The delicious eighth annual Choice Eats
Food, booze, music and more food: the eighth annual Choice Eats tasting event hosted by The Village Voice managed to get close to 70 restaurants and bakeries from all different boroughs to participate in this year’s event and, for added flavour, included alcohol and a DJ.
As for the food, it was packed with variety. The 70 restaurants present spanned all different courses, cuisines and diets. Queens Comfort restaurant served one of their mac and cheese masterpieces, while some restaurants opted for conventional dishes with an individualised twist. Others, like Casa del Chef with their delicious chicha, a non-alchohlic beer, went more specialised. Then there were risk takers, like The NoMad, who prepared a sea urchin panna cotta. One attendee, who was talking among friends, finished his sample and was overheard saying: “I have a new favourite dish.” At an event where the sampling was freely available to everyone, these were the booths that inspired guests to go for an adventure with their palate.
The other highlight of the event was the alcohol tasting. While certainly fewer in attendance, breweries and distributors still played a big part in the experience. The beer pairings were a great idea in theory, but weren’t always executed well with the layout and crowds. With seven different Scottish whiskies to sample and an expert guiding the experience, the Compass Box Whiskey Company table was a major standout of the evening. Stella Artois was also a huge hit, but that seemed mainly dependent on attendees wanting a souvenir chalice.
As the place ballooned with people, however, the event started to feel like a notch above a crowded flea market. People would get food at a table and stop right there to eat it, causing logjams behind them. People would try to slither around table corners to avoid the line waiting for fresh reserves. Quantity knew no bounds as one woman took four pieces of carrot cake and another guy tried to take an entire tray of cookies before being stopped. Common courtesy was lacking just enough to mar the event.
The delicious eighth annual Choice Eats was a good experience overall. There were a few bad apples that certainly left things bruised, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the whole evening. If you’re looking to sample a lot of food in one spot, few events could better show off what New York has to offer than Choice Eats.
Photos: Robert Malone
For further information about Choice Eats visit here.