Grub Street Food Festival

Spicy pork tacos from Oaxaca

Spicy pork tacos from Oaxaca

Year of Yes has been heavy on the food posts lately, huh? (Pun sort of intended. In my defense, I do more than eat. Just sayin’.) Anyway.

Last weekend was full (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) of Year of Yes moments: I went to my first concert at the Apollo Theater; my family and I had the chance to reconnect with cousins we hadn’t seen in years (that part may or may not have involved a night at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill…); and on Sunday some friends and I ventured to the Grub Street Food Festival for the first time.

The Grub Street Food Festival and I have a lot in common: we’ve both been in the City for four years; we both hate to start anything before 10am; and we both love bite-sized food. The free day-long event–a partnership between the Hester Street Fair and New York magazine–takes place on the Lower East Side each fall, right at the corner of Essex and Hester Streets. This year’s Festival featured food from more than 70 vendors. Though my friends and I didn’t have the patience to wait in the humongous Dominique Ansel Bakery line (am I the only person in New York City who’s not obsessed with cronuts?!), we did try some awesome dishes. Our favorites:

  • Oaxaca Taquería — Our timing was perfect: they sold out of the spicy pork tacos minutes after we ordered. The meat on the carnitas tacos ($3.25 each) was perfectly braised, and served with pickled onions, cilantro, cotija cheese, salsa, avocado, and lime. Recipe for happy campers.
  • The Pickle Guys — My sister and I had no choice but to honor our family name with some pickles. (According to our dad, our last name comes from an Eastern European town known for its pickles. Verdict is still out on that one.) Plus, it’s hard to resist free pickles–even if it is a ploy to get you to go across the street to their store. Either way, these were totally delicious. Seriously one of the best pickles I’ve ever had.
  • Patacon Pisao — My first time eating Venezuelan food! (Thanks to Brittany for the inspiration!) I always claim to hate plantains, but I’m pretty sure Patacon Pisao changed my mind. The pastelitos ($4) were incredible: green plantains, chicken, fried white cheese, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce in a crispy round patty. My description’s a total failure, but I promise the food itself was not.
  • S’amore — Hand-crafted s’mores. Need I say [s’]more? Though they offer a seasonal flavor, we tried the Classic: honey graham crackers with a vanilla marshmallow and milk chocolate ($3.50). The graham cracker was thin and wafer-like and dusted with a thin coat of sugar– totally put Honey Maid to shame. You can tell these are made with love because their cutting board was heart-shaped. Duh.
Photo courtesy of Connor Reidy

Photo courtesy of Connor Reidy

Special thanks to Connor Reidy for his photography skills! And for photo-bombing this otherwise adorable pic:

But we’ll forgive him because he’s typically very talented. And because we actually managed to get a good shot huddled around Granny Brynn:

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