>> The Cradle NYC | Eat the World NYC

01 August 2019

The Cradle NYC


One of the main drawbacks of visiting the Rockaways is that the vendors on the beach can sometimes be a bit lacking in terms of flavor and history. Some operations come and go offering hints of countries they may or may not have connections to, but in the end the food has been altered, often intentionally, to cater to the tastes of the weekend crowds arriving on shuttles from Williamsburg. As shown before on these pages, there are good neighborhood options, but sometimes you just want to stroll up shirtless and order some lunch.

Thankfully for all interested, Mr. Babajide Alao, who lives nearby and will introduce himself to you as "Jide" with an ear to ear smile that can almost set the boardwalk on fire, has decided to bring his young catering business to the sea and his brand new food cart, now in its fourth week of operation.

The written menu is limited, and likely to be even more limited as Mr. Alao continues to find his sea legs and figures out what works and what does not, but a couple options for lunch and dinner should always be available. Choose a rice style, a meat, and a side, all for $10.

The combination above included jollof rice, seasoned beef, and fried sweet plantains. On a second trip back to the cart (below), baked seasoned chicken and sweet potatoes were swapped out. His vegan jollof rice had to stay, as it was very tasty. As with this, the chef seems interested in making sure the traditional recipes he knows are kept as healthy as possible. These bowls had no lingering effects nor did they require a 30 minute wait before jumping back in the ocean. West African food that leaves you feeling light as a feather.

On the days with heavier traffic, the chef is also bringing his homemade zobo, a drink made from sorrel and fantastically popular all throughout Nigeria. This is the kind of cool refreshment needed on those summer days.

Best of luck to Chef Alao and his new business!


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