Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a pickle for your thoughts

in Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy for hangovers. i spent sunday afternoon drying out at the 8th annual international pickle day festival on the lower east side. apparently, the Polish are more adept at devising home remedies than they are at war strategy...

the festival spanned a massive 1 block stretch along orchard st. between broome and grand. there were also a few vendors located in a parking lot around the corner but they were closing up shop by the time i got over there. the only thing left were a bunch of shitdick thespians "performing" some shakespeare in the parking lot nonsense. i use the term "performing" very loosely; it was COMPLETE rubbish.

the festival was PACKED with hungry people trying to parlay a few free samples into an entire free meal. picklefiles queued up on massive lines for their chance at salty salvation. Guss' pickles were the biggest draw, the line extended the entire length of the festival - the payoff, a pickle on a stick, was mediocre at best.

my favorite vendors were the kimchi pushing koreans (big suprise). they had a little mixed vegetables dish with peppers, cabbage, carrots and scallions. it was kind of bland but it was also kind of free; i indulged:

they also had some BADASS kimchi pancakes. i think it was the only thing served hot at the entire festival. needless to say, i had seconds:

in the skillet/on the plate

-- i was really hoping to find some pickled eggs or pigs feet at this event, however, the only pickled protein i came across was herring.

one was curried, one was sweet and one was uber rich and creamy - they were all decent, i particularly enjoyed the curried option.

-- the most creative use of pickling goes to rick's picks pickles. their catalog ran the gamut: cucumbers, okra, beets, green beans, melons and even ramps:

the okra had deep layers of flavor; smoked THEN pickled resulting in a unique juxtaposition between rich earthiness and pickle-twang. the green beans were mean and snappy as all hell. the beets sweet and spicy with notes of cinnamon, clove and ginger. the melon had an interesting chutney vibe to it. all of the samples were pretty good, if i actually had some $ i probably would have picked something up...oh well, maybe next year.

-- i can't recall the name of my favorite pickle vendor but i did take a picture:

just some straight-up pickles - sweet & sour with a garlic kick and subtle notes of dill. the peppers and garlic were also pickled. the garlic was crisp and punchy. the pepper...well, it definitely had some tang to it!

© 2008 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" - http://missioninsatiable.blogspot.com/