How time flies and once again the Vendy Awards is among us. Once again my pals Oleg Voss and Gene Voss of Schnitzel & Things and Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff of Big Gay Ice Cream were nominated for the Vendy Award and Best Dessert Award respectively. The Souvlaki Truck, which I have met recently, were nominated for Rookie of the Year.
Similar to last year I went as part of the Schnitzel crew but unlike last year I rode a ferry instead of the schnitzel mobile. This year the Vendy Awards took place at Governors Island. Now after what happened at the other lame food truck event I was afraid there would be similar problems, long lines everywhere. But of course being that it’s the 6th year of the Vendy these people running the event are professionals. There was never any crazy looooonnnggg lines though the line for Kelvin Slush was pretty incredible. Big Gay Ice Cream learned from last year and offered a tasting table that served different toppings than the truck to keep the line short. The Schnitzel crew, was once again, like a well oiled engine and just kept chugging along. They were fast and efficient.
My morning started around 6am. I woke up, got ready and headed over to the Governors Island Ferry in the city to meet up with the Schnitzel crew. Yes 6am sounds way too early but most of the vendors were up all night prepping for the Vendy. Oleg didn’t sleep at all and was at his kitchen around 3am.
It was a beautiful morning. Mexicue, Souvlaki Truck and the Schnitzel truck were all there when I arrived. There wasn’t much to do except talking to one another and waiting for the 8:15am ferry. It’s always nice to see vendors chatting and being cool with one another. A bit later few more trucks arrived and so had the ferry. Let’s load them up! Felt like we were on a voyage armed with food trucks, ready to conquer the island. Once we landed on the island we all walked to where the event was going to be.
The Big Gay Ice Cream truck was already there and had started prepping. I walked over to say hi and to admire their choice of My Little Pony decorations. It was epicly awesome. Go team Big Gay Ice Cream!
Then for the next couple of hours no one really did anything. Some of the Philly trucks arrived and I was super excited to try Honest Tom’s I heard they do breakfast tacos. The king himself, Freddy, of King of Falafel and Shawarma brought a plate of his famous falafel to us. Ahhh fried foods. I like how his falafel isn’t the typical round balls and it was crunchy and good. Some of the Schnitzel crew came back with little cups of ice cream from Guerrilla Ice Cream. Their ice cream flavors are inspired by revolutionary political movements. I had a taste of the Velvet Revolution (Czech Republic) lemon poppy seed, Red Corridor (India) chai masala, and the 8888 Uprising (Burma) mango, lemongrass, and palm sugar sorbet. I may have to try these different flavors in a bigger bite haha but I was leaning towards the sorbet. It was sweet and tart and pretty damn refreshing for a hot day.
Finally around 10:15am the last food truck arrived and things started to move quick since 11am was suppose to be press and volunteer time and doors opened at noon. The Vendy volunteers started to transform the place by placing chairs and tables in the center and setting up tents. Each food truck was given 2 tables. The whole Schnitzel crew started to decorate the table and prepped all the food. Oh and during that whole time PBS was there to tape the whole thing. Apparently they’re doing a special on the Schnitzel Truck. Wonder if they got me on tape? As all the trucks and carts were prepping I made a stop at each vendor to snap few photos. When I got to the Dragon Beard candy vendor, I over heard them speak Cantonese earlier, I chatted with the owners a bit in Cantonese. They told me they have only been in business for a little over 3 weeks but they kept getting kicked out by the police because of the crowd of camera snapping happy foodies and tourists blocking Canal St. They were so nice and gave me 2 boxes of candy to take home to my mom!
Around 11am there was already a line of people waiting to get in and around 11:30am I made my way to some of the trucks to try their foods along with press and the volunteers. Then right at noon people started to flood the place but since people had to take the ferry to get to the island there would be a rush of people then quiet then another rush…etc. But even during the late afternoon it never seem too crowded.
In the end Souvlaki Truck won Rookie of the Year, Kelvin Slush won Best Dessert and King of Falafel and Shawarma won both the Mastercard People’s Choice and the Vendy Cup. Congrads to all the winners and the nominees. Its very important that everyone support our street vendors because these are real people and not giant faceless corporations. They don’t make a lot of money and are only doing it for the love of serving you great delicious food.
Overall Vendy 2010 was wonderful. Got a chance to see some old friends, met some new ones and ate some wonderful foods.
Speaking of food, here’s a quick rundown of what I ate besides the falafel and ice cream.
The Cinnamon Snail
So on the plate there were grilled tofu over mashed yams with mango salsa, spiced pecans, and fried ginger, Korean barbecue seitan, porcini hempseed crusted tempeh. Last time Howard had the bigger version of the Korean bbq seitan and he liked it a lot and I had to agree with him. He wasn’t tooo thrill about the tortilla but it was good as a smaller piece. As for the rest, they were okay. I could’ve gone without the tofu, it was too smokey for me.
These potstickers were alright. I do prefer the longer shaped dumplings over regular sized dumplings but A-Pou’s potstickers could’ve used more meat fillings. The dumpling skins were a bit chewy also.
Wasn’t sure why but no one wanted the pulled pork sandwich. The guy kept saying one more, one more but no one went up to claim up, so I did. It was pretty good I like the guac in the sandwich. Totally something I would do if I had guac, buns and pulled pork. If they had slightly toasted the bun, I would’ve loved the sandwich even more.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop
Man I was super excited when I heard a rumor they might be doing a Philly cheesesteak taco but atlas they didn’t. Instead they offered their regular breakfast taco and mashed yam taco. They waited till noon to start serving and even by then they weren’t really ready. I stood in line for a bit for a taco. When I got to the window 2 yam tacos came out so I got that instead of waiting for the breakfast taco. This was actually pretty good. I am started to like yams more now though I wished there was something crispy or crunchy to go with the mushy yams.
Birchrun On a Roll
I think I had the veal sausage that was topped a some sauerkraut. I’m usually not a fan of sauerkraut but this wasn’t too bad. The sausage had a nice snap to it when I bit into it.
Buttermilk panna cotta, cassis compote and pine nuts. Hhhmmmm so far I have never had a bad dessert from the Dessert Truck. The panna cotta was creamy and smooth. Tasty!
Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy
I usually hate Asian desserts. I prefer ice cream, tiramisu, cheesecakes…etc. But since the couple was so nice and we chatted a bit I had to try a piece. You know what? It was pretty damn good. Sweet but not too sweet and really love the peanuts which gave it the candy its taste.
I’m going to say it here. I don’t get why this truck won the best dessert. Also I don’t see slushie as a dessert. It’s more..like a drink a snack. The tea flavor slush with guava mix-in was bland. Though like many things I’ll give this truck a second chance before I make my final decision. Also maybe next time they should just offer 1 or 2 choices and just bang them out. Especially at festivals like the Vendy its best if you keep the number of choices small so that people wouldn’t take forever to decide.
I had tried the dijon chicken over couscous with salad and a side of fries last year. The chicken was good but the fries were terrible. I’m glad the dijon chicken was still delicious but I said NO THANKS to the plums. The lentils could’ve used a little bit more salt.
Schnitzel & Things
Veal schnitzel and schnitz burger lollis with cheese. It was my first time trying the veal schnitzel because they always sell out of veal before I could get to the truck. After taking 1 bite I totally saw or I can taste why this was so damn popular. Even after pounded into a thin slice of meat then deep fried it was still so tender.
Who doesn’t like deep fried beef in ball form on a stick?! I’m not your friend if you don’t. Serious. The fried beef ball was pretty tasty but I couldn’t see any cheese. I guess I was imagining cheese oooooozing out? Oleg! Make some fried beef balls with cheese oooooozing out next time. Thanks =)
Big Gay Ice Cream
Berries with saba. Deeelicious. Now I want to get a bottle of saba. Like now!
A super big thanks to Schnitzel & Things for letting me tag along again, it was SUPER DELICIOUSLY FUN! It was great to meet 2 of the Schnitz VIP that day Molly and Gregg. Love when the schnitz bring people together.
It was great to see the Big Gay Ice Cream crew Doug, Bryan, Jose and Karen again. They will always rock!
Oh and the Souvlaki team was super nice too! Awesome to share the ferry ride with them.
Super nice to see Liza de Guia(Food Curated), Amy Cao(Amy Blogs Chow) and Erin Zimmer(Serious Eats) PLUS meeting Maggie Hoffman(Serious Eats) and Zach Brooks(Midtown Lunch LA). Couldn’t believe Mr Zach Brooks said I look familiar!
Now I end this post with a photo to show you why we love Doug Quint.
Check out the rest of the photos in this pretty slideshow.