The annual 9th Avenue International Food Festival has become our unofficial kick-off to summer events, and it is something I look forward to every year – larger and more diverse than most street fairs that occur throughout New York City, it features various local restaurants serving food and beverages outdoors for quite affordable prices – for instance, one Thai location was selling Singha beer for just $ 3, while Brazilian eatery Rice and Beans had finger food for as little as $ 2.
Renata and I started from the beginning on W 42nd street (we passed by B.B. King’s Club and saw the wreath and flowers set up there as a memorial to the late blues legend, who had passed on earlier that week), and started out at Thai food stand, where we bought vegetarian spring rolls and chicken satay, and then we made our way to another Thai location where we got a drink to wash down the food.
Along the way there are several other vendors selling everything from insulting T-shirts, pashminas, makeup and other accessories. Well-known venues like Ruby’s have specials throughout the day, and another has a whole pig being roasted for sandwiches. We didn’t stop there, and made our way up the avenue where we met with David and his wife Martha (loyal readers will remember them from my blog about our visit to Jamaica in 2014).
When at the Festival, I make a point of stopping at Delta Grill to get some alligator sausage, a delicacy that is shipped directly from Louisiana especially for this event (the restaurant serves them at the bar, but the presentation is quite different) – the meat is deliciously spicy and is served with brown mustard on the side. David and Martha debated getting some crawfish, but in the end they changed their mind. I thought Renata would get some Polish food, but she didn’t seem interested in it this time around.
Our next stop was at Rice and Beans, where we got some pastel (fried dumplings) and pao de queijo (cheese bread) and a couple of red sangrias. They had tables there, so we sat for a while as we enjoyed our food and rest our feet a bit. I also went across the street for a couple of vegetable samosas from Indian vendors as Renata and Martha checked out the makeup stand. We walked a bit more towards the end of the festival at W 57th Street, where they had some rides for kids.
As usual it was a very nice experience – the weather was almost perfect (unlike two years ago when we were soaked by spring showers) so it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. At around 4:30 PM we headed back to 8th Avenue and took the train back downtown