Small plate lessons from Brooklyn’s GoogaMooga

Foodie festival in Brooklyn could inspire non-commercial chefs.

Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Two weekends ago Prospect Park in Brooklyn (a five minute walk from my apartment) hosted the first Great GoogaMooga festival. The festival was billed as “an amusement park of food and drink” and in that regard it definitely succeeded. Approximately 75 vendors from some of the city’s top restaurants—Red Rooster, Jean Georges, The Spotted Pig, Colicchio & Sons, etc.—were on hand to prepare small plate versions of some of their signature dishes. The vendors were set up in themed areas such as "Hamburger Experience," "Hamageddon," "Sweet Circus" and "Tony's Corner," which were restaurants chosen by chef Anthony Bourdain.

The amusement park billing couldn’t have been more correct as attendees were forced to wait in monstrous lines for pretty much every vendor and every beer tent. One maxim to keep in mind when dealing with Brooklyn hipsters—don’t restrict their access to beer. Despite the first year hiccups, there were some truly inspiring food options on display. I braved the lines for some delicious brisket tacos with roasted corn from Hill Country Barbecue. Looking over the rest of the menu made me think a festival like this, but with better line management, would be a great special event for C&U, B&I or even K-12, especially considering the popularity of street foods. Here are some more of the menu items I spied in the hope they spark some culinary creativity:

Berbere Roasted Chicken from Red Rooster: This Ethiopian-spiced chicken was served with orecchiette mac and cheese and a piece of corn bread.

Oaxaca Grilled Cheese from Little Muenster: This fancy grilled cheese featured cotija cheese, jalapeño corn purée and roasted tomatillo on organic peasant bread, and served with a soup shooter.

Fried Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich from Joseph Leonard: These sandwiches looked amazing and clearly were popular. The day I was there the chef ran out at about 4:00 p.m.

Fried Cheesecake Bombs from James: Lemon-ricotta cheesecake was manipulated into a deep-fried cheesecake treat, topped with fresh mint.

Dirty Duck Dogs from Craft: These hot dogs were made from duck and were topped with pickled cabbage and black garlic.

Bee Sting & Sopressata Pizza from Roberta's: This thin crust pizza featured mozzarella, tomato, chili oil, speck, mushroom and onion.

Foie Gras Doughnut from Do or Dine: I didn’t get to try it but the talk of the festival was this jelly doughnut, which was injected with foie gras.

Also, I wanted to share a slideshow I found that has some pics of some of the menu items and festival.

menu development

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