Truman Capote’s discovery that his mother was reading his private letters was the last straw. At 22, the writer packed his bags and left his home at 1060 Park Avenue in Manhattan for two rooms in 17 Clifton Place in the Borough of Kings. His 1946 rent: $10 a week. As he told the poet John Malcolm Brinnin, “I have changed addresses, have moved to a little lost mews in darkest Brooklyn.” After a subsequent decade of bouncing from address to address, Capote found the stability he craved in a beautiful basement apartment at 70 Willow Street, exclaiming to a reporter, “I love Brooklyn Heights. It’s the only place to live in New York.” 

The past year has been a mesmerizing one at the movies, at least for the independents. Usually, the Oscar contenders premiere at Christmastime, with the buzz surrounding the best performances fairly predictable. But this year was different: We were more impressed with the smaller releases 2015 had to offer throughout the year, and our list of top picks reflects that. The range is immense.

For the previous edition of the Mediander Test Kitchen, I braved the unholy mash-up that was the McWhopper. This time, we took the show on the road in search of, well, better food. With the 2015 Vendy Awards happening this Saturday in New York City, what better excuse? The annual Vendys celebrate the best street food in town and serve as a fund-raiser for the Street Vendor Project, which stands up for vendors’ rights. At the awards ceremony, carts and trucks will gather to compete across five categories, including the coveted top prize: the Vendy Cup. We set out beforehand to visit the five Vendy Cup finalists, taste their grub and decide which is the best—in our humble opinion. If the lines at most of these trucks are any indication, you may have already tried their fare, but for those who won’t be making it to Saturday’s sold-out official judging, check out our rankings—and my video taste tests.

Embracing the latest trends can be misguided. Some 30 years ago, I realized my pale greenish skin clashed luridly with the era’s neon-hued clothing. If it meant looking ghastly, I figured, keeping up just couldn’t be that important. But even commenting on the latest trends can be perilous. Witness The New York Times’s fever for silly “trend” pieces, such as the alleged “starter marriages” hysteria of 20 years back that claimed women were marrying younger just for the hell of it.

Into these scary waters treads Marc Spitz in his newish, ultimately kind of awesome book Twee, a report on pop culture’s much-ridiculed “gentle revolution.”