Easy-going, too. Even during the half-hour parade, Toussaint L'Ouverture Blvd. — the informal name for this stretch of Nostrand Ave., after the 18th-century Haitian revolutionary leader — was subject to friendly incursions by pedestrians, cyclists, and even some skateboarders. At the southern end of the event, between the bouncy castles and the petting zoo (llamas sure have short legs), most of the food vendors set out simple fare that's very familiar from local steam tables.
But at one long tented table, I came across a curious and humble item with the incongruous name "royal" (roy-AL; $3). This broad cassava cracker, wiped with runny peanut butter and topped with the spicy cabbage-and-carrot slaw called piklis, is a common festival food in Haiti, according to the lady who prepared mine; I'd never seen it, not even at the West Indian Day Parade.
One gentleman customer had his royal cut in two and doubled over; I stuck with the standard presentation, open-faced like a funnel cake. That choice also gave me a look at the small oily pools that formed on the surface of the cracker; I'm unsure whether they came from the piklis or the peanut butter, which may have been spicy itself. (Which reminds me: Does anyone know of a New York source for Compa Direct Mamba?) Good stuff, especially when ice cream is the next course.
Haitian Day Parade and Festival
Festival on Nostrand Ave. between Foster Ave. and Farragut Rd., Flatbush, Brooklyn; parade proceeds south from Empire Blvd. on Nostrand Ave.