060308redhookvendor.jpgThe folks at Porkchop Express have an informative Q&A session with Cesar Fuentes, the Executive Director of the Red Hook Food Vendors Committee. As enthusiasts await the opening of the new ballfield stands, the good news is that all the same vendors will be returning with their Latin culinary delights. The bad news is that not all of them may get it together in time to return for this season, and the new operating costs for each vendor may ultimately prove prohibitively high for some. Fuentes clears up a few other things in the interview:

  • The food tents and the unique 'mercado' feel are a thing of the past, to be replaced by city-mandated mobile food vending trucks.
  • Fuentes has "heard some convincing arguments" that race played a role in the city's crackdown after 34 years of operation, but says the word 'gentrification' sums the situation up nicely.
  • The vendors might expand their days and months of operation because the new permits are valid year-round.
  • Because of the new IKEA, the baseball field food vendors were prohibited from selling in Field #9, across from the store, for this season.

Fuentes still says they hope to return to the fields in mid-June, but according to Eater that estimate may be a tad optimistic. In the meantime, several Red Hook vendors have set up outposts at the Brooklyn Flea: Martinez Mexican (Huaraches), Vaquero Mexican (elotes, fruits) and Soler Dominican\Salvadoran (Pupusas).

As for tacos, Fuentes's favorites (aside from those at the ballfields, naturally) can be found at the taco trucks along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens; Super Taco, the truck on 96th street and Broadway in Manhattan; or his favorite Mexican restaurant, El Coyote in Queens on Hillside Avenue and 180th Street, particularly for the Cecina and Al Pastor tacos.

Photo courtesy Listen Missy.