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The Great GoogaMooga


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N and I got tickets for this weeks ago, on the grounds that since it was free to enter, we could choose on the day of the event whether or not to go (say if the weather was bad or we didn't feel like digging the crowds). Since the weather was perfect yesterday, we decided to get there as early as possible, since we were there for the food and not really for the music.

 

So yes, it was kind of twee, with the booths lumped together into hipster-ish sounding areas (i.e., "Hamageddon", "The Burger Experience", etc.). But we actually had a very good time, and we were very glad we went just after it opened. We also observed one of the rules of big food events like this: visit the stalls with the shortest lines. Usually the food is more interesting at those places.

 

Prices? About what you'd expect for any kind of music festival. Some offerings were highly marked-up (the $6 teeny portion of cebollitas [scallions] with romesco sauce from Tia Pol); others were relative bargains (the $9 half-lobster from the Lobster Place). We did a lot of reconaissance work before actually buying anything.

 

The festival was arranged thusly:

 

--One tent offering lots of beer selections and one tent offering wine. These didn't take cash; you had to buy a refillable "Googamoola" card (and visit a separate tent to get an Over 21 wristband"). We decided not to spend money (and calories) on alcohol. We brought our own water, and thus avoided the crazy lines at the drink stalls.

--Hamageddon: stalls offering BBQ and other pork-based food, a stage that hosted cheezy heavy-metal acts as well as butchering/meat cooking demos, and a huge rotisserie in the shape of a giant pig that was cooking a whole hog. We had a pulled pork slider from Dinosaur BBQ as an appetizer.

--Marketplace: places like Russ & Daughters, Liddabit Sweets, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Dickson Farmstead Meats, etc. were put here. We had a very good Slim Jim-type stick from Dickson and a nice cheddar & chutney sandwich from Saxelby, and also bought a beautifully decorated cookie from Sugarbite (?).

--Separate areas with 4-5 burger booths and 4-5 pizza booths.

--Two long rows that had all of the other restaurant stands. All featured 1-2 savory items and 1 special nonalcoholic drink--there were lots of really tasty-sounding ginger- and lemonade-based drinks on offer. The booths from the hottest places with the hipster creds had incredible lines (e.g., Do or Dine's foie gras donuts). We loved the 1/2 lobster--it made N's day. We also had a great Filipino take on Mexican roasted corn from Maharlika: corn with scallions, cheese, and instead of crema a shrimp paste and mayo cream. Very very good.

--A collection of sweets booths. I was tempted by Wooly Shaved Ice, but one stall was offering a take on dirt cake: chocolate pudding, brownie bits, ginger gummy worms, and whipped cream. I loved that. N got a horchata shake from Big Gay Ice Cream that was also very good, and I bought a mini-chocolate whoopie pie from Baked.

--An area featuring talks/presentations about running a restaurant business.

--An area called UrBarn that had displays and booths about urban gardening.

 

It was crowded, yes, but because it was spread out over lots of parkland it didn't feel quite as nuts as the indoors events I've attended. Because we came early, we left around 1:25, so we had time to putter around Carroll Gardens and visit the Brooklyn Farmacy.

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Wow, i must say, the day sounds a lot bette than I was expecting it to be. Though, I guess the crowds starting showing up more and more as the day progressed. I avoid these things at all costs but, i am happy you all had a fun day!

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It was a lovely afternoon. We left at about 5p.m., and it wasn't too crowded, although some of the lines were stupidly long. The line in front of Luke's lobster seemed to go across the entire field. I wanted to point out to these people that Luke's sells the lobster rolls every day without waiting more than a few minutes. And I'm guessing that the price is about the same. Most of the stands had only brief waits.

 

We were comped Extra Mooga passes. If I had paid $250 for these, I would have been pissed. There was a separate Extra Mooga area, with maybe 7 food stands, two beer/wine stands and a few cocktail stands. Yes, there were no lines in the Extra Mooga area -- but the offerings didn't remotely warrant $250. And, I was under the impression that the Extra Mooga passes allowed you to skip the lines in the main area and get free beer/wine throughout the festival. No.

 

For some reason, we didn't have a lot of food. It's probably not fair to judge a restaurant on what they served at the festival, but:

 

Kutchers Pastrami -- awful, bland, hard gristle.

Mile End Pastrami -- good, not great. More spice rub than NY pastrami. A little chemically-flavor.

La Frieda burger -- damn good burger. well-cooked. char.

La Frieda bbq brisket -- damn good brisket

Crawfish Monica (?) -- pasta with a spicy, creamy crasfish sauce -- very good.

Colicchio & Sons Mortadella hot dog -- quite good, nice pickled onion.

Brindle Room Burger -- damn good burger.

Red Rooster's Chicken Bereberere -- good.

Some other bites and nibles were good as well.

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Who had the Crawfish Monica? And are you aware that there's a manufacturer in New Orleans that produces, packs, and ships the sauce for the recipe owner? Which is to say, while it might not be available at retail, it's a commercial item. Which is not to say it isn't tasty; it is.

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I believe the Crawfish Monica vendor was, in fact, "Crawfish Monica." The sauce was creamy and kind of reddish; not white. It was good.

 

I'm surprised by the number of complaints on Eater about vendors running out of food. I didn't notice that, but I guess we left kind of early. Brindle Room did sell out of burgers, but they had lots of sausages as backup. I also notice that there were other people who actually purchased the Extra Mooga tickets who were also under the impression that they would get free food & drink throughout the event.

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I was there more for the music than for the food. The Roots was playing. But, here is an interesting article about the whole event:

 

http://observer.com/2012/05/gluttons-for-punishment-how-new-york-restaurants-survived-the-great-googamooga/?show=all

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After our applause the next course was brought in. Actually it was not as grand as we expected, but it was so novel that everyone stared. It was a deep circular tray with the twelve signs of the Zodiac arranged round the edge. Over each of them the chef had placed some appropriate dainty suggested by the subject. Over Aries the Ram, chickpeas; over Taurus the Bull, a beefsteak; over the Heavenly Twins, testicles and kidneys; over Cancer the Crab, a garland; over Leo the Lion, an African fig; over Virgo the Virgin, a young Sow's udder; over Libra the Scales, a balance with a cheesecake in one pan and a pastry in the other; over Scorpio, a sea scorpion; over Sagittarius the Archer, a sea bream with eyespots; over Capricorn, a lobster; over Aquarius the [fragment]

 

“And don't you think he buys anything, either. Everything is home-grown: wool, citrus, pepper. If you ask for hen's milk, you'll get it. In fact, there was a time when the wool he'd got wasn't good enough for him, so he brought some rams from Tarentum and banged them into his sheep. To get home-grown Attic honey, he ordered some bees from Athens - the Greek strain improved his own bees a bit at the same time.

 

“And here's something more - these last few days he wrote off for mushroom spores from India. Why, he hasn't a single mule that wasn't sired by a wild ass. You see all these cushions - every one of them has either purple or scarlet stuffing. There's happiness for you!”

 

From afar, this to me is Brooklyn.

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