festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Wasabi macarons, edamame dumplings, pig’s blood popsicles. These were just a few of the impressive Asian-inspired delicacies sampled at the LUCKYRICE Grand Feast on Friday night. Held at the Mandarin Oriental’s majestic 36th-floor ballroom, this epic celebration drew top chefs from around the globe, including Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Anthony, Ming Tsai, Todd English, Ian Kittichai, Susur Lee and many others from who presented unique interpretations of Asian cuisine.
Packed into the grandiose space, guests sipped and sampled their way through Asia’s diverse cultures without ever leaving NYC. Participating restaurants included Betel, Buddakan, Ember Room, Gramercy Tavern, The Hurricane Club, Junoon, Morimoto, Public, Perry St and Tulsi. To wash down all the flavorful bites, there was also a slew of beverage options, from smooth Suntory whiskies and Singha beer to Bombay Sapphire cocktails and scads of sake. And with all event proceeds benefiting City Harvest, what better reason to pick up some chopsticks and chow down?
For additional coverage, check out my recap of the 2011 LUCKYRICE Festival.
Last week’s LUCKYRICE Festival celebrated Asian culinary culture at its finest with seven days and nights of tastings, seminars and events. From large scale feasts and cocktail receptions, to live demonstrations and seated dinners with Chefs Anita Lo, Susur Lee, Daniel Boulud and Masaharu Morimoto, each soiree shined a spotlight on Asian cooking, ingredients and flavors. As a lover of Asian cuisine, I was thrilled to get a taste of this year’s Festival at the Opening Cocktail Reception, Night Market and Grand Feast events.
Lani Kai‘s violet-topped La Rosa with Ramazzotti Amaro, tequila, lemon juice and strawberry syrup
My LUCKYRICE experience kicked off with Tuesday’s Opening Cocktails at the Bowery Hotel. This spirited evening featured over 30 different Asian-inspired libations, shaken and stirred by the city’s top mixologists. Dozens of the finest bars and restaurants, including WD-50, Fatty ‘Cue, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Pegu Club, Má Pêche, Lani Kai and Macao Trading Co., offered creatively mixed concoctions using bold flavors such as yuzu, lychee, ginger, lemongrass, shiso, Asian pear, sake, wasabi, curry and even Sriracha sauce. From subtle to strong, spicy to sweet, these were some of the most interesting cocktail combinations I’ve ever sipped.
Frankies Spuntino‘s sweet and sour Kimono blended whiskey, grapefruit and ginger honey syrup
DANIEL‘s Head Bartender Xavier Herit wowed the crowd with The Last Word, a herbaceous Bombay Shappire, Green Chartreuse, St. Germain and lime cocktail funneled into an icy orb
Wednesday night, hungry guests endured chilly temperatures and long lines to get into Night Market, held in DUMBO under the Manhattan Bridge’s famous archway. Bringing traditional Southeast Asian night market culture to New York, this ethnic eats extravaganza offered tastes from restaurants including China Grill, Asiadog, Baoguette, Red Egg, An Choi and Spot Dessert Bar. Some of my favorites bites were Coppelia’s Taco Koreano of tender beef short ribs, jalapeno kimchee and mezcal crema, creamy Tomato Curry Soup from Social Eatz and the Thai Pastrami Meatballs with Chinese mustard, tamarind glaze and coconut from Ember Room. And though I couldn’t stomach the aggressive smell of stinky tofu, I enjoyed feeling transported to the middle of a No Reservations episode, as I sampled authentic street food-style fare from Korea, Taiwan, Macau and Malaysia.
Malaysia Kitchen served up their popular curried fish balls
Betel‘s chicken and egg noodle Kao Soi Curry
LUCKYRICE definitely saved the best for last with the Grand Feast on Friday night. Held at the Mandarin Oriental’s majestic 36th-floor ballroom, this epic celebration drew some of the city’s most beloved chefs including Daniel Boulud, Todd English, Morimoto, Top Chef alum Angelo Sosa and Dale Talde, and many others who presented inspired interpretations of upscale Asian cuisine. Boasting panoramic views of Central Park, the gorgeous event space was filled with guests who got the chance to eat their way through Asia’s diverse cultures without ever leaving NYC. Participating restaurants included Bondst, Ember Room, Matsuri, Public, Indochine, Má Pêche, Tulsi and Zengo.
With everything from dumplings and tartares to sea creature cocktails, this feast was undoubtedly grand and served some of the most memorable food festival fare I have ever been lucky enough to eat. Plus, all the event proceeds benefited City Harvest, so even more reason to pick up some chopsticks and chow down.
Pillowy Edamame Dumplings with shallot-sauterne broth from Buddakan
Savory Sea Urchin and Cauliflower Panna Cotta from 9 Restaurant
Kittichai‘s Smoked Trout on Shiso Leaf with Caramelized Palm Sugar Dressing & Peanuts
Bar Boulud L’imperatrice Pandan Rice Pudding with Champagne Mango, Orange Tuile & Jasmine Gelée
If you’re fascinated by Asian cuisine and culture, I highly recommend checking out the LUCKYRICE Festival next year. I can’t imagine how they’ll top it in 2012, but I’m excited to find out!