I ended up being one of the lucky forty thousand or so that got free general admission tickets to the inaugural Great Googa Mooga this year. This post is now coming out over a month after the event, so it’s a little dated. I won’t go too much into the logistics of the event since plenty of others have beat that dead horse many many times. We did go on Sunday, where the organizers improved a lot of things that failed the day before.
As we learned from the various food festivals we had been to on Governors Island, the key is to get there EARLY! As in, right when the gates open, especially if it is free admittance. It is pretty naive for anyone to think they can roll up at 2 pm and expect lines not to be long.
See the main stage area was pretty empty at 11 am.
CT, KR and I decided to divide and conquer when it came to the food. Although a couple of stands were not quite ready, most of the ones we wanted to try were. We all liked the huge signs at each stand that clearly said the name of the place and the menu. Much easier to make choices from afar rather than cause more congestion going all the way up to each stand to see what they had.
I started at the stand representing the Red Hook Ballfield vendors. I had the pork & cheese papusa ($10). The serving was two hefty discs filled with pork and cheese. The outside was nice and crispy from the flat top. A perfect contrast of texture to the tender pork and gooey cheese. The side of pickled cabbage helped cut through the richness. I was pretty happy with the portion size and price considering it was a food festival.
Vinegar Hill House had one of the most sought out after items of the festival, soft shell crab sandwich. I think it was $11. The line formed quickly, but they made the crabs in large batches so it didn’t take too long to get the sandwich. I was a little disappointed the crab was so small, but what are you gonna do? It was quite tasty with a nice bit of crunch from the soft shell. The tangy bbq sauce brought it all together.
CT saw fried chicken from Blue Ribbon and zipped right over. They served three nicely fried and seasoned wings. In my almost 8 years in the city, I still haven’t made it to any of the Blue Ribbon restaurants. I should change that soon.
More infamous than the crab sandwich was the foie gras doughnut from Do or Dine. It surprisingly worked with the rich foie, sweet jam and airy dough. It had a pretty large amount of foie in it. I am glad we tried it, but could live the rest of my life never having it again.
KR brought over a sausage from The Meat Hook. It was a very well made sausage that had some pretty good heat from various spices. The sauerkraut was milder than I’m used to so I actually ate it.
The tables made out of police barricades were pretty handy and cool.
They also had three kinds of garbage cans throughout the event to collect and separate trash from recyclables and compost. Yay environment!
Maharlika was there with their Filipino food. Unfortunately we haven’t been to their permanent restaurant, but did enjoy their pop-up brunch last year. The langga hot dog was sure pretty, but unfortunately way too sweet. It definitely needed some more slaw to add a little more acidity.
Baohaus was serving some fried chicken baos. Two to an order, they were quite hefty.
After listening to some of the bands and relaxing on the soft grass for a while, it was time for dessert.
CT & KR each got some shave ice from Wooly’s. It came with mango and strawberry. I had a taste and enjoyed it. Super refreshing on a hot day. However, I prefer my ice to be sans milk.
I went over to La Newyorkina for a paleta aka Mexican ice pop. I didn’t get a picture of my lime & cucumber paleta, but enjoyed it a lot. There was some chili flake available as a topping to add a nice spicy kick.
In one part of the park was this monstrosity, HAMAGEDDON. It actually was a spit roasting grill for a whole hog. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to taste the pork. I think it was for those suckers that bought the Extra Mooga tickets.
All in all, we enjoyed the Great Googa Mooga a lot. We ate what we wanted early and then just went off to relax in a non-crowded area. I am glad they fixed things from the problems they had on Saturday. i.e. accepting cash at the bars. I can’t say it enough, if you want to go to a food festival in NYC, GO EARLY!