Hordes of people waited in anticipation for Village Voice’s Choice Eats, an event that features over 50 restaurants and foods from a wide variety of cuisines such as Italian, Russian, Thai, Venezuelan, Vietnamese, and more!
The goal is to highlight and expose people to “hidden gems” around NYC with participating food establishments that span across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. For its third year, Choice Eats has partnered with Slow Food NYC, an organization dedicated to teaching good, clean, and fair food practices to schools in NYC, and a portion of tickets is donated to a great cause. Basically eat, drink, be merry while helping out others! What is there not to love?
Immediately after entering in, I was bombarded with free stuff from sponsors – baking spatula, RCN tote bag, flyers to other events – and handed a guide with descriptions of the vendors and the stand layout. With a quick strategy and sense of worthwhile waits (or no waits), we quickly maneuvered through the crowds and food stands to taste and devour the appetizing samples ahead of us.
Some highlights of the night:
Baohaus – The Chairman Bao, braised pork belly, definitely has enough fat content to coat your entire mouth with oil. With a small spoonful of sour pickled vegetables, cilantro, and peanut powder, the bun was nicely sweet, savory, and fatty at the same time. It reminded me of the pork buns I had from Taiwan, which is a really good sign.
Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen – The combination of the peanut sauce, cilantro, and chili sauce with the perfectly cooked rice crepe made this a memorable dish. It is not easy to find rice crepes that have a soft yet slightly chewy texture, but they were able to replicate that many fold. Very impressive.
Fette Sau – They had well seasoned barbequed meat where the portions of fat to meat were generous and well done. I thought the spicy mustard gave the BBQ a nice kick and I quickly munched away.
Spot – This dessert was as good as ever. A soft cheesecake served on a spoon made it easy to eat, and it had tart flavors from the fruity sauce and a small crunch from the topping. It was a great end for a long night eating savory foods.
Choice Eats is definitely a worth the money considering how many foods and drinks you sample a in the matter of two hours ($45 for non-VIP). Make sure you go on an empty stomach, and then another stomach for more food and drinks. I left feeling like I was going to burst considering all I ate, even if they were small bites. Anyway, I am excited to see what vendors will be around next year, and hopefully I will be more equipped with a larger appetite.
For more photos by Terry, check out the gallery below!