Last Tuesday, I attended the 5th Annual Choice Eats Tasting Event, which featured an array of restaurants handpicked by the Village Voice gathered together at the 69th Armory. With so many restaurants in attendance, the food selection was definitely amazing. There were sandwiches, salads, tacos, soups and more. There was something for everyone whether you’re into meat, seafood, or vegetarian. Of course, there were sweet baked goods and desserts too! Along with the food, there were beverage sponsors handing out various beers and wines, and water as well.
I arrived early to check out the VIP lounge downstairs prior to the grand tasting on the main floor which opened at 6:30pm. Down in the VIP lounge, Stella Artois served up beer while a small handful of restaurants offered a sampling of their best dishes. Restaurants included SCRATCHbread, Murray’s Cheese, El Almacen, Brooklyn’s Cured, Umi Nom, and Fatty Cue. SCRATCHbread had a table filled with all types of breads.
El Almacen served Costilla de Res (braised short ribs with boniato puree) and Ceviche de Bife (rib eye, onion salad).
Brooklyn Cured’s offered their pastrami, while Murray’s Cheese shared a selection of their cheeses and charcuterie.
Umi Nom’s assembled pork Adobo tacos with roasted tomato jalapeno sauce.
Fatty ‘Cue was serving raw oyster with smoked sangrita, but apparently ran out by the time I got there.
In the back room, Ty-lor Boring, of Bravo’s Top Chef Dallas, hosted a demo where he prepared his Watermelon with Vanilla Bean Honey, Saffron and Salted Olive Oil Powder. This was a winning dish from the Modernist Cuisine Quickfire Challenge on the show.
When the main floor opened, I made my way upstairs to start the feast. Here’s a look at some of the food from the event.
Dirt Candy made tomato chipotle cotton candy. The shrimp rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound are always enjoyable. These shrimp rolls are made with sweet Maine shrimp served with a roasted garlic and tarragon mayo.
Ditch Plains‘s Ditch dog features a hot dog covered with mac ‘n cheese. Vandaag‘s Gravlax Smorrebrod features akvavit-doll cured coho salmon, cucumber, saffron-smoked buttermilk creme on rugbrod, Danish rye bread.
Xi’an Famous Foods served a spicy Liang Pi “cold skin noodles.” This vegetarian dish features cold, chewy wheat noodles with seitan, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and cilantro. Edi & The Wolf assembled a delicious cured arctic char plate with orange-chicory salad, lemon gelee and dill.
Juliette‘s Cured Artic Char and Maine Divers Scallop Shooters with clear tomato broth, shaved scallions, and toasted mustard seeds.
In addition to banh mi, Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches also offered Shrimp summer rolls with fish sauce and sriracha.
The tofu and shrimp kebabs from Mooncake Foods were great, especially with the peanutty sauce.
The Nigerian restaurant Buka from Brooklyn served jollof rice (West African rice pillaf), egusi (melon seed sauce) and seared spinach with locust bean.
Chinese bakery Fay Da shared assorted pastries and steamed pork buns. They also gave up bubble tea and grass jelly beverages.
And I ended my feast with a piece of Baby Chocolate Bourbon Cake from The Blue Stove. These boozy and tasty mini cakes are made with bourbon whiskey from Kings County Distillery. It was nice and chocolatey and the whiskey kicks in after the second bite. Mm…