Food Tales

Smorgasburg Saturdays

by Jane Lerner
Photo: Steel Wool

Smorgasburg is a weekly artisanal food market on the Williamsburg waterfront. Resident Smorgasburger (and all-around friendly foodie) Jane Lerner takes us on her grand round.

8 a.m.: My Saturday routine usually starts with an early-morning promise to myself that I will not eat two Dough donuts within ten minutes of arriving at Smorgasburg.

9:30 a.m.: I break that promise as soon as I get to the market, especially since the donuts go so well with New Orleans-style, perfectly sweetened iced coffee from Blue Bottle.

10:00 a.m.: The Smorgasburg Greenmarket is 20-farmers strong, and it's best to do your produce shopping before the heat of the day (bring a cooler bag loaded with a frozen water bottle to keep your veggies free of wilt). Brooklyn Grange has greens and herbs grown on a Queens rooftop and Grady's Farm eggs were probably hatched that morning.

11 a.m.: I like to say hello to the guys at Kings Crumb, where I go for a biscuit loaded with homemade jam and clotted cream. Though last week I went savory instead and breakfasted with the rajas y huevo empanada from Barnyard Cheese Shop.

Noon: Moving onto lunch, I head toward what I like to call the Spanish Trifecta: La Buena's insanely creamy tomato gazpacho (from the same folks behind Txikito and El Quinto Pino), Bocata's Borough Market-inspired chorizo sandwich and fried anchovies from heavy-metal fishmonger Bon Chovie. (No, Bon Chovie isn't Spanish per se, but it makes for such a good combo with the soup and sandwich, and the Spaniards do love their little fish.)

12:30 p.m.: At this stage, a lounge on the grass just outside the market gates is definitely in order. Now that the East River Ferry stops at N. 6th St., the people watching and river view is extra entertaining.

1 p.m.: One of the best things about Smorgasburg is that it's an excellent place to run into everyone you know. And meeting friends at the market is important, since you need other people to be able to try as much food as possible. A vegan friend joined me one Saturday and she freaked out over Electric Blue Baking's pizzettas with cashew "cheese" and tempeh from Grown in Brooklyn. Radish's bamboo cones filled with artfully composed salads, Sea Bean Goods' cold soups, Tenpenny's radical interpretation of veggies and ranch, and Weekend Girls' kooky hamantaschen pastries are other good vegetarian options.

2 p.m.: For the meat eaters, we head over to The Meat Hook's outpost (with a shaded "VIP area" with a blasting boombox — these guys are hilarious) for cheese-filled hot dogs. Then a stop at Porchetta for their cultishly popular roast pork sandwich filled with crispy, crackly bits of skin. If you're lucky, the Porchetta dudes will squeak their toy-pig mascot in celebration of your purchase.

(Let it be known that I give a lot of food away to friends and other vendors when I'm working at the market. I am not eating this entire menu by myself.)

2:30 p.m.: Don't think it's all food and no drink, since throughout the day I stop in for fruit-loaded lemonade from The Stand, the addictive switzel from City Lasses, or sparkly ginger ale from Q Tonic.

3 p.m.: Another round of grocery shopping as the day winds down, so I make room in the cooler for more Greenmarket goodies: Ronnybrook Dairy's fresh milk, Consider Bardwell's cheeses, and meat from Hudson Valley Duck. I also load up on groceries available from Smorgasburg purveyors, like Maiden Preserves rhubarb jam (such pretty jars that I now use as drinking glasses), obscure varieties of dried beans from the brand new Brooklyn Bean Co., Tin Mustard's whole-grain condiment, and jars of Empire Mayonnaise (the smoked paprika and lime pickle varieties are mind-blowing).

4 p.m.: Let's end sweet, though admittedly, I have been stealing bites of that remaining half donut all day. Peoples Pops are fresh and icy, Danny Macaroons are crazy coconutty, and Nana's colorful cart serves frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. Whoa.

5 p.m.: We're done and the market's closed. I love walking straight down N. 6th Street back to the train, watching Williamsburg on parade. If post-market drinks are in order, I'm a huge fan of the Commodore on Metropolitan, and I'm also fond of Maison Premiere farther down Bedford. If I'm up for it, sunset dancing at PS1's Warm-Up party is a great way to burn off the 4,300 calories I just ate. Inevitably I skip dinner. Then we do it all over again next week.

FIND IT
Smorgasburg
27 N. 6th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211