Hello from deep inside the bowels of the Lexington Avenue Armory! It’s 6:19, meaning there are 11 minutes until Choice Eats 2010 officially begins. When we arrived at 5 p.m., people were already lining up outside in the rain; now, the crowds are beginning to gather strength, and at any moment we’re expecting the onslaught to begin.
Here at the Fork in the Road table, we’ve been stockpiling food in an attempt to try as much as possible before it’s gobbled up by the crowds, and as a result are already feeling like we should have worn pants with an elastic waistband. There is a large collection of plates clustered around our table, making us feel even more gluttonous than we normally do.
Here’s what we’ve tried so far:
Madiba’s halvah pudding – delicious, unstintingly sweet, tasting of cinnamon and weight gain. Oozes moisture, possibly condensed milk. A little wedge of stodgy goodness. Could be lethal in larger portions.
Café Glechik’s cherry dumplings. Simple and satisfying. Not too sweet. Also, eggplant spread with toast. A welcome savory alternative to the sweet dishes. Could eat a jar of it. Has a bit of heat, which is lovely.
Fort Defiance’s deviled egg — it’s sitting on top of a little nest of amaranth. Nice, simple, not tarted up. Just a good ol’ deviled egg, tasting of mustard, spice, and pepper. Why don’t more people use amaranth? It’s purple and pretty, completely unexpected if you’re used to seeing it as a grain in your breakfast cereal, kind of like what happens when the librarian takes off her glasses and lets her hair down.
Dirt Candy – acorn squash mousse with maple roasted butternut squash, scattered with roasted pepitas and what Amanda Cohen called very expensive microgreens. Almost too beautiful to eat, but we’ll manage. Holy hell, this is good. Delicious. So delicious we smeared pumpkinseed oil all over our keyboard in a rush to write about it.
From Agnanti, a tiny tomato and caper bruschetta. It hangs out on a plate with a deviled egg from Fatty Cue. The egg is crazy batshit tasty, its diminutive size belying its explosive flavor. The guy at the Fatty table said it had salted fish oil in. It’s leaving smoking tracks down my throat, in a nice, comforting way.
Mustang Thali – buckwheat soup – thick, viscous, salty, rib-sticking. This is food meant for mountain survival. Toasted soy beans – nutty, full of heat. These things should be sold in bags at every subway stop Frank Sinatra is playing on the PA.
Smorgas Chef — gravlax with cucumber salad – salmon wearing a bit of mustard sauce, cucumbers wearing a cloak of possibly yogurt-based dressing.
Hummus Place hummus – thick as a hangover. Gutbomb supreme.