This 3-month-old Mexican restaurant had a tasty guacamole on homemade chips, refreshing tostadas de jaiba, or crab tostadas, and authentic coctel de camaron, Mexican-style shrimp cocktail, served on saltine crackers, just like on the beach in Mexico. But one of the best things offered here, and perhaps one of my favorite tastes of the whole night, was their agua de horchata, or rice milk drink, which was incredibly creamy, and not too sweet.
Another of my favorite bites, Bear chef Natasha Pogrebinsky offered overflowing plates of slow-roasted duck, veal ravioli, and buckwheat with apples that tasted like the best version of kasha varnishkes ever.
Another Mexican bite, this time slow-braised pork tacos from Pachanga Patterson, served on small Nixtamal tortillas, topped with fresh cilantro and onion. A flavorful sample that made me want to try more.
Cured meat, pickles, mustards, and bread, along with cookies and candies, were given out by the very friendly owners of Slovak-Czech Varieties, a store on Jackson Avenue that specializes in, well, Slovak-Czech items. Horseradish mustard on hearty bread, topped with thin slices of cured pork—what's not to love?
Alobar, along with their bison and chipotle sausage topped with baked beans and cheese sauce, handed out beautiful bags of their signature maple bacon popcorn, a nice touch for those of us (ok, me) too full to sample more food. It made for a perfect sweet, salty, and crunchy midnight snack.
Merguez meatballs with currants and coconut curry over rice, along with a bright orange tomato gazpacho were the flavorful, international, and artfully arranged offerings from LIC Market.
Braised pork belly buns with pickled vegetables from Lounge 47 was another great taste of LIC. The pork belly was tender and sweet, the veggies added crunch and brightness, and the bun was spongy and soft.
Tuk Tuk Thai had Vietnamese sandwiches and this ground chicken salad with fresh vegetables, that was salty and citrus-y, refreshing and light. A nice change from all of the heavier offerings.
The Filipino spot, an outpost of the original Ihawan in Woodside, was offering lumpia and this very tasty avocado shake. A beautiful pale green, lightly sweetened avocado smoothie with tiny chunks of avocado cleared the palate, and I was ready to taste some more.
Spiro Theofilatos is pasionate about his Kombucha, and will tell you all about his "artisan fermented tea." I particularly enjoyed the yerba mate flavor, which he brews strong, as he told me. Fizzy and refreshing.
The line was perpetually long at the mom-and-pop-ice-cream-shop table, and I was happy to finally sample the chocolate-shiraz rocky road and the fresh watermelon sorbet, sweet and clean-tasting, and served with a smile by the owner, Sergio Garcia.
Chimney Cake is a fairly new bakery that specializes in a traditional Hungarian Transylvanian pastry, described on their website as thin yeast pastry with caramelized crispy sugar crust. A tall, hollow cake, it's crispy and delicate, and fun to pull apart.
Sage General Store
Sage General Store was sampling sweets; the chocolate mousse pie with a thick graham cracker crust was a great bite. It wasn't just sweet—the creamy mousse had a noticeable addition of salt that took the simple dessert into delicious territory.
Mitchmallows, gourmet marshmallows made in Queens, has all sorts of flavors of specialty marshmallows, like wine and cheese, creamsicle, and blueberry, but my personal favorite is the ginger wasabi. Spicy and sweet, and a pretty pale green, with an airy texture and a good bite.
Cranky's French Creole Cuisine was giving out mac and cheese and other, heavy dinner fare, but I was captivated by their beignets, a dessert dish best served straight from the fryer. Although it may be much more delicious when freshly made, the yeast donut topped with caramel sauce was my last bite of the night, and I left with a good last taste to bring me home.
After the tables were broken down and the vendors were packing up the trucks and heading home, it was time to digest and take in the view.