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“Food. Music. Fashion. Pastrami.”  Those four words were plastered down astro-turf-lined Orchard St on Sunday, June 2nd as the neighborhood gathered together to enjoy the annual DayLife festival.  This free three-block event featured several local food and clothing vendors including The Fat Radish, GritNGlory, Cheeky Sandwiches, and Horse + Nail from 12pm until 5.  The spotlight was on Katz’s Delicatessen, as the famed institution celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.  A pastrami-eating contest was held to appropriately commemorate this milestone.

Live music at Orchard and East Houston St marked the entrance of the festival.  The food offerings weren’t vast since the day focused equally on non-edible aspects:  free hourly yoga classes, face-painting, DJ lessons, and badminton–the likes of which made for a fun, family-friendly day.  The food I did sample, however, was quite tasty.

All of Melt Bakery’s decadent creations were delightful: red velvet and “cinnamax” were my favorites, although they were served rock-hard, and I had little patience to wait for them to melt into the perfect consistency.    This particular Moroccan flatbread filled with kale, onions, and cheddar cheese was a buttery treat, and the tiny, simple-looking quesaHot Bread Kitchen set up a large spread, and I opted for something I’d never encountered before called “m’smen,” their best-selling product.dillas paled in comparison.  Goodfella’s pizza may not have been “the best in the world” as its signage boasts, but I did enjoy it.  Their cold penne alla vodka was good but nothing special, yet I still managed to happily devour it in its entirety.


La Newyorkina’s fruity and refreshing “paletas” (popsicles) hit the spot on this hot afternoon, doubling as a palatte cleanser in between my savory bites.  The Meatball Shop’s cucumber lemonade did the same trick.  I was excited to eyeball the Mission Chinese storefront, as it has long-been a top restaurant on my hit list that I haven’t had a chance to visit yet.  Its unassuming, deceptively small entrance made me think “THAT’S it?”, but I was nonetheless overly excited by their booth’s spicy cucumber salad.  Lastly, I loved Brooklyn Taco’s guacamole–cilantro free and slightly spicy!

There were a handful of picnic tables for sitting, though my friends and I mostly hovered in patches of shade in effort to fight the heat.  We lingered in the area for nearly two hours, people-watching and trying to stuff one last bowl of food down our throats.  Sadly, we left before the pastrami-eating contest since I was unsuccessful in persuading even my most carnivorous friends to enter.  We retreated home full, happy, and maybe even a little tan!

By: Emily Giove