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Talking SCHOP! Vendy Awards 2013

Kysha Harris | 9/12/2013, 3:43 p.m.

Last weekend marked the ninth annual Vendy Awards, where New York City’s best food street vendors go to be acknowledged and celebrated by foodies and food connoisseurs. It always promises to be a day that will fill you up with food, passion and appreciation.

This year’s Vendys took place in Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, set amidst a valley of factory buildings. Long communal tables were set up on covered loading docks and in parked cargo trucks. Artist Nils Folke Anderson designed tables out of recycled shipping pallets and cable spools that dotted the gravel and dust yard. The colorful trucks, carts and tents brought vibrancy to what otherwise might look like a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome existence.

Like warriors going to food battle, my partner and I pow-wowed at a pallet table. We ticked off all of the vendors we wanted to hit up first, because we knew at some point our bellies would not permit any more. There were some familiar vendors on the list and some that I had never tried that spoke to my food heart. They made the top, but we were going to be systematic about it and meander through the space like the isles of a mega supermarket.

While all of the 28 street food vendors deserve mention and praise, I did not get to them all. Thankfully, some of the ones I did try rocked, and I did manage to taste most of the winning vendors’ food. Here they are …

Rookie of the Year: Nuchas (@nuchasnyc), serving authentic Argentinean empanadas. We tried their chipotle chicken, braised short rib and jambalaya varieties. Ironically, my first Nuchas taste was at a Nat Sherman cigar tasting—their portabella and spinach empanada had me coming back for fourths!

My runner-up: Neapolitan Express (@neaexpress), making thin crust Neapolitan-style pizza in an eco-friendly truck. Try the sopressatta with hot peppers!

Best Market Vendor: Khao Man Gai (@khaomangainy), serving authentically humble Thai street food. Their chicken poached in Thai aromatics with jasmine rice cooked with the poaching liquid was simple but packed with flavor! The husband and wife team beamed with joy over their accomplishment. I heart KMG, too!

Otherfavorites:

Bon Chovie (@bonchovie), serving fried anchovies with aioli; Lonestar Taco (@lonestartaconyc) for their petite carnitas taco; and Porchetta (@porchettanyc) just because it’s one of my favorite things to eat!

Tide’s “Messy Yet Tasty” Award and Best of New Jersey: Home by the Range (@homebytherange), serving the best beef sandwich ever, featuring astured and braised Jersey cow beef with cheddar and house-made seasonal giardiniera (pickled vegetables). Simple and so good. Owner William Imre was ecstatic at his double win. I am looking for him at the New Amsterdam Market!

Best Dessert: Itizy Ice Cream (@itizyicecream). I tried their mint chocolate chip and a dollop of their brown butter bourbon flavors. Wow! Fresh ingredients, full flavor. I wish the summer didn’t end …

Other favorites: Liddabit Sweets (@liddabitsweets) always wants to hurt your sweet feelings. This time it was with butterscotch pudding with bourbon bacon caramel corn. Heaven! Also, a shout-out to Pop It Baby (@popitbaby_nyc) ice pops. Sorry to miss the cucumber mint, but the sangria and mojito pops went down nicely.