Hostess Fantasies May Come True in the EV; Pork and Funnel Cakes Find Each OtherBoerum Hill: Sunday’s Atlantic Antic Street Festival = live music + copious gut busters ranging from baklava and funnel cake to pulled pork and roasted corn. [Hell’s Half Acre]
East Village: The Bourgeois Pig plans to move to a new location next week, which means the original space is that much closer to becoming a New World wine-and-beer bar serving homemade versions of Hostess snacks! [Imbible]
Harlem: One of uptown’s favorite food carts, Super Tacos on 96th and Broadway, is a finalist at the Vendy Awards this Saturday. [Uptown Flavor]
Midtown East: Nikki Beach restaurant and nightclub wants to lure you back in the morning with a weekend buffet brunch. [Grub Street]
Soho: Joe on Greene Street near Prince introduces a Fall program of coffee-related classes including “Coffee & The Environment”; “How to Cup: Single Origin Coffee”; and “How to Cup: Exploring Roasteries” that will begin in October. [Grub Street]
Upper West Side: Just the right bargain to make us think about how much mark-up we’ve been getting charged for wine: Order the $35 prix fixe on Sundays at Compass restaurant and any bottle you order is 50 percent off. [Grub Street]
Metromix Asks a Street VendorFood-blog newcomer Metromix takes it to the street today to interview the Vendy Award nominees in anticipation of the ceremony on Saturday. Even if the Q&As don’t plumb quite as deep into the world of food carts as did New York’s Street Fare package, we get some interesting tidbits: Veronica Julien of Veronica’s Kitchen — who is scouting downtown Manhattan for a restaurant location — rises at 3 a.m. to stew oxtail for three hours, and Muhammed Rahman of Kwik Meal awakens at a schoolgirlish 6 a.m. Word from NY Dosas, the King of Falafel and Shawarma, and Super Tacos, too.
Street Meet [Metromix NY]
Street Fare [NYM]
Back of the House
Handicapping the Vendies
The Vendy Awards, a.k.a. the Homeless Beards, are upon us again, and the finalists for Street Vendor of the year have just been announced. As at the Beards, a familiar cluster of luminaries dominates the nominations. These are not necessarily the very best carts going, but the ones whose years of service and body of work has earned them a high reputation among sidewalk gastronomes. The nominees, and our handicapping, are below.
In the Magazine
This Week, We Keep It Street
You might be interested to know that your morning coffee was marked up 1,000 percent by the street vendor who just sold it to you. It’s just one of many fascinating tidbits in “Cartography,” a complete road map to New York City street food. Though Grub Street has previously selected its top five favorite carts, this week’s issue goes all out, not only ranking the city’s best twenty carts but also offering a glimpse into the daily experiences of street vendors. If the feature doesn’t sell you on the guts and glory of sidewalk cuisine, well, fine then — Rob and Robin have singled out several more conventional restaurants to look forward to this summer.
Last Year’s Vendy Winner Envies Miss Universe
Our heartiest congratulations go out to Samiul Haque Noor, the winner of the 2006 Vendy Award for New York’s best street vendor. Noor won a cook-off against three other finalists, including the legendary “Arepa Lady,” to take the top honors Sunday night. We contacted last year’s winner, Rolf Babiel of Hallo Berlin, who was ineligible for this year’s contest, at his home in Binghamton, to ask him what’s in store for Noor. “I got a lot of new customers,” Babiel said. “And my lines got longer. Too long! I lost some of the old customers. We had visits from Oprah and Rachael Ray and journalists from Germany and Japan.” Babiel appreciates the attention the Vendys earned him, but one thing made him a little uneasy. “I got a big trophy,” he said. “But they called me up and said they need to take it back. I thought, It should be like Miss Universe, and I could give the trophy to the new winner. It would have been a little more professional. You know, I think the Vendys are a little bit disorganized. But I don’t get carried away.”
Grub Street’s favorite carts
Back of the House
It’s Hard Out There for a Street VendorUSA Today just published an article detailing how vendors are routinely harassed by cops for minor violations like being too far from the curb, too close to a doorway, or on the wrong corner. Making matters worse, in February, the city raised the maximum fine for non-health-related violations from $250 to $1,000. Now there’s talk of capping the number of licenses given out. The Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group best known by civilians for the Vendy Awards, might be the only resource the workers have. So support them by dropping in on the Vendys, happening Sunday night at St. Mark’s Church in the East Village. After the jump, find the list of nominees — and info on a special contest!
Back of the House
Mr. Nasty Throws Open the Phone Lines; Mr. Hospitality Throws PunchesIn today’s dining dirt, Spain comes to Manhattan, barbecue comes to Fort Greene, and Mr. Hospitality brings the pain.
• Danny “Mr. Hospitality” Meyer ponders hugs, serves up a knuckle sandwich. [Esquire]
• Gordon “Mr. Nasty” Ramsay opens up the lines; a feeding frenzy ensues. [Eater]
• Pushcart-prize finalists announced. [Street Vendor Project]
• Picholine buddies open up a Fort Greene smoke joint serving up “real NYC barbecue.” Whatever that is, exactly. [Strong Buzz]
• On a sobering note, Michael Pollan forecasts the dangers of centralized food production and the specter of increased regulation in the veggie world: “Food poisoning has always been with us, but not until we started processing all our food in such a small number of ‘kitchens’ did the potential for nationwide outbreaks exist.” [NYT]
And the Nominee for Best Performance by a Falafel …
The street cart boils the restaurant experience down to its most intimate dimensions: One person cooks for another, with no waiters, walls, or even kitchen separating them. For this reason, New York’s best vendors inspire fierce loyalty. Now, “cartisans” can vote for the vendors they love best. But the polls will soon close: The Street Vendor Project’s Vendy Awards are happening October 22 at St. Mark’s Church, and voting ends the day before. Which means we only have 13 days to lobby furiously for our candidates. Without further ado …
Update, 1:15 p.m.: Contrary to what we just said, the Street Vendor Project tells us that the polls close today, at midnight. All the more reason to blindly follow our endorsements!