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NYC's Vendy Superstars Name the Best Food Trucks

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Vendy Awards 2012 // © Jasmin Sun

Saturday's 8th annual Vendy Awards. / © Jasmin Sun

“Especially in NYC, you don’t always have time to eat at a restaurant—sometimes you just need to grab something and go,” says Will Edwards of Peruvian-inspired Pestle & Mortar, which was among the finalists for best market vendor at the eighth annual Vendy Awards on Saturday. The overall winner was Piaztlan Authentic Mexican, which hawks incredible goat, al pastor and carne asada tacos at the Red Hook Ball Fields on weekends from May to October. In an act of meta proportions, F&W asked some of the amazing street food specialists attending the awards event for food truck recommendations of their own.


VENDOR PICKS FOR NYC FOOD TRUCKS  

El Idolo: 14th Street at 8th Avenue, Manhattan
“This place is sensational. They’re not part of any foodie craze, they’re not Plan B-career types. They’re auténtico, and they’re super delicious. You have to get the pork al pastor. It’s pork cooked on a spit, then grilled with some onions and pineapple. Be sure to get that as a torta—which is a Mexican sandwich—it’s just unbelievable. They make the sandwich when the pork is hot, so that it melts the cheese. Then they add refried beans, somefresh avocado, and wrap that thing up immediately. By the time I get home, the cheese is all melted, the bread is nice and soft, and life is good.” —Robert Liano, Baby Got Back Ribs; Saturdays at Smorgasburg (summer) and Madison Square Eats (fall)

Korilla BBQ: Various locations, check @KorillaBBQ
“I work in Midtown for my day job, and it’s right next to this place—at one point I’d come here almost once a week. I would come back to New York for them if I were ever to move. In fact, I sometimes chase them around the city. The rib eye burrito here is my go-to. Get it with the BKFR, or the bacon-kimchi fried rice.” —Kareem Hamady, Melt Bakery; High Line, daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wafels & Dinges: Various locations, check @waffletruck
“I love the traditional waffle with the chocolaty caramel sauce. The waffle has a great chew to it, almost like bread, but there’s also this initial crisp. There is a consistent texture progression. You get a little bit of crisp, although the sauce doesn’t make it soggy, and it has a chew to it that doesn’t go away.” —Kareem Hamady, Melt Bakery 

Kelvin Natural Slush Co.: Call (646) 200-5083 for latest location
“I crave Kelvin Natural Slush Co. Slushy drinks tend to be really, really sweet, but Kelvin’s have a nice tartness. The texture is also really nice, very refreshing. The last one I loved was a peach-raspberry iced tea version.” —Julian Plyter, Melt Bakery

Equimex: North 4th Street at Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“Everyone needs to try the pork tacos here. You have to ask for the hot sauce that the owner makes. It’s not on the menu, but it really pulls it all together. A lot of it has to do with the tortilla that she uses for the taco. A lot of times you’ll have these corn tortillas that are so dry, but these are moist. And the pork butt in the taco has been perfectly braised—it just melts in your mouth. It’s not tough at all, which is typically the problem at taco trucks that aren’t as nice.” —Will Edwards, Pestle & Mortar; Saturdays at Smorgasburg

Fishing Shrimp: Various locations, check @FishingShrimp
“I love the shrimp basket here. I have no idea what they batter it in, but the shrimp is always really crispy and a bit sweet. Everything’s just cooked to perfection.” —Yin Choi, Fun Buns; various locations, check @funbunsnyc
 
Morris Grilled Cheese Truck: Various locations, check @morristruck
“Anything with bacon on it, I love, and they do this awesome bacon grilled cheese with ramp butter. I grew up in the country, so I’m fond of ramps. I’ll get it with whatever bread is available that day. I usually just let them choose the cheese for me—I love cheese, so it’s all pretty good to me. Also, if they have the gazpacho that day, definitely get that. Like how many trucks can you get gazpacho from? That’s cool to me.”  —J.J. Jensen, Phil’s Steaks; various locations, check @PhilsSteaks

Follow Jasmin on Twitter @jasminsun.

Related: Food Truck Recipes
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