festivals and events
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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.
For home cooks who don’t own The Meatball Shop Cookbook yet, it’s time to get on the ball.
After rolling out three successful restaurants in New York City, The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow are sharing the secrets behind their award-winning dishes with meatball lovers everywhere. Their debut cookbook is filled with fun, witty narrative, helpful tips and nearly 100 approachable, comforting recipes that are both flavorful and easy to execute—what more could you ask for?
With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend (go Giants!), now’s the perfect time to give the Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls recipe a whirl. For this year’s party, bench the expected plate of hot wings and serve these spicy and tangy, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs instead. Pair your balls with creamy homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (you’ll never go back to store bought!) for a dish that’s sure to be a game day winner, even if your team isn’t.
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Thursday night, meatballs reigned supreme at the fourth annual NYC Wine & Food Festival kickoff event, Meatball Madness. Food Network’s Italian beauty Giada De Laurentiis played host to dozens of the city’s best chefs who rolled out their version of the perfect bite.
Nearly 1,000 meatball maniacs flooded into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample saucy spheres and sliders made from blends of beef, pork, veal, rabbit, goat, seitan and lobster. Styles ranged from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy (Donatella Arpaia’s braised veal version was delizioso) to exotic Thai-inspired goat meatballs with boiled peanuts, tatsoi and panang curry from Kin Shop’s Harold Dieterle. Giada got sweet and smoky with mozzarella, fig and honey, Maialino’s Nick Anderer dished out rabbit smothered in creamy pecorino ‘whiz’ over rapini, and Osteria Morini chef Michael White’s melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and mortadella version was another standout.
Judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Dana Cowin and Lee Anne Wong crowned The Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro the night’s big winner for his grandma’s gravy meatball slider with pickled fennel. The crowd also casted their votes and The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for their steak ‘n’ bacon cheddar balls with mushroom gravy on a buttermilk biscuit.
Classic Campari cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while A Voce provided sweet relief with scrumptious chocolate cannoli over roasted cherries. Meatball Madness certainly started off the Festival in style and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!
There’s nothing better than eating, drinking and celebrating for a great cause. On Wednesday, April 6th, A Caring Hand hosted their 9th Annual Fundraising Gala at the spectacular Tribeca Rooftop. Guests enjoyed an exciting evening complete with upbeat live music, tasty cocktails and delicious gourmet fare, while lending their support to the incredible Billy Esposito Foundation.
ESPN’s NFL Insider, Adam Schefter, kicked off the night with a touching awards ceremony and donations were raised for bereaved children and families in New York City through various auctions and raffles. In addition to the heartfelt presentations, attendees were treated to ZYR Vodka and Luna Sueno cocktails, vino from Enotria Wine Imports, Brooklyn Brewery beers and delicacies provided by local restaurants—including tuna cruda cups from Sprig, artichoke chestnut hummus filled tortillas from B.E.S., delicate bay scallops in tomato water from Marcony, and a tortilla Española from Macao. There were two takes on meatballs—Stuzzicheria rolled out a melt-in-your-mouth polpette pomodoro, while The Meatball Shop‘s lamb version was served over creamy polenta. For dessert, Tonnie’s Minis showcased a darling display of mini cupcakes, Tribeca Grill offered assorted pastries, cookies and cakes, and Popbar passed around handmade artisan popSorbetto on a stick.
Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, co-owners of The Meatball Shop, sure know how to grind up some great meatballs. Their Lower East Side meat-centric hotspot dishes out a fresh twist on a tried-and-true classic dish—certainly not an easy feat—and has gained a cult following since opening in February 2010.
The longtime buddies started the ambitious joint venture based on the notion, “who doesn’t love a good meatball?” Within less than a year, their laid-back Stanton Street meatball mecca has garnered a loyal fan base, steady stream of first-foray success and quite the media buzz. Brooklynites can get on the ball soon too—an expansion to Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg was announced recently.
Last Friday, the dynamic duo hit up Late Night to teach Jimmy Fallon a thing or two about making their famous meatballs. Click here for the funny, innuendo-filled (boys will be boys) demo segment and recipes. While balling it up with Fallon, news dropped of plans for a third location in the West Village—a Greenwich Street shop is set to open this summer. There’s even a cookbook in the works.