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2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist: Hamza & Madina Halal Food

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Aug 28, 2012
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Meet the Salem Mashriqi, co-owner of Hazma & Madina Halal Food on the corner of Hillside Avenue and Little Neck Parkway in Glen Oaks, NY. A 2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist.

This halal food vendor is a little out of the way compared to others, but DEFINITELY worth the trip out. What sets them apart from all the other halal food carts are the Afghani flavors incorporated into their special lamb gyro and chicken gyro recipes and sauces. Personally, I’ve never had a white sauce with so much depth of flavor! Layers of interesting spices and ingredients pop out at you, but I just can’t quite put my finger on them, but that’s the beauty of it. Here, everything is homemade – right down to the spice blends – and everything’s a secret. A true story about coming from nothing and building their own American dream. Enjoy!

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!

 

2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist: Piaztlan Authentic Mexican Food Truck

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Aug 28, 2012
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Meet the Perez family of Piaztlan Authentic Mexican, one of the original food vendors at The Red Hook Ball Fields in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A 2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist. Piaztlan is all about family, and without the guidance of Eleazar Perez, the mom and head chef, their truck would not have the reputation, the commitment to flavor or the loyalty their truck has today. This food truck story is definitely all about setting an example for your kids and being an inspiration to your family. Enjoy!

Be sure to get your tickets to the big NYC Vendy Awards event on September 15th on Governor’s Island.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!

 

2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist: The Cinnamon Snail

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Aug 27, 2012
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Over the past two weeks, I’ve been in and out of all sorts of food trucks throughout New York City, filming profile videos for the 2012 NYC Vendy Awards. This week, I’ll be releasing them. It’s been a pleasure spending time with very passionate, very dedicated food makers who’ve chosen to make a living in a very difficult and demanding business. Like one vendor explained: “Having a truck is like every issue a restaurant has to deal with AND every issue a drug dealer has to deal with…” 

Though their food comes out quick and effortlessly, it’s not easy doing what they do. They’ll admit it too: the long hours, the prep work, the inevitable collection of parking tickets. However, each finalist also convinced me why it’s all been worth it to them, and that’s what I hope to show you in my video stories this week: the love and the passion put into each and every bite of food.

Today, Meet Adam Sobel of The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Organic food truck. A 2012 NYC Vendy Award Finalist. 

Congrats to all the finalists! Be sure to get your tickets to the big event on September 15th.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!

Letting Salt Just Be Salt: Amagansett Sea Salt Co.

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Aug 20, 2012
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“I was very surprised when we first went into this that no one was making salt in New York, and very few on the East Coast; but, as we’ve become more involved in the business, I think there are very few people who are crazy enough to start a project like this.”

Meet Steven and Natalie Judelson, sea-salt fanatics and husband & wife team behind Amagansett Sea Salt Co. in Long Island, NY.  They are New York State’s only sea salt makers and one of only four artisan salt makers on the entire Eastern Seaboard.

The Judelsons’ love of salts came naturally: they’ve always preferred savory over sweet, a preference that got them addicted to tasting and collecting all-natural sea salts over 20 years ago. What they learned is that real salts, salts not heavily processed in factories, don’t all taste the same. They have their own unique “terroir” – nuanced flavors that give a product a special sense of place. So, given their fascination and proximity to the ocean, they started making their own sea salt, for fun, out of their beach home in Amagansett. Over the past ten years, Steven has slowly perfected his homemade sea salt harvesting and “farming operation”, to the point where in 2009, they took “a leap of faith” and decided to share their passion with others.

Right now, Amagansett Sea Salt Co. offers 10 different sea salt blends. You can find them in various farmers markets out in the Hamptons, or at specialty stores, like Shelsky’s Smoked Fish, here in New York City. I recommend trying the East Hampton Blend with Herbes de Provence. It goes great with eggs, grilled seafood and meats. I also really like their Montauk Blend with lemon zest, which is a nice compliment to vegetables and fruits, and also goes great as a salt rim for margaritas.

Enjoy Steven and Natalie’s story! I think you’ll be surprised how much work and beauty goes into salting up your food.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!

A Reason to Kiss the Sea: Montauk Pearl Oysters

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Aug 5, 2012
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“I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I like to dream. And this company, which we’ve started on a dream, is going to continue on a dreamy kind of path. It’s heaven. This is heaven.”

Meet Mike & Mike. Mike Martinsen and Mike Doall, the founders of Montauk Shellfish Company, a commercial fisherman and marine biologist who’ve teamed up to give back to their community and pay respect to the Earth by launching Montauk’s very first oyster farm: Montauk Pearls.

Montauk Pearls are new to the oyster scene, and the success of their operation has given the East End a new found interest in aquaculture. The two Mikes started their surface grow out system in 2009, leasing out a very unique and hard-to-come-by plot of private land in Lake Montauk.  A plot of land that just-so-happened to be underwater.   As the story goes, Mike M happened to be living on the property and asked his landlord if he could use it for farming.  Luckily, his landlord said yes.

“It just seems like things all just lined up, almost like fate.” – Mike Martinsen

Feedback has been so positive that demand for the “pearls” has already exceeded supply. Five-star chefs in New York and Long Island are featuring their oysters on menus, as are select seafood joints, like Maison Premiere in Brooklyn and The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.  According to Mike D, “once you open one up, they basically sell themselves.”

And it’s true. I was sold from the first super briny slurp: a snappy crispness to the meat (and there’s a lot of it), and a finish that tasted of slightly-sweet, fresh watermelon rind. Really, it’s Mike M’s surf-related description that makes me smile most:

“It reminds me of being out in the ocean at sunset…a double-overhead swell, perfect off-shore winds, a little rainbow blowing off the back of the wave. It’s like that salt taste of the mist when you’re coming down a wave in through a barrel. It’s that sea taste: misty, salty, ocean bliss”. You really can’t say it better than that!

Enjoy their beautiful story, shot just a few weeks ago. And thanks for watching and supporting food. curated.! It’s been a slow start for me in 2012, but good things are happening again and, thankfully, I’m back on track. Happy slurping!