Friday, March 14, 2008
Choice Eats (and Drinks) @ Choice Eats
So, after an extended absence from both blogging and dining out (other than cheap, filling Sunday lunches in Chinatown), what better way to kick off 2008 posts by talking about a superb dining and drinking event last week. As shown in the graphic above, the food tasting event in question is the Village Voice's Choice Eats, featuring 30 or so restaurants handpicked by their food critic Robert Sietsema. I rarely have occasion to read the weekly paper (though the number of TS escort ads never fails to astound), and have never read any of Mr. Sietsema reviews, but this didn't stop me from joining about 50 other members of my World Food Lovers dining group in line outside the Puck building, freezing our body parts off as our stomachs grumbled and excitement levels increased.
Once inside, we were greeted by two roomfuls of restaurant booths offering dishes of ethnic cuisines ranging from Bangladeshi to Cambodian to Nepalese. A veritable feast for world dining enthusiasts. Despite my intent to pace myself, I made a classic rookie mistake by getting dazzled by free booze. Before I knew it, I had downed a shot of Jagermeister and some white wine - on an empty stomach. At S.'s urging, we lined up for the short ribs accompanied by sticky coconut rice at Fatty Crab, which turned out to be one of the best dishes we tasted that night. Another favorite was the sweet dessert at Madiba which had me and S. shamelessly lining up for another portion. The server recognized her as a "repeat customer" and his face broke out into a huge smile, much to her relief.
Some members of the group compared notes on their favorite eats (Deshi Biryani is the bomb, apparently), while I alternated among hitting as many of the restaurants' booths as possible, ogling the beauteous ladies at the Fragoli table, and the libations. Several local microbreweries were represented, and among the beers I tried, I especially enjoyed the Toasted Lager from Blue Point Brewing Company out in Long Island (who knew?!). Happily enough, they informed me that their brews are available at Whole Foods. Yay.
As you can see, I was enjoying myself too much to take any pictures. They might have come out a little blurry anyway LOL. Check out these event pictures though from the World Food Lovers site. In the end, we all left stuffed, happy that we came early (some tables ran out of food by 830pm), and eagerly counting down to next year's food tasting event.
UPDATE: Scoured the web for other bloggers' takes on the Choice Eats event.
Here are a few more lucid and detailed ones than mine.
Soopling at Salty/Savory/Sweet
Jessica at Food Mayhem
Dave at Eating in Translation