Choice Eats the Wrong Choice

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 15 - 2009-03-31 at 18-15-32
It's not that there wasn't good food or drink or that it was all that expensive, but the 2nd Annual Choice Eats Event at the 69th Infantry Regimental Armory in NYC that was put on by The Village Voice, benefiting Slow Food NYC (a very good cause), turned out to be a major disappointment. Of course, I should have known better from the start, but I didn't. I didn't even have a ticket to the sold out event until shortly before the start, when I managed to score on for the $35 admission fee.

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 4 - 2009-03-31 at 17-49-48

Just approaching the armory prior to the 6:30PM start was an indication that the event was going to be a zoo. With two lines snaking around the block in each direction from the Lexington Ave. entrance, it was apparent that sold out meant that there would be many, many people at the event. The premise was quite intriguing: the very best ethnic restaurants from around NYC as selected by Robert Sietsema and Sarah DiGregorio would all be in one place serving samples of their cooking along with various craft brews, beverages and alcohols to accompany the food. All told there were 56 restaurants representing 37 different cuisines. It sounded good to me, presenting the opportunity to sample a number of restaurants that I had heard good things about, but would be unlikely to get to on my own.

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 6 - 2009-03-31 at 18-10-28

Moving fast at Fatty Crab

So what was the problem? It wasn't that the food wasn't good. Much of it was, though certainly not all of it. For every item that I tried that was really good, there was at least another that I easily could have done without. The beverages were fine. Each food stand even had a suggested pairing to go with the food, though it was nearly impossible to find the beverage that was supposed to go with the food. The problem was that there was simply too many people and not enough food, at least at the more popular places. It was a zoo with long lines and crowded, cramped aisles. I simply couldn't get to some of the more popular spots before they ran out of food relatively early in the evening. Momofuku Milk Bar had already run completely out of food by the time I entered the event at 7PM despite the fact that they were serving nothing but dessert. I guess the majority of people attending follow the dictum of "eat dessert first!"

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 29 - 2009-03-31 at 18-32-09

A sense of the crowd

Unfortunately I was unable to make it to Fette Sau or Braai in time before they ran out of food. Both enjoyed good reports from others, especially Fette Sau,the Brooklyn bbq specialists that some consider the best bbq in the city.

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 18 - 2009-03-31 at 18-17-29
 Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 16 - 2009-03-31 at 18-15-42
Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 33 - 2009-03-31 at 18-50-07

Cabrito's stuffed jalapeño, Baoguette's baoguette, and Porchetta's porchetta sandwich

The evening was not a total loss, however, as I did get to see some friends from Slow Food NYC and Slow Food USA (both of whom got good exposure in addition to welcome funds) as well as enjoy some items from restaurants with a lot of buzz such as the tasty baoguette from the aptly named Baoguette; nasi lemak (coconut rice, chicken curry and slow poached egg) from Fatty Crab; Cabrito's jalapeños rellenos (jalapeños stuffed with pollack, pepitas, capers and raisins and served with fresh creama and a side of house-made horchata "to cool your taste buds;" and my favorite bites of the night, the porchetta sandwich from, of course, Porchetta, Sara Jenkins' monothematic East Village restaurant. That sandwich with juicy meat and crisp cracklings tucked inside a ciabatta roll, provided pure, lusty gustatory pleasure. From a pure culinary value perspective, though, I would have been better off taking my $35 and going to any one of a number of the restaurants represented (esp. Porchetta given how much I enjoyed that sandwich) and had a whole meal at that restaurant.

Copyright 2009 by Docsconz - All Rights Reserved 35 - 2009-03-31 at 18-52-55

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One Response to Choice Eats the Wrong Choice

  1. That’s unfortunate that the event was so overcrowded. Hopefully Slow Food NYC made a nice bit of money from it though. Cheers!

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