Monday, April 29, 2013

Date Night: Dish West NYC

It happened. I actually hit my food and beverage limit where I could not consume anything else without feeling like my stomach was going to explode. And it was so worth it. On Friday, Matt and I went to Dish West NYC, a food festival with local restaurants, bakeries, breweries, etc. offering tastings of their food and drink. We tried every single dish and drink (hey, it's all you can eat, after all!) and there were a lot of winning dishes and few flops.

One of the first tastings we really liked was from Lobel's Kitchen, a family-owned company offering gourmet pre-packaged foods and catering. The prime steak sandwich (which was Matt's favorite of the two bites) had a crispy, buttery brioche bun with a really tender piece of prime steak. My personal favorite was the pork cheeks with onion jam, which was so flavorful.

Prime steak sandwich (left) and pork cheeks with onion jam (right)
On to one of the most attractive dishes, which was unfortunately disappointing in flavor and texture. Santa Fe, an upscale Mexican restaurant on the Upper West Side, offered a black bean cake with a mole sauce cooked in and presented on a corn husk. As soon as we saw it, we need we had to try to it. However, the mole sauce was really one note and the black bean cake was too dense and lacked flavor. At least we had a margarita shot to try and kick the dish up a notch!

Oh, and now I can tell you about my favorite restaurant, Say Cheese, and my two favorite dishes of the entire night. Say Cheese offered elevated comfort food that was just delectable and a little outside of the box. First, the mac and cheese with pork belly. It was so creamy with perfectly cooked noodles, and the pork belly just melted in my mouth. I could eat tubs of this mac and cheese - it was just the perfect bite. The most creative dessert at the festival was the deconstructed s'more. The marshmallow was roasted, rolled around in graham cracker crumbs, and stuck onto a pipette filled with milk chocolate. When I took that bite and squeezed the chocolate into my mouth as directed, it was just an explosion of all the flavors you'd expect in a s'more without the mess. I even went back for a second one because it was so delicious. I will definitely be going to this restaurant to try out some of their other comfort foods.

A quick mention of my least favorite dish was the vegetarian hot wing from Atomic Wings. I can't imagine this is just me, but chicken wings are meant to be made with actual chicken. There should not be a wooden stick in a hot wing to imitate a chicken bone. As soon as I took that first bite, I realized what a mistake I had made. It did not have any resemblance in flavor or texture of chicken, just spongy, soggy soy product. Stay away!

Rounding out the evening was dessert. Chellaoui Chocolatier provided Peruvian chocolate ganache that was so creamy and decadent that I had multiple pieces. I couldn't help myself! The other bakery that provided multiple delicious desserts was Westville. The pumpkin whoopie pie was moist, a good ratio of cookie to icing, and had a great spicy, pumpkin flavor that really lingered in my mouth. My favorite tasting from this restaurant/bakery was their blueberry pie. The crust was so flaky and the blueberry filling was juicy, sweet and just the right level of tartness.

We had so much good food and drinks (thanks Chelsea Brewing Company!) that I wish we could have been carried home because we were so unbelievably stuffed. It was so worth it and I can't wait to go to some of these establishments and try more of their dishes. 

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