The New Taste of the Upper West Side this past weekend was another amazing night of delicious indulgences.  The weekend kicked off on Friday night, May 18th, 2012, with Comfort Classics.  A slew of our favorite restaurants – around 35 in all – were stationed and serving up all of our favorite eats all night long until I was bursting at the seams.  Each and every year we have a great time, and we’re glad to say that some things never change.

The evening was hosted by Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s Man v. Food and Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, both excitedly chatting with guests.  However, DJ Phresh may have stolen the spotlight that evening with an amazing set of never-ending upbeat music.  At one of the night, guests were pried away from the food and formed a dance circle in front of the main stage.  Definitely a rare sight at a foodie event!

For traditional comfort foods, a great place to start was with Virgil’s Real BBQ and their Memphis style pork ribs.  The meat, juicy and tender, came off the bone smoothly, and they were not shy with their special BBQ sauce.  Ditch Plains served up their signature Ditch Dogs, combining two comfort foods: hot dogs topped with macaroni and cheese.

Nothing quite says comfort like meat being sandwiched in the middle of some delicious bread.  5 Napkin Burger was generous with their portions and definitely could have halved their large sliders/small hamburgers.  Isabella’s served fantastic Sicilian meatball sliders with ricotta salata cheese.

For more unusual and cultural comfort foods, we went to the Sunburnt Calf for some Australian kangaroo shepherds pie.  Barney Greengrass‘s pastrami salmon with mustard was certainly bursting with many strong flavors.  And one of my surprise favorites of the night was a Mediterranean spread by Bodrum Restaurant.  I say surprise, because to be perfectly honest, there was not much visual appeal to the bland colored beans, rice, onions, and meatballs, but all together it was a delicious and refreshing change of pace from all the other heavy dishes.

Dessert was a delightful spread of cookies, cupcakes and brownies.  One of my top choices of the evening was the raspberry bread pudding from Sarabeth’s, which was not overly sweet so that you could continue eating more and not feel super full from too much sugar.  Shake Shack had some of their creamy custard on hand topped with strawberries, alongside some corn dogs.


Insomnia Cookies were doling out chocolate chunk, peanut butter, sugar cookies, white chocolate macadamia, oatmeal raisin, double chocolate mint – all worth ordering the next time you get munchies at 2 AM.   However, putting a zing into otherwise normal cookie flavors is Baconery with their mini chocolate peanut butter bacon cookies.  Amazing!  And brownies!  And bacon covered chocolate!  And cakes!  All delicious.

There was tons more, so check out our gallery for all the great eats!