Friday, April 12, 2013

Smorgasburg (DUMBO Edition)

For all my love of small, local food producers, I just could not bring myself to attend Smorgasburg the past couple of years. I'd heard from fellow celiacs that there weren't many safe offerings; last thing I wanted to do was go watch my friends eat tasty things while I ate (yet another) LARA bar. Also: Crowds and waiting in long lines? For the birds. Oh, and I'm not a fan of Williamsburg. I've tried - truly! - but just not my scene.

Turns out I'm now in walking distance of the Sunday Smorg in DUMBO and after checking the vendor list, found there are things I can eat this year! So I rounded up some friends and walked down right after opening (11am) to avoid the crowds and lines.

11:30am. Quiet. No lines. Joy. 

I walked a loop around the site, stopping to inquire re: gluten-free options here and there. First promising stand, Saucy by Nature, which had GF options marked on their board. Sadly, upon inquiry, I found their fare to be unsafe, as they cook everything - including regular pita bread - on the same griddle.

Alas, not really gluten-free. 

Next up, Hash Bar, which serves highbrow takes on that humble breakfast staple, hash. (No website, so find them on Twitter at @hash_bar). They don't serve any gluten-containing products - hooray! Wasn't in the mood for breakfast food, but I'll be back at their stall another day.

No gluten ingredients used - on my list for next time! 

Was happy to see gluten-free friendly Mighty Quinn's (read my review here), but wasn't up for BBQ right then. Onward.

So gluten-free friendly!

I've heard good things about Palenque and they had GF items marked on the menu, but there was a bit of a line, so I kept moving. Will check it out next time.

Wanted something carby and cheesy, and found it in pupusas from Solber Pupusas, a Red Hook-based vendor.

Ding, ding, we have a winner! 

Pupusas are corn cakes stuffed with cheese and savory fillings. Solber has a variety of options, including fish, pork, chicken, and a number of vegetarian options. All of their menu items are gluten-free. I went with the pupusa platter ($7) which included two pupusas, pickled cabbage, sour cream, jalapenos, and tomato sauce. Delicious - totally hit the spot.

Next up: dessert. I noticed at least one purveyor (Blue Marble) of that old celiac stand-by, ice cream, in attendance, but wanted to try something different, something I couldn't get just anywhere.

One of my friends had snagged a regular ice cream sandwich from The Good Batch and excitedly told me that they had GF ice cream sandwiches, too! Went to check it out and was shown a beautiful ice cream sandwich made with giant flourless chocolate cookies and mint chocolate chip ice cream. While they are careful to use clean equipment/avoid cross-contamination, the GF cookies ARE baked while regular ones are being made in the same space. I've been glutened a few times recently and just wasn't up for taking a risk that day, though may give it a go another time. (Anyone tried it?)

I have to give a shout out to the rep working that day - she was cheerful and utterly patient with all my questions and not miffed in the least when I decided it wasn't a safe option for me. Best case scenario exchange.

This place, whimsy & spice, offered a gluten-free bar, but it was the only GF item AND on display (unwrapped) on a cake stand right next to regular baked goods. So, yeah, no to that. NEXT.

NOT a safe option.

After a few other not-worth-mentioning misses, I circled back to my safety, the vendor I had researched and knew to be GF-friendly: Danny Macaroons! (The only one we can't have is their Black Chocolate Stout macaroon, which has beer in it.)

Cute little bag:

Your first macaroon is $3 and there are price breaks on additional items purchased. I went with two (for $5), a chocolate and a salted caramel.

Delicious. Very moist and the toppings make them more decadent than your average macaroon.

Aside from the food, the venue is fantastic. From the vendor area I spied Jane's Carousel:

And there's plenty of room on the grassy lawn to plunk yourself down and enjoy this view:

Views like this make me grateful to live in Brooklyn. 

Bottom line: I ate well, didn't get sick, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time - I'll be back. In fact, I'm even going to brave the G train on a Saturday and head over to the Williamsburg Smorgasburg soon! There are some vendors (see: Krumville, CakeBites) that I need to visit over there. 

Smorgasburg has two locations: Williamsburg on Saturdays, and DUMBO on Sundays. Vendor lists for the coming weekend are posted every Friday. 


  1. So exciting to hear there are options at Smorgasburg. I've never actually been, and I was wondering if it would be worth checking out. Next weekend, maybe. (And I had no idea about this CakeBites thing—those look awesome!)

  2. Yes, get thee to Smorgasburg! I hear from fellow celiacs that the Williamsburg site has even more GF options than DUMBO. And agreed re: Cakebites - I cannot WAIT to try them!

  3. I really want to go to Smorgasburg and eat pupusas!

  4. Let's meet up there some Sunday! It's so lovely - worth the trip from Queens!