The food blogger community is a great one and I really appreciate Jackie Gordon giving some of us a heads up about the upcoming 5 Boro Picnyc at Governor's Island. The event was sponsored by Jarlsberg USA, Zagat, Village Voice, Sixpoint Brewery, High River Sauces, Teen Battle Chef, Family Cook Productions, and Earth Matter.
The southern tip of Manhattan holds a great view along with the South Street Seaport, Staten Island Ferry, and Governor's Island Ferry. This was my first time going to Governor's Island and me, my friend Lesley, and a slew of others were there specifically to enjoy the 5 Boro Picnyc during the holiday weekend. Families with bikes circled around the island while others had strollers, men and women sported babies in Bjorns, friends arm-in-arm with tickets in hand ready to partake in many of the vendor options.
A quick ferry ride had us at Governor's Island in minutes and people herded into the main lawn--an expansive park area with white tents along the rim and NYC historical buildings in the distance--to the sound of bands tuning up and the pungent smell of meat on the grill.
Many of the sponsors for 5 Boro Picnyc offered food samples along with restaurants in NYC including Jimmy's no. 43 offering cole slaw, barbecue chicken, and flank steak with chimchurri sauce; The Fat Beagle selling some amazing goods including the best cornbread I have ever tasted (so, so sorry grandma) with honey butter along with pork sliders; Van Leeuwen had cones and sundaes not limited to pistachio and green tea; Red Hook Lobster, who I had also seen at Smorgasburg the day before, selling their mainstay lobster roll and shrimp rolls on buttery buns; Brooklyn Grange providing some necessary light fare of fresh greens and a lemon vinaigrette; Madria Sangria with a fruity and tangy sangria as a nice alternative for non-beer enthusiasts, and there was the KIND Bars stand as soon as you entered into the picnic area (just to name a few).
While a live band played attendees sampled everything there was to offer. There were many pork options as tends to be the mainstay when it comes to barbecue but there was also barbecue chicken, lamb sausages, potato salad, and salad. The Jarlsberg tent had grilled cheese with pork and one by Josetth Gordon composed of kale and caramelized onions. The kale jarlsberg sandwich was by far my favorite and a line worth standing in multiple times. I also took to Josetth's juice, a cucumber - ginger refresher that had a great natural sweetness to it reminding me of sweet tea, but good for you!
This was one of the more calm and least rowdy picnics I've experienced in NYC during a holiday weekend. Even with alcohol present and available for free for a period of time the crowd was chill, the lines moved swiftly, and it was a mellow event overall. Kids and infants were present, whole families camped out in near bands and in the shade while sending persons from their party to go on this line and that. My friend Lesley and I manned various sides of the Jarlsberg tent for freshly cut cheese with figs and crackers or for grilled cheese ooey gooey to the touch. Making the rounds we sipped on sangria or beer and took in the reduced humidity of the day and the smooth sounds from the front that were just the right decibel not to hurt your ears but for you to enjoy the music as well as hear your friend during a conversation.
As with events like Choice Eats and the IACP Culinary Expo I'm always eager to be introduced to more food options in the community. One of the best finds for me was Brooklyn Grange and learning that there's a farm on an NYC rooftop here in Queens as well as a couple in Brooklyn as well seeking to "improve overall quality of life" in the city. As mentioned The Fat Beagle's cornbread was a revelation and Lesley couldn't stop talking about it (still can't if you visit her Facebook page) and Madria Sangria's is a nice option if you just want sangria in a bottle without having to purchase the juice and the wine separately. Josetth's food was also a great introduction to her website and cookbook and Jarlsberg is going to become my new go-to cheese. I made sure to wear the Jarlsberg t-shirt from the press event and was happy to advertise their logo "Go Jarlsberg or Go Naked." I heartily agree with this statement.
Roaming Governor's Island and taking some pictures of the NYC skyline, enjoying the graphic design show at the museum on site, and taking in the cool breeze from the Hudson was a great capper as Lesley and I exited 5 Boro Picnyc and headed home with full bellies, lots to discuss in terms of new food options, and an overall lightness in our demeanor from an event that was a pleasant way to enter Memorial Day. Governor's Island was an ideal place for this venue. The lawn area was big enough that I never felt overwhelmed by the growing crowd nor did I feel like there was no space for me as an attendee. I'd encourage more people to attend next year and in coming years. Just come, enjoy the food and music and ambiance, and relax and enjoy aspects of the 5 Boroughs on a lovely island.
Special thanks to Food Karma Projects for giving us food bloggers the opportunity to attend and review this event and again thanks to Jackie for getting us in touch with Food Karma.