Sunday September 2nd Smorgasburg, Prospect Park Brooklyn
Not quite noon and I’m full up to pussy’s bow. I’ve found a shady spot on some soft grass in between picnic rugs. It feels like it’s time for a nap. I arrived an hour ago as the food stall event was opening. The sound of grills being lit and ice tipped into cooler bins was the soundtrack to my entrance. Grabbing a cold coffee with whole milk at the first stall in, I decided a reconnoiter was in order. The business names delight and amuse me.
Bonsai Kakigori Japanese shaved ice
Jian-bing Shanghai-inspired street food
Mighty Quinn’s slow smoked barbecue
Handsome Hank’s Fish Hut
Okay, first point of order. Figure out which stalls sell smaller portions. After one circuit, I decide the morning is best started with a blood orange donut to go with my coffee. For $3.75, I buy enough donut for 2 people. I ask for a bag so I don’t feel compelled to finish it all. The wooden picnic table under the large central tree are still pretty empty so I take one end in the shade of an umbrella. The coffee is disappearing fast, long before the ice has a chance to melt. The tartness of the donut is balanced perfectly by the soft sweet dough. I look around at the crowds that are starting to gather.
That ramen burger is so instagrammable
Anyone want to share some mozzarella sticks?
Excuse me sir, what’s that you’re eating?
‘I’m not hungry but . . .’
‘Well, I’m here so I might as well like go crazy.
What is it? A dumpling? Wanna share?
The best thing about the jet ski is that you feel like you’re going through time. I’m not even joking.
It’s toss up as to begin the savoury section of my brunch with a taco or a sandwich. Slow cooked beef brisket wins. Two generous slices of tender brisket complete with smoke ring at the outer edge are placed on a soft slider bun. Creamy coleslaw, pickled cucumber and rings of red chilli are then piled on top. I attempt to return to my spot to find it’s already taken. The tables soon become hot property whether they’re in the shade or not.
I point to a vacant spot and ask, ‘do you mind if I sit here?’
A Scottish accent replies, ’go for it.’
Plopping down on the bench opposite I place my bun, napkins and various wet wipes on the table. ‘What a place. The hardest thing is deciding what to get.’
‘I know. My girlfriend has just gone for another pass at things.’
‘What was that?’ I point to the detritus in front of him.
‘A philly cheese steak, from over there.’ He points behind and I make a semblance of turning to check it out.
‘Great. We don’t get them in Glasgow.’
I press the top of my bun down in attempt to get solid purchase on my meal. Fortune favours the bold, it is said, so I abandon all decorum and get stuck in. Lifting the bun to my mouth, I take a generous bite, hoping to get some of each part of the whole. There’s nothing worse that the last mouthful of anything being just the salad, or just the pickles. Balance is important. I can feel something clinging to my chin. I grab the wholemeal napkin and wipe extensively.
Pale skin and ponytail bobbing, the girlfriend returns. ‘Hi, I’m Rachael.’
Wiping my hands hurriedly, I introduce myself. ‘Hi, I’m Mandy.’
My table buddy takes his turn. ‘Oh, sorry. I’m Grant.’