In my book, I may write about Manhattan exploits and designer threads, but part (most?) of me is wholly Brooklyn: maker culture, craft fairs, warehouses, and yes… artisanal products.
Back in another life, I was the Marketing & Events Director at 3rd Ward, a creative workshop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was basically a mega creative co-working space with a wood/metal shop, textile studio, jewelry studio, media lab, photography studios, and over 200 classes a quarter. I loved being surrounded by makers and entrepreneurs of all types, people who took a creative (not to mention financial) risk to make their mark. It was a big change for me -- I had to temporarily retire all my Manolo Blahniks. They don't do well in Bushwick warehouses -- but that BK DIY spirit became a part of my DNA.
I adore all the Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburgs, but especially the new one in Industry City for purely nostalgic reasons. The warehouse reminds me of 3rd Ward and our annual Craft Fair (check out these pics and you'll see why). It's been open for less than a month and people aren’t quite holiday shopping yet, so the space is thankfully not too crowded.
Side note: Eric Demby, one of the Brooklyn Flea co-founders called me when he was first developing Smorgasburg (then simply “a Brooklyn Flea” but only with food). He wanted to know if 3rd Ward had any artists who’d like to contribute “an iconic piece of work” for this new project. I talked to a couple metalworkers and an inflatable sculptor, but alas nothing panned out. Still regret not becoming more involved early on.
How much do I love this location? I went there two days in a row. Here's the weekend, in pics.
Are you into rugs? I was skeptical, too, until I was in the market myself and got sucked into the mania. Knots per inch, silk, wool, kilim, Moroccan, Irani, Tibetan ... it's a whole world. I'm definitely not alone in this passion. The central node of this Brooklyn Flea includes these two swoony rug vendors.
These butterfly dioramas by Flutter by Katie stopped me dead in my tracks. D and I are butterfly people (because of their beauty, grace, and metamorphosis...that is some crazy isht). These would make stunning gifts and unlike terrariums, they truly are foolproof and cannot die (RIP all my terrariums).
But anyway, onto FOOD!
I always gravitate to Adobo Shack (the nomadic sister of Lumpia Shack in Greenwich Village). This is a brown rice bowl with chicken, coconut milk, pickled jalapenos, coconut yogurt, shrimp chips, and a fried egg. Filipino food, man. So good. Bright and brassy. Nothing murky here, just flavors as clear as a (slightly funky) bell.
The next day, we went to Lucy's Vietnamese (I guess I was in an Asian food mood). D occasionally orders from them at work and I had to try it for myself. Due to a small ordering mix-up, we got the tofu pho and tofu banh mi. First, pho > ramen during these warm fall days. You want something cozy and nourishing, but without the slicks of fat and porky breath. Pho hits the spot. The banh mi was also great. The soft bread with the ever-so-thin-crust makes it. Next time I'd order a meat one though.
We also had this vegan "Sloppy Jane" from Tamarack, the Smorg-arm to Willow and The Pines. Jane, you are sloppy. This was vegetarian -- a mushroom sludge ground up and presumably cooked low and slow with tomato paste. The bun, kindly, is just as soft as its innards so as to avoid excess slop.
I'll admit I didn't eat the following dishes, but they are duly noted for next time.
It seems these are the Ramen Burger (which is also there) of Industry City. Behold the WOWfulls, a Hong Kong-style eggy pancake with ice cream and mochi. I'm into this whole creamy/crisp/chewy/eggy thing. Anyways I've always thought waffles are better than anything in the pancake/crepe family.
Oaxaca Taqueria has eleven (!) locations. And yet, sadly, I haven't been to one. Despite the straight-forward name, the restaurant has a bit of a selective Korean spin. Above, a classic tlayuda/"pizza" with black bean puree, Oaxaca cheese, lettuce, cabbage, red onion, queso fresco and crema. And tacos. (Yeah, didn't pick the best Korean-influenced dishes to photograph.)
Plus, there are old-school vendors like Anthi's Greek Food and another Italian place whose name I didn't catch and I can't find online. (Help in comments?) I like seeing new Brooklyn and old Brooklyn mix like this.
Once all the other Smorgasburgs close for the winter, I expect many vendors will move into Industry City. For now, there seems to be a disproportionally high number of hot sauce vendors and a low number of dessert vendors. There's Blue Marble, Alchemy Creamery, The Brooklyn Baking Barons, Vendome Macaron Bar, and Dough Doughnuts (above).
Um, so I guess there are a good number of dessert vendors. But I just wanted more! Have you been to Industry City yet? Who's your favorite Smorgasburg vendor?