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the sweet scoop
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.
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.
On Tuesday, the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue held The Village Voice’s Fourth Annual Choice Eats tasting event. The hugely anticipated affair featured Voice food critic Robert Sietsema’s culinary favorites from over 50 restaurants spanning across the five boroughs, along with pairings from craft beer, wine and spirits brands.
Introduced this year, “Choice Streets” offered food truck fare from Wafels & Dinges, Korilla BBQ, Joyride, Taim Mobile and Kimchi Taco to whet the appetites of hungry guests while waiting in line. Once the doors opened to the main event, three solid hours of all-you-can eat and drink gluttony ensued, as food lovers rushed from table to table, sampling bites from notable area establishments and lesser-known local gems alike. As if all this wasn’t enough, VIP guests were invited inside a full hour before general admission and also treated to an hour of “Choice Sweets,” a special dessert lounge featuring confections from Alice’s Tea Cup, Babycakes NYC, Baked, Robicelli’s and more.
Marc Murphy, Executive Chef and owner of celebrated NYC restaurants Landmarc and Ditch Plains, has certainly mastered the art of multitasking. Maybe you’ve seen him as a straight-shooting judge on Food Network’s weekly hit Chopped, speaking out against hunger at a City Harvest event, or even teaching the ladies of The View how to roast a chicken, but he was still kind enough to sit down with me to discuss his latest projects and new catering venture, Benchmarc Events.
In a town where egos can run rampant, it’s refreshing to meet someone who genuinely cares about making people happy through his food. Marc’s consumer-minded sensibility and laid-back approach to fine cuisine has been thoroughly embraced by diners looking to enjoy refined fare without suffering through stuffy atmospheres or break-the-bank bills.
Marc’s passion is evident, his enthusiasm for his craft is inspiring, and one thing is certain—his welcomed approach definitely seems to be working.
Enjoy our Q & A below.