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Feed Me! Foodies flock to Brooklyn Bridge Park for spring Smorgasburg

Lower Manhattan skyscrapers beckon, but on spring Sundays all the cool people are in Brooklyn Bridge Park eating Smorgasburg food. All photos by Lore Croghan

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brisket on a bun you stand in line for – a looong time. Ramen Burgers that run out by 2:30 p.m. Brain-freezing Kelvin Natural Slush, a beverage too tempting to pass up, slurped al fresco.

Ah, the rites of spring.

The weekend food fest that is Smorgasburg has moved outdoors at long last after a grueling winter.

Sunday sessions of the gourmet snack-o-rama started up in Brooklyn Bridge Park earlier this month. We've got three words of advice: Sunscreen. Short sleeves.

“I told you to wear shorts,” a dad said to his small fry, who was frying in long pants as they scoped out the fab food being dished out on Pier 5 last Sunday.

Everybody will want a bite of your bruffin – a brioche-muffin. Photo by Lore Croghan

It has been cold in Brooklyn for so long that folks have forgotten Smorgasburg's 100 or so vendors' tents are pitched on blacktop. When the sun comes out, it's a good 10 degrees warmer than anyplace else in Brooklyn.

Carefully chosen food entrepreneurs, many of whom worked Smorgasburg's indoor winter location in Williamsburg, returned to two waterfront sites the weekend of April 5.

In addition to their Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park, they're congregating on Saturdays at Williamsburg's East River State Park

Smorgasburg is an offshoot of Brooklyn Flea, Brownstoner.com founder Jonathan Butler's and former Marty Markowitz mouthpiece Eric Demby's wildly popular flea market.

The new season at Brooklyn Bridge Park has gotten off to a fast start. Huge hordes showed up last Sunday. At 1 p.m., the crowd striding down the sidewalk on Joralemon Street, Brooklyn Heights' pedestrian pathway to Pier 5, looked like an eaters' parade.

For popular vendors, business was bustling.

“The good weather helps,” said a smiling server at Takumi Taco, which had a long line of customers waiting to buy $8 miso chicken nachos.

Diners stood in long lines for the Takumi Taco goodies, pictured here. Photo by Lore Croghan

Everywhere you turned, people were carrying paper cones of hand-cut French fries from Home Frite.

Fancy fries from Home Frite. Photo by Lore Croghan

Rival brisket sellers Mighty Quinn's and Lonestar Empire drew lines of customers that were equally long. Buy a Thai bubble tea ($4) from ThirsTea to fortify yourself before you join one of these lines, and if you're by yourself, bring something to read. Seriously.

There is stunningly fine ethnic food of all sorts. But if you lay eyes on one of the pies from Pizza Moto ($13 for the pepperoni kind) and you're short on impulse control, you will be having pizza for lunch instead of something more exotic.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say. The people from Pizza Moto bring a pizza oven on wheels and stacks of chopped wood, and do their baking right on the blacktop.

Have pizza oven, will travel. Photo by Lore Croghan

If you come with a group, someone else can get fabulous-looking fish and chips ($10) from Handsome Hank's to share, and someone else can get chicken saltenas ($6 each) – crusty pastries filled with chicken stew – from Bolivian Llama Party.

By 3 p.m., Kavitha Rathi's Indian street-food booth, Potpuri, had sold out of the Slumdog.

“People love the Slumdog,” said Rathi's roommate, Amanda Hughes, who was helping her out Sunday.

Potpuri is a purely vegetarian food purveyor, so this dog is not made of meat.

“It's spicy potato that looks like a pig in a blanket,” Hughes explained.

Another big seller is samosa chaat ($10), a “deconstructed samosa” that's quite the palate-pleaser.

Newcomers among the Brooklyn Bridge Park vendors include Monsieur Singh Lassi, which sells tasty frozen lassi on a stick ($5) that's like a frozen yoghurt push-pop, only spicier.

In this era of fancy hybrid pastries (think cronuts), entrepreneur Michael Bagley is bringing the bruffin to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“We created the bruffin three years ago,” said Bagley, who sells savory varieties of the brioche-muffins whose flavors are inspired by cuisine from 14 different countries, plus several sweet varieties, all $5 or $6.

The most popular one is the bacon-chocolate-salted caramel kind. Friends will ask if they can share yours. You won't want to say yes.

A lifetime ago, a semi-distinguished food critic told us, “You should never apologize for what you eat.”

He was right. Of course. He was somebody who was always right. But the endless culinary temptations under the Smorgasburg tents could make our waistlines very sorry, even if we aren't.

The solution, suggested by a 20-something guy eating macaroni and cheese and a large sandwich: Do lots of cardio. That's what the park is for the other six days of the week, isn't it?

Smorgasburg comes outdoors for spring.

On Saturdays, it's at Williamsburg's East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave. at N. 7th Street.

On Sundays, find it at Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park – it's operating on Easter Sunday, April 20.

Hours at both locations are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Brisket from Mighty Quinn – Photo by Lore Croghan 

By the sea, by the sea … fish and chips. Photo by Lore Croghan

A newcomer to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Smorgasburg, Monsieur Singh Lassi, sells frozen push-pops that taste like spicy yoghurt. Photo by Lore Croghan 

Chicken from Tso – yum!

Corn on a stick. It must be spring! Photo by Lore Croghan

Hot dog? Panting pooch gets a ride on a warm day at Smorgasburg. Photo by Lore Croghan

After all that food, a walk on the footbridge to Brooklyn Heights is just the thing to burn some calories. Photo by Lore Croghan

Ah, the new World Trade Center. That is a sight that does our heart good. Photo by Lore Croghan

 

April 18, 2014 - 1:00pm


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