This past Friday October 1st, Project by Project hosted their 12th Annual Tasting Benefit, Plate by Plate at The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. This year the proceeds from the event will go towards the Hamilton Madison House, a non-profit settlement house in the Two Bridges/Chinatown area of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, that provides ESL classes, behavioral health services, child care, youth programs, immigrant services, and other community programs.
The tasting benefit gathers together a great handful of New York City restaurants, renowned chefs, beverage suppliers, Asian Americans media personalities and celebrities, and food enthusiasts from all over the city. Thanks to the awesome people from Project by Project NY, I was able to attend the event with a press pass and an early entry to watch things get set up.
It’s definitely very neat to be able to watch as restaurants prepared to serve their special dishes and assembled their elaborate table displays. It made me look forward to the food even more.
There’s so much great food to write about, but here are a few highlights from the night…
During the VIP reception, attendees witnessed as Top Chef winner Chef Hung Huynh and Chef Chris Jaeckle, Executive Chef of Al Fiori battled off in a quick fire challenge to make the ultimate tasty pork sandwich.
Payag, carved up entire roasted pig throughout the night. The meat was super juicy and the skin was nice and crispy. I heard it was so tasty that even the cheeks were eaten. Payag is a Filipino restaurant located in Woodside, Queens.
The happy folks at South Gate danced and cheered as they assembled tasty pork belly buns with kimchi. By the way, Executive Chef Kerry Heffernan was super friendly and we chatted for a bit before the start of the event. He talked about the great food and the modern, spacious atmosphere of the restaurant. The restaurant’s remarkable interiors were designed by New York-based designer Tony Chi.
Blue Smoke served up some really tasty smoked pastrami sliders on toasted pretzel bread. They totally grabbed my attention when I saw them melted the cheese on the slider with a blow torch.
Yerba Buena served juicy and spicy pork belly sliders and tasty ceviche. Pork belly was definitely a popular ingredient that evening. Who doesn’t love juicy pork belly? And ceviche is always fun to eat.
Chopstixs Restaurant showcased a remarkable fruit carving display. I watched as one of the chefs demonstrated watermelon carving.
In the world of beverages, I drank some wine from the Reserve Wine Bar, a Thai-inspired wine bar in the Kips Bay and tried some creative cocktails from Yerba Buena. I found a new brand of sake that I like and actually remembered the name – Dassai 23. After many glasses of alcohol, I sampled some teas. Ito En‘s Lemongrass Green Tea was very refreshing and Gold Star Tea‘s sparkling tea was very awesome too. Metromint peppermint water was cool, minty, and refreshing.
I made sure I saved room for desserts and treats. I finally got to meet Daniellan Louie, owner and bakery of Ivy Bakery located in Brooklyn. I’ve been following Ivy Bakery on Twitter for a while, but have never had the chance to venture down to Bay Ridge to the shop.
I also got to sample Desserts by Tawny Ong. Her mini carrot cupcakes and canoli cupcakes were great. She announced that she will be opening up a shop sometime next year. I’m definitely look forward to it.
Hudson Yards were toasting marshmallows with a torch. They served cute little smores push pops and also encouraged you to built your own smores sandwich. Once again, you bring a cooking torch, you’ve got my attention.
Celebrity sous chefs helped serve food and drinks throughout the evening. How neat is that? Minya Oh (aka Miss Info) poured me a glass of wine and engaged in a fun and friendly conversation. Archie Kao (aka the Asian guy from CSI) ate a marshmallow push pop with me and talked about life outside of CSI. Michelle Krusiec was awesome too. I told her how much I enjoyed the movie Saving Face and she told me about her recently ended one woman show.
There were also a few musical performances throughout the night. I think it was the combination of the human beatbox, electric violin, cello, and percussion that drew my attention towards Stone Forest Ensemble as they played their avant-garde classical/hiphop/world fusion of music. Totally awesome!
While standing around the lobby as the event came to an end, I came across boxes of cupcakes from Tonnie’s Minis. I saw the Red Velvet cupcakes and just couldn’t resist. Soooo good!
I had an amazing time at the Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit – ate delicious foods and tasty treats, met cool people, engaged in great conversations, and drank lots of wine and sake. I had entered the event with a feeling of excitement and curiosity, an empty stomach, and my digital camera.
As I’m about to leave the event, my stomach was more than satisfied, my camera was out of batteries, my bag was filled with cards and fliers, and I had one question on my mind,… “Should I have another one of those cupcakes from Tonnie’s Minis?”