Why did I think getting to the Taste of Williamsburg three hours after it started would be acceptable? For future reference, and if you couldn’t read into the rhetoricalness (is that a word?) of that last sentence, it’s not. I walked into the street festival, immediately sought out the Fatty ‘Cue stand and talked with Dave (whom I met earlier this week with The NYC Food Guy and Andy from Wined and Dined), he said they went through three goats already.
THREE WHOLE FUCKING GOATS!
I just typed in “goat weight” and hit I’m feeling lucky; they say they’re between 60 and 100 pounds. Let’s say 40% of that weight is unusable, so that still leaves us about 100 pounds of edible goat. This brings me to the following conclusions:
A) The average WIlliamsburgers’ taste for goat is goddamn insatiable
B) People are pumped for Fatty ‘Cue because it’s the hot newness
C) Fatty ‘Cue churns out gold
I’m guessing it was all three. A perfect storm of goat gluttony was witnessed in the hours I missed at the Taste of Williamsburg; and for that, readers, I have failed you as a blogger. I offer my sincere apologies.
So this is what it looked like at the stands I was pumped for:
I don’t even know what they had to serve. Now onto the food I did get to try. Just to let you know, I was pleasantly surprised:
First Taste: Nick’s Chili from the food experiments booth. I got a picture of the chili, Pastrami Chili with Fried Onions and Mustard Mayo. Theo’s equipment was on the fritz, so I didn’t get to try the full glory of his offering, which was a Breaded and Deep Fried Spicy Corned Beef Hash. I gave my vote to Nick – here are the contestants (Theo, Nick from left to right):
Second Taste: Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette from Wombat. What is that vegetable there? I don’t know. I wanted more of those pumpkiny-looking seeds on top. I have no idea what the dish was made of, but it was a refreshing way to start the tour.
Third Taste: Fried Spring Roll and Pork spare rib from Banh Mi. It wasn’t really a spring roll because it was packed with meat – I don’t know what they call this thing, but it was shaped and fried like a spring roll. The guy gave me the smallest rib of the entire day; I wish I’d taken a picture to show how disproportionately small my rib was compared to the rest of the litter, but I got gypped. Is the word gypped racist? It does refer derogatorily to gypsies. I guess that’s more classist than racist, but the concept of gypsies in other cultures are different. I have a friend who’s Jewish and uses the word “jewwed” in that situation. I don’t feel like it’s my place to call him on it.
I was going to get another one with the Banh Mi sandwich (you could pick two for one food ticket), but wandered back after the ribs were sold out.
Fourth Taste: A Rock Shrimp Slider from Juliette. The girls at the counter told me I needed to get this one and they were right. There was a smokiness to this one with a spicy hint of thai pepper – and you can see the flakes of dill – the dill didn’t take it over, but it was quite prevalent in the bite. I always think dill is a bit buttery. Anyone else get this feeling?
Fifth Taste: Pork Cheeks and Braised Prunes over Cream Of Wheat from Traif. Talked to Jason about his training and this guy has cooked everywhere. Anytime someone brings out something like “Pork Cheeks,” you know that motherfucker knows what he’s doing. The dish really made me want to check out the place. I’m putting it on the list and will report back to you.
Sixth Taste: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza from Vinnie’s Pizzeria. Isn’t it supposed to be Vinny’s? Isn’t that supposed to work the same way as Puppy? Puppies … Puppy’s … Puppies’ … Maybe it’s like Melanie … Melanie’s … Melany’s looks really weird.
Anyway you spell it, it drives me up the fucking wall when I ask “What’s the best thing you have,” and the halfwit server tells me “Everything’s good!” Really, asshole? Why would you serve something if it tasted like shit? Then, when I reiterate or clarify that question for the moron, they ask me “Well, what do you like?” I like awesome food you fucking dumbass. What are you most proud of, the one item on the menu that people come back for again and again. The thing that when people move away from your restaurant, they would make a special visit just to your place for. What’s that? And if you don’t know that, is it too much to think that you’d have enough brain cells to formulate an opinion? I guess if you’re on that border, I probably wouldn’t even want it.
The next time someone tells me “Everything’s good,” I’m just going to ask for the chef. Yeah, that’ll work really well.
After three or four questions of prying, I finally settled on the CBR and it was pretty awesome.
Seventh Taste: Wild Boar Biscuit topped with a Ramp Chutney and a Cherry Tomato stuffed with Organic Chicken Salad finished with an Applewood Smoked Bacon from Urban Rustic. The boar and ramp thing was my favorite bite of the day. How did it last this long? I don’t know. Why do I have to like the thing with ramps the most? What’s with this ridiculous obsession with a vegetable that I’m running into on every blog I see. When I took the bite out of it, I thought they were caramelized shallots (I make a dish very similar to this flavor and texture with shallots), so when I looked at the item description and saw ramps, I was disappointed. Am I on the ramp bandwagon now? Damn. Guess I’ll get a tattoo of the sections of pig grow a brooklyn beard, and start wearing horizontal-striped shirts from American Apparel. Was there a LATFH reporter on site for this festival? If not, they missed a golden opportunity.
Eighth Taste: Bourbon Oak Barrel Vanilla Ice Cream from Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. Damn, that’s some tasty ice cream. Smooth as hell, creamy, and a little alcoholic kick brought in by the vanilla infused vodka … or was it vodka infused vanilla? They were out of one of the flavors they had here and I got the second to last scoop of vanilla. The only reason they could have been out of the other flavor is if they brought less of it, because the name of the vanilla made you want to try it on the spot. Nice work, menu writer.
Ninth Taste: Carrot Cake from Fabiane’s. This was the most curious experience of the day. I took carrot cake out of the bag, staged it in the most beautiful way (you can see how I get the logo and the product in there), took the picture, and then took the bite. It was a big meh. I said to the people behind the counter “The carrot cake is a little dry.” The two of them just stared at me. No response, no nothing. I felt like I was painting American Gothic.
“Really?” I said, “Nothing to say? OK.” And walked away. WTF. I’m sure they’re nice people, but I couldn’t help feeling that if Christopher Guest wanted to make a mockumentary about bakery culture, these two would be shoo-ins for casting.
Final Taste: Extra Dry Ginger Ale and Dry Cola from Gus Cola. I thought they only made pickles? The Ginger beer is going to make someone who loves Dark and Stormys (Stormies?) very happy. The rep said that the cola was good in Cuba LibrÃ©s. No shit Sherlock; it’s Coke. I guess if you rep for a company who sells cola, you can’t call Rum and Cokes Rum and Cokes. Cuba LibrÃ© sounds fem. I’ll take a Rum and Coke over a Cuba LibrÃ© anyday.
Overall, a pretty awesome time. Great food, beautiful day, cool people to meet. Need to get there early for the next one because food runs out. Guess I’m just going to have to go to Marlow and Sons now. Not that this is a bad thing, I just won’t be able to pay in tickets.
Taste Of Williamsburg
N 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211