Author Archives: Brian Hoffman
Just over two months ago, Adam Sobel of The Cinnamon Snail – one of New York City’s most popular food trucks and the reigning Vendy Cup champion – made the shocking announcement that they would be calling it quits from the streets of New York. Cinnamon Snail had won four Vendy Awards for their big, bold, vegan flavors, garnering long lines at lunch time no matter what neighborhood in the city they parked.
So why did they pull the plug on this hugely popular food truck? Adam discussed the decision with Grub Street, and recently he appeared on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show alongside Street Vendor Project director Sean Basinski. In short, Adam expressed his frustration with the current permit system for mobile food vendors in New York City. (more…)
This coming Sunday, November 23, is the last weekend to attend Vendy Plaza, at least for now. For the past four Sundays, our friends at the Street Vendor Project and the Vendy Awards have turned East Harlem’s historic La Marqueta public market into a gathering place for outdoor food vendors, music, and culture.
La Marqueta was originally called the Park Avenue Retail Market when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened it in 1936 as a place for street vendors to operate in East Harlem, part of his campaign to get vendors off the streets and into indoor markets. While more than a dozen of these public markets were built in the 1930’s and 40’s, today only four are still operating and are owned by the City of New York: La Marqueta, the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market (which will likely be relocated as part of the Essex Crossing development), the Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx, and the Moore Street Market in Williamsburg (which you can visit on our Immigrant Foodways Tour on select Saturdays). (more…)
The 10th Annual New York City Vendy Awards just ended, but the celebration of street food continues. This weekend, our good friend Jeff Orlick has organized another great street food event – and you don’t need tickets for this one! The annual Viva La Comida! is always one of my favorite events because it celebrates the international cuisines of Queens and gives the dedicated – but often undersung – vendors a chance to shine.
Eat Street Meat is our mantra this week as we and our friends at Midtown Lunch co-host a special month-long series of lunch rush food cart tours in Midtown and the Financial District. Break out of your lunch routine and join us for a three-course strolling lunch and we’ll have you back at your desk for your afternoon meetings!
This week’s series of one-hour lunch rush street food tours explores street meat, the most popular dish on the streets today from three very different vendors who are putting their own spin on chicken and lamb over rice. You’ll be led by Brian Hoffman, veteran food blogger and engaging tour guide, who truly knows and loves street food, the vendor community, and the industry as a whole. (more…)
We’ve known for a while that food carts and trucks have become a popular catering choice for modern weddings. But until now, nobody has ever celebrated their nuptials by eating on our food cart tour.
Last week, we hosted Sarah and Markus, a German couple who had a destination wedding in New York. Their first meal as husband and wife (since their actual wedding the night before) was a two-hour, seven-course street food tasting on our Midtown Food Cart Tour. Since this was an exciting milestone event, some of our food truck partners got in on the celebration. (more…)
On this wintry Friday in New York City, our thoughts are with the many street vendors slinging hot dogs and chicken over rice in the snow and slush. But we are also daydreaming of milder climes, where vendors don’t need to warm themselves by the flattop, and ungloved fingers aren’t frozen making change. That magical place is New Orleans, host to the latest installment of the Vendy Awards, taking place Wednesday, March 13. (more…)
Wednesday is a big day for New York City’s street vendors. After months of stalling, the speaker of the City Council (and mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn has finally promised to bring to a vote legislation to reduce and simplify fines imposed on vendors. This vote comes after years of campaigning and lobbying by the Street Vendor Project, including months of plastering posters with Speaker Quinn’s face on carts across the city to pressure her to call the vote. (more…)
A small item in the mayor’s draft budget that was released today caught our attention, because it may have big impacts on the street vendors we work with. Mayor Bloomberg wants to try to collect the millions of dollars in unpaid fines issued to vendors, and he wants to do it by spending $580,000 of city money on lawyers to pursue these so-called scofflaws. What he fails to grasp is the reason why so many fines go unpaid – it’s usually due to poverty and discrimination, not disrespect for the law (read more about this proposal on Gothamist). (more…)
Our friends at Food to Eat, an online ordering service for food carts and trucks, have been very involved with both street vendors and restaurants – from both a business standpoint and as advocates. This weekend they’re helping out many restaurants who suffered losses and damages from Hurricane Sandy.
Their Downtown Relief Food Crawl will take place this Saturday, November 17 from 12pm to 4pm. Participants can purchase tickets online here or at a registration location on Saturday. Food crawlers will receive a map of the participating venues, including East Village favorites like Maharlika, Prohibition Cupcakes, and Cafecito, where they can sample one of their specialty food or drink items. After many hours of eating and drinking, an after party with entertainment will commence at Kafana from 3-4. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the venues to help them with their business recoveries. For more information on this delicious and worthwhile event, check out their Eventbrite page. (more…)