This past weekend was the second of Smorgasburg‘s 2013 season. As usual, the Williamsburg and Dumbo markets were packed with a mix of locals and tourists counting their dollar bills as they waited in line for smoked meat sandwiches and stuffed parathas. We sought out as many snacks as we could over the last two weeks, with an emphasis on the market’s newest crop of vendors, and would like to draw your attention to a handful of excellent finds, all between $2 and $9:
Melissa Weller of East River Breads produces fine bagels and cream cheese worthy of an essay (and I’ll have one for you shortly), but her Rice Krispy treats deserve some immediate attention as well. They’re enormous, perfect cubes speckled with vanilla and tasting deeply of browned butter, with a fine and delicate crunch–we weren’t surprised to hear Weller put in time at Sullivan Street Bakery and was once the head baker at Per Se and Bouchon.
What were the Smorgs of yore missing? These crisp, glorious nachos. El Gato Nacho allows for some mixing and matching, but I found this version, layered with black beans and duck confit ($7), especially compelling. Notice the finely cut radishes and spring onions, and the shreds of Millport Dairy cheddar. You can’t see it, but there’s also a bit of salsa, sharp pickles, and a generous blob of crema tucked between the layers.
Treva and John Chadwell of BeeHive Oven serve biscuits stuffed with warm fried chicken and a couple of bright yellow squash pickles, drizzled with honey-mustard sauce. Sweet, very soft, and neatly contained in a wax paper wrapping, they’re almost reminiscent of fast-food style biscuits–which makes them ideal for transporting to some sunny patch of grass where you can sit down and enjoy them properly. beehiveoven.com
Yuji Haraguchi’s springy ramens are easy to eat on the go among the jostling crowds at Smorgasburg because none of them are served in hot broth. Instead the mazemen noodles at Yuji Ramen are slick with tasty fat–like the spicy tuna ($9) in a pool of sesame oil, with threads of red chile and crisp seaweed. The raw kale does seem a bit silly in there, but once you’ve mixed it up and the leaves get nice and dressed, it works. @yujiramen
Iranian-born Homa Dashtaki and her father started their small business in California, but have since brought it to New York. White Moustache makes yogurts of varying weights and densities, but look out for the shallot-infused moosir, a creamy, drinkable, savory yogurt. At Smorgasburg, Dashtaki pours it on a pile of potato chips for snacking (a bit like a Persian-French onion dip), or you can take a jar home for $5 and do it yourself. whitemoustache.com
Smorgasburg, Saturdays at East River State Park and North 7th Street; Sundays at 30 Water Street; smorgasburg.com