Vendy Awards

I wish I had a bigger stomach, really, I do. Events like the Vendy Awards are a struggle because there is so much good food and I want all of it, but every bite brings me closer to the dreaded food fatigue.

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This year’s event was held in Flushing, Queens at the former site of the World’s Fair, which unfortunately very very very far away from where I live in Brooklyn, at least by subway, which is an even slower form of transportation on the weekend when they do construction.

The Vendy Award is not just an aggregation of all the best street food trucks in NYC, but a fundraising event for the Street Vendor Project, which advocates for street vendors both by representing them in court and by lobbying for better policies. Street vending in NYC is currently not well protected or respected by the powers that be. Street Vendors are mercilessly ticketed and the permit system is punitive and corrupt to say the least. This is unfortunate, as vending represents a great opportunity for people to start a small business. Many vendors are immigrants and come from poor backgrounds and vending represents a way out of poverty.

But the Vendy Awards are fun because street food is not only a valid business enterprise that should be respected, but because the best vendors serve up incredibly delicious and creative food.

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My favorite rookie was Schnitzel & Things, which brought back my memories of Austria. My pork schnitzel was perfect and the delicious creamy Austrian potato salad sealed the deal.

Cravings, the other rookie cart had some incredibly luscious gravy, but otherwise the meats and dumplings didn’t wow me. Picnick, the only cart touting local sustainable food, was also a disappointment. I thought the meat was dry, the sauce boring, and the cookie was an abomination to cookies everywhere.

I hit up the dessert trucks after that, with Wafels and Dinges being my first stop. I always thought I didn’t like waffles because the ones I had were gummy and boring, but apparently I hadn’t had the right waffle…until Saturday, when I took an incredible bite of the buttery chewy wonderful waffles served up by those genius Belgian men who topped it all off with the amazing concoction that is gingerbread butter.

I waited in line for eons for the Big Gay Ice Cream truck, but it was worth it. I also tend to look down on soft serve, but once again, I was wrong. This soft serve was creamy with real vanilla and the topping were creative and of course, delicious. I had the gobbler, which was topped with pumpkin butter. Wow.

Cupcake Stop was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The first cupcake I had, the Elvis, a banana cupcake with peanut butter icing, was salty and sweet and melted pleasingly in my mouth. However, the pumpkin spice was nauseatingly sweet.

I wasn’t much hungry afterwards. I had admittedly eating the Country Boys truck for a taco before the monster line formed and it was delicious, but I didn’t think it was anything exciting. Same for the falafel from the King of Falafel, but maybe it’s because I couldn’t manage the whole dish he made and just ate the falafel.

Mediocre Rickshaw Dumplings, buttery spicy Kati Rolls, and burnt Jamacian Dutchy were tasted, but were tasted, but at this point I was ready to pass out on the grass, so I wasn’t a fair judge.

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