So you may remember my adventures at the International Street Fair Food Festival in Manhattan for the past two years. It was my first non-work outing with K-Cup, then last year I went with my Mtastic roommate as we adjusted to my impending move to Brooklyn. and I sampled a ridiculous amount of delicacies designed to keep me walking the line from not trying enough to being horribly sick. And then got horribly sick. It was awesome.
This year it happened to fall on the same weekend as the Park Slope Festival on 5th ave, just a block away. So K-cup and I decided, rather than brave the elements (i.e. weekend N train service), that we’d check out the local doings instead of the midtown one. And it was awesome.
First, it felt much more like a smalltown affair, even though it stretched for about 20 blocks, because the buildings are so low, and it was full of families. I knew it was still New York because moms pushing strollers weren’t afraid to throw elbows. There were kiddie rides on the backs of trucks, some small stage for puppet shows and freestyle rappers (guess which booth all the cops were in front of?), clever t-shirts, cliche t-shirts, offensive t-shirts, and $5 t-shirts. And food. Oh the food, food, food, food.
1. Tamales from a Oaxaca stand – I tried the chicken mole, K-Cup tried the pork
2. Mozz-a-repas – sweet corn patties with gooey mozzarella in the middle. We split one. I still think K got all the cheese.
3. Spring roll and thai iced tea, because you’ve got to.
4. Thai iced Bubble tea
5. "Hot Beef Sundae". Ok, hear me out. It was this cool restaurant that was playing wild and crazy games with sweet and savory…. we paid our $6 and got mashed potatoes, shredded beef, sour cream and a cherry tomato to share. And then we died because it was so amazing.
Two side notes: A) The Park Slope prices were way higher than the Manhattan prices. $3 for a freaking iced tea. No good. B) I feel lied to by Top Chef and Chopped because nobody told me that creme fraiche was just sour cream. How come "fraiche" sounds so much like "fresh" if they have nothing to do with eachother?!)
We assessed the condition of our stomachs and decided we were up for one, possibly two more things. Deep fried oreos? Empanadas? Crepes? Smoothies? Tiny little pies and tarts almost distracted us, but then from a few blocks away we saw a tall sign advertising key lime pie. We conferred to make sure it wasn’t a mirage, then headed that way, only briefly distracted by tiny witty onesies and framed Coney Island photography. At last we arrived.
6. Frozen key lime pie on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate. O.M.G. We wanted to clap and be supportive of the amateur freestylers rapping nearby, but were too engrossed with our new best friends. Apparently when they’re not passing out sweet sweet torture at street fairs, these pie people live over by the Ikea in Red Hook. I want to go to there.
7. Bottle of water from Key Foods because damn, sweet sweet torture is rich.
8. Some sort of enchilada for K-Cup, a lemon italian ice for me because I was convinced that syrup and sugar would calm my stomach down. It did not. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was praying for death. I hit my bleargh threshhold just as we concluded our final lap, and all was well.
I have to say my favorite moment of the fair had nothing to do with the food, heretical as that sounds. I stopped by the Brooklyn Pride table to get some information about their parade in June, and to buy a raffle ticket. Two little boys came up to the table and got the last two Tootsie pops being handed out. One little boy said to the other, pointing at the rainbow flags sitting in a vase, "Do you know what those flags are for?" Boy #2 guessed a soccer team, or another country, so the proprietor chimed in "That’s the gay pride flag!" The first little boy giggled, almost surprised that someone else knew too, and said "Yeah! And my parents are gay!" The proprietor replied "That’s great – and so am I!"
It was such a sweet scene. This festival was diverse in all directions – same-sex and opposite-sex parents, many ethnicities represented in the food stalls, their offerings, and in the people visiting them, pets, strollers, wheelchairs, tattoos, piercings….. it had everything. And no tourists. Excuse me while I try to remember why I was so afraid of leaving Manhattan….