Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A smorgasbord of Smorgasburg

East River Ferry to Williamsburg's Smorgasburg  |  *sparklingly  |  "A Smorgasboard of Smorgasburg"
{ The East River Ferry from Wall St./Pier 11 to Williamsburg  |  June 2013 }

I've now experienced all three of the Smorgasburg food outposts (have yet to visit either of the Brooklyn Flea locations), and I can say that the South Street Seaport Smorgasbar is my favorite. And no, I'm not giving it more weight because it's in my neighborhood (although, that's obviously a nice perk!), but it's just so much more manageable. Crowds and I do not mix, as you may remember.

I visited the Dumbo Smorgasburg way back in October last year, at the tail end of our Hurricane Sandy experience. After a week of no electricity, water or heat, we gratefully took my boss up on her very generous offer to use her family's apartment in Dumbo for the day while they were upstate so we could clean up, warm up, charge up and generally feel like humans again. Part of that included a fall'ish walk around the neighborhood and stumbling across the Sunday Smorgasburg in Dumbo's gorgeous Tobacco Warehouse. It was so lovely and tranquil, until I realized we were only in one section of it, and I had already purchased some nibblies before coming upon another whole area with (even tastier) options! A little whining ensued.

As for the original Williamsburg Smorgasburg, I finally experienced it a few weeks ago when friends met me downtown for $20 manicure/pedicures in ridiculously comfortable massage chairs (Bless you, New York), before hopping on the East River Ferry up the water to Williamsburg. The New York Water Taxi (the jaunty yellow boat in front of ours in the picture above) runs a similar line, including the free trip to IKEA in Red Hook. But, the East River Ferry is the only one (that I know of) that will take you right from my backyard to Smorgasburg's for $4.

We arrived pretty quickly (although we were in no rush—any time you get to be on a boat in the NY Harbor in good weather, it's time to savor). But, I got a little nervous / cranky when I saw the crowds from the boat's deck. We decided to do one fast loop so we had an idea of all the options available (lesson learned from the Dumbo Smorgasburg) and then split up to forage for our lunches.

I chose Palenque Colombian Food (can't get enough of arepas and tacos this summer!) for my lunch, followed by dessert from Alchemy Creamery. My $8 pork arepa was tasty, if a little dry, and my $6 teensy cup of vegan, gluten-free dark chocolate sea-salt chai "potion" from Alchemy was also delicious, but the price tag (especially for the size) took away from my ice cream euphoria. I'm generally more "relaxed" about food options at festivals, but both did leave me a little miffed (note: Fonda's tacos at Smorgasbar were delicious! I've been to the brick-and-mortar restaurant a few times, and the dishes we had at the Seaport were just as good.).

It was also not the prettiest of locations to me—lots of open space, but not very many shady/sitting areas. Luckily I bought my picnic blanket and there was a sparse little sapling throwing off a few feet of shadow, so we parked ourselves under it (a bit too close to the porta potties for my liking), and made the best of it.

In the end we did enjoy ourselves, I mean, spicy food + good friends + a beautiful day is pretty much all you need, right? But, perhaps the nicest bit of the whole Williamsburg jaunt was a walk around the block after we finished our lunch and leisurely chat and happening upon Fabbrica, the prettiest little Italian lounge / restaurant / market occupying the corner space of a chic block. Think huge lofty windows and French doors opening to the sidewalk, black interiors brightened up by pretty fixtures and antique mirrors that reflected light every which way. We sat at the bar in the direct path of the breeze for a refreshing tonic before heading home.

I'll consider this a win for Williamsburg (although, thanks be that the Seaport Smorgasbar is only a few blocks away until October!).

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