Last night I had the privilege of being invited to the 2011 NY Mag Taste: A World of Flavors. Saying that this was a good event would be an understatement. This year, several of New York’s most renowned chefs and restaurants were hand-picked to showcase their craft with creative and decadent small plates that best represented their cuisine. The event was hosted by NY Mag editor Gillian Duffy in the Skylight SoHo event loft, which was filled to the max with a beautiful display of tables arranged by globlal influence, a fully stocked bar that stretched down the center of the room, and a Cadillac sedan…sponsorship. Each restaurant had its own table that was adorned in a way that spoke of its unique personality, and that was manned by THE Executive Chef. This alone put me on Cloud 9. I took full advantage of the situation and made a point to shake hands with celebrity chefs Michael Psilakis of Kefi, Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster, Nancy Olson of Gramercy Tavern, and Georges Mendes of Aldea, just to name a few. You’d think I was meeting Brad Pitt or Justin Beiber, I was so excited. This… was foodie heaven.
Speaking of taking advantage of a situation, as soon as I entered the loft the devouring began. Now, usually I am very meticulous about how I eat. Omitting my sweet tooth, I pick and choose what I allow myself to eat in a given meal, and I pay close attention to what is going into my mouth. I eat smart. In this particular situation, however, my rule book was left in a cab. Without a thought or hesitation, my jacket came off and the tasting commenced. I don’t think I have ever mapped out a plan of action so quickly or so precisely in my life. It’s as if I had spent the day memorizing the event lay out ( Scoop’s Honor, I did no such thing). Sooner than you could say, “Jamie slow down,” I was onto the next plate. Bite after bite, table after table, you’d think I’d never had a meal in my life. There had to be at least 40 restaurants serving at the event and, I kid you not, I tried at least 95% of them. The most shocking part of all, was that I accomplished this in less than an hour. You can say it, “Jamie, how you could lose control like that? What were you thinking? How glutenous could you be?” And my answer is simply this, ” It was AMAZING. I was happy to lose control! I was being hand served by some of the top chefs in the restaurant capital of the world, dishes that were hand-picked and crafted BY them! Are you kidding me?! I have not one regret for my actions and given the opportunity to do it again, I’d pick up a pair of extra-large pants and get my eat on!” I do have to admit that as soon as I was done stuffing my face I high tailed it back to my apartment. That was a danger zone and lingering would only increase my odds of self-destruction.
While I can’t say that I remember all of the bites I had pre food coma, I do recall a few that stood out from the pack. The best bites that I would consider of the “appetizer” genre were the Red Kuri Pumpkin Veloute with Salt Cod Chantilly from Corton, the Oyster from Kefi, the Herb Falafel with Harissa Yogurt from Boulud Sud, and the Black Sea Bass an Avocado Tarts from Red Farm. The best bites over all were the Smoked Texas Tenderloin with Skillet Cornbread from Hill Country BBQ Market, the Taco from Toloache, and the Risotto from SHO Shaun Hergatt. And last but not least, the best two desserts HANDS DOWN were the Pumpkin and Gingerbread Spiced Truffles from Gramercy Tavern and the Chocolate Creme from Porter House NY. Each of the dishes mentioned above were just so creative in composition and theme, and they all delivered so much more than you would initially expect.
Surprisingly, some chefs that you would have expected to steal the show, while still tasty, under-delivered. Alas, the only disappointment I can think of was that there was no ice cream, but, I would say that now wouldn’t I :-)
The NY Mag Taste: A World of Flavors did what it intended to do and sent me on the fastest, most exhilarating culinary adventure around the globe, all within a New York minute.