New York Cliché sent Tolly “Rose” to cover this awesome foodie event.
In the spirit of this blog, I arrived to the Village Voice Choice Eats 2015 event wearing a huge bag, high heels, and a press pass, on the outer edge of “fashionably late”—talk about a NY Cliché. I entered a bit frazzled, which might explain my assumption that the song blaring from the speakers was the classic rock mainstay, The Who’s “Won’t Get Food Again.” ‘What an ironic choice,’ I thought as I hummed along.
That song is, of course, actually titled “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” but I did not know these correct lyrics until, well, when I looked up the tune to write this article. This was not the last time I fooled myself that night.
Unaware of my musical ignorance, I maneuvered around large groups of beer guzzlers to the first booth I saw. In this eighth edition of the annual food festival, over 50 restaurants participated by providing samples of some of their best dishes. I was on a mission to find the best offerings. My first bite set the tone for the night—Pulled Pork and a Sweet Corn Cake from Mable’s Smokehouse. One mouthful of that succulent meat and I decided to focus my attentions of proteins of the animal variety.
I continued on my course, picking up a glass of Barefoot Malbec along the way, before my eyes landed on another sample of pulled pork. I raced to that table and put the morsel in my mouth only to be met with a tangier and earthier taste than expected. It was incredible. Before asking the chef about the dish though, or, you know, thanking him for the orgasm in my mouth, I was distracted by another selection across the way.
Behind a busy line stood the Manhattan Moonshine booth where servers wearing elegant suits poured cocktails like Charleston Brambles out of glass jars. It somehow managed to have a sophisticated, speakeasy vibe in the midst of a convention hall packed with folding tables under not-exactly-flattering lighting. I took a sip of what looked like pink lemonade. The guy behind me in line summed up the cocktail best with a booming, “Hooo!” It was strong, though not unpleasant, like a well placed jab during a massage.
Still, I couldn’t get my meat experience out of my mind. I returned to the previous booth, which belonged to Casa Mono & Bar Jamon, for seconds.
There I discovered the ingredients to what I had loved so much: the sauce was made of a creamy avocado, goat cheese and pistachios poured under pulled goat. Meats look similar when cooked this way, but I was still surprised that I did not immediately discern the difference between the two barn animals (one says oink and the other baa, for God’s sake). I was even more amazed by how much I loved eating kid. Unfortunately, according to the New York Times, I’m pretty late to the goat-loving foodie cliché.
All together I tried over 20 dishes, and sampled about a dozen drinks (small samples, I swear!).
Bourbon from the Catskills Distillery
Pineapple Bun Sliders from Brooklyn’s 2 Duck Goose
The newly released Right-O-Way beer from Southern Tier
East Pole’s Braised Heritage Goat Sandwich—there we go again with the goat!
I also adored the Shredded Grilled Beef Tongue from The Gorbals. In keeping with the theme of the night, I misheard the chef and thought I was eating “Beef Tender” until I started chewing. Yes, they had hanging menus clearly stating everything in the dishes, but I was just so enraptured by what was on the tables to bother looking up at the signs hanging above. Let’s say I was blinded by a new-found love of goat and beef tongue!
By 9:30 the music had turned from classic rock to the Kings of Leon. People in aprons left their stations and unwound with some beverages—some breweries even gave out 6 packs to the chefs in appreciation for their hard work. I threw back my last beer of the night, an Oskar Blue’s Throw Back IPA (as tasty as it was fitting) and headed for the coat check. As I left, a mass of inebriated men held each others shoulders and sung along with the stereo, “Tex-Mex on Fire.”
Ahem, “Sex on Fire.”
Tolly is a writer and editor living in New York. Her work can be seen in Time Out New York, The Villager, and Affect Magazine. Readers of the blog may recognize her as “Rose,” Mary Lane’s roommate and co-mother to their precious—though undisciplined—cat, Pip. Follow her on twitter @tollyw.
If your stomach AND heart feel empty that you missed this event, I have good news! The Village Voice has another amazing food event coming up May 5th! The Village Voice Choice Streets, featuring NYC’s best food trucks. Tickets and more info can be found on their website.
In other NYC foodie news, thanks to everyone who entered my Macaron Give-Away! #1 was picked by random.org so Richard Ondrovic, you win! Get you address to me ASAP [newyorkcliche(at)yahoo.com] so these macarons can be super fresh! Have a sweet week everyone!