Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NYC: Home of the Free...Food

Who says New York is the most expensive city? Sure, we have access to the fanciest and finest. But I would venture to say it's also the best city to load up on freebies. Especially when it comes to grub. Look at what I nabbed all in one day! Hey, free is better than cheap. Have no shame - I certainly don't.

Got my Bulgogi beef on!
It seems food trucks are the latest craze, and international bites are banking on this fad.  Funded by the Korean government to promote its cuisine, the Taste of Korea food truck parks in a different location every weekday in the city and doles out the featured dish of the day during lunch time (until they run out). Grab it while you can! I will surely be taking advantage of this yummy opportunity until it's over. What better way to build your worldly palate?
Up close and personal with the truck


If you haven't been here yet, go! Situated in west Chelsea, this old Oreo/biscuit factory turned food market and vendor-packed paradise always offers up a little sample here and there. On this particular day, I hit the jackpot! The James Beard Foundation LTD pop-up restaurant that temporarily set up shop here spoiled me with promo samples. I munched on (too many) juicy and rare filet mignon chunks (not pictured), two satisfying slices of good ol' pie: key lime and sour cherry (compliments of Cooking Channel), and the most delicious little poppers of dark chocolate macaroons and sesame toffee chunks (supplied by local bakeries via Gilt City). Top that off with the market's resident Chelsea Wine Vault that samples featured wines almost everyday. My luck was abundant this fruitful day as I additionally tasted a haughty-taughty sipping tequila - from a champagne flute, no less.
My pies mid-consumption - oh and I spot a little macaroon. (None of the above lasted too much longer on the plate.)
Sesame toffee and chocolate macaroon bites
Six featured wines: a Proseco, a white, a rose and two reds - Quite a span!

Tequila for the tasting


Chef Jimmy Stafford using that chopping block
Cava & Amontillado




This little gem in downtown Brooklyn boasts free weekly wine tastings, but this week offered up more: a demonstration of foods from local Spanish restaurant Palo Cortado. Chef Jimmy Stafford expertly prepared the classic Spanish take on the omelet, an egg tortilla fluffed with Cremini mushrooms, onion, and potatoes, decorated with a dollop of roasted Poblano pepper-infused savory yogurt and sliced salty chorizo, well-balanced by the sweet and smoky pimenton vinaigrette it sat in. And this was a double feature event, providing dessert too! A simple layering of sherry-saturated dates, whipped vanilla yogurt mousse, and slivered almonds for that crunch. In anticipation of these treats, we munched on a poo poo platter of aged Spanish Mahon cheese chunks (salty and nutty), thinly sliced cured ham, mixed nuts, and bread sticks - the former two particularly satisfying together. And since there cannot be tapas without vino, we sipped on Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and Amotillado (Spanish sherry)....Hey, when in Spain.
Food Pickings
Tortilla deconstructed: ingredients pre-prep


Tortilla completed: bite-sized
Date Dessert

Ah yes, all in day's time. Belly full of tasteful treats (with booze to boot) morning to night - and I didn't dig into my pocket once. See, the best thing about New York is, you can use it all you want, and it never feels taken advantage of.