SMORGASBURG IN BROOKLYN, NY
WRITTEN BY: Rachael Dimit
Usually, when one moves to New York City, their pant size drops due to the overwhelming pressure to look good all the time. I mean, here it’s obvious how many people feel the necessity to subsist on coffee to keep up with everyone else, downing a plethora of other unknown uppers to fuel the grind and the emaciation. Despite the cohorts of teeming thinspiration throughout NYC, I have yet to adopt the air and sunlight diet. Quite the contrary rather, because amazing food is everywhere. Every corner in NYC is a Brooklyn slice to be eaten, a New York bagel to be ingested, and a cocktail to be sipped–all at once, of course.
Particularly dangerous to my figure, is an outdoor food bazaar that happens only ten blocks from my apartment every Saturday from April until October. Titled Smorgasburg, it is an obvious play on words that combines the Scandinavian word “smorgasbord” with the name of the Brooklyn neighborhood, “Williamsburg.” Nearly 100 vendors set up food tents and shell out a menagerie of amazing eats ranging from hand-crafted sodas to specialty mac-and-cheese to pork belly sandwiches served on a glazed donut(!!!). Today you woke up craving Mediterranean grilled squid, Puerto Rican mofongo, all washed down with a Vietnamese iced coffee? Well you’re in luck, because the beauty that is Smorgasburg exists, giving hungry but indecisive people like you and I the opportunity to indulge in it all.
*Wisconsin girl eats cheesecurds in New York City and proceeds to faint from cheese nirvana.* Thank you, Curds-the-Word for this taste of home.
This past Saturday, I did just that–I indulged in a bizarre but perfect combination of cheese curds with a jalapeño-ranch dipping sauce from Curds-the-Word, while waiting in line for my juicy main course from Ramen Burger (which is exactly what it sounds like), and sipped on a Thai iced tea. This is an important detail–scope the lines–which are LONG (but almost always worth the wait)–and then order from the stand that you want with the shortest line. Take said food and go wait for more food. Repeat endlessly. The appetizer serves as a distraction while waiting in even longer lines. The line at Curds-the-Word was only a few people, being one of the shortest at Smorgasburg. As I waited, I saw many a person squint while looking at the yellow tent reading “Artisanal Beer-Battered Cheesecurds,” then followed a spew of a few chortled words of blasphemy that were largely unintelligible but sounded like “What are cheese curds?” While I feel deeply sad for these people who do not know the culinary delicacy that is fried cheese curds, this was to my advantage in the line arena. The $10 basket was deliciously melty and fried to perfection. Following fat, Midwestern traditions, cheese curds are meant to be eaten with ranch. The addition of the jalapeño was an amazing complement to the perfectly gluttonous fried cheese. Thankfully, just as the basket ran out and I almost started to cry, I found myself at the front of the line for Ramen Burger.
Ramen Burger is one of the longest lines at Smorgasburg, but well worth the wait. The side of Empire State wasn’t half bad either.
Ramen Burger is one of the staples of Smorgasburg. Many people come out on Saturdays with a painful hangover and still brave the seas of people just to try one of these greasy little sandwiches. The hype is not unwarranted. The perfectly cooked beef patty is topped with cheese, arugula, scallions and a sweet but tangy, Asian-inspired, barbecue sauce. The obvious character trait that sets Ramen Burger apart, is that where there is normally a bun, there is now two perfectly round discs of pressed ramen noodles, holding their form and hugging the meat in the middle. Texturally unique, the burger is unlike anything I’ve had before. The flavor is obviously reminiscent of a bowl of ramen, but it offers up a culinary experience that is distinct from slurping noodles off chopsticks. The Ramen Burger is ramen and burger–really what else do you want from the world? It is a grace to food and mankind.
Despite the hangovers that seem to endlessly accompany my Saturdays, you’ll find me sitting on the bank the East River peeking over the top of my food, looking at the skyline, and holding in overly-loud moans of pleasure every Saturday from now until October.