2012 nyc vendy awards


It’s been two years since I last attended the NYC Vendy Awards. Like years past, they were held on Governors Island but had several other vendors and some additional award categories.

In addition to the usual categories of Vendy Cup, People’s Choice, Rookie of the Year, Best Dessert, and Most Heroic, was the Best of Market. Best of Market would be going to a truckless vendor who sets up shop in local street fairs or festivals.


Most Heroic went to Sammy Kassem and his Bay Ridge Halal truck. Sammy was recognized for his courage and perseverance, as he has dealt with a lot of harassment regarding his truck.


Nominees for Rookie of the Year were: Cambodian Cuisine Torsu (Cambodian), Chinese Mirch (Indian-Chinese), Fun Buns (Taiwanese Buns), Morocho (Peruvian Fusion), Okadaman (Japanese), and Phil’s Steaks (Philly Cheesesteaks). My favorites from this group were the okonomiyaki from Okadaman and the “whiz wit” from Phil’s Steaks. Now being a Philly resident, I’ve gained an appreciation for what exactly a cheesesteak is and how it should be. The Philly Cheesesteak is often mislabeled and misinterpreted to be something that it isn’t. That being said, I’m glad that Phil’s Steaks is doing what they do. They’re serving their steaks on Amoroso rolls and even the name of their whiz wit is an homage to how you would order a steak down in Philly. Of course, just because they look legit doesn’t mean they are. Their steaks tasted better than some places here in Philly! They took the Rookie of the Year award!


Best Dessert nominees were: Andy’s Italian Ices (water & cream ice), Coolhaus (frozen desserts), Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls (New Orleans style sno-balls), La Bella Torte (Italian desserts), Melt Bakery (Ice Cream Sandwiches), and Monsieur Singh Lassi (Lassi drinks & pops). Several desserts were great from Andy’s chocolate pretzel ball ice (special for the day) to Monsieur Lassi’s mango lassi shots. I really enjoyed Imperial Woodpecker’s “Tiger Blood” sno-ball, which was a cherry shaved ice topped coconut and condensed milk, and Melt Bakery’s ice cream sandwiches. In the end, the people voted Melt Bakery for Best Dessert!


In the Best of Market category were: Baby Got Back Ribs (Ribs), Lumpia Shack (Filipino inspired spring rolls), Mayhem & Stout (Braised Meat Sandwiches), Parantha Alley (Paranthas), and Pestle & Mortar (Ceviche). Having been to Lumpia Shack previously at Smorgasburg, I really like what they’re doing. They’re making Filipino spring rolls fun! Lumpia Shack took the award for Best of Market!


The nominees for the Vendy Cup & People’s Choice were: The Cinnamon Snail (Organic Vegan), Hamza and Madina (Halal), Piaztlan Authenic Mexican Food (Mexican), Tortas Nezas (Mexican Tortas), Uncle Gussy’s (Greek), and Xinjiang Prosperity Kebabs (Chinese kebabs). All of these trucks put out some fantastic food. I’m sure the judges had a tough time choosing a winner for this. I’m somewhat obsessed with Chinese kebabs. There aren’t many places I’ve found here that do it right, let alone serve Chinese kebabs. Xinjiang recreates the taste and experience of the lamb kebabs I had in China almost, if not, spot on. Obviously, Xinjiang was my favorite to win. The winner of the People’s Choice was The Cinnamon Snail and the winner for the Vendy Cup was Piaztlan Authentic Mexican Food!

Check out more photos from the Vendys after the jump:

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2012 philadelphia vendy awards


Last Saturday was the 2nd annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards. This year, the awards were held at the Lot in University City at the corner of 39th & Market Sts. Like last year, these awards are brought to you by The Street Vendor Project, a NYC based organization that supports and helps street vendors, and The Food Trust, a Philadelphia non-profit working to bring local and healthy food to the area.


There were twelve vendors competing for the Vendy Cup, People’s Choice, and Best Dessert. The twelve vendors were:

The Smoke Truck – Southern BBQ
Tacos Don Memo – Mexican
Lil Dan’s Gourmet – Italian & American
Delicias – Venezuelan
Vernalicious – Eclectic Comfort Food
King of Falafel – Middle Eastern
Foo Truck – Asian inspired Sandwiches
Yumtown – Southern, Mexican, and Asian influenced, locally sourced, seasonal food
Lil’ Pop Shop – Popsicles
Sugar Philly – French Macarons
Little Baby’s Ice Cream – Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts
Sweet Box – Cupcakes

This year’s awards were emcee’d by Anna Goldfarb (Shmitten Kitten). The judging panel this year consisted of Collin Flatt (Eater Philly), Tony Luke, Jr. (Tony Luke’s), Joy Manning (Philadelphia Magazine), Lari Robling (Philadelphia Daily News), and Marcie Turney (Barbuzzo, Jamonera).

pops from lil’ pop shop (CL from left: goat cheese w/ wine soaked figs, vietnamese iced coffee, sweet & salty summer corn)


It sure was hotter than last year’s awards. Attendance seemed to be a lot less and there was a heavy downpour at some point, but it was still a lot of fun. All the trucks put out some great food, though my favorites of the awards were the pops from Lil’ Pop Shop, especially the Goat Cheese w/ Wine Soaked Figs and Vietnamese Iced Coffee, the pulled pork & mac and cheese from The Smoke Truck, and the pulled pork grilled cheese from Vernalicious. Sugar Philly is also serving ice cream as a filling on their macarons! They served a caramel ice cream that was delicious. Little Baby’s Ice Cream had a red velvet Spodee chocolate swirl flavor that was great as well!

winners of the 2011 philly vendys, gigi and big r


The winners of the 2012 Philadelphia Vendy Awards were:

The Smoke Truck – Vendy Cup
Vernalicious – People’s Choice
Lil’ Pop Shop – Best Dessert

Check out more photos after the jump:

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monk’s cafe – lost abbey beer dinner

Guest blogger Erin is back to recap her experience at last Tuesday’s Lost Abbey beer dinner at Monk’s Cafe.

Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to attend Monk’s annual beer dinner with Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur. I first discovered (and loved) Lost Abbey’s beers last year, and on a trip to California in August, was able to visit the brewery and sample plenty of their Belgian-inspired brews. When I heard that Monk’s was hosting a Lost Abbey dinner, I knew I didn’t want to miss out.


The dinner started off with a fluke and smoked scallop ceviche, with just a touch of jalapeno, and was paired with Devotion, one of Lost Abbey’s year round beers. Devotion is one of their more hoppy beers, and it went really nicely with the heat from the ceviche.


Next up was a duck confit spring roll with a cherry dipping sauce, and paired with Cuvee de Tomme (which was also used in the cherry sauce). This is a big brown beer, (11%!) which is fermented and then sits in bourbon barrels for a year with sour cherries and wild Brettanomyces yeast. The end product is a complex beer with strong raisin, cherry and sugar flavors coming through. I thought this was the star pairing of the night. The roll was perfectly crisp, and the flavors of the beer really complimented the duck.


The third course lightened things up a bit. Lost Abbey’s Carnevale, a bright saison ale, was paired with a chicken roulade of ham, spinach, goat cheese, pesto, and mushroom sauce. The roulade was a really nice blend of flavors, and the pesto packed an herbacious punch that was balanced by the gravy.


Course four was definitely the boldest pairing of the night. The beer was a strong golden ale called Gift of the Magi, a seasonal winter offering, and was paired with a massive lamb shank. When I say massive, this thing was HUGE. Braised with Gift of the Magi, it was served with carrot, turnips, onions, and parsnips. The beer was a good match for the strong gamey flavor of the lamb.


Next was a cheese and beer pairing. The cheeses were L’Amuse Gouda from The Netherlands, two years aged with hints of caramel and vanilla, and Lauren’s Pride, a house made raw cow’s milk cheese washed with Deliverance, the accompanying beer. Deliverance is another big beer (12.5%), and is a blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share. The booziness of this beer was balanced out by the cheese, and even tempered the pungent Lauren’s Pride.


The final course was a warm apple pie topped with extra sharp NY cheddar, and paired with my favorite beer of the night, Red Poppy. Red Poppy is a brown ale that is blended with sour cherries and aged in oak barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast, resulting in a deliciously sour beer. The sweet apples and buttery, flaky crust complimented the tartness of this brew.

The meal was really enjoyable, and Tomme popped in around each course to talk about the pairings, his history, and love of Monk’s. If you haven’t checked out Monk’s or Lost Abbey, I highly recommend both.

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brewer’s plate 2012


Fair Food‘s annual fundraiser, Brewer’s Plate, was held for the 8th time this past Sunday. This year’s event was held at the National Constitution Center. Like last year, everyone represented at Brewer’s Plate was from 150 miles of Philadelphia.


The VIP area was home to a cooking demo from Chef Jose Garces, a craft beer presentation by Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Co.) and Marnie Old (wine author & columnist), and several restaurants. Supplying some of the good eats in the VIP section was Country Time Farm. Their heritage pork was used to make porchetta sandwiches and bacon wrapped paté.


One of my favorites from last year, The Bent Spoon, an artisanal ice creamery from Princeton, NJ, returned with three new flavors: dark and storm (king) caramel made with Victory Storm King, organic ginger, and salted caramel; nugget apricot nectar sorbet made with Troegs Nugget Nectar; and a bourbon chocolate ice cream made with Yards Love Stout, 61% chocolate, and bourbon. Later on I found out that they had a secret Russian River float! You had to give them the special code in order to get it.


Across the room from The Bent Spoon was North Mountain Pastures with their assortment of charcuterie.


Several breweries and restaurants even had pairings together at the tables. Lancaster Brewing Company paired their Double Chocolate Milk Stout with City Tap House‘s chocolate custard.


One of my favorite plates of the evening was the MLT (mutton, lettuce, and tomato) from Southwark. I should have had seconds!


Bar Ferdinand had a Spanish-German pairing by serving lamb Merguez sausage topped with a Spanish onion kraut alongside Stoudt’s Brewing Co.


As much as I enjoyed the Penn Museum last year, the National Constitution Center served as a great venue to hold everyone in. It was large and it didn’t feel too crowded despite the high volume of attendees. In addition to eating and drinking, you could pose with statues of our founding fathers or dance to the music of The Hoppin’ John Orchestra.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is one of the best food and beer events, don’t miss out next year. You’ll have a great time!

Check out some other photos from this year’s event:

Here’s my recap to last year’s Brewer’s Plate.

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jägerabend speisekarte


Jägerabend speisekarte, when translated from German to English, is hunter’s evening menu (Google translation). Simply put, it’s a hunter’s dinner.

A five course hunter’s dinner was held at Brauhaus Schmitz last Thursday, featuring local Philly chefs, including Brauhaus’s own, Jeremy and Jessica Nolen. In addition to the Nolens, the chefs cooking were Jen Carroll (Concrete Blonde), Jeff Michaud (Osteria), and Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette). In addition to the dinner, diners were given the option of a wine or beer pairing. I went with the latter.

To start the dinner, an amuse bouche was served from each of the chefs. It is pictured above. Clockwise from the bottom left is: rabbit mortadella with rye beer bread (Michaud); duck confit rillette, orange, crouton (Woolsey); smoked Guinea hen, warm duck fat potato-radish salad (Carroll); venison tartare, spruce oil, toasted barley-hazelnut salad (Nolen). The amuse bouche was served with a Kulmbacher Mönchshof Kellerbier.

The rest of the dinner in pictures:

Carroll's first course: Rohan duck hearts, sea urchin, fennel, cardamom-cherry jus; beer - Schönramer Gold Lager

Woolsey's second course: spiced red wine braised wild boar, crozets in vinegar beurre blanc, Brussels sprouts, blood orange; beer - Weißenoher Bonator

Michaud's third course: wild hare lasagnette, porcini pasta; beer - Ayinger Celebrator

Jeremy Nolen's fourth course: venison medallion, chanterelle strudel, black garlic streusel, juniper beer sauce; beer - Spezial Rauchbier

Jessica Nolen's fifth course: caramel custard, gingerbread crumbs, lingonberry preserve; beer - Schneider Aventinus Eisbock



The food was great and the dinner was a perfect time to try lots of game meats I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to have. I hope they do this again next year!

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