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posts tagged ‘city grit’

Highlights & Best Bites from Choice Eats 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:03 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

On Tuesday, the Village Voice’s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue. The highly anticipated affair featured Voice food critic Robert Sietsema’s culinary favorites from more than 50 handpicked restaurants spanning the five boroughs, along with beverage pairings from craft beer, wine and spirits producers.

  1. Vibrant red wine marinated egg with trout roe, mustard seeds & mache from Thirty Acres
  2. Cakes, cookies, cannolis, confections & cutie pies from Carlo\'s Bakery
  3. The Village Voice\'s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory
  4. Chefs Joel Javier and Bill Telepan served up housemade liverwurst with pickle mustard on cheddar gougères
  5. Luke\'s Lobster drew some of the night\'s longest lines for their fresh seasoned shrimp rolls
  6. A perfect bite: Anella\'s creamy handmade burrata with robust tomato jam and basil salt garnish
  7. Prairie handcrafted organic vodka sweetened things up with their smooth, spiked lemonade cocktail
  8. Brooklyn bakery fave, The Good Batch, elevated the flavors of s\'mores in their darling bonfire minis
  9. Chinese cuisine meets Indian flavors: Pan-seared spiced Tibetan momo dumplings from Chinese Mirch
  10. Brooklyn\'s Pete Zaaz crew had a blast while churning out their cheesy, zesty pepperoni rolls
  11. Cheers to craft beers! A sampling of Little Sumpin\' and IPA ales from Lagunitas
  12. The Lower East Side\'s Kuma Inn went whole hog and put their entire roasted pig on display
  13. Always tasty mac \'n\' cheese-covered Ditch Dogs and taffy-topped table from Ditch Plains
  14. Butter and Scotch\'s boozy butterscotch cupcakes with whiskey caramel, vanilla frosting & toffee crunch
During the sold out soirée, three solid hours of all-you-can eat and drink gluttony ensued as hungry guests bounced from table to table, sampling a smorgasbord of plates from esteemed area establishments and lesser-known local gems alike. The diversity of vendors at Choice Eats is exceptional—from downtown vegan and uptown farm-to-table, to pizza joints in Brooklyn and Astoria’s best Greek. And what seemed like everything in between.

As if all this wasn’t enough, VIP guests were invited inside a full hour before general admission for a live culinary demo from City Grit’s Sarah McSimmons and offerings from a dozen local restos including Pig and Khao, Qi Thai Grill and Exchange Alley. VIPs also indulged in the exclusive “Choice Sweets” dessert lounge featuring confections from Butter Lane, Grandaisy Bakery, Ovenly, and more.

A few of the night’s many standouts included Anella’s velvety handmade burrata with tomato jam and basil salt, fresh seasoned shrimp rolls from both Luke’s Lobster and Red Hook Lobster Pound, tangy buffalo chicken balls from The Meatball Shop, Porchetta’s savory crackling-topped pork crostini, John Brown Smokehouse’s succulent pastrami sliders with sweet ‘n’ tangy slaw, moist red velvet squares from Carlo’s Bakery, and perfectly indulgent fudge brownies from Robicelli’s. A selection of suds from Blue Point Brewing Company, Lagunitas and Stella Artois, along with creative cocktails mixed with Sidney Frank spirits and Prairie Organic Vodka, helped wash it all down.

Whether you prefer savory, sweet, spicy, ethnic, Americana, inventive, classic, vegetarian or carnivorous, Choice Eats aims to please any palate. And with a surprisingly reasonable ticket price point, the bang-for-your-buck appeal is just another reason to attend the eating extravaganza next year.

Fan of Village Voice events? Don’t miss out on the 2nd annual Choice Streets on May 7th to taste the best fare on four wheels from NYC’s most beloved food trucks. Get your tickets here!

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Going Mad for Meatballs at NYCWFF 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

Thursday night, the 5th annual New York City Wine and Food Festival kicked off with two of the weekend’s most anticipated events. And though I would’ve loved to witness food royalty roast Anthony Bourdain, the Italian in me couldn’t bear the thought of missing one of my favorites—Meatball Madness hosted by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis. “This is the best Meatball Madness ever,” Giada exclaimed about the ‘always sold out’ event, which is in its fourth consecutive year.

  1. People\'s Choice winner Donatella Arpaia with host Giada De Laurentiis (pic: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com)
  2. Casa Nonna\'s classic veal porcini meatball came with a dollop of creamy burrata cheese
  3. Neapolitan veal and pork meatballs with lemon, capers & brown butter from Atlantic City\'s Fornelletto
  4. Meatball lovers packed into SoHo\'s 82 Mercer to chow down on 36 different varieties
  5. High Heat Pizza Burgers & Tap topped a thin crust pizza with their \"broken balls\"
  6. The ultimate ballers and last year\'s People\'s Choice winners, The Meatball Shop\'s Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow served pork balls with spicy meat sauce (pic: SeriousEats)
  7. Alison Eighteen created a homestyle meatball with pomodoro, parmigiana and fresh basil
  8. Hearth and Terrior chef-owner Marco Canora served his parm balls between bread
  9. Loved Gramercy Tavern chef Michael Anthony\'s spicy lamb spheres with yogurt sauce
  10. One of the night\'s most unique—Edi & The Wolf\'s Austrian-style pretzel-stuffed balls
  11. Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini sweetened things up with cake pops and an edible paint graffiti wall
  12. My favorite cocktail! Palm Bay offered Aperol Spritzes for guests to sip as they sampled
  13. City Grit\'s Sarah Simmons served a Southern slider with onions on a cracker crisp
  14. The night\'s big winner, chef Gabe Thompson of L\'apicio, celebrates with his sous chef
  15. Event judges Anne Burrell and Geoffrey Zakarian put on their best taste tester faces (pic: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com)

The large-scale tasting showcased dozens of the city’s best chefs, who rolled out their version of the perfect bite. Hundreds of meatball maniacs packed into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample 36 different types of saucy spheres—in styles ranging from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy to pretzel-stuffed Austrian balls and Spanish oxtail albondigas.

Judges Alex GuarnaschelliGeoffrey Zakarian and Anne Burrell, along with Pat LaFrieda and Mark Pastore of sponsor La Frieda Meats, crowned Gabe Thompson of the soon-to-open L’Apicio the night’s big winner for his Amatriciana version. The carnivorous crowd also casted their votes and Donatella Arpaia snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for her mother’s classic recipe of melt-in-your-mouth tomato braised veal meatballs.

Aperol Spritz cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while a display of cake pops from pastry hotshot Johnny Iuzzini provided some sweet relief. Meatball Madness started off the NYCWFF in delicious fashion and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!

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