festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
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.
With a killer cocktail scene and some of the bar industry’s best talents, New York City is a spirited force to be reckoned with. So when the Top 10 Finalists for the 2012 Spirited Awards were announced, it’s no surprise that the Big Apple is representing across the board.
Held during New Orleans’ annual mixology festival, Tales of the Cocktail, the Spirited Awards will honor the world’s best bars, bartenders, writers, cocktail experts and more. Following a rigorous evaluation of hundreds of nominees, ten finalists have been selected in each of 17 categories.
Finalists from NYC include Dutch Kills, The Clover Club and Mayahuel for Best American Cocktail Bar, while The Tippler, Flatiron Lounge and Macao Trading Co. are among those nominated for Best High Volume Cocktail Bar. Best Restaurant Bar standouts include The Beagle, Lani Kai and Saxon + Parole, and my dear friend Todd Richman of Sidney Frank is up for the Best American Brand Ambassador award — not only can Todd mix up a serious cocktail, but he’s also one of the most stand up guys you’ll ever meet. Congrats!
Check out the full list of finalists here. The top ten in each category will then be whittled down to a final three on Thursday, June 7th. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 28 at the Spirited Awards ceremony, as part of the 10th Anniversary Tales of the Cocktail celebration.
A heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees, but of course, I’d like to especially raise a glass to my NYC friends and favorites who made the list this year. Cheers!
Image courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail