With only a few days to contemplate the finalists battling for top honors at this year’s Vendy Awards, crowds of foodies descended on Govenors Island yesterday to feast on the vendors vying. In the top category, Solber Pupusas, Eggstravaganza, Chimichury el Malecon, Souvlaki GR, Trini-Paki Boys Halal Food and Sam’s Falafel were all vying for the Vendy Cup. And the winner? Solber Pupusas!
Cesar Fuentas said Solber Pupusas was “Representing anyone who has tried hard and started from, I guess, the very bottom, literally with an old van, with a table with second, third-hand wares. And coming up to this and being loved like this it’s human, it’s history.”
Wooly’s Ice won best dessert—the shaved ice operation, which located 79 Elizabeth in Chinatown—thanks supporters last night and Tweeted this morning, “Had a dream I was king, I woke up, still king. #vendyawards #bestdessert #bessert?” It wasn’t a dream—for many people, it was their introduction to Woolys and, as one happy customer put it, their epic desserts, like Maker’s Mark ice, nutmeg, and bourbon maple syrup.
Some additional notes, from our own Jamie Feldmar:
- Vendy Cup finalist Sam’s Falafel revealed, “I’ve been up since 1am to prep for today. Everything is made fresh. The babaganoush alone takes 4 hours!”
- Paty’s Tacos, which was honored as the Most Heroic Vendor, said a difference with their tacos was that “Ours is a family owned business. Our Tacos made with love.”
- Korilla BBQ had one of the longest lines of the day. When asked why a Korean-taco fusion, they said, “We like to think of ourselves as more of a Korean BBQ truck. The tortilla is a vehicle for the BBQ. The salsa and cheese are just compliments.” Indeed—the BBQ beef had a nice marinade.
- Souvlaki GR had a man from Greece playing bazouki, a Greek guitar, for people waiting in the also-very-long line, “In Greece, there’s a whole culture around souvlaki shops—one on every corner. Here, people thnnk it’s just meat on a stick—but so much more than that.”
- Judges were wearing red sashes— Gayle King looked fab, Colon Quinn looked a little haggard (as in, the way he usually looks!).
- Personal favorites: Taim falafel—great spicy sauce. Pupusas—lovely crispy corn crust giving way to creamy, cheesy middle. Souvlaki’s Greek fries, coated in Feta and herbs were also memorable.