Features NY Life — 02 June 2011
The Red Hook Food Vendors

Blog: Red Hook Food Vendors

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The Red Hook Food Vendors

Red Hook Park Ball Fields

Clinton St & Bay St
Brooklyn, NY 11231


Summer in the city. Can you smell it? If you’re like me, it smells likes a cornucopia of food from such nations as Columbia and Mexico. It’s The Red Hook Ball Fields- the summer location for worldly outdoor eating. For over 30 years, cooks hailing from all regions of Latin America gather in a corner of Red Hook Park. From spring through fall, weekends here have been filled with a distinctive ambiance. The main attractions are the savory, inexpensive food and high energy soccer games.

Food trucks have become increasingly popular in NYC over the past few years. You can now grab an ice cream filled Belgium Waffles or Asian dumplings whenever you want, and that’s great. But the Red Hook Food Vendors were here first. This remote corner of the Park may be one of the most delicious spots in our fair city. Since this was our inaugural visit of the season, it was important for us to try something totally new and thus the first truck we hit was the Columbian mobile. Luckily, two very friendly and sweet Columbian woman were there doing the cooking. And they were pleased to help.

After a quick, spirited chat they told us we should start with a beef empanada, followed by a fried, stuffed potato filled with beef and peas. It must be said that the empanada was formed to perfection. It had a crisp bite, followed by a flavor burst of braised beef. A green hot sauce was provided on the side, and it was encouraged that we throw some on after the first bite. We agree.

It was then onto the fried, stuffed potato. Now this is something that I have never tried, so excitement was in the air. First off, it’s important to add that one must have a big appetite for this particular dish. As we all know, potatoes are a starch and are therefore quite heavy. Mix that with meat, and vegetables and you got yourself a major meal on your hands. But fear not, we were up to the challenge. If I could compare the fried, stuffed potato to any other dish it would have to be an English-style meat pie. Thankfully I love them. The filling was moist and tasty. It worked well along side the heavy fried potato. Needless to say, we had to walk all this off. Luckily it was a sunny afternoon.

After a long walk and a well deserved cat nap, it was time to head back to these mobile kitchens on wheels! Lighter fare was in order this go around, and the magic word was ‘shrimp.’ For the past couple of months people have been telling me that I had to try the shrimp ceviche. I’m not going to lie to you, but the very though of seafood sitting outside in the heat did not sound very good. But alas, the ceviche served at the ball fields is treated with the same care and preparation as the greatest five star restaurant in town. The kind woman at the truck window took our order, and proceeded to prepare a fresh batch. When each cup arrived, lime juice was pressed in for some extra tartness. Customers were also given the option to have pureed jalapeño added in as well. The smell of all these culturally indigenous ingredients and jumbo shrimp, made us want to dig in right away. But since we were at the ball fields, some soccer and/or ‘futbol’ viewing was mandatory. After taking a seat at the bleachers, we ripped into it. The combination of these fresh chilled ingredients made for a refreshing way to enjoy the game.

It may only be June, but trust me when I say this, summer is slipping away faster then you think. That is why you need to take advantage of our great city every day. We all know what happens outside when December shows its snowy face. The Red Hook Food Vendors, provide you with an authentic meal from several nations with incredibly low prices to boot. And don’t forget about the soccer, being played by guys who are way better than that chap Beckham!

-Alan Smithee

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