This weekend is a sign of a lot of excitement. Is it because the lovely sunny weather has finally confirmed it is actually Spring? Is it because my roommates and I are throwing a Harlem Shake Party tonight? Is it because Mad Men goes back on AMC and we are already planning a cocktail party on Sunday night?
Well, it is part of it. But tomorrow, Smorgasburg returns to Brooklyn and this is really exciting. What is this crazy name about? An outdoor Brooklyn Food Market featuring the best local vendors from 11am to 6pm. The Williamsburg location has slightly changed (one block), but is still on the water facing Manhattan.
During the wintertime, the Brooklyn Flea Market was at the Skylight One Hanson, Brooklyn, with only a small selection of food vendors in the basement.
I am not such a big fan of thrift and vintage clothes, but to be honest they had cool stuff, from vinyl to vintage glasses. My favorite was JFK on the carpet.
My main goal was obviously to check the food hall. Nothing compared to the summer version but this is a first taste of what you can find tomorrow in Williamsburg.
Some of them definitely worth it and will be tomorrow. Try those AsiaDog, the banh-mi inspired dog excited me way more than Crif Dogs. As part of the beef bun, go for the skim version, otherwise it is way too fat. Skip those appealing rice balls from Rice & Miso Everyday, they don’t taste anything but rice. For dessert, get the macaron Vendomeand finish with a bar of truffle chocolate from Fine & Raw, to die for! And don’t forget to look up, the building is almost as impressive than the skyline in Brooklyn.
Urban food-crawl is all about getting the best of a single dish or area. My first crawl is dedicated to tacos. Since my first trip to California in March 2012, I’ve been obsessed with this Mexican dish. I would say even more with fish tacos. But the real ones, not those fake crispy tacos you can have at Taco Bell or any other bad Tex-Mex restaurant.
For my friends overseas, what is a good taco? Pork, chicken, shrimp, salmon or even lobster, onions, cilantro, salsa and avocado for the California version wrapped into a fresh homemade corn or flour tortilla. Since I am in NYC I’ve been tracking the best one. This is not California, I agree, but you can still find great options in the Big Apple.
2. Empellon Cocina, East Village: a whole chapter should be dedicated to Empellon Cocina. Acclaimed by the press to be one of the best new restaurants in town, I do agree. The tacos are really simple, maybe too much at the first sight with its sea scallops and caramelized cauliflower. A bit expensive ($16 for 2), but extremely tasty, having sea scallops in a tacos does worth the price.
3. La Esquina, Nolita : go for lunch at the Café. The restaurant is actually way nicer than the outdoor area. Get the fish tacos, really tasty, with red cabbage that makes it taste different ($9 for 2). The corner Deli, a bit tacky, is one of the three restaurants at the same spot. Come by night, a hidden restaurant, La Brasserie, opens downstairs. Reservation 3 weeks ahead though… La Esquina, Café 114 Kenmare, New York, NY 10012 (646) 613-1333
4. Dokebi Bar & Grill, Williamsburg: If you are looking for a Korean BBQ place, head to Williamsburg. This restaurant has such good vibes, and the music playlist is so much better than any Korean joint you will ever find in the depressing Korean town. But the surprise is the Korean style tacos. Go for the fish taco, battered white fish, only $4 each, with plenty of other options. It doesn’t look Korean at all, with its apparent brick wall, modern art wall and its red Vichy tablecloths. If you like kimchi and fish tacos you will love this nice fusion. Dokebi Bar & Grill 199 Grand St Brooklyn, NY 11211 718) 782-1424
5. Friedman’s lunch, Chelsea. The Chelsea Market reminds me the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The food looks great everywhere, but because it is busy and indoor in the basement, you need to find a cozy place to sit. Friedman’s Lunch offers you the solution. Good quality of fish, plenty, grilled and not fried, with fresh vegetable and covered with a white sauce, the fish tacos is a really good value ($13 for 2) Friedman’s Lunch at the Chelsea Market 75 9th Ave New York, NY 10011 (212) 929-7100
6. Brooklyn Taco at Donna, South Williamsburg : As part of the Armory show, Donna, the hot cocktail spot in South Williamsburg is hosting Brooklyn Taco each Saturday of March. The venu is fantastic, the bar is relax and the decor elegant and beautiful. Grab a cocktail ($7 happy hour) and a cole-braised pork tacos ($4), promised you will enjoy your night!
7. El Toro Blanco, West Village: I already talked about this new spot, go see the review here.
8. Pinche Taqueria, Nolita: Just like an authentic taqueria, you don’t want to spend to much time in there. Good just to grab a taco and leave. This place got pretty good reviews, but once again I got disappointed since I thought it was not tasty enough (despite the whole guacamole on the top). Tacos are really cheap though ($2.95-$3.95) and you probably feel closer to Mexico than places like El Toro Blanco.
10. El Aguila: I live in Spanish Harlem, and oddly this is not the best area to get good tacos. Made with industrial tortillas, the meat is not really tender. I would not recommend the trip, even though I am sure East Harlem has some good suprises… El Aguila 137 E 116th St # 1 New York, NY 10029 (212) 410-2450