Parked: Food Truck Fest At Governors Island

Donny: One word. Terrible.
More words. We knew ahead of time that this will be another food event where most of your time are spent standing in line. They billed the event as “Eats from NYC’s best food carts & trucks and specially crafted local beer”. Few days before the event their page wouldn’t even load so I had no idea what “trucks” were going to be there. “Trucks” in quotation marks because once we got to the island, which required about an hour wait in line over at the Brooklyn side waiting for a ferry that was only a 2min ride but only filled the lower level, we were handed a flyer with a list of the food vendors and I saw Robicelli’s Cupcake and Red Hook Lobster Pound. They are hardly food trucks nor carts well unless you count Red Hook Lobster’s DC lobster truck but still! Don’t get me wrong, I was glad they were there and they do GREAT stuff but still. Ah why was the Mud Truck there? Can you call something a food truck fest if there were only a handful of actual trucks? Besides the Jamaican Dutchy cart and Green Pirate Juice Truck the rest of the trucks were newbies!

Howard: Well, my one word would be “lines”. The line to get on the ferry, then the lines to get anything to eat, then the line to get back on the ferry… I guess the only reason my experience wasn’t as bad as Donny’s is that I actually got some pretty good food. When we arrived, slightly after noon, the crowds were gathering but had not yet reached their peak. While Donny went to stand in the interminable Hallo Berlin line, I went up to the Cinnamon Snail truck, an organic vegan food truck that can usually be found in Hoboken, NJ. When I got there they didn’t have a line, though I heard the line eventually formed.

The entrees at Cinnamon Snail are pretty expensive for street food, but I got the Korean BBQ seitan “sandwich” for a reasonable $8. It was a huge plate of food, but I put sandwich in quotations because although it was plated on top of a dry, flaky wrap it made more sense just to go at it with a fork. The seitan was cooked in a pleasantly spicy Korean sauce, mixed with vegan kimchi, and topped with shredded raw kale. It didn’t really need that wrap.

D: Hallo Berlin. I have heard much about this cart so once I landed on the island I quickly got in line which by then was already 40 deep. 40 deep but took me over an hour to get to the front of the line. What was the dealio?! Also the guys behind the table weren’t Germans!! 5 guys working under 1 tent but only 1 guy taking order, plating, and taking in the cash. JEEBUS! All the foods were already cooked and ready in the trays what was the problem? SO FINALLY I got to the front and for $12 I got a giant pile of things. Sausages, spaetzel, cucumber salad, red cabbage, potato pancake topped with apple sauce.

Pile of food from Hallo Berlin

Yes 1 big pile of that. I thought it was a waste of my $12 everything in the pile was bland and the potato pancake was just too sad. I ended up throwing half of it away.

H: I ate while waiting with Donny in the Hallo Berlin line; I finished eating and meanwhile he hadn’t gotten any closer to the front of the line. I wandered off for a bit to find something to drink, to cool off from the spicy Korean BBQ. I found my way to the line for the Kelvin Natural Slush Co. truck. I waited for about 20 minutes for the slushie, which seemed kind of ridiculous since the slushes were pre-made and just had to be poured and mixed with a syrup. As I waited I overheard someone complaining that the Desi Indian Food Truck had run out of kati rolls. I also noticed that two of the Hallo Berlin people were trying to hang a banner on their tent. Um, why not have those two guys help plate the food? It seemed like none of these vendors were prepared for the sheer number of people who showed up. I got my slush at about the same time Donny finally got his plate.

The slushie was actually damn good. It had the texture of those slushies I used to get when I was a kid, but with more sophisticated flavor: I got a ginger slush with white peach syrup mixed in. It was really delicious and really refreshing.

While I was waiting for the slush I noticed that the Robicelli’s Cupcake table had no line. It was strange to see that amid all of this chaos (by this point the lines were really out of control) that there was this one table with no wait. Donny joined me with his food and we each grabbed a cupcake. I knew Donny would not be able to resist the chicken & waffle cupcake; I went for the peach cobbler one.

D: The only other thing I ate was the chicken and waffle cupcake from Robicelli’s because they had no line. He warned me to let it come to “room temperature” because it had been sitting in the ice box but I couldn’t wait! Ah he was right. It was kind of hard to bite into the chicken and cupcake so instead I ate the whole thing in 1 bite. It was pretty good actually.

H: We took our cupcakes and left the Parked area to explore the rest of the island. Even the normal hotdog vendor had a huge line. The problem was that there were lots of people who came out for Parked, but there were also tons of people who just came out to spend a beautiful late summer day on Governor’s Island. So overlooking the river I tried the peach cobbler cupcake, and it was really good. The peaches were barely cooked, and the whole thing really did make me think of peach cobbler.

D: There was a plus side to this whole big chaotic mess, we got to spend a beautiful day on the island. Howard and I walked all around and over and inside the island before heading back to Brooklyn which took another hour wait in the hot sun waiting for a ferry that decided to drop off more people, sail back without picking people up at the island and came back with more people from Brooklyn before letting us on. I was surprised people was so calm about it. There were constantly waves and waves of people coming to the event. I felt bad for them because by then most of the vendors had already sold out.

H: Yes, despite the hours of waiting it was a beautiful day on Governors Island, and I did have some pretty good food. I was disappointed in the preparation (or lack thereof) that the truck vendors put into the festival, but then again I’m sure they felt pretty overwhelmed by the voracious hordes. Given the choice, I’d rather go on another self-organized food truck odyssey. Hey Donny, when are we doing that again?

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