Holy Guacamole! Calexico Cart Wins the Vendy Awards


Photographs by Erin Zimmer

On Saturday, the largest Vendy Awards crowd ever came together at Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn to watch the Calexico Cart win the 2008 Vendy Awards. Two times is a charm for the three dudes from SoCal whose "gourmet Cal-Mex street food" was also nominated in 2006. We're a little embarrassed after our handicapping didn't give them the best odds. We love their carne asada, but didn't think the judges had it in them to award the cup to a bunch of hipster bros!

Vendy Award Winner (Savory): Calexico (at the corner of Wooster and Prince Streets)
Vendy Award Runner-up (Savory): Kwik Meal (45th Street near Sixth Avenue)
Vendy Award Winner (Dessert): The Treats Truck (rotating)
People's Choice Award: Biriyani Cart (46th Street and 6th Avenue)

After the jump, more photos and notes from the scene.


Kati rolls from the Biryani Cart, the winners in our hearts.


The Biriyani Cart family facilitating the assembly line. One nice young woman (far left) was on sauce duty.


Helpers of the Fauzia's Delights assembling silverware bundles.


Lots of steam rising from that jerk chicken at Fauzia's Delights.


Rafael Soler of Soler Dominican, the "Nobu of Red Hook" according to the New York Times (the article was pasted proudly on his truck), totally worked the crowd. While taking pupusa orders, he shimmied his hips to jams coming from his boombox.


Taco assemblage at Calexico.


His Hipster Highness, before granted such prowess.


Van Leeuwan ice cream truck, where we tried the espresso sundae, despite being borderline ill from fullness. They competed against the Treats Truck, the Dessert Truck. The Wafels & Dinges truck mysteriously bailed out, reporting "mechanical difficulties."


A baby PB Jamwich from the Treats Truck: a little bite of heaven.


We were in line for the Dessert Truck, just as the twinkle lights on the Brooklyn Bridge turned on. Such a beautiful (though chilly) night.

20081019-vendys-trash.jpgHow do you get into the Vendys without paying the $100 at the door? You pick up trash all night (and sneak in bites) as a volunteer! Plus you score a sweet Vendys apron, valued at $20. Total retail value: $120.


There were actual tables at the Tobacco Warehouse, but many people munched in line or, like this couple, found a cozy sitting spot.

20081019-vendys-dosaman.jpgBefore the winners ceremony, we stood in the Calexico line behind last year's winner, the Dosa Man of Washington Square Park. He was happy to be passing the torch, but as a vegan, couldn't try much. When we asked for his almighty winner predictions, he pointed to the Biriyani cart. "I've heard good things." But alas, Dosa Man couldn't actually eat the delicious chicken tikka.


The vendors take the stage, waiting for the winner's circle announcement with bated breath.


Winner of the People's Choice Award, and the winner of all, in our hearts: Meru Sikder of the Biriyani Cart. At left, Daisy Martinez, the PBS host of Daisy Cooks!, and Sean Basinski, the director of the Street Vendor Project.


Jesse Vendley raising his new, shiny baby.


Vendley (center) staring off into the distance at a Gatsbyian green light. Street vendor success, fame, and greatness: he's got it.

Previous Coverage

Vendy Award Finalist: Kwik Meal
Vendy Award Finalist: Soler Dominican
Vendy Award Finalist: The Biryani Cart
Vendy Award Finalist: Fauzia's Delights
Vendy Award Finalist: Calexico Cart