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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!