East River State Park
90 Kent Avenue at N. 7th Street
I love food markets. Whenever I'm traveling and visiting different cities, I always try to put food markets on the list of places to visit. It's always nice to visit the local markets just to get a feel of what locals eat and do. Smorgasburg is practically heaven because it's a whole big group of vendors who get together in one place to cook and they sure know how to do it well. It's all about the eating here - street food and basically casual dining under the big open skies which also means that it can be quite a downer if it rains. It was also where we found the infamous Ramen Burger which shook up the whole burger scene just like how the Cronut did to the world of doughnuts.
We got into Smorgasburg slightly early while the vendors were still setting up and saw that there were people sitting around the sides probably waiting for the market to start. But I was wrong. R and I later found out that it was a line for the Ramen Burger! And since the line wasn't snaking to the ends of the earth, we joined in to find out what the latest (then) food craze was all about. And this was probably half an hour after R asked if I would bother queuing for the Ramen Burger if i had to wait 45min. My answer was "hell noooooo!". We waited an hour...
That hour came in useful since we needed time to digest our breakfast from the nearby Egg but I reckon that if we had empty stomachs that day, the hour would have been better spent browsing around and eating at the other fantastic stalls around. I don't really get the hype. Sure, it might be a novel idea but it ain't the tastiest burger around. We went for the Original Shoyu flavour. The ramen "buns" didn't really have any much flavour, the beef patty wasn't dry but it needed more seasoning and the burger was just in need of more sauce in my opinion. The proportion of noodles to everything else just meant that there needed to be much more flavour to everything that was sandwiched in between.
We also had the Beef Brisket Sandwich from Mighty Quinn's Barbeque which was much more successful. Succulent, smoky and juicy pieces of brisket topped with some sliced chillis, cucumbers and cabbage sandwiched in a bun was just difficult to resist.
The best treat I had that day was at the Milk Truck which specialises in Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I have a love affair with melted cheese that began when I was a kid. I was not the regular 'jam and peanut butter' type of child. When I was growing up, I would have a slice of cheese melted on a piece of bread in the toasted oven for breakfast, snack or whenever. So when I see anything on the menu that has the words 'melt' and 'cheese' together in one line, it's usually more than likely that I end up ordering it.
I ended up going for a simple Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Caramelised Onions although they did have fancier options on offer. It was so addictive - the onions were so sweet and paired perfectly with the salty and ooey-gooey cheese. To die for really. I was so full and promised to eat only half of the sandwich but ended up almost polishing off the whole thing.
R and I also had plenty of delicious beverages and the best and most memorable of all was the Maple Lemonade which was essentially lemonade sweetened with maple syrup (genius!). We also had the tasty juices from Brooklyn Soda Works who make delicious fresh juices and carbonate it to make it a thirst quenching treat for the hot summer and an Arnold Palmer slushie. An Arnold Palmer is not normally a drink you see much of outside of the US. Anyhow, it is also known as a 'Half & Half' which comprises of iced tea and lemonade - a combination I really like.
There was a lot more to explore and eat around the market such as lobster rolls, fresh oysters etc. but I could only have so much in one morning. If you're in NYC during a weekend and you're in the mood for some eating, this might be the place for you.
Note: Smorgasburg is also available on Sundays. Please visit their website for more information.