I made it out to the Red Hook vendors the second weekend after they opened . Pretty impressive I must say. I really loved Red Hook Park. It had a quaint neighborhood vibe thanks to the live soccer games in the park, people hanging out on benches and rows of food vendors lined up on the sidewalks offering authentic, homemade Colombian, Mexican and El Salvadorian goodies. The vendors actually started shop as a way to feed soccer players and fans. Of course it was much less developed with none of the food trucks or equipment...just neighborhood folks offering homemade food items. Over time, word spread and the vendors became more popular. Throw in sanitation and food safety regulation and you get a thriving neighborhood business.
I only went with one other friend but being the adventurous culinary student [fatty] that I am, I wanted to try everything. Here goes...don't judge!
I had heard that the pupusas were authentic and really good so I made a beeline for that vendor first. Pupupas are El Salvadorian corn patties stuffed with cheeses, meats or beans. I ordered a pork and loroco (some sort of traditional vine flower.) Maybe my expectations were too high but I wasn't that impressed with these. I thought they were a bit dry and lacked a lot of flavor. There were two pupusa vendors, so I'll try the other one next time I go back.
I actually forgot what filling I got for this quesadilla, but I think it's chorizo. Looks more like a giant taco than a quesadilla. I really liked this. Messy to eat but totally worth it. I made the mistake of putting spicy salsa on top and was gulping down pineapple juice after every bite. I don't have a picture of the juice but it was so delicious and fresh, I went back for more (64 oz. total.)
This is a beef huarache (I think that's the correct name and spelling.) Basically, it's the same as the quesadilla but without the cheese. I thought it was a bit dry and difficult to eat without picking up the entire thing. Probably wouldn't get it again.
I couldn't leave without trying Mexican corn! I was already stuffed by this point, having finished everything I ordered above, but still thoroughly enjoyed the corn. My friend and I got corn from two different vendors so we could compare. One had more spices and lime juice, which we decided was better. The corn is slathered with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chile spice and lime. So delicious! Salty, creamy, sweet and spicy all in one perfect bite. I will have to make this at home at some point since I'm obsessed with it.
I left feeling completely stuffed and satisfied. I would highly recommend making a trip to Red Hook before they hibernate for winter. One short subway ride brings you to a historic food haven unlike anything in Manhattan.
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