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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 – 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.

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.

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.

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!

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