Rockaway Taco's Andrew Field Is Ready For Le Fooding At The Beach
Food festival spotlights boardwalk restoration
Rockaway Taco's Andrew Field likes to keep his menu pretty tight: a few types of tacos, a couple of quesadilas and some assorted snacks. Beyond that, the operator of New York's popular surf-side taqueria doesn't spend a whole lot of time on R&D. "We’ve been working on a few things but nothing gigantic," he says.
Field and his crew will be doing something a little different, though, for Le Fooding's upcoming Sanpellegrino Fruitstock at the Rockaways, which runs July 11-13. It's the latest in a series of creatively themed parties, spotlighting 0f-the-moment chefs and creative locations, organized by the French dining guide. Ticket sales for the three-day food and music event have reopened today. The entrance fee is $40 and includes three courses. Here's the link.
"I think Le Fooding is a great opportunity to try and put a couple of other things into play," says Field, whose team will be hand-grinding masa right on the beach to make fresh cornmeal crostini sopes for the event. "We’ll be milling the corn while you’re eating it," he says. "I don’t want to give all the secrets away. But, that’ll be part of what we’re doing." Field is especially stoked about the quality of the ingredients he'll be using; the raw dried corn is imported from Oaxaca, Mexico. "Man, it’s absolutely incredible," he says.
Field is planning to crank-out more than 200 sopes (thick corn tortillas topped with stewed and grilled meat) each day for the festival, which isn't quite as daunting as it might sound. "That’s no problem," he says. "We do about 2,000 tacos a day at Rockaway Taco. That’s just a normal Saturday."
The seven-year-old seaside snack shack, which continues to attract serpentine lines of hungry beach-goers every summer, gets a lot of credit for helping to spark New York's recent taco renaissance. "We just kind of turned up at a good time and a great place," says Field, who explains the taco boom as a natural extension of modern eating habits. "As a food item, it’s obviously super-efficient," he says. "It’s fast, it’s plentiful, it’s cheap enough. You can eat as you see fit, without having to feel like you’re spending tons of money."
In addition to Field, the three-day Le Fooding event features an impressive lineup of guest chefs, including Ivan Ramen's Ivan Orkin, Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi and Ludo Lefebvre from Trois Mec in L.A. Acclaimed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera is also taking part, whipping up red chilaquiles and burrata in a preview of what's to come from his hotly anticipated New York restaurant Cosme. (Olvera recently spoke with Food Republic about the project; read it here.)
A chunk of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Graybeards charity for restoring the Rockaways in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Field says festival-goers can expect a vastly improved vibe at Rockaway Beach this summer. "It feels so much better," he says. "Last year was obviously chaotic just because there were a lot of unknowns....The beaches were closed in a bunch of big parts. That was a little difficult for people. This year, I mean, the beaches are open, the lifeguards are there. They're still doing some of the boardwalk reconstruction, but everything is much, much more put together and composed in comparison to last year. That element of insecurity, I haven’t felt it this year. Coming out of this winter that's been so cold, I think everybody is itching for some Vitamin D. Everybody wants some sunshine."
He's hoping the festival attracts some new faces to his seaside perch, which he suggests is a much more diverse place than it might seem.
"We get pegged of being this sort of hipster jaunt," he says. "I’ve always said, if you could take a picture of everybody that comes to eat at Rockaway Taco, you’d be looking through a photo book of New York City."
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