Albeit under cover of rain, I finally made it to the Great Googa Mooga in Prospect Park, Brooklyn! Only in its second year, the festival has become a sell-out hit amongst food revelers, indie music addicts and everyone in between. It was a little bit of a hike from Harlem but totally worth the trip.
Much like the name, the festival is quirky, unique and fun. After checking in and receiving a map (of sorts) of where one finds food, music, beer and wine, I was off. I was mostly looking forward to the first two, as drinking alone, even amongst thousands, is not a good look.
Making my way into the festival, I passed by a serene pond. On the other side was the Nethermead Boathouse with a smattering of guests enjoying the VIP Cocktail Experience as if in a scene out of a French painter’s canvas. Its counterpoint was just down the path in the form of one of the three pop-up concepts, Roberta’s Urban Ren Faire. The dope Bushwick pizza spot fashioned a mini renaissance festival in the festival, complete with costumes and LARPing! I pressed forward …
As a food curator for my clients, I decided to curate my Googa Mooga food experience. Though I was starving–I made sure I didn’t eat anything to spoil my appetite!–I slowly walked around the festival first, taking note of the offerings, which ranged in price from $7-15, before making a final decision. I did have one target that needed to “get got,” but in due time.
Yes, it all looked good, but I decided that my meal must be unique and include dishes from places I had never eaten before. Don’t get me wrong, I was super enticed by the lot of them, but it came down to four items that sealed the deal.
My appetizer was from James Restaurant. It was a gorgeously seasoned and thinly enrobed duck sausage corndog with a delicate chili sauce. Wicked! That woke up my palate and will have me eating there on the regular.
Now corndog fortified, I was ready for my main course and target, Umami Burger. With laser vision, I spotted its location and waited in line for their truffle burger–a perfectly cooked medium-rare signature beef patty with housemade truffle cheese and truffle glaze on a warm, soft brioche bun. (Dropping the microphone …) I’m done! Can’t wait for the New York City openings!
Now my sweet tooth was talking to me. Tempted by many options, including a Baked brownie layered with salted caramel, I returned to my weakness and one of the first vendors I saw, the Big Banana. Salty was her name and double-dipped (I think) dark chocolate frozen banana with peanuts and sea salt was her game. Thank you!
But before I could crack open the cellophane wrapper of my dessert, a neighboring savory vendor was tickling my olfactory nerve. It was Japanese-style wings from Kasadela. These twice-fried then marinated wings were crisp, sweet and black pepper spicy. I only bought two as an intermezzo before dessert. Those made me want a beer, but I digress.
I took my girl, Salty, for what would be my final walk around the festival, as it was rained out on Sunday. I cracked into her peanut dark chocolatey shell as I passed the iron Hamageddon pig sculpture and 25-foot cake en route to the sounds of an old-school dancehall at the Joe’s Pub Stage, where Miss Lily’s hosted the Rice & Peas DJ set. I “wind-it-up” and “Bogled” for a minute, and then I was out.
I am hoping for better weather next year for you, GoogaMooga team and vendors. That is a big production that does not go unnoticed by this attendee, foodie and writer. Thank you and see you next year!
Have a great Memorial Day weekend and please raise a glass, bottle or sippy cup to me on Saturday as I celebrate my birthday!
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.