Adventures in Eating & Cooking
The Parked! Food Truck Festival at South Street Seaport was paaaacked, and why wouldn’t it be with all the diversely delicious trucks galore?! There were sooo many food trucks to choose from that I was overwhelmed with indecision. Luckily Nyanko-Sensei had some yummy recs for Lenokun and me!
The one truck I did desperately want to try was Van Leeuwen because I was curious about their sophisticated ice cream flavors. Lenokun and I had just finished ordering our Earl Grey when something else caught my eye– a board displaying their daily specials. The Bali Chocolate sounded too good to pass up, so just when the lady brought out our cup, I asked for another scoop! And wow was that Bali Chocolate was addictive. The delicious creamy chocolate was concluded with a lingering zing of spice, a subtle nipping of the tongue. There was also a deep cinnamon scent within the spiciness that gave the ice cream an exotic Aztec flavor. It was this aftertaste sensation that drew Lenokun and me in completely.
The Earl Grey flavor was creamy with a hint of citrusy earl grey flavor. The spicy tea flavor was dampened to bring out the creaminess of the ice cream, which I was fine with (I’m not the biggest fan of strong earl grey). However, purists may find it lacking in flavor. I was left very happy from my Van Leeuwen experience, although I wouldn’t say the quality of ice cream was top-notch (found a few bits of ice embedded) but what really makes Van Leeuwen special are its unique flavors. The pure taste of the ice cream gave me a full experience of each flavor, leaving me clean and satisfied.
Nyanko-Sensei went for the lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound. We each tried a bite of his Connecticut-style (that means made with butter as opposed to mayo) lobster roll. That piece of lobster roll was the best bite I’ve had that night! The lobster was oh-so-tender and meaty, gently dashed with savory spices. It was tucked in this fluffy buttered-up bun that had a slight toasted crisp. This combination of epic and delicious totally knocked the wind out of my stomach and stuffed happiness in!
Rickshaw Dumpling Truck was another one of Nyanko-Sensei’s recs!
We got the Chicken Thai Basil Dumplings with Peanut Sauce. What really made the difference in these were the sweet creamy peanut sauce and the strong taste of basil. Without the sauce, the basil carried a fresh herbal scent throughout the chicken and vermicelli, giving it the classic taste of Thai. Dipped in sauce, the dumplings took on a sweet nuttiness that resembled penang curry.
Lenokun got a smorgasboard of toppings on her Brussels Wafel from Wafels & Dinges. She added spekuloos (my fave), nutella, walnuts, chocolate, strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream. It was a monstrosity… of awesomeness! I actually thought that the plethora of dinges were overwhelming, because you don’t get enough of each individual flavor. I must say that the brussels wafel beats the liege wafel. Although I would usually prefer my waffles and pancakes soft and fluffy, putting too many dinges on the liege causes it to become soggy. On the other hand, the brussels has a hard and crunchy outer shell that holds the toppings well. It is only by eating through that exoskeleton that gets you to the warm fluffiness inside.
Since Nyanko-Sensei was being uncool and not eating much, I braved my fear of Mexican food and ordered some Korean tacos from the Kimchi Taco. We split 4, one of each kind: Tofu Edamame, Pulled Chicken, Seared Pork, and Grilled Korean BBQ Beef.
Lenokun and I agreed that the seared pork was the best. It was succulent and juicy, slightly sweet and tangy, but overall meaty and delicious! The kimchi, tomato, pepper, onion (ugh), and scallion toppings added a Mexicany touch. It was quite refreshing actually, reminding me of the cerviche I’ve tried at Distrito. The beef was also great as you can never go wrong with bulgogi (Korean bbq meat!) The pulled chicken was alright, a little on the bland side. The tofu edamame was interesting to say the least, a new take on the classic falafel wrap! My biggest problem with these tacos were the weird-tasting tortillas. They were like a soft, bland, stale-ish version of Tostitos chips… yuck. We ended up forking out the insides and leaving the wraps. I would recommend opting for the fresh kimchi bowls instead because you can’t go wrong with lettuce and rice!
I couldn’t resist picking up some macarons from a stand, but realized what a mistake it was when I bit into them. They wafers were a bit stale… The flavors were alright though, but not worth the $4 when there were other trucks to try. On the other hand, the teriyaki balls at an adjacent stand looked amazing! I should have gotten those instead… Overall, great experience! I am definitely getting the $50 VIP pass next time because there were just TOO MUCH STUFF I WANTED TO TRY! (Plus, the VIP lines are faster.) Parked! definitely opened my eyes to the exploding food truck culture in NYC, and I’m ready to track ’em all down!