The Best Things We Ate at the 2014 Vendy Awards
The 2014 Vendy Awards (aka the “Oscars of Street Food”) blew into New York City’s Governors Island Saturday, along with a seemingly endless supply of yellow jackets and the occasional rainstorm.
More important than weather or insects, the sold-out event brought out the best and brightest of N.Y.C.’s street vendors to peddle their wares to not only the 2,000 people in attendance, but a panel of judges that included Chopped judge (and Iron Chef) Alex Guarnaschelli and Man Vs. Food‘s Adam Richman.
Two dozen food trucks brought their A-game to the event, but these took home the gold:
People’s Taste Award: Nuchas
Vendy Cup: Cinnamon Snail
Best Market Vendor Award: Zha Pan Asian
Masters Cup: Calexico
Best Dessert: Ice & Vice
Rookie of the Year: Snowday Food Truck
Of course, we couldn’t just take the judges’ word for it — we had to taste test all this food ourselves. Here are our favorite eats:
Doughnuts elevated to the level of art. Flaky, but substantial. Chewy, but soft. Sweet, but not overbearingly so, and flavors like hibiscus and passion fruit that would seem gimmicky if they weren’t so delicious. Pastry chef Fany Gerson’s creations are not to be trifled with — just ask the approximately 17,000 yellow jackets swarming around Dough’s booth.
Calexico’s offering was an embarrassment of riches: Their folded-over quesadilla was accompanied by chips — tortilla and plantain — and a fish taco. The fish taco, though, just crispy enough and nicely offset by mango, was the real star. Oh, and their trademark “crack sauce,” a chipotle mayo that should just be offered in an IV bag.
Ice & Vice
One of Ice & Vice’s founders casually mentioned to us that their ice cream is made with 16% butterfat milk, which is probably why eyes were glazing over at a record rate near their booth. After just one year, Ice & Vice seems posed for great things. Great things like more and more and more of this ice cream. For us.
Overall winner Cinnamon Snail’s claim to fame is that they’re entirely vegan, but you wouldn’t know it from the richness of their crème brûlée doughnuts. Cinnamon Snail’s web site is laden with accolades, and trust us, they’ve earned every one.
Craffles’ Nutella, Strawberry and Banana Crepe
It’s just what it sounds like. French crepes and Belgian waffles. Strawberry, banana and Nutella, lightly dusted with powdered sugar. There’s nothing wrong with a classic, as the guys from Craffles show.
Desi Food Truck’s Chicken Puri-Bhaji
This bright and colorful truck delivers Indian Halal cuisine done right. The ‘game-changing’ puri-bhaji is just that — a total game changer: A puffed and fried round flatbread filled with either chopped potatoes or grilled chicken in a light, mildly spicy curry sauce. We went with chicken, and it was the best decision ever.