Today, we went to Governors Island for the 5 Boro PicNYC. If you haven’t been to Governors Island yet, you are missing out. We were there for the first time just this past September for Pig Island and I just fell in love with the island. It’s a beautiful island right off the southern tip of NYC. You can get there on a 5 minute FREE ferry (no joke… 5 minutes) and it’s filled with history and beautiful buildings.
The Ferry is open Memorial day through the fall, so today was the first day of the 2012 season, and we were on the first ferry at 10am. Ferries leave from the terminal right next to the Staten Island Ferry at 10am, 11am and then every half hour through 7pm. The island is open Saturdays and Sunday as well as holiday Mondays. (There is also a ferry from Brooklyn)
We were there before the PicNYC admission (11:30am) so we explored some of the island before hand. (Post all about the island to follow)
We got on line and went on in at 11:30am.
The event, like Pig Island, took place on Colonel’s Row, where each vendor is set up in a tent.
At the center was a tent set up for Jarlsberg Cheese.
They were serving grilled cheese (one with pork and one with a meatball pate).
Both were good, but grilled cheese on a grill just doesn’t have the buttery goodness of the grilled cheese I love.
They also had a cheese dip that included red onions.
It was surprisingly good, and kind of tasted like “coleslaw with cheese” (quote from Mike).
While I’ve had Ricks Picks before, I am always up for a good pickle. The People’s Pickles are my favorite.
There wasn’t great signage in a lot of restaurants, but many had some sort of “Jimmy’s No. 43” signage on them.
One of these had “Street Chicken Tacos” which were surprisingly very good. Basic and delicious.
I was, of course, out, but Lucky 777 was serving up some chili.
I guess they were New Orleans themed by the decorations.
They had 3 varieties: bean, pork, and turkey.
Mike went with the pork and said it was very good.
Sixpoint Brewery was supplying all the beer at the event. Our tickets came with unlimited food sampling and 1 beer ticket. Unlimited beer tickets were available for $20 more, but seeing as though you could get 4 beer tickets for $20 extra, I didn’t think we would be drinking 5 beers that day, so we went with the basic ticket.
There was an entire section of hot sauce, that I sadly had to skip over.
One place was serving wings that had a ghost chili sauce on them. Judging from the reactions around us, these babies were HOT.
We hit a series of tents all labeled as Jimmy’s 43.
One was serving kielbasa, that was sadly a bit cold and lacking in flavor.
But right next to that they were serving my favorite bite of the day: BBQ chicken.
It had a crispy skin on the outside and juicy chicken on the inside. The sauce was flavorful without being at all spicy. It was everything that is good about BBQ chicken.
There was a also a steak in a chimichurri sauce. The bread wasn’t toasted and it was nearly impossibly to take a bit out of this. I wound up rolling up my steak and popping the whole thing in my mouth. It was okay.
They had some stuff for vegetarians… but really not a lot at all. The potato salad looked pretty good.
As did the cole slaw. But I wouldn’t advise this event for anyone that doesn’t eat meat.
There was a banh mi assembly line going on, but they were having difficulty getting these out in any efficient fashion.
And sadly they weren’t that good. The bread was soft, no crisp at all (an essential to banh mi in my opinion) and the pork was ground rather than in pieces.
Mine without sauce was even more boring.
Sausage was a very popular dish, but these were stand outs. Blood sausage and veal sausage. They were both very good, but the blood sausage was especially flavorful without being TOO gamey.
One of the last places we stopped was Peels, and they were offering house-made smoked green garlic and poblano chile (d’oh) kielbasa with pickled cabbage and house mustard.
I was out, but Mike tried it and said it was VERY good.
At this point we decided to leave the event for a bit, and we rented bicycles and rode around the island (another post on that adventure soon). We came back a little over an hour later, got some more beers, and sat and watched the band. Unfortunately, the ground was a bit damp so we left with soggy bottoms.
One complaint I have is that there aren’t enough tables/seating at these events. It’s hard to balance a beer and food that requires a knife and fork.
My final beer selection of the day was the Apollo. It’s Sixpoint’s wheat beer and I thought it was just perfect for a humid summer day out in the park.
As we were heading out, we needed something cold. While most food was free, a few vendors did have paid grub. The line for Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck was a bit too long, so we decided to check out the Wooly’s stand (a Vendy award winner, according to their sign).
We weren’t sure what it was, but it came from some sort of revolving ice machine thing.
They only had mango flavor left, and they topped it with strawberries, brownies, and salted leche sauce.
The only way I can describe it was that it was like ice clouds. Not a lot of flavor, just sweet (not really mango) but the toppings were great and it was very refreshing on the hot day.
Overall, I thought the food at PicNYC was just okay. Too many sausages and not enough variation. For the $25 cost of admission though, it’s hard to be all-you-can-eat food. I should have just had more of those chicken drumsticks! Though really, after all that food, I wasn’t left wanting by any means.
I would say that if you had nothing going on tomorrow, it would be a fun day and definitely worth the cost of admission. Unfortunately, however, they just posted that they are all out of Sunday tickets. So if you have tickets, have a ton of fun!
And definitely make your way to Governors Island this summer!