Tag Archives: Smorgasburg

Scharf & Zoyer at Brooklyn Oenology and Smorgasburg News

BOE-Kugel-cookingKugel warming up

Tuesday night, Scharf & Zoyer, the food vendor I’ve been cooking for at the weekly Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, held its first-ever pop-up at Brooklyn Oenology‘s tasting room.  About thirty or so folks gathered to nosh on Noah Arenstein’s takes on classic Jewish flavors re-invented in sandwich form while imbibing from BOE’s wine and beer list.  From the cleared off serving trays, raised glasses, and general good cheer, it seems as though the evening was a fantastic success.

BOE-Savory-KugelSavory Kugel

On the menu were some of the items for which S&Z has become known in the press and at the market.  We had half-size pieces of our Savory Kugel, with a green bean-spinach-walnut pesto, dill crème fraîche, and topped with fried chicken skins.  Creamy, tangy, crunchy.  This bite hit every savory, salty note, and it has been a huge hit with many of our fans.

Sweet Kugel

Sweet Kugel

For dessert, we served up our most popular item – the Sweet Kugel.  It’s the same noodle kugel that is used in the savory dish, one based on Noah’s grandmother’s recipe (several cousins were on hand to verify the authenticity of the taste).  After the kugel is fried golden brown on both sides, it’s topped with maple-farmer’s cheese, apricot-orange preserves, and topped with crispy shallots.  There’s a bit of creaminess and sweetness contrasted with a hit of savory and crunchiness given by the shallots to balance it out.

Gefilte Fish SliderGefilte Fish Slider

We also served a few other items not usually on the Smorgasburg rotation.  One of these was the Gefilte Fish slider above.  Noah’s family serves these meatball-style patties rolled in breading, fried and then allowed to get cold, rather than in the usual liquid base.  As someone who did not grow up with this dish, it’s taken a bit of converting, if you will, to win me over to them.  A dash of horseradish-mustard mayo and a dollop of carrot slaw anchor the slider firmly on a soft, squish potato bun.  The first time I had a taste of it, I was surprised at how well the flavors all melded together.  We had these on the last weekend that we did the market and they sold all right, although we did meet with some skeptics.

Meatball SlidersSweet-n-Sour Meatball Sliders

Another slider we prepared exclusively for this event featured Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs served on Potato Rolls with a sliver of Provolone cheese and a side of Mushroom Ketchup.  They were a bit messy to handle, which might be something we work on for the next time we hold a pop-up, but they were devoured by the guests and met with rave reviews from a few of them.  Having snacked on several of these during our prep sessions, so I wasn’t at all surprised, as I knew how delicious they were.

Latkes w Farmers Cheese and AljoukLatkes with Ajlouk and Farmer’s Cheese

No exploration of Jewish cuisine would be complete without latkes.  For the pop-up, we used them to showcase our Ajlouk, a savory, spicy spread with a harissa base that we usually served made-to-order with an omelet-style egg and farmer’s cheese on toasted marble rye bread.  In this incarnation, the latke served as the “bread” with a schmear of the cheese and a heaping spoonful of the Ajlouk, this time made with eggplant instead of our usual zucchini version.  Cool, hearty, crunchy all in one bite.

MandelbrodtMandelbrodt

The other dessert we served was Mandelbrodt.  I have to brag a little bit about this one, as I’d never baked these before and took my instructions from a recipe that Noah had emailed me that was his grandmother’s.  These cookies are similar to Italian biscotti in that they are cooked twice and allowed to get dry and crispy.  Noah gave me a thumb’s up after we took them out of the oven after the second baking cycle, telling me that I’d nailed the recipe.  Whew!  He packed up the extras from the party to enjoy at home.

PicklebackPickleback at BOE

We had several other offerings on the menu as well, including Pimento Cheese, Chopped Chicken Livers, and Tuna Salad, all served to get the evening started.  To close out the night and to toast how well our first pop-up event went, Noah, Emily Hanhan (aka Nomnivorous, a mutual friend who offered to help us out for the evening), and I slugged down a pickleback from BOE’s drinks menu.  It was delicious and refreshing, and it completely hit the spot after all the prep and hard work that we put into making the night happen.

Scharf & Zoyer signScharf & Zoyer at Smorgasburg

Unfortunately, despite the success of this event, there is also some sad news to share.  Scharf & Zoyer will be taking a haitus from the weekly Smorgasburg market.  Serious Eats has been covering Noah’s progress and the development of the business this season.  Having had a front row seat as we’ve worked hard to make his concept a reality, it is disappointing that we might not be back.  There’s so many terrific food vendors in the market whom we’ve gotten to know each week.  For the complete interview and Noah’s thoughts, click here to read the article.  Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us at the market and who came to our event on Tuesday night!

Buon appetito!

Scharf & Zoyer Pop-up Evening at Brooklyn Oenology

Scharf & Zoyer signScharf & Zoyer stand at Smorgasburg

For the past couple of months, I’ve been manning the grill at Scharf & Zoyer each Saturday at Smorgasburg.  Now, Noah Arenstein, the owner and creator of S&Z, has put together a one-night tasting at Brooklyn Oenology called Scharf & Schnickered where he’ll showcase some of the sandwiches for which his stand has become known at the market.  Interested in seeing how modern Jewish-style deli food pairs with beer and wine, maybe even how it goes down with a pickleback?  If so, you might want to check out this unique food & beverage event.

Scharf-Zoyer-menuScharf & Zoyer weekly menu

The menu has the fan favorite Kugel Double-down in sweet and savory versions, the Berber spice-inspired zucchini spread that we use on our breakfast sandwiches, and the tuna salad that goes into our really delicious tuna melt.  In the photo below, you can see how we usually serve these items at the market.  The dishes will be modified somewhat to be small portions so that guests can taste a bit of everything as they sip the beverages that the folks at BOE have selected to go with them.

Scharf & Zoyer - menu display plateS&Z Sandwich Menu Display

In addition, Noah is bringing back a couple of items that debuted at Smorgasburg, but he decided not to continue to carry, as they didn’t really find an audience at the market.  One of these was the chopped chicken liver.  It had many faithful followers, but it was a hard sell compared to some of the other things that we fix each week to bring with us.  There’s an interesting series of articles about S&Z in Serious Eats that talks about how a food vendor creates a concept and then works to make it all happen.  It goes into a bit more depth about the process for our menu development and selection.

Scharf & Zoyer saltine w pimento cheeseSalted Habanero Pimento Cheese on Saltine

Another of these items was his fantastic, spicy, creamy pimento cheese.  I know how great-tasting it is, because I took home a bunch of leftovers to work with on the last day we had it to sell.  As a very perishable food item, as are most of the things that we make, if we can’t sell it, it has to be discarded (sadly) or exchanged with other market vendors for things they haven’t been able to sell that day or we take it home to eat ourselves.  The pimento cheese found a home on my breakfast table when I used it on poached eggs to give them a bit of a kick.  I miss the fact that we don’t carry it anymore.

Scharf & Zoyer - cooking kugelHeating up the kugel for the double-down

So, if you want to treat your tastebuds to a new take on this cuisine, you might want to pick up a ticket to Scharf & Schnickered (click on the link to purchase them).  I’ll be there, too, cooking away and helping to prepare the dishes.  It takes place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25th at Brooklyn Oenology‘s tasting room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  There’s a limited number of tickets available.  This is a wonderful chance to taste products from two New York City food and wine entrepreneurs in one location and to support local business.

Buon appetito!

Smorgasburg Opening Day 2013

Smorgasburg – previous location

Smorgasburg – new location, just across the street

Spring seems to be taking its own sweet time getting started this year in this area, but that hasn’t stopped us all from longing for its impending arrival.  One such marker of the onset of warmer weather is the opening of the outdoor seasonal markets in the city.  Yesterday, Smorgasburg kicked off in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in their new location at East River State Park, just across the street from their previous venue which had been a vacant lot and is now slated for development.  It was a perfect, sunny day, if a bit crisply cool, to explore some of the treats on which local food vendors have been working to bring us this year.

Dough‘s display

I kicked off my day at the market with a donut from one of my favorite places (and that of many other folks, judging by the lines): Dough.

Dough donut at SmorgasburgDough donut – Passion fruit and Cocoa nibs

This year, it looks like there have a couple of new donut varieties, or at least ones that are new to me.  I tried the Passion fruit and Cocoa nibs which combined tropical flavors with a bit of a chocolately crunch.  Next time the Earl Grey and Chocolate version is on my list to try.  Can either of these unseat my usual favorite flavor, Hibiscus?  Only time (and more donuts) will tell.

Butter & Scotch – Bananas Foster Trifle

From reading market vendors’ posts on Facebook this week, I knew that one stand I couldn’t possibly pass up visiting was Butter & Scotch.  They’d mentioned something about making a Bananas Foster Trifle just for opening day.  Creamy, boozy, incredibly decadent, this is dessert made the way it should be.  In some ways, it was just fine that my friends were going to be late meeting me because that meant I didn’t have to share this with them at all.

Bellocq teas

Meandering through the food stalls, I enjoyed the new configuration where there’s two main rows with venders on either side without the space in the middle where some of the vendors were set up in the two previous years.  There seemed to be ample picnic tables and extra space on the grass where groups of folks were seated with their friends, enjoying the beautiful weather and great eats.  I also had a chance to pick up some things for my pantry, like the Afghani Chai from Bellocq teas.

Anarchy in a Jar jams

Another staple in my kitchen is the delicious jams from Anarchy in a Jar.  My refrigerator has been suffering from a deficit of them during these months, as I’d eaten my way through the stash I normally keep on hand.  I picked up a couple of jars to restock my supply, although it was really difficult to limit my choices, as there were all of these wonderful flavors.

Momo Dressing display

Aside from seeing friends and catching up on the latest news from vendors after not seeing each other over the last few months of the pause in the market season, there were also plenty of great new products (or at least new to me) that I also tried yesterday.  I had to restrain myself from picking up lots of these goodies to keep on hand for new recipes and summertime eating.  One condiment that I think I’ll need to find some room for on the shelf is Momo Dressing‘s Asian-inspired dressings and sauces.  They had a light Non-oil Shiso, a zippy Ginger, and nutty Sesame available to sample at the market.

Kalypso Greek Yogurt terra cotta pots

Artisanal yogurt was also a new item that I saw yesterday with two vendors launching their products in the market.  I tasted Kalypso Greek Yogurt and found it to be rich and creamy with a pleasant tanginess and none of the chalky backnote that I find that some yogurts have.

White Moustache Yogurt display

Another item on my shopping list for my next visit will be a pot of yogurt from the folks at White Moustache Yogurt.  I think some of this will work well with the granola-yogurt parfaits that I love having when the summertime berries come into season.

Nut Butters from The 3 Nuts

Like peanut butter?  Why not check out these nut butters from The 3 Nuts.  I really enjoyed tasting the Coconut Cashew and Salted Caramel varieties.  These would be perfect for snacking or making satays or adding to noodles.  Looks like there’s another item I need to find space for in my kitchen.

Floyd Beer Cheese

Another big hit for me and for a few others I spoke to at the end of the day was the savory, sharp, tangy Floyd Beer Cheese.  Served on a Ritz Cracker, this was a perfect snack, and one that I can see gracing the cocktail platters of many a retro-Southern-inspired party this summer season.  The only reason I didn’t take any of it home with me from the market is that I was afraid that I’d crack open the container and just eat it all in one sitting.

Pimento Cheese with jalapenos from Scharf & Zoyer

Pimento Cheese, another Southern culinary delight, made its debut yesterday at the market courtesy new food vendors Scharf & Zoyer, who were cooking up some tempting grilled cheese sandwiches.  This stuff was spice-y, maybe a bit too much so, but I could see it being a wonderful accompaniment slathered onto some creation or other.

Tuna Melt from Scharf & Zoyer

This vendor also had a Tuna Melt on an everything croissant that received high marks from several food scene folks who noshed on it.  It’s also high on my list of things to eat while there next visit, unless I get distracted by another of their amazing-sounding sandwiches.

Fixing up a brisket sandwich from Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque

There was some fierce competition yesterday for the longest line to stand on at Smorgasburg.  Usually, this honor goes to the folks at Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque for their brisket sandwiches.

Fried Chicken & Waffles from Buttermilk Channel

Buttermilk Channel‘s fried chicken and waffles might have actually taken first place in wait times this time around.  I had tasted this dish last year at the market and had enjoyed it.  It’s on the list to try again this year.

Short-rib Taco from Takumi Taco

Despite all the nibbling and tasting and sampling, after walking around checking out all the tables and stalls, I still had a bit more room left to try a little something.  At the indoor version of the Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson Place, I’d had a chance to eat Takumi Taco‘s Japanese-Mexican concoctions.  By the time I worked my way back to their table, they (along with many other vendors) had run out of some of their offerings, but their Short-rib Taco really hit the spot.

As usual on the open day for any of these seasonal markets, all the activity and hubbub are a lot to capture in just one short post so I uploaded lots of photos into Flickr to showcase the day.  There was such a positive energy in the air yesterday and whiff of anticipation for many more lovely summer afternoons to come.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit there and to discovering some more fantastic edible eats.

Buon appetito!

Hurricane Sandy Updates

Tree down on the Upper East Side

It might seem as though I’ve been very quiet during the past few days, but if you follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you will see that I’ve been using my social media streams to communicate with others in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to direct folks to resources, food, water, gas, and other things that they might need.  I’ve also been checking on friends and family to see how they are and to offer a place to stay for those who don’t have power or access to their homes.

Water at the entrance to the FDR Drive

Fortunately, everyone seems to have come through safe and sound.  Folks will have to empty out their refrigerators and clean up their homes and yards, but at least they are all right physically.  Some of us took hits during last year’s Hurricane Irene, including my parents who lost power for several days.  So, this year, while I was prepared for the worst, the damage was minor, despite my hearing construction equipment flying around outside of my building on Monday night.  Today, there’s a steady hum of chainsaws and jackhammers going on outside of my window.

Debris on the FDR Drive (closed to traffic by the NYPD)

The food blogging community and food community in New York is amazing and has been sharing information and resources (especially about where to find food and water) to help get this mess cleaned up and to get the city in shape again.  I saw a Tweet about an initiative launched by Creative Culinary and Jenn Cuisine to write up a post for today about a comfort food that you’d take to a friend or a neighbor and to tag posts for today with the hashtag #FBS4Sandy.  They also ask that you donate to the relief efforts.  I’m putting up this post with a list of additional resources and tangible ways that you can contribute to helping out at this time and in the months to come.  I’m skipping over the comfort food recipe because, frankly, to be blunt about it, my friends who have had to evacuate from their homes and/or who don’t have power are not really going to be making those anytime soon.

Trash washed up on the East River shoreline

If you are are a regular reader of this website, you’ll know that I strongly support local food artisans, area markets, and the farmers markets in New York City.  I don’t have enough words to write about these terrific people and what they contribute to the city.  Right now, these folks need help, too, and may not be in a position to get loans or other types of assistance.  They have lost wages, have had inventory destroyed,  and have been unable to get to their clients during this time.  Some of them have no idea when they will get back into their kitchens or storage units.  Help them out.  Shop at their on-line stores, drop by the local NYC markets to visit them and to buy from them, send your friends and family gifts for the holidays or just because.  Also, get out there to the area markets on your next trip to the city.  These people create jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers and are an invaluable part of our community and way of life.  For more about some of them, listen to Heritage Radio Network‘s series of interviews about the storm’s aftermath: http://soundcloud.com/heritageradionetwork/sets/hrn_on_sandy/

Storm remnants - East 95th StreetConstruction site strewn down East 95th Street

Here’s a list of suggestions for places to go visit in the city this weekend, if you need to get out of your home and would like to support the city with your wallet.

Eater (also has list of where to make donations)

#EVopen (restaurants open in the East Village)

Greenmarkets (note that the Union Square one is moved to Madison Square Park)

Brooklyn Flea (Saturday and Sunday)

Smorgasburg (Saturday and Sunday)

Village Voice (list of various resources, including food distribution centers)

New Amsterdam Market is closed this weekend due to the hurricane damage, but they are hosting their Peck Slip Pickle Festival next weekend.  Also, New York Mouth is donating a portion of the proceeds from these gift packs to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. 

Here’s a partial list of other ways that you can help out with the relief efforts or get help if you need it.  I am not endorsing one organization, website or company over another.  The best way to find out what they need is to follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter, which seems to be being updated more frequently than their websites.

American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Massive-Red-Cross-Relief-Response-Spans-Ten-States)

Brokelyn (http://brokelyn.com/?s=sandy) – various resources

Brooklyn Based (http://brooklynbased.net/?s=sandy) – various resources

Brooklyn Exposed (http://brooklynexposed.com/food-drink/entry/volunteering-during-hurricane-sandy-in-brooklyn-and-nyc/) – various resources

Brooklyn Recovery Fund (http://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/brooklyn-recovery-fund-1)

City Harvest (http://www.cityharvest.org/hurricanesandy)

Citymeals-on-Wheels (http://www.citymeals.org/events-and-news/10-29-2012/citymeals-responds-to-hurricane-sandy) – for a list of resources to access if you need food, water, food stamps, click here

DisasterAssistance.gov (http://www.disasterassistance.gov/)

FEMA (http://www.fema.gov/sandy)

Food Bank for New York City (http://www.foodbanknyc.org/)

Food Systems Network NYC (http://foodsystemsnyc.org/announcement/post-sandy-volunteer-donation-opportunities)

Food + Tech Connect (http://www.foodtechconnect.com/blog/2012/11/02/sandy-recovery-where-eaters-techies-can-donate-volunteer-this-weekend/)

Friends of Firefighters (http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/846227/77cd417d72/ARCHIVE)

God’s Love We Deliver (https://www.glwd.org/clients/message.jsp)

Manhattan User’s Guide (http://manhattanusersguide.com/) – lists various resources

NYC.gov (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycservice/home.html) – including Parks Department clean-up opportunities

New York Blood Center (http://www.nybc.org/press-release.do?sid0=60&page_id=152&content-id=791)

New York Cares (http://newyorkcares.org/volunteer/disaster/)

New York City Coalition Against Hunger (http://www.nyccah.org/)

New York Food Truck Association (with JetBlue setting up food trucks to feed people)

New York Irish Center (http://nyirish.org/) – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways

Occupy Sandy (http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/)

Red Hook Initiative (http://www.rhicenter.org/)

Restore Red Hook – taking funds for businesses that were in a particularly hard-hit area of Brooklyn

Salvation Army (http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/category/eds/)

Slow Food NYC (http://www.slowfoodnyc.org/blog/slow_food_nyc/2012/11/04/hurricane_sandy_relief)

The Brooklyn Kitchen/The Meat Hook (http://www.thebrooklynkitchen.com/7982/hurricane-sandy-update/) – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways

Smorgasburg Opening Day 2012

A crisp breeze and an azure sky, what could be more a perfect setting for the opening for Smorgasburg, the weekly food-centric market on the Williamsburg waterfront that launched its second season today.  The design of the market is a bit different from last year’s with all the vendors in a double row ringing the perimeter of the lot.  The center interior space, I was told, will become a beer garden at some point during the season, featuring locally brewed beverages.  A few intrepid friends and I gathered this morning and literally ate our way around, taking in samples and noshing on some great treats.  (For a more complete look at our edible excursion, see my Flickr album.)

The debut of Guava flavor by Danny Macaroons – just a little snack while waiting for my friends to arrive

Brooklyn Cured‘s handmade pastrami, delicate and rich, perfect with their robust mustard, which made a special appearance for this opening market day.

“Why hasn’t anyone else been bringing these to the markets?” I thought when I saw these portable, flavored Soy Milks from the brand new Soy Hound.  The Matcha was creamy, nutty, and refreshing.

Saucy By Nature – the Cilantro Lime was definitely a zingy “Ka-Pow” of flavor, the Spicy Pumpkin Ginger was a bit strong for me on its own but would be wonderful on a sandwich, and the Polish Kimchee is beautifully smoky with umami notes and would give a fabulous punch to a hotdog or sausage.

D’Vine and Olive – I overheard her wowing some new fans with her delicious oils and vinegars

Small, indulgent, tasty bite-sized cakes with full-size flavors from Bitemecheesecakes

Krumville Bake Shop‘s gluten free items were a big draw.  I really enjoyed the savory goat’s cheese and zucchini foccacia.  Others around me were chattering about her chocolate chip cookies.

Best Summer Vietnamese rolls

At this point, we were so hungry that a couple of us split a hearty Lonestar Empire sandwich.  Perfectly-cooked, pull-apart moist meat and a drizzle of spicy barbecue sauce accompanied by crunchy sour pickles and sweet-tangy pickled onions.

I just love that S’more Bakery toasts marshmallows to order at the market.

One of the other new things to see is that this year, Smorgasburg has a trash separating system so that items can be put into recyclables and composting.  Many of the vendors are also using eco-friendly utensils to serve up their dishes.

The Good Batch – I’m loving this Compost Bar of “leftovers.”  Next time, I’ll get one of their amazing ice cream sandwiches made with stroopwafels.

How convenient that they were next to Grady’s Cold Brew – smooth, caramel-toned iced coffee was a great pick-me-up

Chicken Bastillas from Nadia’s Kitchen – so tasty with thin, sweet crust wrapped around savory, spiced succulent chicken.

Mrs. Kim’s Kimchi – everyone was diving in for samples of this spicy, vinegary concoction

With barbecue season approaching, I think We Rub You‘s sauce might need to go to a cook-out with me.

Anarchy in a Jar – I picked up a jar of Triple Berry Jam for this week’s breakfasts

Spicy ‘n Sweet – a jar of their tangy, tomato-y, kicky Red Pesto would make a nice sandwich spread, especially paired with some fresh mozzarella

Buckeyes from Granola Lab – we treated ourselves to these sweet, peanut-buttery, chocolatey sweets

Salty Road Taffy – fragrant, floral Bergamot and buttery Salty Caramel Apple

Ish premium horseradish – your gefilte fish has been begging for their Beet Ish.  The Citrus Ish was an explosion of heat, fruit, and nose-tingling flavor.  I’m looking forward to sampling their other versions the next time they are at the market.

Mighty Quinn’s brisket sandwich

One thing hasn’t changed from last year, which is that this vendor has the longest line at Smorgasburg, and with good reason.  The brisket is tender with a great smoky flavor and a caramelized crust.  Add some pickled onions, a splash of sauce, and pile it up on a soft roll.

I’ve always opined (and have been backed up on this) that Washington, DC has better Ethiopian food options than NYC.  With Taste of Ethiopia, whose lentils were a favorite of one of my friends, I might have to change that tune.

Baby Mash – something healthy for the teething set to munch on

Runner & Stone‘s tempting baked goods are something I’ll look out for at the next market, too.

What Easter basket would be complete without Butter + Love‘s spicy Ginger Bunnies?  Their almost-decadent, fragrant Orange and Cardamom cookies would be perfect with a cup of steamy, milk tea and their buttery shortbread cookies filled with jam would be a great reason to take a mid-afternoon snack break any time.

First Prize Pies‘ S’mores Pie was a hit at Pie Party Live last year.  On Allison’s advice, I picked up a Shaker Lemon one to try at home.

Blue Bottle Coffee

The second longest line at the market today was also a return vendor: Blue Bottle Coffee with their hand-brewed beverages.

I think I maxed out on taking photos today for just a single market visit, so I created a slide show on Flickr to capture all of the hustle and bustle going on today.  Full of great food and caught up on the latest goings-on in our respective lives, after a few hours, we all headed our separate ways to finish up Saturday errands and projects.  I can’t wait to try some more fantastic foods and to discover some other amazing finds on our next trip.

Buon appetito!

Smorgasbrewery!

Slogging through the slushy, grey remnants of Saturday’s snowstorm to Williamsburg, the Brooklyn one, not the Virginia one, I made my way over to the Brooklyn Brewery for Smorgasbrewery on Sunday.  This weekly event that runs through March features several of the amazing food vendors who had made their summer home at Smorgasburg on the Brooklyn waterfront last year.  In the frigid temperatures, I really wished that I was heading to the market on a sunny summer day.

Solber Pupusas

Once inside, however, the yeasty, slightly acrid tinge of fermentation from the brewery tanks hit my nostrils as I headed over to the tables to see who was there this week; the vendor rotation changes each time.  My first stop was to check out the selection at 2011 Vendy award winner Solber Pupusas, which always seems to have the longest line at Smorgasburg.  I picked up one of the chicken and cheese variety and one of the bean and cheese.  My favorite of the two had to be the chicken and cheese as that filling seemed to stay moist while inside the corn masa patty.  These came with a spoonful of tomato sauce, a dollop of sour cream, and a pile of pickled onions to give a tangy, crunchy accompaniment to the soft, warm cakes.

Bite Size Kitchen

With a slather of slightly spiced, pungent hoisin sauce, the oniony crunch of scallions, a fresh slice of cucumber, and a fluffy bun playing host to perfectly-tender, juicy, braised pork belly, this succulent sandwich was the perfect small-bite meal to have with a glass of Brooklyn Brewery beer.  In fact, I liked it so much that I went back for seconds.  I really hope that this makes an appearance at next summer’s market.

Bon Chovie

So far, I haven’t been brave enough to try these.  Next time, I’ll bring along one of my foodie wing people so we can split an order.  I’ll probably need their coaxing to eat these raved-about anchovies, which were another hit of the market season.

Handmade Pretzels

The hardest table to walk by today was that with all the great-looking goodies made by the baker at Commerce Restaurant in Greenwich Village.  Not only were there these gorgeous, soft pretzels (which I mentioned to them would be perfect with some mustard on the side), but there were these beautiful salami and cheese rolls, too.  These looked like they’d be the ideal thing to have on a cold winter’s day alongside a cup of something, say, maybe a glass of the IPA.

Salami and Cheese Rolls

It was when I spotted the basket of freshly-baked cookies, however, that I was completely sunk.  I mean, look at them.  How could anyone resist finishing up a meal with one of these beauties?  Well, I couldn’t, so I selected a Maple-Bacon one.

Cookies!

You know what?  The smoky-sweet buttery flavor ended up pairing really, really well with the smooth, dark caramel notes of the Brooklyn Brown Ale that I’d selected to drink.  The flavors of the cookie and the mellow but slightly bold taste of the beer came together in surprising harmony.  I mentioned to the folks at the Commerce table that I thought a beer and cookie pairing might be an idea for next time.  Hey, if beer and ice cream work together, why not try out that combination as well.  It could be the hit of next year’s outdoor food markets!

Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale

 Buon appetito!