Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meatpacking & Chelsea In An Hour

Modelled after the widely popular Taste of Tribeca, TASTES from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea took place this past Saturday in Gansevoort Plaza. Chefs from many of NYC's most celebrated restaurants set up food stands in the cobblestone square bordered by Hudson Street and 9th Avenue. Although the clientele were dressed a bit more chic and there were substantially less restaurants participating, the concept of this food festival mirrored the Taste of Tribeca. $45.00 granted hungry patrons the opportunity to choose six different dishes from whichever restaurant appealed to them, with proceeds set to benefit the NYC Laboratory School for Collaborative Studies.

Unfortunately my husband and I decided to head down to the event with a little more than an hour left (the sounds coming from my stomach rivalled the growls of an angry bear), and several of the restaurants we were most excited to visit had run out of food. A minor set-back, we weren't deterred from digging right in. With The Red Cat, Klee Brasserie, Matsuri and Buddakan among the restaurants that were long gone, we decided to start with Spice Market's lobster roll topped with dill and sriracha served aside a refreshing mango salad with cherry tomatoes and crystallized tamarind. The food was light and we thought it a fitting dish for a sunny afternoon. In less than an hour we feasted on slow roasted pork in red chile rub with plantain puree, served atop a red corn soft shell taco from The Rocking Horse Cafe (Jan Mendelson tried her best to ensure us the restaurant's margaritas alone are worth a visit); an assortment of sushi from Ono at Hotel Gansevoort (we were nervous about the possibility of suspect sushi sitting for hours in the heat, but neither of us fell victim to worrisome aftereffects); house-cured gravlaks with mustard sauce, swedish meatballs and lignonberries from Smorgas Chef (in my opinion, the components of the plate looked peculiar together, so my husband tackled this one solo); our second round of pork in the form of a pork terrine with spicey mustard and pickled ramps from Trestle on Tenth; appetizing robiola pizza drizzled with olive oil from La Bottega; tandoori shrimp with dates and flavorful papdi chaat from Bombay Talkie; our third round of pork, and my husband's favorite- (further proving my previously published theory that pork, like Tom Cruise, has made its comeback) a miniature roasted pork sandwich accompanied by fava bean mash and artichoke lemon salsa from The Simple Kitchen; marinated heirloom tomatoes with a rectangular slice of pizza bianca topped with balsamic reduction and an innovative, melt-in-your mouth parmesan olive-oil "snow" from Knickerbocker Bar & Grill; and finally tuscan tomato and bread soup with parmesan cheese straws from Macelleria (I usually avoid soup on hot days, but this smelled outstanding).

Rocking Horse Cafe's pork with plantain puree

Smorgas Chef's gravlaks, swedish meatballs and lignonberries

La Bottega's robiola pizza enhanced with extra virgin olive oil

Bombay Talkie's papdi chaat

The Simple Kitchen's pork sandwich with fava bean mash and lemon artichoke salsa

Parmesan olive-oil "snow" tops Knickerbocker Bar & Grill's heirloom salad

Macelleria's tuscan tomato and bread soup with parmesan cheese straws

No matter how full we are on any given occasion, we somehow always find room for dessert (a separate, elusive section of the stomach not yet discovered?). We strolled over to the Cookshop stand to utilize our twelfth, and last, taste. Vanessa Williams' song "Save The Best For Last" echoed in my mind as we shared Cookshop's two heavenly desserts. The sesame and peanut "Cookshop Candy Bars" were the highlight of the afternoon. A chocolate shell topped with either sesame seeds or sea salt enrobes layers of devils food cake, gianduja crunch, sesame or praline ganache, and frozen peanut nougat with a hint of rose-water.

Cookshop's candy bars before we devoured them

The layers inside Cookshop's sesame and peanut candy bars


  1. As somebody who was a part of helping to create this event, I have to say the Chair-People are truly some of the most amazing I have ever worked with. The process was as fun and meaningful as the day.... such a win-win!

  2. This was a great event on a beautiful day. The flower arrangements also added an elegant touch and the live music was terrific. What was the name of the 8th grader who sings like Harry Connick Jr.? And, the juggler! Oh, okay, I'm his mom, but Jacob Gordon's juggling was fun, too. Julie