Showing posts with label Village Voice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Village Voice. Show all posts


Get Your Tickets for Choice Streets on May 5th

Missing Choice Eats this year has already been arguably one of my biggest regrets of 2015. So it goes without saying that attending The Village Voice's 4th Annual Choice Streets event is on the must-do list.

The event, which takes place on Tuesday May 5th at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, will feature at least 12 food trucks including Big D's Grub, Korilla BBQ, The Treats Truck and Valducci's Pizza and Cinco de Mayo entertainment from Mariachi Flor de Toloache. General admission tickets are $55 and will let attendees in at 8pm. If you want early admission, you can pay $65 to enter at 7:30pm or spring $85 for a VIP ticket that will let you in at 7pm and send you home with a gift bag. All tickets can be purchased here.

You can also apply to volunteer at the event and in turn receive free admission to The Village Voice's 5th Annual Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival on September 26th.

To read a recap of the 2013 event, click here.


Tacos and Ice Cream and Barbecue...Oh my!

Ahhhhhhh Choice Eats, that fabulous glutton-inducing grub free-for-all that challenges even the strongest to a battle of overstuffing. "How long can I stay upright?" you ask yourself as you meander pass line after line, table after table you've already visited (maybe twice in the case of Salted Caramel Crack ice cream) in search of that one last amazing bite. Ultimately you succumb to biology, as we all eventually do, bottle of water in hand, your bed not far on the horizon. At least you get to wake up the next morning (in my case for all of your benefit) to photographic proof of everything you ate the night before. Get ready for an epicurean hysteria.

The event was held in a new, rather remote location at Basketball City on the river just north of the Manhattan Bridge. The space allowed the evening to flow with slightly less congestion, but as the night wore on, the lines for whichever restaurants still had food after 8pm seemed to each run into each other (all the more reason to go VIP for this one!). There were 84 restaurants, including an entire row full of dessert, and just under 3,000 attendees. Major successes of the night were BBQ and meat in general and eclectic desserts.

I hit the ground running eating with a couple of my blogger friends, Stephanie and Dave (Laura came a little bit later), and we never really looked back. First up...vegetables! You have to get the digestive system prepped after all and the folks at Dirt Candy know how to work a piece of broccoli! Their broccoli hot dogs with broccoli sauerkraut didn't make me miss meat for a second. Which leads me perfectly into my next bite (and many after that)...Kuma Inn whipped up flavorful Adobo braised pork shoulder and pan de sal bites while Swine served adorable yet delicious bacon-wrapped dates with chipotle blue cheese sauce.

Broccoli Hot Dogs from Dirt Candy
Adobo braised pork shoulder and pan de sal from Kuma Inn
Bacon-wrapped dates with chipotle blue cheese sauce from Swine
Next stop, an Astoria outpost I've been meaning to try for a while, Bear, served Siberian Style Dumplings in a light crema dill gravy so good that I ate all three! Mable's Smokehouse out of Williamsburg served my top dish of the night (and clearly a crowd favorite as they ran out early!): smoked beef brisket with candied yams. The crust on the brisket was damn near perfect and the yams were anything but what your Aunt Ida always makes for Thanksgiving--these things tasted like what diamonds would taste like, if you could eat diamonds, that is.

Siberian style dumplings from Bear
Beef brisket and candied yams from Mable's Smokehouse

The Little Prince served excellent and fresh steak tartare with fried capers, aioli and grilled bread, while Alobar took the creative route and served their beet tar tar with hearts of palm, apple coriander nage, goat feta and scallions

Steak tartare from The Little Prince
Beet tar tar from Alobar

Luke's Lobster was back with their usual fervor, although they decided to mix things up and offer crab rolls instead of the shrimp rolls they've been serving for at least the past 3 years. Red Hook Lobster Pound also opted to change their pace and served creamy lobster bisque instead of their usual rolls.

Main crab roll from Luke's Lobster
Lobster bisque from Red Hook Lobster Pound
Xe May Sandwich Shop served an array of sandwiches--I tried the flavorful lemongrass chicken with chili mayo but didn't care for the tortilla. Max stood out by offering lasagna we deemed "the good kind of mushy," and I liked the one-bite red endive cups with smoked salmon, avocado and creme fraiche presented by Anella. It was simple, elegant, and refreshing among a sea of heavy meat dishes.

Lemongrass Chicken from Xe May Sandwich Shop
Meat lasagna from Max
Red endive cups from Anella

Harlem joint Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken seemed to bring every item from their menu, and the crowd was eating it up with a line forming early on. I really liked their mac 'n cheese and collard greens.

Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

Back to the meat, John Brown Smokehouse served house cured pastrami that was extra moist and Ovelia Psistaria Bar served an interesting take on Middle Eastern meat with Greek coffee steak with mushroom halloumi poutine. I was a big fan of the burnt ends at Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue as well as the beef meatball with classic tomato sauce and parmesan cheese from The Meatball Shop.

House cured Pastrami from John Brown Smokehouse
Greek coffee steak from Ovelia
Burnt ends at Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue
Beef meatball with classic tomato sauce and parmesan cheese from The Meatball Shop

One of my favorite Astoria brunch spots and soon to be featured Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives restaurants, Queens Comfort, served up their Atomic Mac and Cheese with cheddar, fontina, sriracha and buttermilk ranch sauce. It had quite the kick!

Atomic mac and cheese from Queens Comfort

Most intriguing and successful dish of the night went to Williamsburg's Egg Restaurant with pimento cheese on pork crackling bread. The name doesn't even do it justice as there was so much complexity going on I almost couldn't handle it. Another particularly delicious concoction was the "Braciole" Tortelli served with toasted garlic and herb croutons from Rubirosa. Khe-Yo served crunchy coconut rice (I could seriously pop these like candy) with Kaffir lime sausage and baby iceberg lettus.

Pimento cheese on pork crackling bread from Egg
'Braciole' tortelli from Rubirosa
Crunch coconut rice from Khe-Yo

Below-the-border cuisine was heavily represented in several successful permutations. Murray Hill hidden secret Mexico Lindo prepared banana leaf steamed local rabbit tacos with cascabel mole rojo and butternut squash, garnished with micro cilantro and almonds. Also, Fonda served delicious cochinita pibil--Yucatan style Achiote marinated slow baked port shoulder with oregano and pickled onions.

Banana leaf steamed local rabbit tacos from Mexico Lindo
Cochinita Pibil from Fonda

Although I'll admit we laughed at the name for a hot second, the Dark Men noodles from Tabata Noodle Restaurant were entirely different than anything I'd ever had and I definitely wanted more. No there weren't any bits of men (or women for that matter!) in the cups, but there was black sesame paste noodle soup with spicy ground pork and scallions.

Representing the Aussies, quite well actually, Sheep Station plated flavorful roasted leg of lamb sandwiches with sautéed onions, tomato, garlic mayo, and baby arugula on a po boy roll.

Roasted leg of lamb sandwich from Sheep Station
Before we get to the sweets, lets highlight some of the flavorful greens. Telepan Local surprised me with their broccoli rabe with white anchovies (I couldn't bring myself to eat it), egg yolk puree and parmesan. Also, Bunker prepared a Vietnamese style long bean salad with watercress, kaffir, red onions, peanuts and toasted coconut flakes.

Broccoli rabe from Telepan Local
Long bean salad from Bunker

Now for the best part (if you are not totally sick of staring at endless food pictures yet)...Choice Sweets! First up, and my favorite, was the ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery. Even after trying new-to-me flavors "Sweet as Honey" and "Gather 'Round the Campfire," the good old "Salted Crack Caramel" is still my hands down favorite. Fay Da Bakery was also a repeat favorite from last year with their bubble milk tea and other goodies.

Ample Hills Creamery Ice Cream
Bubble Milk Tea from Fay Da Bakery
Robicelli's was a hit with their chocolate chip cookie bars and I thoroughly enjoyed the do-it-yourself popsicle bar from La Newyorkina.

Chocolate chip cookie bars from Robicelli's
Popsicle bar from La Newyorkina
Another ice cream purveyor, Oddfellows Ice Cream Co., scored points with me with their cedar creamsicle with orange foam--it was woodsy and refreshing all at the same time. East Village favorite Edi and the Wolf also surprised me with their super rich chocolate gianduja with milk crunch strawberries and caramel.

Cedar creamsicle from Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.
Chocolate gianduja from Edi and the Wolf
To wash it all down, I headed over to the Singlecut Beersmiths table for their Keith English Pale Ale. I'm not usually a fan of IPAs, but I liked this a little better. Their 19-33 Lagrrr is still one of my favorites.

Before we left, we had to take advantage of the exclusive VIP lounge upstairs (and take the opportunity to catch our breath and get some space away from the very crowded venue). Little did we know, there were still lots of amazing bites to be eaten!

Something I would have been very sad to have missed if I never made it to the VIP section was a large selection of special donuts from The Donut Plant. This place is seriously AWESOME. I ordered the cashew and orange blossom cream donut, but also tried the coconut cream and peanut butter and jam. All were YUMMY!!

The Donut Plant spread
Cashew and orange blossom cream donut from The Donut Plant
As you can imagine, we were beyond stuffed at this point but we examined the rest of the samples in the VIP area anyway. I mean, it's VIP so it had to be good right? Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue served dry rubbed Texas style barbecue which definitely held it's own, but was not as good as Mabel's Smokehouse or Fletchers. Clarke's Standard, one of my go-to lunch spots, sampled their cheeseburgers, and Grandaisy Bakery had a wide array of baked goods. We tried the cauliflower flatbread.

Texas Style Barbecue from Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue
Cheeseburger from Clarke's Standard
Cauliflower flatbread from Grandaisy Bakery
Alas, the food was eaten, the drinks were sipped dry and everyone went home fat and happy. Until next year Choice Eats...or you can just hold out 2 more months for Choice Streets!!!



Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and Girls! (On second thought, leave the kiddies at home...). Start prepping your salivary glands now as the Village Voice's 7th Annual Choice Eats tasting event is on the horizon!

Last year the event continued to amaze, featuring bites from Luke's Lobster, Del Posto and Fay Dah (my favorites!), and the 2014 event (in a new venue downtown!) is sure to be a smash. It will be held on Tuesday March 25 at Basketball City on Pier 36.

General admission tickets are $60 and include access to the event from 7-10 pm, while VIP tickets ($85) allow you to come an hour early and snag a fancy giftbag. Considering the wait to get in is usually around the block, I'd highly recommend a VIP ticket! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 1/29, but you can get yours now using the presale code EATSPR. This event ALWAYS sells out, so I'd encourage you to act quickly.

The first round of restaurants will be released tomorrow, but the sponsors include Stella Artois, Great Brewers, Southern Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market, Asahi Beer USA, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Hot 97. The charitable partner is Slow Food NYC. To get you super excited, here's an official photo of Laura and me from last year's event - we're featured on the official advertisement!

For the first time, Choice Eats will be accepting volunteers to assist The Village Voice team on-site at the event. All volunteers will receive a free general admission ticket to The Village Voice's 3rd annual Choice Streets Food Truck Tasting Event to be held in May 2014 (specific date TBA). To apply, you must be 21 years or older and fill out this application.


Drinking in the Holiday Spirit

A couple weeks ago (on the 80th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition to be exact) I attended the Village Voice Holiday Spirits Tasting Event at Studio Square in Queens. I was really excited about this event because it was close by my apartment and my blogger friend Laura was also going with her boyfriend.

Entrance at Studio Square

I've learned the hard way that you have to pace yourself at drinking events, hence my strategy was really just taking sips of drinks from various stations and not downing entire cocktails. Favorites included:
  • Rough Rider Old Fashioned served with a cherry and rock candy (Who am I kidding? I was just obsessed with the rock candy!)
Rough Rider Old Fashioned

  • Dutch's Spirits' 'Fat Apple' with mulled cider with moonshine and melted cinnamon brown sugar (I'm not going to post the picture because it actually looks somewhat disgusting)
  • Barefoot Bubbly in citrus fusion
Barefoot Bubbly
  • Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur Eggnog
Barrow's Eggnog

  • Brotherhood Winery's Holiday Spiced Wine which they served warm (side note: my boyfriend and I recently visited this winery, supposedly America's oldest, and fell in love with their Cabernet Sauvignon. You can take tours there too.)

The Go To (who doesn't love a Laura photobomb?)

  • Ole' Smokey Moonshine's "Southern Hooch," which was recommended to me by Laura and was really delicious. I may have imbibed the entire drink this time -- apple pie moonshine and sweet tea!

The venue was great and the live music was a nice addition. The food, however, was lacking. I got a short peek at the sliders that were coming out of the kitchen, but hoards of eventgoers seemed to maul the waiters before they even had the chance to leave the kitchen. Hence, I was very glad that I ate before the event. Whole Foods was smart though in that they were serving a root liqueur poached pear sundae, yum!

Whole Foods' Root Liqueur Poached Pear Sundae

Overall, we had a great time and thankfully only had to stumble home a few blocks before tucking in for the night. Gotta love a good Village Voice event!