“Have you ever tried elote, also known as Mexican street corn? If you have, this is better than any you’ve enjoyed before. And if you haven’t? Prepare to have your life changed.”
With its charming neighborhoods, beautiful skyline views, and amazing rooftop bars, Brooklyn is definitely the best borough. If I’m being honest, Brooklyn has the most incredible food out of the boroughs, and it has Smorgasburg, the fabulous outdoor food festival hosted in Williamsburg.
The first step, especially if it’s your first time, is to take a full lap around to survey the premises. It’s important to know what your options are before committing to your menu. Make sure you go with friends so you can split each dish and have more room for more food.
Now, it’s easy to get overwhelmed because of the plethora of choices, and everyone finds their own favorites at Smorgasburg. But here’s an outline for your food-consuming strategy. Also, these are just some of the things I enjoy there, so don’t feel the need to eat every single one. More power to you if you do.
Pro-tip: Buy a $1 water bottle from the vendors outside the festival as it’s the cheapest you’ll find.
I like to start with a beverage, particularly the Vermont Maple Lemonade, which is so simple and yet unbelievably delicious.
The owner actually drives every weekend from Vermont to bring 100 gallons of his fresh maple lemonade to Brooklyn. I know it sounds basic, but the maple syrup adds a real uniqueness to the lemonade without making it too sweet. It’s also great as a dessert, but I can never wait that long to enjoy it.
Next is the appetizer. Have you ever tried elote, also known as Mexican street corn? If you have, this is better than any you’ve enjoyed before. And if you haven’t? Prepare to have your life changed.
This magical delicacy is from a stand called Vaquero, and it is definitely the best deal at Smorgasburg. For a low low price of $4, you can get a grilled piece of fresh sweet corn, smothered in salty butter, sprinkled with chili powder, rolled in crumbled cotija cheese and then drizzled with lime juice. No big deal. Except it’s a giant deal.
Time for the next course. As you can tell, I’m all about the simply delicious, and this one is no different.
The guys at Santa Salsa do a Venezuelan hot dog like no one else.
I’d never had a Venezuelan hot dog before, but now that I have, I don’t think I can go back to the regular kind. Santa Salsa make a Perro con Todo that will blow your mind, and make you rethink the American hot dog. It’s a kosher all-beef dog in a pretty generic bun but it’s topped with onions, cabbage, ketchup, mustard, cheddar cheese, CRUSHED POTATO CHIPS (yes, potato chips on a hot dog), and this outstanding sweet corn sauce they call Santa Salsa. The service is really slow, but it’s just the two guys behind the counter, so be patient, because it is so worth it.
Okay, next up is the main course, and it’s a stunner. A jianbing is a Chinese breakfast dish that resembles a savory crepe, but is just so much better.
They start with this super thin batter and spread it on a very hot stone.
Next comes an equally as thin egg mixture which cooks with the batter and creates a sticky base for the toppings that come next. The original has scallions, their special house “13 sauce,” their homemade chili sauce, cilantro and this awesome crispy cracker that goes in the middle. Now you can stick with the original and be very happy, or you can up the ante and go for the hoisin-lime beef and really change your game. All of the Asian flavors come together in a tasty mouthful with a fantastic crunch in the middle.
The jianbing is quite large so I definitely recommend splitting it with someone.
If you still have room and you’re not ready for dessert, go for the Big Mozz sticks. Big Mozz makes their own mozzarella right here in Brooklyn and let me tell you, the difference is noticeable. It’s creamy and smooth and makes an unreal mozzarella stick.
They gently batter it and then, of course, toss it in the fryer for a delightful crispy stick. They are enormous, and there’s four to the order so definitely share them.
Now dessert. There are plenty of ice cream options but after all the food courses, I like to go with something light. Enter People’s Pops. They offer a delicious selection of popsicles and shaved ices, all made from fresh fruits and juices and crafted right here in Brooklyn.
I went for the blueberry melon pop which was delicately sweet and had a nice melon finish. It was a perfect end to my really delicious day.