I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Red Hook Vendors

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Meals taste better off of crappy paper plates

Unless you live in Carroll Gardens/Red Hook, getting to the Red Hook Vendors is a bit of a hike. The closest stop is the Carroll Street stop on the F and G line and even then, it is a good 20 minute walk (I think for normal people that do not walk stupid fast like me). That is a lot of travelling for food. But it is worth it to eat some good food and support a local community. I first saw the vendors on television a while back, I think it was on either Bourdain’s show or Zimmerman’s, either way, outdoor street vendors making non-Gringo’d food? I am so there. 

Unfortunately throughout the years, the numbers of vendors have dwindled but this should not deter you because you are going to eat well either way. They line the soccer fields and one of the most popular trucks is the Country Boys truck that you can try at Smorgasburg too, but the lines here are hipster free! They are doing Mexican food though they have tacos, do not miss out on their huraches or their sopes. A Hurache is a gut bomb; think of it as one huge taco that gets topped with refried beans, vegetables and a choice of meat. It comes on two plates and requires you to use both your hands. Sopes are deceptively heavy, masa cakes that are filled with refried beans and then topped with meat and vegetables. I love the chicharrons they are doing here, in this case meaning fried pork skin, little bits of fried crunchy goodness.

The Cesina (salted beef) is something that I also like and got on one of the Sopes, only thing is I kind of wish they chopped it up for easier consumption. Another cart was frying up empanadas which I suggest getting the chicken and cheese empanada rather than the straight cheese which can get thick and gummy as it cools down. Crispy shell that shatters with each bite with a savory running filling makes this an idea snack…or light meal. 

Guatemala and Central American vendors are here too making great ceviches. I got the shrimp ceviche topped with a nasal clearing hot sauce and cancha, the mutant gigantic roasted corn kernels that are found in Peru and other places. The ceviche is another meal in a bowl, though some would question buying ceviche from the back of a truck, it is perfectly fine. Filled with shrimp and onions, the ceviche broth is refreshing to drink down on a hot day.

 The pupusas from the El Salvadorian truck is a winner too. I got a pupusa platter one with chorizo and cheese and the other with loroco and cheese. Loroco is a flower/plant found in Central America. Heard about it, never had it, got it out of curiosity and it taste like a vegetable. Good but it did not have a distinct taste, but then again, shoved in a corn cake and cheese, nothing is really distinct. The pupusas are topped with an addicting pickled cabbage that I could really just eat all on its own. Get the cashew juice here, it is sweet and refreshing and despite what you may think, not nutty in anyway. 

The Red Hook Vendors are great to visit and you can eat well without spending a whole lot. Everyone here is friendly, the food is good and if you really want, you can watch the kids play soccer (in a non-Megan’s law creepy way of course). This is another thing where showing up with a group is a good thing so you can try many things from different carts. I hope the Red Hook Vendors continue to do business and are around next summer, it is a must do for everyone. 

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