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Kate and Jon’s Supper Club: “If You Can Make This, You Can Make That”

14 Feb

We met Kate and her husband Jon at a blogger event a few years back and struck up a friendship. We’ve spent some great times with them and really enjoy having a foodie couple friend to pal around with. While we dined out together a few times, we had yet to try her home cooking.  And if you read her blog, you will quickly learn that not only is Kate a clever writer (and her husband a great artist), but she also knows her way around the kitchen! Kate writes the awesome cooking blog If You Can Make This, You Can Make That.

So when they mentioned that they were going to host their first Supper Club at their home, we couldn’t possibly say no!

We started with lovely lovely apps.

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And an awesome cocktail.

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Here was the menu for the night.

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And we each sat down to this surprise bag at our place setting.

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Now I love corn soup…

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But corn soup with homemade popcorn (the contents of the surprise bag) was like a miracle in my mouth. (How have I never put popcorn in soup before???)

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And then out came the goat cheese souffle.  Wow! Souffles always impress me.

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Most souffles look pretty but taste bland. This most certainly did not.  It was filled with flavor.

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And then the scallops… ooooo caramelization! Delish (and with my favorite: squash puree)

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The roast pork was great. Very moist and great flavors.

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And then out came the bowl of schlag (homemade whipped cream). I could have just eaten this for dessert.

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But there was a plum crumble in my future.  Since I love both plum and crumble, this was right up my alley.

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And then there were some soft, warm chocolate cookies that were mind-blowingly awesome.  Kate keeps saying she doesn’t make cookies. I think she is a bloody liar.

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We had such a great time at this Supper Club and met some fun other people. The food was delicious and I’m so glad to have such delicious friends! I also think Kate may have read this entire blog cover to cover to find all my favorite foods to put on one menu! How else would she have known to put together such a perfect meal of NYCNomNom’s favoritist favorites?

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Shame on Sandy

13 Jan

I was bummed when I missed the 12-12-12 concert right around the corner at Madison Square Garden. Music acts that I grew up absolutely loving, coming together to benefit people who lost everything. I donated to Hurricane Sandy relief, but I never felt like I had done nearly enough. I even have some “survivor’s guilt” about the fact that we were not impacted by the hurricane AT ALL. We were the last block south to keep our power, so we weren’t even slightly inconvenienced.  We got so incredibly lucky.

I watched it all happen in absolute impotence.

But all of that is sad, and New York is nothing if not resilient and I like to think that focusing our energies into the positive is how we overcome.  So back to the positive…

I read about Shame on Sandy on Eater.com a few weeks ago and immediately bought my ticket. Not only was it benefiting something that touched my home so closely, but it was also a day to focus on the positive and celebrate some amazing freakin’ chefs and talented entertainers. (Here was the summary from Eater: “Shame on Sandy benefit at Highline Stages. The event will feature bites from Jonathan Waxman, Michael White, Nick Anderer, the Seersucker team, and several others, plus entertainment from actors and musicians like Reggie Watts, Patrick Stewart, and Abigail Breslin.”)

We went in and had NO idea what to expect. We arrived a bit early and found ourselves in a big open room with Batali, Bourdain, and Bastianich.  I had a bit of celebrity dumbstruckness (yes… chef’s make me dumbstruck but actors do not… do not know why) and didn’t take any photos. Damn.

But I did manage to sneak out my camera as the space filled up, before the food got too killed by the patrons. They had sandwiches from ‘wichcraft (Tom Colicchio).

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These little truffled egg tarts were SO GOOD.  Something about the combination of eggs and truffles that just can’t be beat.

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And a number of items from Blue Ribbon Bakery.

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Including this pork scratchings (pork rinds) with this cute label.

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And this AWESOME caramel corn.

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There were couches to lounge on and a number of tables (thank goodness we got there early and had a seat). The opening band was Bluegrass style and very good.

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And Mario Batali himself started handing out gelato (unfortunately, it was all gone by the time we were ready for dessert).

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And the hot girls shucking oysters somehow made their way to all the tables around us but not ours. Boo.

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The entertainment started (MCed by John Salley) and it was immediately apparent that the acoustics in the hall were not meant for this type of entertainment.  Behind us was a full cacophony of people chit chatting.  But the worst part about it was that they would NOT. SHUT. UP.  Even after countless celebrities asked them to be silent to be respectful for the entertainers, we actually couldn’t hear a lot of what was happening on stage, even though we were only about 20 feet away.  It was actually pretty shameful, and I can’t believe grown adults were that rude.

But we tried to be extra attentive because of that.

Tracy Anderson performed a fun dance routine and sang some songs from Chicago (the musical) and danced some Fosse.

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Followed by Mario Batali…

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…trying unsuccessfully to shoot an apple off of this lovely lady’s head.

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Gail Simmons read a poem about New York (that we could hardly hear due to the rude talkers in the back by the bar).

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Lady Rizo, a cabaret performer, tried to sing what sounded like a funny song about Googling a man she was crushing on, but that was so drowned out by the crazy talkers that she switched to a more Cabaret style torch song. 

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Rachel Feinstein (from Last Comic Standing) was very funny, when we could hear her. Mike is a big fan (see pic at end).

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And then this kid got up there and played an AMAZING cello set. His name is Joshua Roman and he was fantastic.

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Then adorable Abigail Breslin got up and sang a song she wrote. Who knew this little actress could sing?

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Then an impromptu Joe Bastianich got up and performed a song he wrote. This is where I nearly lost it on the talkers. He was giving a touching speech, and then a touching song, about talking to his kids about the horrific shooting in Newtown, CT (near where he’s from) and the group would not even be quiet for that.  I was embarrassed for all of them. But what we could hear, and the cello accompaniment (all improvised) was great.

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Then a performer named Vera Flash got up there and thankfully had music loud enough to drown out the asses in the back.

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Then someone (I’m not sure who… whoops) from “Real Actors Read Yelp” read a very funny Yelp review.

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Followed bya band (who I didn’t snap a picture of) then Marsha Stephanie Blake, who decided to take the noise level into her own hands and perform her Yelp review from the middle of the room on top of a stool.

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Then the very funny Reggie Watts got up and kept us all laughing throughout his set.

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It was at this time that Mike motioned to me that someone important was standing beside me.  Hello Patrick Stewart!

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And then someone finally shut up the crowd… Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain took the stage and gave each other a blind taste test to see if they could identify certain flavors.  Bourdain was up first.

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Eric Ripert challenged the long-time smoker to identify wine.  He somehow pulled it off, down to the vineyard.  I’m not sure if I was impressed or tricked… but it was entertaining to watch.

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Then they switched places and Bourdain told Ripert that he would be trying a staple of every stoner’s cabinet… 

Turns out, Eric Ripert has NO IDEA what Captain Crunch tastes like.

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Then Bourdain had him taste some McDonald’s chicken nuggets. He didn’t ask for Ripert to identify exactly what it was, but only what type of MEAT (or tofu) it was.

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Ripert absolutely couldn’t do it.

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But boy was it funny to watch.

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And then Sir Patrick Stewart graced the stage.

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He read about a secret restaurant he discovered that specialized in none other than sandwich ARTEESTS!

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Eric Ripert (and everyone in the audience) absolutely adored Stewart’s incredible essay and reading about the very special, very unique… Subway. 

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It was fantastic.

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And pretty awesome to see them talk to each other in awe just afterwards.

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And then a woman who was spending a good amount of time with Stewart got on stage and wowed us. Sunny Ozell is a Jazz singer and, as it turns out, Patrick Stewart’s current partner (who Wikipedia tells us is half his age).  She was stunning and super talented.

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And then people who know food people got wise and brought in some late night pizza.  Some deliriously good pizza with vodka sauce.  This must have been from someplace famous, because it was just too good, even eating it cold out of a cardboard box.  But sadly, I do not know where it came from.

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Then another real actor did a Yelp review. It was again, very funny, but again, I couldn’t hear who it was when they announced her.

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Olivia Arciero then came up and sang. She is part of a country group with her sisters called the Lunabelles.  She was also very talented.

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And then the last act, Bliss Blood.

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I can’t help but love the ukulele.  She was a fun way to end the show.

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At the end, most of the food was gone and most of the celebrity chefs ran out of there. But a few people stuck around and we got pictures with Rachel Feinstein (who was incredibly nice).

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And I got a photo op with John Salley, who was so insanely tall he had to LEAN DOWN to put his arms on my head.

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The Shame on Sandy benefit was a hell of a lot of fun and absolutely delicious.  I really enjoyed the variety show and thought everyone up there was talented, with some good fun thrown in from some of our favorite chefs.  The people who wouldn’t stop talking were absolutely horrid, but besides that, we had a great time and I felt very lucky to be in the room with such amazing talent.

And watching Ripert and Bourdain crack each other up was pretty awesome. 

Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting 2012 Review

13 Oct

For the past 3 years, Mike and I have had a tradition of going to the Grand Tasting event at the Food Network Wine & Food Festival in NYC. I get Early Access passes as a treat for Mike’s birthday and it’s a tradition we very much look forward to each year.

Today, we went to the first day of the Grand Tasting (they do it all again tomorrow).  We went with our plan that worked well in the past, arrive early, collect the goodie bag, and make a beeline right to the back and then move forward. It leaves the back half of the (large) space nearly empty for us to peruse (and nibble) for about the first 30 minutes.  It works out well.  We went up the one side and noticed that at least 3/4 of the booths were various kinds of alcohols (mostly wines, but also liquor, sake, mixers, etc).  We decided to start our trip down the other side, figuring that must be where most of the food was.

Well… it wasn’t.

Same story: barely 1/4 food.  Most of the food there was the packaged goods found in ShopRite. While having this food is typical for this food festival (and kind of cool to see what new packaged goods are out there), this is usually complimented by many restaurants (including some famous ones in New York and Celebrity Chefs).  This time, there were hardly any restaurants. I’m not sure what happened, but it left us kind of disappointed! It’s the first time we left there not feeling like we got our money’s worth. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sampling all that wine was great, but we can do that (for a lot less money) at the Wine Show.  We go to this Grand Tasting specifically to try some of the best restaurants in the city.  These just weren’t there today.

And then we had another disappointment… most of the places ran out of food by 4pm. The event goes until 6, and while we saw many run out of food in the past, it wasn’t every single restaurant and it was more around 5/5:30.  Something just went downhill this year.

Total shame.

Here are the noms we had (any time I remembered, I took a picture of the sign and description of the dish, then that is followed by the dish.

 

Only one real stand out: the short ribs from Monkey Bar.  And while it was VERY good, we were hoping to have some bites that would make us say “Wow! We really need to try that restaurant!”

Not this year.

Bummer.

Meatopia 2012

9 Sep

 

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of attending Meatopia 2012.  It was held on Randall’s Island, which is a bit of a pain in the butt to get to, but serves as a really nice space for a food festival.  (We took the bus to 102nd and took the foot bridge across, the walked up and got a wee bit lost, but figured it out. We then took the water taxi back.)

You never really know what you’re going to get when you go to a food festival, and it’s especially concerning when you spend that much money ($150 General Admission, but we got our tix from Thrillist for $130 which included admission an hour earlier).  Luckily, Meatopia was exactly how food festivals should run. Enough food for everyone, presence by celebrity chefs who weren’t just there for PR but were actually cooking, reasonable lines, not over-crowded, and all-inclusive (all drinks and food on premises were included in the admission ticket).  

We had a really great day there, even though there was a big storm and it poured for part of it.  We hit almost every stand, and did our best to try just a bite of everything (we’d get one serving and split it between us).

Both Mike and I had the same #1 dish. And it won by a landslide.  Chef Aaron Franklin served brisket from Franklin BBQ (based in Austin, TX).  We saw a long line and wondered what could have a longer line than the celebrity chef stands we had already hit up (in the pouring rain no less). When I realized it was Franklin BBQ, I nearly skipped back to where Mike was saving our place. You see, we had just watched the first episode of the final season of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation, where Bourdain went to Austin during SXSW. Bourdain stopped by 2 BBQ joints, one of which was Franklin’s.  I actually posted on Facebook (are you a fan of NYC Nom Nom on Facebook yet? What are you waiting for?) while watching the episode that I wanted to lick the TV because it looked so good.  So when we happened to be at a festival serving Franklin’s just a few days later, we were very excited.  But could it live up to the hype? Oh yes… yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.  Best BBQ I think I have ever had.  WOW.  And as I balanced my brisket on top of my beer while holding onto my umbrella in the pouring rain, I asked for a fork.  Chef Franklin said that the brisket was meant to be eaten with the hands to get better acquainted with the meat.  Well done chef, well done.  It fell apart and had all the right bite, melty fat, and crisp char.  Gosh was it good.  

Here are all the pictures we took, mostly starting with a red sign explaining the dish followed by the picture of the dish.  Comments below the pictures reflect things that were especially memorable or clarity when I forgot to take a photo.

 

Bacon Bash 2012

23 Jun

Today, we went to the first Bacon Bash.

Overall, I think it was a reasonable attempt at a first event, however, the space got VERY crowded at some points and it was set up in a weird way. It also looked a lot like a night club (including the thumping music… which was actually kind of fun).

There were only a handful of tables with bacon tastings, and each table had a number of tastes on it. Most tastes ran out before the end of the 2.5 hour session, and they still had 2 full sessions left today!  I have to hope they had reserves for the next 2 sessions.

Everyone’s favorite bite was the black peppered bacon brittle from F. N. Puffin.

For the full album, go check out NYCNomNom’s Facebook page! I live posted from the event, so you can see all the fun as it happened.

Bacon Bash 2012: You know you want to go, and NYCNomNom has your Discount Code!

1 Jun

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I really have a love for pretty much anything and everything swine. And there is a special place in my heart for bacon. So imagine my glee when I found out that The 1st Annual Bacon Bash is upon us! It will be taking place on Saturday, June 23rd in 2 slots: 12-2:30pm and 3:30-6pm. For all the details, check out their site.  

Want to go?  Well, dear readers, if you use the code “nomnom” at checkout, you will get 20% off your tickets! (on the final screen, you can add the coupon in the top right)

See ya there!

Nom Nom Bacon Nom Nom!

5 Boro PicNYC- Governors Island

26 May

Today, we went to Governors Island for the 5 Boro PicNYC. If you haven’t been to Governors Island yet, you are missing out. We were there for the first time just this past September for Pig Island and I just fell in love with the island.  It’s a beautiful island right off the southern tip of NYC.  You can get there on a 5 minute FREE ferry (no joke… 5 minutes) and it’s filled with history and beautiful buildings.

The Ferry is open Memorial day through the fall, so today was the first day of the 2012 season, and we were on the first ferry at 10am. Ferries leave from the terminal right next to the Staten Island Ferry at 10am, 11am and then every half hour through 7pm. The island is open Saturdays and Sunday as well as holiday Mondays. (There is also a ferry from Brooklyn)

We were there before the PicNYC admission (11:30am) so we explored some of the island before hand. (Post all about the island to follow)

We got on line and went on in at 11:30am.

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The event, like Pig Island, took place on Colonel’s Row, where each vendor is set up in a tent.

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At the center was a tent set up for Jarlsberg Cheese.

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They were serving grilled cheese (one with pork and one with a meatball pate).

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Both were good, but grilled cheese on a grill just doesn’t have the buttery goodness of the grilled cheese I love.

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They also had a cheese dip that included red onions.

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It was surprisingly good, and kind of tasted like “coleslaw with cheese” (quote from Mike).

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While I’ve had Ricks Picks before, I am always up for a good pickle.  The People’s Pickles are my favorite.

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There wasn’t great signage in a lot of restaurants, but many had some sort of “Jimmy’s No. 43” signage on them.

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One of these had “Street Chicken Tacos” which were surprisingly very good.  Basic and delicious.

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I was, of course, out, but Lucky 777 was serving up some chili.

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I guess they were New Orleans themed by the decorations.

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They had 3 varieties: bean, pork, and turkey.

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Mike went with the pork and said it was very good.

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Sixpoint  Brewery was supplying all the beer at the event. Our tickets came with unlimited food sampling and 1 beer ticket. Unlimited beer tickets were available for $20 more, but seeing as though you could get 4 beer tickets for $20 extra, I didn’t think we would be drinking 5 beers that day, so we went with the basic ticket.

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There was an entire section of hot sauce, that I sadly had to skip over.

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One place was serving wings that had a ghost chili sauce on them.  Judging from the reactions around us, these babies were HOT.

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We hit a series of tents all labeled as Jimmy’s 43.

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One was serving kielbasa, that was sadly a bit cold and lacking in flavor.

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But right next to that they were serving my favorite bite of the day: BBQ chicken.

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It had a crispy skin on the outside and juicy chicken on the inside.  The sauce was flavorful without being at all spicy. It was everything that is good about BBQ chicken.

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There was a also a steak in a chimichurri sauce.  The bread wasn’t toasted and it was nearly impossibly to take a bit out of this. I wound up rolling up my steak and popping the whole thing in my mouth.  It was okay.

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They had some stuff for vegetarians… but really not a lot at all. The potato salad looked pretty good.

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As did the cole slaw. But I wouldn’t advise this event for anyone that doesn’t eat meat.

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There was a banh mi assembly line going on, but they were having difficulty getting these out in any efficient fashion.

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And sadly they weren’t that good.  The bread was soft, no crisp at all (an essential to banh mi in my opinion) and the pork was ground rather than in pieces.

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Mine without sauce was even more boring.

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Sausage was a very popular dish, but these were stand outs.  Blood sausage and veal sausage.  They were both very good, but the blood sausage was especially flavorful without being TOO gamey.

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One of the last places we stopped was Peels, and they were offering house-made smoked green garlic and poblano chile (d’oh) kielbasa with pickled cabbage and house mustard.

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I was out, but Mike tried it and said it was VERY good.

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At this point we decided to leave the event for a bit, and we rented bicycles and rode around the island (another post on that adventure soon).  We came back a little over an hour later, got some more beers, and sat and watched the band.  Unfortunately, the ground was a bit damp so we left with soggy bottoms.

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One complaint I have is that there aren’t enough tables/seating at these events. It’s hard to balance a beer and food that requires a knife and fork.

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My final beer selection of the day was the Apollo.  It’s Sixpoint’s wheat beer and I thought it was just perfect for a humid summer day out in the park.

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As we were heading out, we needed something cold. While most food was free, a few vendors did have paid grub. The line for Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck was a bit too long, so we decided to check out the Wooly’s stand (a Vendy award winner, according to their sign).

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We weren’t sure what it was, but it came from some sort of revolving ice machine thing.

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They only had mango flavor left, and they topped it with strawberries, brownies, and salted leche sauce.

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The only way I can describe it was that it was like ice clouds.  Not a lot of flavor, just sweet (not really mango) but the toppings were great and it was very refreshing on the hot day.

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Overall, I thought the food at PicNYC was just okay.  Too many sausages and not enough variation. For the $25 cost of admission though, it’s hard to be all-you-can-eat food.  I should have just had more of those chicken drumsticks!  Though really, after all that food, I wasn’t left wanting by any means.

I would say that if you had nothing going on tomorrow, it would be a fun day and definitely worth the cost of admission.  Unfortunately, however, they just posted that they are all out of Sunday tickets. So if you have tickets, have a ton of fun!

And definitely make your way to Governors Island this summer!

The Great GoogaMooga: Food and Music Festival Review

19 May

Today, we went to The Great GoogaMooga, a Food and Music Festival organized by the same people that do Bonnaroo.  It was in Prospect Park Brooklyn and was billed as “An Amusement Park for Food.”  There were two ticketing options, free tickets or “Extra Mooga,” a $250 all-access pass to a special section.  That was all we knew when we logged on to get tickets. After a huge technical glitch leaving hundreds of people trying to get the free passes without tickets (me being one of them), they sent an apology and eventually made it right by sending me codes for the tickets I was owed.  I debated the $250 ticket, but that is a lot of money to swallow for an unknown!

There is another day of the festival (tomorrow, Sunday May 20th), so if you’re going, you should especially read on for tips and advice!

We took the F train to the west side entrance and we were surprised to see no signage about GoogaMooga.  We walked across the park (a good 10-15 minutes) and finally stumbled on it.  I was thrilled to see there was no line to get in, and when we go into the park, it was pretty spread out.

We quickly formulated a game-plan: There were 3 of us, so we decided to get 1 dish at each stand and split everything 3 ways so we would be able to try more things. I highly recommend this system for food festivals! Sharing is caring folks!

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They had different sections set up, and the first one we passed was The Hamburger Experience.  Lines were maybe 5-10 people deep and moving swiftly.  We said we would come back for burgers later in the day.  Sadly, that opportunity never came since it got very crowded later in the day.

One of the first things we realized is that there was NO service in the area… cell phone, text message, internet, WiFi… nothing.  I was bummed because I wanted to live blog pictures on Facebook (I found some service later and got the pictures up).

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Our first stop was at the M. Wells stand for Bologna Foie Gras Grilled Cheese.

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Yes… that says Horse Bologna.  I have to hope that it’s a type of bologna or a brand… trying not to think about it.

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The sandwich was on well toasted bread that held the sandwich together nicely without distracting from it.  The entire thing was VERY rich and some in our party said it was just “too much.”  I thought it was indulgent and a little too delicious.  The flavors were great together, but I’m glad that we split it 3 ways and I only had 2 bites.

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After this sandwich, we needed a drink.  We made our way over to the line where we were to get IDed and pay for a GoogaMooga glass and get some “GoogaMoula,” which was needed instead of cash in the Wine and Beer Tasting Tents.  The line was long, so we left Mike on line and went to get some water.  Upon arriving at the (very long) beverage line, we found out we could get beer at the stand, so we picked up some Blue Moon (a few of their more interesting beers were not yet ready) and went back to meet Mike on line.  It looked like he had moved way up, but, alas, a lot of people had just dropped out of line because they couldn’t get their system up and running.  About 20 minutes later (so a total of about an hour on line), some guy got up on a picnic table and apologized for the system being down and said that it wasn’t coming back up and we should try back in an hour.  Wow… thanks.  Glad we waited on line.

So on we went.

Orbit gum had a number of stands around, and they were giving out hot towels to clean up our dirty hands (along with samples of gum to clean up our dirty mouths).  When I took a pack of gum, the woman gave me a perfectly executed “fabulous.”  Nicely done.

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We made our way to the “Hamageddon” section, which was heavy on the pork stands and the 80s.  They had this great pig sculpture and inside that cage was, indeed, a whole pig on a spit.  Awesome.

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There were a few tempting stands in Hamageddon. Bacon Land instantly caught our eye with their Bacon Flight, but they weren’t ready yet.  They told us it would be another 30 minutes, so we went to the beverage stand to get more beers.  Sadly, even though that line was shorter than most, it was a good 30 minutes online to get beers, so we each got 2 at once.  Double fisting is the way to go!

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We went to the Porchetta stand (a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for some time) for their porchetta sandwich.

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Porchetta is defined as “[slow] roasted pork with crispy skin, highly seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, sage, rosemary and wild fennel pollen. Porchetta is known as having some of the best porchetta in the city (good name choice).

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The sandwich was basic.  Roll + Meat. And it was fantastic.  Packed with flavor and the seasoning was just to die for.  I got a crispy piece and it was damn good.

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Our next stop was Craft (a Tom Colicchio mainstay in NYC), where we got a Dirty Duck Dog.  This was a hot dog made of duck paired with pickled cabbage and black garlic.  It was our favorite nom of the day!  The duck was nice and flavorful and the sweetness from the black garlic was heavenly.  A truly perfect festival food.

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We took a quick trip to the sweet section of Googa Mooga.

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Very appropriately called the Sweet Circus.

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They had a number of favorites, but as we sipped our beers, we decided that our best bet was the Dirtcake at Katzie Guy-Hamilton (of Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2).

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The ingredients really sounded can’t miss.

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And I love that she buried the cups in “dirt” at her stand.  We had ours with whipped cream and extra worms.  It was FANTASTIC.  A nostalgic, updated and even better.

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We also ran into some friends who got the cheesecake bombs from James. I had a nibble and these were decadent and very, very good.

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Our next stop was to divide and conquer Red Rooster (Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem restaurant) and Arancini Bros.

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From Red Rooster, we had Berbere (an Ethiopian spice) Roasted Chicken, which came with orecchiette mac and cheese and a piece of corn bread.  The chicken was very moist and had a lot of flavor (somewhat curry like).  We asked if it had peppers (due to my allergy) and they said no, but we’re pretty sure it did.  The mac and cheese was very tasty.  Though I would probably skip this if I were going again.

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From Arancini Bros, we had Sicilian Rice Balls.

They were a good side, and fried crispy without being greasy or thick.

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One was Ragu with meat sauce and tomato, peas, mozzarella, and safron.  The rice was cooked well and it was full of flavor.

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The other was filled with basil, pesto, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes.  This one was super duper.  Great flavor, just the right consistence, and the pieces of cherry tomatoes inside were the perfect addition.

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By the time 2pm rolled around, the park went from being pretty open to being shoulder to shoulder packed, with very long lines, and a struggle to find a place to sit in the shade.

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By this time, we noticed a line had formed at the Bacon Flight, so we assumed they were ready to go.  Well… they weren’t.  I’m not sure if people were just on line and waiting or if they were only serving a handful at a time, but the line didn’t move.  We were on it for over 45 minutes.  I grabbed a card while we were waiting and it explained the “flight” of 7 kinds of bacon, each from a different purveyor.

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We finally got our bacon, and matched them up.  They were all pretty good, but VERY greasy and certainly not worth the long wait.  I was especially excited about this one, because come on… a FLIGHT of bacon!  It was a good thought, but not great in execution, both due to the length of time it took to get out and the overall taste once we did get it.  We did REALLY like the Maple Bacon though.  Crowd favorite.

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By this time, we were beyond stuffed.  We walked around for a bit and noticed some amusing signs, including one that showed where the 15 minute wait section of the line was… just like Disney World.

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There was also the Pizza Experience, but we didn’t make it there either.

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And just before we headed out, we caught a glimpse of this hysterical note…

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GoogaMooga was certainly a fun experience, and since it was a beautiful day, some of the annoying things weren’t too bad.   They really did a very good job at advanced planning, but the execution was definitely lacking.  They even made an app, which looked very good, but upon arrival, it didn’t work… and we didn’t have internet to be able to use most of it anyway.  The system not working meant we didn’t get to the beer/wine sampling tents after all, which I’m sure meant for a huge loss of money for those guys.  The lines were just too outrageous by the end, and we wound up leaving by 4pm (so we didn’t see the headlining musical act that night, The Roots).

The initial organization left some things to be desired as well, especially with the ticketing system.  They also didn’t announce the musical line ups until long after they distributed the tickets, and I may have selected the Sunday date had I known that Hall and Oates was playing tomorrow when I had to make the call about which date to go.    Also, they billed the event as being filled with famous celebrity chefs and events… and then weeks later announced that would only be included in the ExtraMooga package (at $250!)

Now a word on ExtraMooga… At $250, it should be pretty outstanding.  And yes, the celebrity chefs were a great incentive for an extra price, but $250 extra?  Seems a bit steep.  And it said it came with free tastings and drinks from a few restaurants (but I’m still not sure if that included all the stands… and they would still have to wait on the long lines even if it did).  One FourSquare tipster mentioned that he was upset that ExtraMooga ran out of food… no bueno!

Sadly, we were just too full and couldn’t try everything.  I would have loved the opportunity to try the soft shell crab sandwich from Vinegar Hill (the line wrapped around half the grounds by the time we got there) and I didn’t get to see if the foie gras donuts from Do or Dine lived up to the hype.

Oh and we all noticed that they did a great job on the number of porta-potties.  You never had to wait on line for the bathroom at least!

So if you are planning on going tomorrow, here are a few tips:

  • Get there early!  I would say as soon as the festival opens (11am) and tackle the food lines you want first thing.
  • Go to the ID booth and get your “Over 21” bracelet.  Some of the beverage stands distribute them as well, so you can kill 2 birds with one stone (Bracelet + Beer).
  • Check if the GoogaMoula is working. If it is, get that first.  The lines all day were hundreds of people long.
  • Get 1 portion of each food and split it with a few people, so you get to eat more.
  • Bring cash. The stands don’t take cards and the ATMs (which are on the grounds) charge $4… thems Vegas prices!
  • There is no cell service, phone nor internet… so if you separate from your friends, have a meeting place and time in mind or work on your smoke signals.
  • Don’t depend on the app to work.
  • Wear sunscreen!  We all got burnt, even though we had sunscreen on.

It WAS the first year… so we expected it to be a bit of a shit show.   Was it too much of a shit show that I regret going? Not at all!  The food is what I was there for, and the food was damn good. And it’s hard not to enjoy a beautiful day in Prospect Park, even if it’s on a long, long line.
Thanks for nomming! Come on over and Like NYCNomNom on Facebook and come back here often for great NYC food updates.

 

GoogaMooga: Live Blogging Today!

19 May

Today I will be live blogging from The Great GoogaMooga Festival: a huge food and music festival in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Some of New York’s best restaurants will have stands and we have the free tickets for today, Saturday.

Want to know if the foie gras donuts are mind boggling? Want to hear about the entire tent of sweets? Stay tuned to the NYCNomNom Facebook page for all-day pictures of the food.

Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting

17 Jan

Every year, the Food Network Wine & Food Festival in NY occurs right around Mike’s birthday.  So for the past 2 years, I have treated him to passes to the Grand Tasting event.  Last year it was a lot of food and wine.  We were expecting to be equally overwhelmed, but then we realized that this year things were changing.

This year, they were having chefs speak on various topics throughout the day.  When we looked at the schedule and realized that Chef Alton Brown (my favorite) was up first, I was very pleased we got there at opening.

He was introduced by Alex Guarnaschelli.

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He talked to us about how much fun it is to combine science and food and I started to TOTALLY nerd out.

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And then… he brought out the sword.

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And set up his helper with goggles and a catcher’s mitt…

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And then pulled out a chilled bottle of champagne…

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Explained to us about how there is a seam in the bottle…

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And proceeded to lop off the top of the champagne bottle WITH THE SWORD and send it flying across the stage.

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We then had a liquid nitrogen demo followed by an awesome demo on how to make wine beads.  He was taking questions from the audience and I raised my hand (nerd… remember?).  I stood up and Alton squinted into the stage lights and said “Yes ma’am? At least I think you’re a ma’am… I can’t see in these lights.  I then turned to grab the microphone and then… it happened…

“Oh yes! Definitely ma’am… I can see now that you’re… chesty.”

Yes… Alton Brown called me chesty.

I didn’t stop laughing all day.

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The next few hours were a blur of food and wine and food and wine.

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Some of the best restaurants in NYC have bites out for tasting.

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As well as some products (like these homemade awesome salted brownies and cookies)

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And some brand names for tasting.

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But it is HUGE. So huge that it’s actually overwhelming.  I know I enjoyed some items… but it was just SO MUCH that I can’t remember what it was!

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Though someone thinks like me and looked at which cookies pair best with which wines.  And made a chart.

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Chick peas as snacks? Don’t mind if I do.

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And some just had damn good displays… mmmm… pig…

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That’s like… a million dollars in black gold….

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Ok… THIS one was VERY memorable. It was lobster in a pumpkin bisque.  Two of my favorite things. And it was delicious.  And I even took a picture of the sign… so now I must be sure to visit Millesime.

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And after we were completely filled and mostly drunk… we went to the final talk of the day… “From Bad Boy to Family Man: A talk with Anthony Bourdain narrated by Joshua David Stein”

Why I swoon for Bourdain when I know he hates everything about food bloggers, I have no idea. I have fantasies that I could win him over… tell him how much I love food and love writing about it… but I know he would curse me off and wouldn’t give me the time of day.  Perhaps he is my bad boy fantasies from youth.  But I have read his books and I hang on his words and I go where he recommends… it’s a sick fascination that I cannot explain… but I am not ashamed to admit it.  I really love Anthony Bourdain.  (In fact, his show “The Layover” is currently on in the background as I write this… what can I say?)

This was quite the talk!  I have seen many things he said (mostly about other chefs) during this chat quoted in other places.  But what I got out of it is that Anthony Bourdain just wants everything (food, restaurants, chefs, diners) to be better.

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Tickets go on sale in JUNE for this October event, and they usually sell out quickly for the best events.