New York City has all these things that I can’t believe exist: 24-hour nail salons, grocery stores that deliver, an abundance of man-boys, and Governor’s Island.
Governor’s Island is part of the archipelago of New York, a half mile south of Manhattan, in the Buttermilk Channel. (Who knew there was a Buttermilk Channel?) To get there, you take a free ferry from downtown.
I went there this weekend for the food truck awards, a.k.a., the Vendys, which I also can’t believe exist.
I often want to support food trucks but never notice they’re nearby until after I’ve eaten. So this was a chance to have all the food trucks in one place and hunger.
Also, I have a soft spot in my heart for any business person trying to make it in the food industry—not just because their passion brings me joy—but also because my mom opened a French pastry shop when she was in her early 30s, after 12 years as an ER nurse.
People often think that sounds quaint, because when they hear “French pastry shop,” they probably imagine my mom lovingly decorating an eclair with a pastry pipe or something, but what I remember is her getting up at 4am to be sure the French bread was ready, and then standing on her feet for 12 hours a day making espresso beverages.
She was very good at her work, but it was work. And the point is that I know how hard the restaurant industry is in LA, and I suspect it’s just as tough in New York City. Everyone always assumes it’s waaay more difficult in New York, because the scene is so competitive, but at least in NYC people eat. In LA, it depends on the demographic, the day, and the current food trends.
(Also, New Yorkers are delusional and like to believe that life would be so, so easy, if only they didn’t need to live in Manhattan.)
Above is a delicious noodle/dumpling dish from Chinese Mirch, which specializes in Indian-Chinese fusion food. They also have a restaurant-that’s-not-in-a-vehicle, near Flatiron, which I’ve wanted to try ever since I moved to the city five years ago.
What you can’t see it how hot and spicy (and good!) the sauce is.
This place, Lumpia Shack, had really good treats that looked like tiny egg rolls with better fillings—they wound up winning a prize.
Also, it’s Filipino food, which I don’t know at all. Based on Lumpia Shack, I’d say it’s quite good!
I tried the truffled adobo mushroom.
This is the vegan food truck, Cinnamon Snail, which, as Eric pointed out, is not a very vegan-sounding name.
They wound up winning the People’s Choice Award, which made me happy because (1) it was delish; and (2) I’m an apisring vegan who loves not feeling alone in this often-mocked quest.
The vegan truck had a portabello-mushroom-kale dish that was amazing, and also an entire dessert platter, which included a fig mushroom pancake.
Speaking of non-dairy, let’s move on to dairy.
I could not believe how good the ice cream sandwiches at Melt were. (Also, they were the size of giant Oreos, rather than small frisbees, which I appreciated.)
I swear to you the bar for ice cream sandwiches has gotten higher in the past decade. Remember how it used to be totally normal to take a bite of an ice cream sandwich, only to discover that the cookie was too hard and frozen, thus ice cream flew out, and you got neither cookie nor ice cream?
Now it’s totally normal to have both a soft, chewy cooke (in this case, gingersnap) and delicious interesting ice cream flavors inside (in this case, fresh peach).
What a world!
What a day!
I thought the ticket price for the Vendys was a little expensive—almost $100—but it wound up being a good deal. The vendors were extremely generous with servings and the lines were never too long. (They appeared to be, but they moved fast.)
You could literally show up and eat as much as you wanted, plus consume all the wine and beer you could handle.
I’m not the ideal person for such a steal, because I never want to eat as much as I can. Sadly, I will be worried about calories when I’m 90 years old. Although maybe that’s not sad, because aging can be difficult, and I’ll be able to divert my attention from true pain by over-thinking food choices.
All that said, I understand how, for a typical person with no hangups around eating, the Vendys is an amazing deal, a great salute to small business, and a fun excuse to explore the Buttermilk Channel.
I hope you go next year!