*Photo Credits: L. Pink. Today, Hester Street was renamed Grub Street for a wonderful food festival. My friend LPink and I went to partake in all the goods available. I was especially happy about being able to finally taste the deliciousness of the Wafels and Dinges truck which had been on Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay. There was also a "celebrity" sighting of Bethenny Frankel formerly of Real Housewives of New York. She had a camera crew and boom mic operator following her and everything.
We got there around noon to a reasonable crowd. The space above Seward Playground was somewhat tight, but not so much so that one couldn't get around and preview menus and what each booth had to offer.
The first stop was at one of the first booths and that was...wait for it...Wafels and Dinges! We had their wafel which was renamed post-Throwdown as de Throwdown wafel. This wafel had spekuloos spread and whipped cream. The wafel was super moist and the spekuloos was tasty and sweet and it was a dish that set the bar pretty darn high. The owner of Wafels and Dinges was manning the booth and was extremely pleasant and personable and I informed him I've been following their tweets on Twitter and was amped to finally taste his legendary dish. I'll definitely be stalking the Wafels and Dinges truck from now on.
Next up we tried Pies n' Thighs! The dish of the day there was their mini chicken biscuit with hot sauce and honey butter. It was LPink's favorite dish of the day and a top one for me because it was so freaking tasty! The biscuit was perfect, the hot sauce not too hot, the chicken crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the addition of a sweet butter just brought it all together.
While munching on the chicken biscuit we also had some chicken tacos and some churros from Cascabel Taqueria. The people manning the booth were extremely friendly and pleasant and were on their game! The chicken taco had guacamole and chipotle sauce and was all around tasty. Very good. LPink liked the churros also which were two for $1.
And we continue to move south for Hot Blondies! I was really interested in trying their stuff because they don't have a store and only deliver. They had tiny samples of their blondies and brunettes (brownies) which were a nice treat and they also displayed some HUGE rice krispy squares (regular and cocoa). So having the chance to eat their blondies and brunettes without having to wait was a major bonus for moi. We shared their peanut butter chocolate chunk blondie which was so good! Moist and chewy and of course for me peanut butter and chocolate together can do no wrong so I was in heaven! I also got their classic blondie that I'm saving for later. Yeah, I hoard my sweets sometimes...
After this we headed towards the back, passing Purple Yam which I had tasted at a Ramen and Friend's event soon after the place opened. Seeing Purple Yam's line go through the playground was also a deterent. So we went next door to Georgia's Eastside BBQ for an applewood smoked BBQ chicken sandwich. LPink and I split this one in half and got to taste the smoky chicken with a good amount of BBQ sauce that was a good mix of tangy and sweet. Good stuff. I bought my husband one of their applewood smoked pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and he loved it himself. "I can taste the smokiness in the meat," were his exact words. They also had banana pudding but I held off on that since I was planning on collecting many sweets.
We decided to take a break from the budding chaos of the festival, it was getting to the point where you were dormant for a bit because people weren't moving or didn't know where to move to. But I did stop off at Melt and got their deep fried pumpkin pie with ginger sugar. A new item for them is their deep fried apple pie with cinnamon sugar. The big items for Melt are their ice cream sandwiches. Since the day is breezy and chilly the deep fried items seemed the most intriguing and warm so they were a big seller at the moment.
After a detour to use el bano and get some diet coke and talk with some other patrons we headed back into the festival to complete madness! At this point it was after 1pm and was bustling with people. One of the booths selling only pulled pork sandwiches was out of product and thus taking up space.
LPink and I had to wait (along with others) for 10 minutes for empanadas at La Sonrisa. I was introduced to empanadas by friends from South American backgrounds and always had them homemade. I also tried Ruben's Empanadas which are decent enough, but these were huge and I was gasping for one. I got a beef one, LPink a veggie one, and I just shared a dessert one (strawberry and nutella) with my husband. The dessert one was small but nutella and fresh fruit always go well together and in a flaky crust it was a perfect compliment to the meaty/savory ones.
Shuffling as best we could on LPink and I tried, and were luckily the last, to taste the seafood paella from Green Brown Orange (representing Green Catering, Brown Café, and Orange Épicerie), which had some nice healthy foods as an aside to all the meat and deep fried items. Their cauliflower and carmelized apple soup was a huge hit from all those who purchased it.The seafood paella was delicious and was my favorite dish of the festival. Though cold it still packed a punch and a lot of flavor with grilled calamari and roasted mussels. Phenomenal.
When circling around to see what we may have missed we saw many places were losing customers due to lack of items and others that had short lines were now the place to be! Lines of people stretched all over so it was hard to see what were the popular booths and who was being blocked off by a mass of people. We headed back up and I noticed a lonely booth at Il Buco and decided to try their panna cotta with aged balsamic vinaigrette. The panna cotta was solid and tasty and not too sweet, albeit perfect. My husband has roasted balsamic and when done right it can gain a sweet flavor and lose the bitterness, but this wasn't aged enough for me, luckily it didn't take much away from anything. I've had "panna cotta" elsewhere and it turned out to be just yogurt. Panna cotta is solid, solid, and creamy and good so I think this was perfection.
From then on LPink and I pushed and trudged our way out of the festival to head home. I had some sugary spoils in my backpack and a full stomach so I was a very happy camper. We both see naps in our very near future but are pretty psyched we made it to this festival and made it out in one piece. While I wish I'd had the opportunity to try more I think it best we ate as much as we did and got out early enough to enjoy the day and rethink on what places we'll be trying out again very soon.
The Grub Street Food Festival is on until 6pm or whenever these vendors run out of food so if you happen to be in the area don't hesitate to check it out or at least grab some menus.