Last year I went to a food truck event on Governors Island. The line for the ferry was hundreds of people long, but I decided to wait it out. When I finally got to the free-admission event, every one of the dozen or so trucks had 75 or more people in line. I asked around, and waits for food at each truck were up to an hour. I left in disgust, vowing never to return to Governors Island for a food event. Then I heard about Cook-Out NYC. Mind you, I was given a free press pass, but I was intrigued because the event was ticketed, and they were capping the number of attendees so it wouldn’t get too crowded. It was pay-one-price for all you can eat from local chefs and restaurants. And if you got a VIP ticket, you could have all the beer you wanted. There would be live music and a kimchi-eating contest too. Now this made sense to me. I headed over on July 8th (it was a two-day event) to check it out.
I walked right up to the Governors Island ferry — it was just a brief wait for the next one to arrive. That was a good sign. Yes, I know that’s a photo of the Staten Island Ferry above, but it was such a great view from my ferry with the Statue of Liberty in the background, I had to snap this shot. Even on a hot summer day, the ride on the ferry is so nice.
Look at those crowds, or maybe I should say the lack of crowds. Okay, so this was still early, but even an hour later there were almost no lines. And look at all those vendors with grills in action!
I tried everything in sight. Tacos… yes!
Steak with chimichurri sauce, grilled wings… definitely.
Is it weird that one of my favorite items was this watermelon-cucumber-feta salad. Well, I wasn’t the only one who thought so, because I have to admit there were about 10 people in line for this at all times. I went back for seconds.
Oh wait, this was my real favorite. By the way, photographing sausage isn’t easy. I’m not sure what was in this sausage that made it so good — maybe cheese? I went back for seconds of this too.
Six Point Brewery was the beer sponsor, but of course, even with my “VIP” ticket, I wasn’t going to be drinking any because I’m gluten-free. Kudos to the planners for having plenty of this bottled sangria on hand. I didn’t know such a thing existed, but it was really nice over ice on a hot day.
The longest lines were for this bison burger with chipotle chile mayo from Alobar. But when I say long, I mean the wait was about 5 minutes… totally worth it. Yes, I took the burger off the bun and ate it.
Mama O’s had a big table to sample their various kimchis, all great. I should mention I was invited to attend a Mama O’s kimchi-making demonstration about two weeks earlier at Jimmy’s No. 43, which was a real treat. Jimmy Carbone is such a great host.
This steak taco from Bar Bruno served with the kimchi was another favorite, but it was super spicy… and I got the less spicy one. So what are the lessons learned? First, look out for Cook Out NYC next year. Next, look out for events when Jimmy Carbone is involved with the planning. Lastly, skip those unticketed food events in New York City unless you love lines.