This past summer, an eating buddy and I had the chance to check out Smorgasburg. For the uninitiated, is a seasonal food festival that takes place in Williamsburg (usually; it just moved to DUMBO for the cooler season) that features anywhere from AMAZING food vendors! Eating buddy and I had grand plans to try a dozen stalls – I believe we tapped out at 6. Soooo delicious. I highly recommend you check it out if you have the chance!
Unfortunately, Smorgasburg isn’t very convenient for me to get to – AND it’s almost the end of the season! So I was super excited when I was approached about a partnership between Whole Foods‘ Bowery location and Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery was launched in late October, and the space offers one vendor from Smorgasburg each month space to introduce their offerings in an intimate cafe setting! I found this really cool, as many of the vendors don’t have storefronts – this is a great “incubator” opportunity for them to flourish and still grow while it’s not prime Smorgasburg season!
I was offered a complimentary meal from the first Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bower vendor – Danny Lyu’s Cemita’s. When I heard about this 10 layer sandwich (they also serve tacos!), I knew I had to give it a try:
As you can see, the Cemita’s menu was pretty simple, yet offered several meat (and one mushroom) option, as well as a selection of Tacos, Cemitas, and a Cemita bowl:
For those unfamiliar, such as myself, unfamiliar with the Cemita, the below graphic provides a detailed representation of the 10 layers of this mouthwatering sandwich – that’s chipotle spread, paplo, avocado, cheese, pickled onion, tomato, lettuce, your choice of meat, mayo and black bean spread. YUM!!
The Cemita’s chefs even had the ten-layer sandwich graphic on the backs of their shirts – I want one of these awesome t-shirts in a major way!
Cemita’s creator and chef Danny Lyu (below) took a break from taking orders and preparing food to share his story with us. Working a “traditional” job before this venture, he recently decided to pursue his dream in food to introduce the Cemita to NYC! Learning from friends from whom the cemita was comfort food, Danny developed his own unique take on the Cemita – and the result is delicious! I wish Danny luck!
It was now time to start noshing! I saw guac on the menu, and when I see guac on the menu I have to order it:
The guacamole was very well done, with hearty chunks of avocado and generous with the cilantro (my faaaave). The chips were also a pleasant surprise. I often feel that chips can be hit or miss – merely a means, if you will, to get the guac to your mouth. These chips were hearty, perfectly salted, and served warm. I could have eaten these by the handful…and did.
I saw mango iced tea on the menu, and I had to try that as well – this photo isn’t extremely exciting, but let me just say this iced beverage was history way too soon:
We then dug into the tacos – we tried four kinds, you know, in the name of authentic food blogging coverage ;). We tried the Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, the Southern Fried Chicken, the Carnitas, and the Chicken Tinga. YUM!
Each of the tacos was served in a double layer of corn tortillas and topped with romaine lettuce, salsa and sour cream. I’m trying to pick a favorite, but the truth is – they were all delicious! The Grilled Portobello Mushrooms was a pleasant and hearty vegetarian option, while the Carnitas was a traditional and well-executed taco manifestation. The smokey chipotle aroma of the Chicken Tinga was intoxicating. The Southern Fried Chicken, while not the first meat that comes to mind when one thinks tacos, was finger lickin’ good! Deeelish.
It was now time to sample the namesake sandwich – the Cemita!
We ordered two cemitas – the Barbacoa (above) and the Chicken Tinga (below).
These sandwiches were no joke – they were huge!! I could easily see myself splitting one with an eating buddy for lunch, or being super-stuffed but deliciously satisfied for dinner. As excited I was about these sandwiches, I was curious to see if the flavors would get somewhat lost in these ten-layer creations. My fears were unfounded, as each layer came through without overpowering another in every bite. My favorite layers were the cheese, avocado and black bean spread, but I think each layer was integral in creating that perfect bite. Yum!
Do you think we had enough food?
I’m so glad that Whole Foods invited us to check out their new partnership with Smorgasburg, and that we got to check out Cemita’s! It was absolutely delicious and the prices were very reasonable. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure if I would have ventured out to Smorgasburg to try Cemita’s otherwise – so this is a total win-win! I would totally recommend checking out Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery and Cemita’s (they will be featured until November 20th), especially if you work in the areas – it’s a great lunch option!
Note: Meal provided by Whole Foods Market; opinions are my own.
Have you heard of the cemita sandwich before? Would you try it?