer for the burgers, and they tend to run out.
After the Ramen Burger, we wandered around the food stands and scoped out what we’d go for next. I wanted to bring something home for R from our epic journey, and stumbled upon Pipcorn. What is Pipcorn? Well, it’s basically just small popcorn. But it has no hulls so nothing gets stuck in your teeth! They have a bunch of different flavors – like rosemary, white truffle, kettle, and sea salt. I bought two bags, the truffle and the kettle. Both were insanely good.
And I was extra extra excited when I saw them in my local Whole Food’s during the week. I think I’ve come down with a Pipcorn addiction. I had to pick up another bag on the second trip to take home! I may not venture all the way to Brooklyn for my next fix, but I will travel to Whole Foods for it.
After taking a little break after the Ramen Burger, I decided I couldn’t have come all the way to Brooklyn and NOT visit at least one of the strictly vegan food stands. There’s one stand called Barry’s Tempeh that really called out to me. I’m kind of so-so on tempeh, but Barry must know what he’s doing, because this was downright delicious. They had a few samples out on the table to try, and once I popped on in my mouth I was sold.
I ordered the tempeh salad, but it also came in burger form. I figured one burger in a day was sufficient and that I would be wise to get some greens in me for the day. The salad came with a spicy peanut sauce that was just out of this world. Thinking about it now is literally making me drool. This was one place I’ll definitely stop by on my 3rd trip to Brooklyn, whenever that might be.
For all of you non-veggies out there, the ice cream sandwiches are also supposed to be pretty epic. There really is pretty much anything you can think of to pick up, and the weather was beyond perfect. We had a great time just sitting in the park and digesting for a while after completely stuffing our faces. Even little Riggins (pre-haircut) had a blast.
Stop by this Saturday for Part 2 of the Smorgasburg post where I’ll tackle two more vegan-only options which were downright delicious. On that trip, I took my parents and even my carnivore father loved the vegan sliders! I’ll also throw in another take-home food – the first and only vegan saltwater taffy I’ve seen. Like I said, it was simply too much to get into one post! Hope you’re enjoying seeing and reading about Smorgasburg and maybe, just maybe, (if you’re local), I’ve convinced you to head there too.