There's one day a year that I purposefully hold back food all day in order to prepare myself for a bit of a binge. That day in 2013 was yesterday for Choice Eats!
As I lined up with fellow gluttons outside of the the 69th Regiment Armory, I could feel my insides churning and my mouth salivating over what promised to be the biggest and baddest food event NYC would see all year. We were let into the VIP room downstairs, and despite being ridiculously warm, it was nice because we got a sneak preview of many of the food samples without the crowds. Here, my friend Laura and I tried the chicken chorizo sandwich from Brooklyn Cured, bite-sized chicken pot pies from City Grit, truly awesome kale chips (and unfortunately I didn't catch the restaurant that made them, anyone know?), BBQ pork ribs from Pig and Khao, a jam goat grilled cheese from Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen, 2 different pretzels with 2 different dipping mustards at Sigmund's Pretzels, cheese from Beecher's, and, for the most unusual bite of the night, a red wine marinated egg from Thirty Acres.
|Chicken Chorizo Sandwich (Brooklyn Cured)|
|Bite-Sized Chicken Pot Pies (City Grit)|
|BBQ Pork Ribs (Pig and Khao)|
|Salted and Truffle Cheddar Pretzels with Wholegrain and Beet Horseradish Mustards (Sigmund's Pretzels)|
|Jam Goat Grilled Cheese (Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen)|
|Red Wine Marinated Egg (Thirty Acres)|
First stops were set aside for seafood. None of the lobster roll places were actually serving lobster rolls, which sucked, but was as expected. We did a shrimp roll taste test between Luke's Lobster and Red Hook Lobster Pound and Luke's won by a landslide. Everything they do is simple and delicious, showcasing the fresh seafood, while Red Hook seemed to hide their shrimp in lettuce and mayonnaise.
|Shrimp Roll (Luke's Lobster)|
|Shrimp Roll (Red Hook Lobster Pound)|
|Buffalo Meatball (The Meatball Shop)|
|Patatas Riojanas (Txikito)|
|Beer Sausage (Rosamunde Sausage Grill)|
|Country Pate with spicy tomato jam and pigs ears (Resto)|
|Pastrami Sliders with Coleslaw (John Brown Smokehouse)|
|Ovelia Psistaria Bar|
Then we, of course, stopped for a dessert break; boozy cupcakes from Butter & Scotch, Almond Joy Bastoncini and Farro-Walnut Burgers (I know, not dessert) from Del Posto (who always has an amazing table at Choice Eats), and cannoli from Carlo's Bakery.
We started to slow down, but quickly got a second wind as we made our way down the center aisle. Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue was serving up delicious chopped barbecued pork sliders (although the pickles were a bit too intense and briney for me), while Joe Dough replaced their giant sandwich display from last year with a buttermilk biscuit with breakfast sausage and wildflower honey butter (this girl loooooooooves her biscuits, so that made me happy).
The next and almost last 5 bites were perhaps my favorites of the night. Dirt Candy always surprises me with their ingenuity and last night was no exception; I loved their cherry tomato tart with smoked feta. El Amacen also hit it out of the park with their hand cut steak empanadas, ceviche de bife, and costilla de res (Malbec braised shortrib). Anyone that knows me knows that truffle is the way to my heart, and Max found my heart with their porcini ravioli with truffled cream sauce. Those were all great, but I've been telling everyone about the double decker broccoli taco from No. 7 as well as the pork bun with caramelized onions from Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
Mexico Lindo impressed me again this year with their tamales with mole and butternut squash, and after hearing someone describe the fried chicken from Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter as "bangin,'" we had to try it ourselves. It was pretty yummy indeed.
Before we gave up completely, we headed back to the Choice Sweets section for some Bonfire Minis -- cocoa waffle cookie, dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce, roasted meringue -- from The Good Batch and Asian sweets from Fay Da Bakery, not to mention some bubble tea!
All in all, it was a successful night. I was definitely full, but not to the "past-full" level I had gotten to in years passed. We got to most of what we wanted before the crowds loomed, which was key, and I left with a goodie bag from whole foods (woot woot!). With all that said...who's ready for Choice Streets?
|Boozy Cupcakes (Butter & Scotch)|
|Farro-Walnut Burger (Del Posto)|
|Almond Joy Bastoncini (Del Posto)|
|Dessert Display (Carlo's Bakery)|
|Chopped Barbecued Pork Sliders (Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue)|
|Buttermilk Biscuit with Breakfast Sausage and Wildflower Honey Butter (Joe Dough)|
The chets at Porchetta were dishing out super moist porchetta crostini and the currywurst at Landbrot Bakery & Bar really had a lot of great flavor and spice.
|Currywurst (Landbrot Bakery & Bar|
|Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Feta (Dirt Candy)|
|Hand Cut Steak Empanadas, Ceviche de Bife, and Costilla de Res (Malbec Braised Shortrib)|
|Porcini Ravioli with Truffled Cream Sauce|
|Double Decker Broccoli Taco with Peanuts, Feta, and Black Beans (No. 7)|
|Mini Steamed Pork Bun with Caramelized Onions (Nom Wah Tea Parlor)|
|Tamales with Mole and Butternut Squash (Mexico Lindo)|
|A Mini Fried Chicken Picnic (Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter)|
|Bonfire Minis (The Good Batch)|
|Asian Sweets (Fay Da Bakery)|
|Laura and I rocking Smartwater, beer, and bubble tea from Fay Da|