The Green Building in the Boerum Hill neighborhood right off the Gowanus Canal may have been a bit out of the spotlight to hold what may become one of the premier events of the New York City Food Network Wine & Food Festival, but it was probably appropriate. A former industrial area that was critical to the thriving port in Red Hook through the mid-20th century, it's also near the childhood home of one of my food heros, Adam Richman, host of popular TV food travelogue Man v. Food and host/brainchild behind the event: Brooklyn's Bounty.
As we pulled up to the Green Building, just a short detour off the now thriving restaurant scene of Smith Street, we saw three food trucks parked out front. The first one, speaking of Red Hook, was the now famous Red Hook ballfields Solber Pupusa truck, slinging traditional Salvadorian chicharron pork crackling stuffed masa patties. As we entered the Green Building, we thought the recent clashes on Wall Street had moved to Brooklyn as our senses were literally assaulted with "peppa" spray. Peppa's Jerk Chicken from Flatbush Avenue is open 24 hours and is the most authentic jerk chicken north of Kingston.
I must warn you about their hot "peppa" sauce: it burns so good. Local Kelso nut brown ale restored the feeling to my tongue as we were greeted by Adam and Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz who proclaimed Brooklyn the culinary capital of the world. A bit of hubris, I thought until I made the rounds.
Iconic Brennan & Carr's roast beef sandwiches, sliced to order and drowned in their hot au jus contrasted with the headcheese sliders from newcomer Colonie Restaurant. The Italian heritage of the borough was well represented by L & B Spumoni Gardens, who not only brought their Parmesan dusted square tomato pizzas but also lasagna bolognese. D. Coluccio & Sons, a distributor of Italian meats and cheeses, was hand-slicing proscuitto di Parma and handing out chunks of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. Back outside, my old friend Pappa Perrone's Pizza Truck offered his ginormous arancini meat-filled rice balls with red gravy.
Acme Smoked Fish presented gravlax and pastrami salmon.
Entrepreneur Food Freak from Ft. Greene offered up salt fried baby Brussel sprouts to accompany short rib stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches and multi-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches with a tomato soup dipping sauce. Back inside, Acme Smoked Fish, supplier to Russ & Daughters, offered up gravlax and pastrami salmon with sweet hot smoked bits of wild Yukon Keta Salmon"candy." Real pastrami on rye with homemade mustard and sauerkraut was offered by barbecue masters Fette Sau. On the other side of Acme, Vinegar Hill House complemented the smoked fish with marinated white anchovies with peperonata atop marjoram crackers.
Bark Hot Dogs surprised with a heritage pork slaw covered burger while Der Kommissar won best of wurst with its cheese filled kasekarainer. Bierkraft brought both sweet and savory sandwich options with open-faced brisket sandwiches and brownie and cookie wrapped homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Adam Richman and the GutterGourmet.
My idol, Adam Richman was thronged by the crowd, so I chatted up his Mom who could've been my Mom. She was clearly bursting with pride. I told her, while proudly wearing my Man v. Food pepperoni pizza T-shirt in the shape of the U.S.A., that I secretly coveted her son's job and food T-shirt collection, which rivals my own. She high-fived me. After downing seven-layer chocolate cake from the Chocolate Room and seconds on roast beef, pizza, and jerk chicken, I finally got my photo-op with Adam, who looked like a deer in the headlights as he saw my shirt and said, "Love that show but the host is an a$&hole."
Unable to eat another bite, I waddled back to my car. Unable to fasten my seatbelt, I laughed at the photo of me and Adam and, alone in my car I fantasized what it must be like to be Adam and declared aloud to my imaginary fans: In the eternal battle of Man v. Food, Brooklyn's Bounty, this time... food definitely won.