Chow down! Smorgasburg returns with two dozen new vendors

Tropical: La Tropikitchen will offer Latin American favorites at Smorgasburg, including this vegetarian pineapple tamale.
Kevin Duggan

Time to get your grub on!

Brooklyn’s most popular food market will emerge from its winter cocoon next weekend, bringing outdoor dishes of pro-biotic popsicles, pizza cupcakes, and Afghan comfort food to hungry Kings Countians each weekend from April 6 through October.

The ninth season of Smorgasburg will feature two dozen exciting new vendors slinging their grub at Williamsburg’s East River State Park on Saturdays, and to Breeze Hill in Prospect Park on Sundays.

In addition to its two Brooklyn park locations, Smorgasburg will team up with Vice to offer a “night market” at Williamsburg venue Villain on alternate Friday nights, starting on March 29, and some of its vendors will join the Brooklyn Bridge Park summer film series “Movies With a View” on Thursdays during July and August. Smorgasburg also has far-flung outposts in California, Brazil, Japan, and even Manhattan.

This reporter ate his way through the 24 new vendors coming to the Brooklyn locations this season, at a press preview event on Thursday. The new lineup is promising and a little overwhelming, but be sure to grab a bite from these stalls.

Poppin’ off!

The Better Pop’s kombucha popsicles put a healthy spin on the icy childhood treat. The pops, which are made by freezing the fermented Japanese tea and adding fruity flavors, such as pina colada, cherry sumac, and chili pineapple, have a patented hexagonal shape that helps to avoid brain freeze and makes them easier to share.

The refreshing desserts are a treat and their pro-biotic properties are good for your digestion, according to their creator.

“They’re not super sweet and they’re just really good for you,” said Ruby Schechter.

$5 each. Saturdays only.

Takes the cake

Pizza cupcakes are the savory snack you didn’t know you desperately needed in your life. Creator Andrea Meggiato and his wife Michelle were inspired by a visit to his native Venice, Italy where small pizzas, or “pizzettas,” are a common staple in local bakeries. The couple have transformed the pizzetta, giving it a soft texture like a doughnut, but with the tangy cheese and marinara sauce of a classic Italian pie. As Andrea puts it: “It makes pizza portable.”

Two for $7, four for $12. Saturdays only.

Comfort food

Nansense offers an array of homey delights, such as its chicken or potato kormas, traditional Mashawa soup, or Mantu, an Afghan take on steamed beef and onion dumplings, served on a bed of garlic yogurt and topped with a split-pea korma and dry mint. Its creator, who won the “Rookie of the Year” award at last year’s Vendys, says his dishes go beyond the classic kebabs often found at Afghan eateries in the five boroughs and show New Yorkers what many Afghans eat at home, and how the hearty flavors give you the strength for the day.

“It makes you feel like you can take on the world,” said Mo Rahmati.

Dishes $6–$12.

On a roll!

10Below Ice Cream will bring its “hand-rolled” twist on the ice cream float to the outdoor markets. Treat maker Richard Tam has a spectacular live preparation, which involves spreading liquid cream on an icy pan, scraping it into curls, arranging them in a bowl, and thrusting an upturned glass Coke bottle into the contents. The sugary delight lets you lift the bottle to release more soda into the sweet, creamy mix.

Ice cream float $9.

Flour power

Bushwick husband-and-wife bakers Josh and Jess Pickens have raised the bar for artisanal baking. They offer 100-percent whole grain products made from flour they mill themselves. Josh said that milling the flour fresh conveys the earthy taste of each grain, much like grinding your own coffee gives a superior brew.

“Coffee used to be pre-ground and now it has to be freshly ground for every espresso and you taste that flavor,” he said.

They also have sweet treats, including sweet potato cinnamon rolls and sublimely soft rye chocolate chip cookies.

Cookie $4, cinnamon roll $6. Saturdays only.

Torched treats

Fluffies offers incredibly thick soufflé pancakes inspired by Japanese and Southeast Asian desserts. The texture is like biting into a cloud, and they come in a stack of two, topped with whip cream or served creme brûlée-style — torched to order.

Fluffies $8–$10.

Smorgasburg at East River State Park (90 Kent Ave. at N. Seventh Street in Williamsburg, www.smorgasburg.com). Saturdays, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. April 6 through October.

Smorgasburg at Breeze Hill in Prospect Park [enter at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, www.smorgasburg.com]. Sundays, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. April 7 through October.

Smorgasburg X Vice Night Market at Villain [307 Kent Ave. between S. Second and S. Third streets in Williamsburg, www.smorgxvice.squarespace.com]. March 29, April 12 and 26, and May 10 and 31. 6 p.m.–midnight.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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