Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema is known for seeking out under the tracks kind of restaurants: cheap, ethnic spots from not just the city, but the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. So many of the vendors at last week's Choice Eats event, which Sietsema hosted, were not the ones usually invited to soiree foodie fests at places like the Puck Building. There were less off the beaten path places also in attendance, like Mercadito, Fette Sau, Kuma Inn (the first restaurant I ever recommended on Brix Picks) and Xunta.
The food offered is, on the whole, not light and you spend most the time with both hands full of beer, pork, rice, beer, water, pork… it is a whirlwind of flavors, fullness, and fun. It made it difficult to manage some photos, but other less piggy and double fisting bloggers took some here and here.
We didn't manage to try everything (though it is all free – including booze), not because of the lines, but because our stomachs told us not to. The best selections we did try were: jerk pork from Bajan Cafe – the best thing of the night; chicken rice and yogurt sauce from Rawal Ravail Restaurant; pulled pork and grits from Smoke Joint; lamb heavy Greek goodies from Philoxenia; cut up roti from Nirvana Cafe, mashed potatoes and tuna salad from El Anzuelo Fino and Nepalese fried chicken from Yeti of Hieizan.
The Puck Building, while spacious was crowded with foodies (some were out of luck vegetarians) and the line of ticket holders to get in wrapped around the block, I can't imagine many non ticket holders had a chance. Inside, though, lines were never too bad, it was bustling but we didn't wait more than a minute or two for food. I assume this could change next year when word gets out that this is a food event not to be missed.