One thing I do enjoy about living in NYC are the abundance of outdoor events we can enjoy here. I do sometimes forget that we live along the water right on the Atlantic Ocean and the multiple waterfronts offer amazing views for ample public events to take place. I happened to partake in one this weekend called Pig Island, and it was on the waterfront in Red Hook, Brooklyn. As the name implies this one was all about the pork and I did make quite a pig out of myself. Beer, cider, wine, pig and pork products. Oh my! The tickets were all inclusive and we took full advantage of it. Talk about being a total piggy! By the end of the day we rolled out of there. I ate so much pig! Drank so much beer and cider! Oink!
The day started out hot and sweaty and pretty much stayed that way all afternoon. It felt like a sauna all day with little relief in sight. What happened to the nice summer weather we had all season? This week after Labor Day was that hottest it’s been all year. Good thing for the cold beers and ciders I consumed thoughout the event! I do have to say I was a bit disappointed that there were no water stations set up, and no one I saw selling bottles of water at their booths. On a hot day like this it would have made sense. Not many, including myself, was particularly rushing over to drink any of the wines offered. Not when it was a humid near 90 degree day. Just too hot for wine. Maybe something the event organizers should keep in mind for next year. Water is a must. I do have to say that the NY state beers and ciders I sampled were quality and I enjoyed every one that touched my lips. Six Point beer, Singlecut beer, Barrier Brewery beer, and assorted Hudson Valley hard ciders kept me cool and offered a refreshing buzz during the day’s festivities. One importer that had a cider booth introduced me to a German apple cider that was absolutely crisp and refreshing. I could have drank this one all afternoon! The Singlecut beer was outstanding and I really enjoyed their IPA and other brews.
Being a veteran of many outdoor food and drink events I have become accustomed to using the porta potties to take care of business. We all know to hold it in and not tap the keg for as long as possible. After downing many beers and ciders it was only a matter of time before my bladder said “no mas”! Luck would have it that festival was taking place right in front of IKEA also located on the waterfront. We asked if our media bracelets would get us back in if we left and were pleased that we had in and out privileges. So of course we were smarter than most and decided to take a bathroom and AC break over in IKEA. You can’t beat cold air conditioning, clean bathrooms, lounging out on the sofa sectionals, playing with the goofy Swedish toys and plush animals, and then scarfing down a plate of Swedish meatballs. Yeah, I know this was total gluttony considering the all you can eat pork that we were experiencing at Pig Island outside, but it was IKEA! When making the pilgrimage there eating some meatballs are a must! Heck, they were actually pretty damn tasty. Who knows, as I was a bit tipsy at this point from the booze and the heat. I think they were good. Ja!
When we decided to head back out to the food fest and leave the comforts of IKEA behind it was around 2pm. We had arrived a bit early at 11am which was about a half hour before opening. Being on the media list got us in early so we avoided the long line that had started to grow and had a 30 minute head start on the crowd. It was great as we had some VIP time to walk around, check out some food booths, and try out some terrific ciders. Get the lay of the land and figure out what to taste first and what to come back to. It also gave us some one on one time to speak with the vendors and learn about their products. I was impressed by the friendliness, passion, and knowledge that many we spoke to had when showing us their wares. Booth after booth we elicited moans of food ecstasy when taking bite after bite of wonderful pork and assorted pork concoctions. Pork sliders, pulled pork, BBQ, gourmet pork, pork churrascaria, pork corn bread, roasted pig, pork salad, pork spring rolls, pork belly, pork tacos, and so much more. So much pig! There were even a few desserts offered such as locally made key lime pie. Oh yeah! Get in my belly! By around 3pm we were stuffed and decided to roll out of there before the 4:30pm ending time. Was probably better off as it seemed about to rain as a storm was headed our way. We avoided that and also the inevitable mad crowd rush at the end of the event. Again, as an experienced festival goer you learn the tricks of the trade and how to get the most out of these days. Get there early, well before opening, and never stay until the end. Hit up the booths farthest from the main entrance first. Avoid porta potties if at all possible. Enjoy and have fun. Don’t take it too seriously even if people and crowds drive you crazy!
Speaking of the crowd it was a bit busy but manageable in my opinion. The lines at the beer and cider booths were the longest as you can imagine on a hot day like this. At the food vendors the lines moved quickly, and it was never a long wait to put something delicious in our mouths. Many people brought blankets, lawn chairs, and umbrellas to spread out on the grass in a picnic-like atmosphere. It was an overall friendly and pleasant group here on this day, if a bit wilted and sticky from the heat. Also, I have to note that we took the free water taxi from Manhattan. It’s a quick trip from Pier 11 and is offered at no charge on weekends to take people back and forth to IKEA here on the Erie Basin Park waterfront in Red Hook. Gotta love a free ride! Only problem I noticed is that they should have arranged more boats to transport the crowds, especially from what we experienced when leaving at 3pm. The line was already long, and the boat that arrived could only take half of us. We were told there was a 45 minute wait until the next. I remembered there is a free shuttle bus from IKEA to a few main subway hubs just minutes away so we jumped off the line and grabbed the shuttle which worked out well. Again, gotta love a free ride! Hope all those that stuck around to the end took advantage of the shuttle too if they missed a boat.
Overall, we had a terrific day at Pig Island experiencing some delish pork plates while washing it down with some delightful NY state brews and ciders. (check out Kristy’s food porn blog at http://quinngoldie.wordpress.com/ ) It was not a huge event as there were around 25 vendors and chefs showcasing their products, but it was just the right size for this venue and location. So many good things to eat and taste here. I would definitely go back to dine at some of these restaurants in the future. Oink for sure! Following are some sights from the day to drool over. Food porn!