A flood of foodies descended on a closed-off Williamsburg block on Sunday for Taste of Williamsburg, a benefit to raise money for the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center. All of Brooklyn 11211’s biggest names were there: There was Zak Pelaccio, presiding over the charred skulls of three goats, the bodies of which he so graciously smoked, chopped up and smothered in a spicy green chili sauce. Sarah Buck of Pies ‘n’ Thighs was handing out things that were not fried chicken but were delicious nonetheless, such as molasses spice cookies and key lime squares. Also, Zach Galifianakis was present, freely roaming unmolested amongst his bearded brethren.
The guests (of whom there were many) could buy six tastes for $35, 10 tastes for $55 and 18 tastes for $95, with all proceeds going towards the building of a community center that will eventually house local non-profit organizations Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and The People’s Firehouse, Inc (PFI). All in all 41 restaurants and food purveyors came out to support the cause.
While Zak’s goat meat was probably the festival favorite (and the first thing to run out), there were plenty of other tasty treats to enjoy. New Soho-esque sushi spot 1 or 8 was handing out tuna and mango rolls with spicy mayo, grilled salmon and avocado rolls with wasabi cream cheese sauce, and yellowtail and jalapeno rolls with cilantro sauce, all of which tasted better than anything offered by most other Williamsburg sushi restaurants.
It was nice to see two of the neighborhood’s better Polish establishments, Karczma and Antek, dishing out pierogies and stuffed cabbage as an alternative to the sea of New Brooklyn fare.
Mesa Coyoacan served a refreshing shrimp ceviche while Sean Rembold of Diner prepared a less refreshing, but no less appetizing, chicken liver mousse served on a baguette with pickled ramps. Danny Minch of Walter Foods was walking his bulldog, conveniently enough also named Walter, around the grounds while his bow-tied employee gave out sweet chunks of lobster meat piled on little pieces of toast, a preview of the full lobster roll on the menu.
Speaking of lobster rolls, Ben Sar … err, we mean Dr. Claw, was spotted walking around sans Ali G. get-up, as was Garrett Oliver, perhaps taking a break from nearby Brooklyn Brewery, which was donating 10 percent of the day’s profits towards the community center.
Of course, what would a Williamsburg festival be without indie rock and games designed for children. Brooklyn band The Morning Pages played a countrified version of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” that was considerably more tolerable than the original. Men battled at horseshoes, tempted by the promise of free swag. Overall, it was a warm afternoon well spent in honor of a worthy cause.
More photos after the jump.