A Celebration of Desserts at the 2012 Vendy Awards

If you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know that there is no shortage of places to eat here. Michelin-starred, James Beard-awarded, see-and-be-seen hot spots? We have plenty. Hole-in-the-wall joints with just 20 chairs and one server? Yes, they’re here, too. One of New York City’s most-beloved eating traditions, however, takes place not inside a room or at a table, but rather behind the windows of the street carts and food trucks that line the streets of almost every neighborhood in the city.

Every summer New York comes together to celebrate the city’s best sidewalk vendors and street food of all kinds at the Vendy Awards, an afternoon food festival that brings together big-time vendors and newcomers alike to support The Street Vendor Project, “a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.” Vendors set up shop then dish out signature plates to lines of hungry locals while entering their food in one category to win the Vendy Cup, People’s Taste Award or the title of Best Dessert, Rookie Vendor of the Year or Best Market Vendor. This year’s awards took place last weekend on Governors Island, and we were there to taste the very best bites.

Savory plates of deliciously salty and spicy Mexican tortas, all-American cheesesteaks, Asian-style noodles, meaty kebabs and more filled the outdoor space, but it was the sweeter treats, the sugary, creamy and chilled desserts that wowed us the most.

Pictured above is Melt Bakery's Lovelet, a finger-licking-good ice cream sandwich boasting smooth cream-cheese ice cream nestled between two red velvet "meltcakes" that were soft and moist. Thanks to their crave-worthy menu of other sweet sandwiches like the Morticia, made with chocolate cookies and malted chocolate-rum ice cream, Melt Bakery scored the coveted title of Best Dessert.

Coolhaus is known for their selection of sweet and savory ice creams and cookies, and at the Vendy Awards, the truck did not disappoint. Pictured above is Bushmills Honey Whiskey Candied Bacon Ice Cream With Chocolate Chip Cookie. They add bits of bacon to rich vanilla ice cream and pair it with a crumbly cookie to create an over-the-top dessert that's perfectly salty and sweet.

Anthony's Italian Ices and Espresso Bar was on hand to scoop up any one of its dozens of flavors of "Old-Fashioned, Handmade Italian Ices," like cotton candy, pink lemonade and root beer. We can't resist cherry-flavored anything, so we just had to taste their bright-red cherry ice. Studded with bits of fruit, it was a chilly, deliciously refreshing cup.

Bright and light, the Mousson Mango Lassi Lolly from Monsieur Singh Lassi is a mini ice pop made with creamy yogurt and just-sweet-enough fruit. This brand-new company sells their signature pops and Lassi Drinks from the back of a bicycle.

2012 Vendy Award Winners

People's Taste Award: Cinnamon Snail
Best Dessert: Melt Bakery
Best Market Vendor: Lumpia Shack
Rookie Vendor of the Year: Phil’s Steaks

Hungry for sweets? Browse Food Network's collection of Quick Fall Desserts to make at home tonight.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Scenes From the 2012 James Beard Awards

On Monday night the food industry celebrated the best of the best from the past year at the 2012 James Beard Awards at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

The Vendy Awards: Street Food With a Flair for the International

Check out the 2011 Vendy Award winners and browse delicious photos from the event.

Sandra Lee Celebrates House Beautiful’s 2012 Kitchen of the Year

Food Network's Sandra Lee was on hand in New York City this week as House Beautiful magazine launched its annual showcase of the Kitchen of the Year.

Spotlight Recipes: Celebrate With Lemon Desserts

There’s just something special about the bright and tangy goodness of a lemon. Sprinkle in some sweet elements and your taste buds get a wake up call. Celebrate spring with any of these lemony Healthy Eats approved treats.