Monday, May 23, 2011

Taste of Tribeca 2011: Terroir, Bouley, Duane Park Patisserie, Mark Forgione, Pepolino, The Harrison

On Saturday, Taste of Tribeca took place with over 60 restaurants from the Tribeca area.  

For over 15 years, area restaurants have banded together to offer signature samples from their restaurants to help raise money for New York public schools 150 and 234.  Each ticket purchased includes a tasting card entitling attendees six tastes from any participating restaurant.

Fortunately, the gloomy overhang of the week broke Saturday, and the sun and warmth brought everyone out in droves for an afternoon of feasting.  

Lines were ever long for the more popular chefs, but even the longest that I stood in (Marc Forgione) moved relatively quickly (~7 minutes).  Here are the snapshots of the day along with the six items I tasted!

Beautiful seafood soba salad from Kori
Cupcake tower from Tribeca Treats
The Tribeca firemen from Ladder 8 served up stuffed mushrooms.  What a hot booth! ;)
Hungry after gazing after the initial tables, I knew I wanted to try something meaty first, and Terroir's meatball sandwich fit the bill.

I got super lucky - the gent scooped out the final meatballs from the pot right at my turn!

Noted in New York Magazine as one of the top 100 sandwiches in the city, at #9, Terroir's meatball sandwich is indeed delicious - the red sauce, the nice heartiness and bounce of the meatballs and the soft pliant bun makes it an all around winner.

Scalini Fedeli's porcine ravioli in a porcine black truffle cream sauce. 
Duane Park offered gougers with crawfish remoulade, but I just rather liked this pot of boiled crawfish.  Mmm crawfish.
Bubby's Pie Co. apple brown betty

Landmarc Tribeca's s'mores cookies
Marc Forgione definitely had the longest line at the event.  I knew I recognized his awesome mohawk from something I watched on television, but I still didn't know why I knew him somehow.

Last night, I watched Iron Chef America and quickly realized he is the new Iron Chef.  What a hip guy!  And he was so nice - he posed for pictures with anyone who wanted them (mostly Asian ladies).

Marc grilled up high plains bison prime rib.  (Wolf whistle here)

The bison prime rib slice, topped with a verdant ramp chimichurri, was sooo tender.  My only complaint was that the meat melted in my mouth way too fast.

Duane Park Patisserie is noted as one of the best bakeries in the city; their booth was stationed right outside their restaurant so they were able to keep churning out freshly baked molten chocolate lava cakes topped with bittersweet chocolate sauce.

The cake wasn't oozing out a chocolate center, as one would typically expect with a molten cake, but it was still rich, warm and absolutely decadent.  

David Bouley's flagship and 2 Michelin starred restaurant, Bouley, provided an option of either calamari risotto with black truffle sauce or a soy panna cotta.

I can never say no to calamari.  Or black truffle sauce. The combination of the chewy rings of calamari, the creamy risotto and earthiness of the truffle was a delight.

Brick's cute display of chocolate budino served in eggs

I went light with my fifth taste at The Harrison which dished up small plates of mixed seafood ceviche topped with taro chips.  The ceviche was fresh, not too citrusy, and the strands of taro added the perfect bit of crunch.

Pretty (forgot which vendor this is from)
Zucker's Bagels & Fresh Fish prepared fresh smoked salmon on site to construct pretty croissant sandwiches

I was intending to try out Locanda Verde's lamb meatballs, but they ran out when I arrived and were restocking in 5 minutes.  I took it as a sign that it wasn't meant to be.  And I couldn't quite shake this image I had seen earlier involving someone carrying an unbelievable slice of cheesecake.  So I beelined for the ricotta cheesecake from Pepolino as my final taste.

Oh goodness, this cheesecake tasted just as lovely as it looks!  The filling is so light and airy, creamy without being rich, with a bit of sweetness embued in the puff-pastry like crust.  A rather remarkable cheesecake !  Made with ricotta !  I think it is my new favorite cheese ever, so versatile and delicious.

Besides food, there was also a bit of entertainment provided by a great folksy band playing at the far end of the festival as well as

some kid friendly performances and

face-painting and hair color spraying for suggested donations.  I particularly like how scary the hair color station looks with the girls hiding their faces behind towels.  Oh, the price of beauty!

A surprise treat after filling out your card was that if you turned your card in at the Bazzini's Nuts table, you can pick a bag of nuts to take home!  Best souvenir ever!

This was my first year at the Taste of Tribeca, and I am glad I finally attended.  It's a great event filled with a lot of culinary talent.  It was so hard for me to pick six tastes; I could have easily eaten a dozen more tastes (especially with my elastic pants!).

If I can get out of my outdoor food festival craze, I am headed straight back to Tribeca to eat proper meals at these establishments - these samples have definitely whet my appetite!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slideluck Potshow XVI: Potluck + Art Make a Beautiful Pair!

Slideluck Potshow XVI occurred this Saturday at St. Ann's Warehouse in the DUMBO / Brooklyn.  The event was founded by Casey Kelbaugh in 2000.  He hosted the first event in his backyard in Seattle with about 50 friends featuring artists of all kinds.  Everyone would bring a dish (the potluck) and then view the different contributed artwork in a slideshow format.  The positive response compelled Casey to host more Slideluck shows in various Seattle venues. In 2003 he relocated to NYC where he hosted the first one with 150 people in his apartment, and within 3 years, more than a thousand people were in attendance.  Now, Slideluck Potshows appear all over the nation and the world to hundreds of attendees, featuring 35-40 artists at each event.

Last year, the Slideluck Potshow event won the Guinness record for largest potluck on Earth.  There is nothing I love more than a good potluck, and to enjoy that while appreciating current photography and artwork is just a mega bonus.  For an additional $13 to the admission, participants could also attend a tasting event pre-potluck that showcased several local Brooklyn artisans.  Naturally, I had to check that also.

Below are my pictures covering the event.  Enjoy - it definitely was one of my most favorite NYC experiences yet.

Waiting in line outside the beautiful St. Ann's Warehouse; everyone has dishes in tow for the potluck.
The space is expansive; for the tasting, vendors were lined against the walls leaving ample room to walk around.
DP Chutney Collective
Gourmet cakeballs from Dank Cakeballs / handmade macaroons from Danny's Macaroons

Danny had caramel drizzled, chocolate dipped and German chocolate style macaroons.  They were light, flaky and delicious.
Dank Cakeballs had two types of cakeballs for tasting: a cherry marscapone and

lavender with seasalt.  Both were moist and not overly sweet.
Nuts + Nuts appears at many foodie events, but I finally tasted one of their several flavors yesterday.  I tried the Spicy which had real lime leaves and cut chilies in the bag, giving the cashews a strong and spicy flavor.  In speaking with the vendor, I learned that they only do cashews as they work directly with local Indonesian farmers to harvest the nut.  It is the only nut that cannot be produced in the United States.  Additionally, I learned that the cashew is a fruit, and that each fruit only produces one cashew nut.  Isn't that interesting?  Maybe everyone knows this, but I still find it fascinating!
Bubby's dished up vegetarian enchiladas.
The enchiladas were filled with cubes of squash and topped with a rather spicy red sauce that I totally dug.
Front St Pizza served up some slices of cheese pizza.  Though they were located only a couple of blocks away from the venue, they ran out of stock first.  Pizza was warm and standard.

Brooklyn Edible Social Club describes itself as an underground supper club  that hosts events throughout the year showcasing locally sourced ingredients.  Menus are posted on their blog and reservations taken by email.

They are also opening up a sandwich shop in Bed-Stuy.  We got a sample of their sandwiches with this biscuited rendition, slathered with fig jam and stuffed with fennel and slices of duck breast.  Lovely flavor!

The ABCD's of Cooking (ABCD stands for American Born Confused Desi) brought crostinis topped with a carrot salad.

You gotta like carrots. :)

Studio Feast is another Brooklyn based supper club.  They were the most diligent on plating their dish made of congee and Japanese braised pork belly.  
Dude. I could spot this pork belly from across the room. Swoon!
Is it just too expected that this would be my favorite dish?  Aside from the super strong, pickely mango (?) cubes, the dish was so delicious with the creamy, thickened congee and the perfectly braised and succulent pork belly.  After the duck sandwich and two bowlfuls of this guy, I gotta start checking out these supper clubs!
Two types of kale salads from bk farmyards, one spicy with pesto and garlic, the other sweet with locally sourced honey and peanut butter.

The event quickly segued into the potluck as swarms of people filled up the space.

A few buffet tables were stuffed to the brim with dishes of all sorts.  Most appeared to be storebought (disappointingly) although there were some that were homemade.

Like these mixed-meatballs in tasty red sauce!

Recognize this pie? :)

I was stuffed from the tasting so just nibbled on a few bites during the potluck (I know - what have I become?!)
After an hour into the potluck, the food was sparse.  After an hour and a half, most of the food was depleted.  Late arrivals with dishes witnessed their dishes being swarmed like bees, and then just crumbs left on the plate within minutes.  At least the beer from Brooklyn Brewery was free flowing and open bar, so, even if you arrive late, you can just fill up on alcohol - score!

Around 9:30, everyone began seating in the corner room for the slideshow.

An hour and a half of the multi-media slideshow revolved around the theme for the year (Upheaval) which included pictorial coverage on Libya, Egypt, Japan, New Orleans, and Venezuela.  An additional 45 minutes/1 hour after intermission showcased other types of work like pictures of dogs waiting in cars (brilliant!).

What I particularly loved about this event (aside from the food - too obvious) was the communal gathering of people, and how friendly and open everyone was.  I talked to so many different strangers (everyone was so nice!) and felt completely comfortable being by myself (though Ismail & Kelly joined later, and both loved the show as well).  It is such a lovely and unique event that I urge you to attend especially if it's coming to a city near you!