Loyalty means never having to ditch your lunch vendor for another, because if they see you passing by and not buying a thing . . . well, prepare to get the cold shoulder next time. However, one place where curiosity won’t hurt you is the fourth annual Vendy Awards where the most praised food vendors, pre-selected by the public, face off in an Iron Chef–style competition to claim the coveted Silver Vendy Cup. A panel of judges, including Calvin Trillin and Lizz Winstead, pick the winner, but it’s your job to help them taste the goods. This year’s short list includes Fauzia Abdur-Rahman from Heavenly Delights who specializes in jerk chicken, collard greens, and spicy tofu in the Bronx; the Vendley Brothers at Calexico Carne Asada on Wooster and Prince for their marinated grilled hanger steak; and Mohammed Rahman from Kwik Meal on 45th Street and Sixth Avenue, who sells what some say is the best falafel and yogurt sauce.

Sat., Oct. 18, 3 p.m., 2008