Restaurant Review: Desi Galli Fresh Indian Street Food

It’s nice to know that tucked away on a bustling busy street in the iconic East Village that there is a place, Desi Galli, that carries on the tradition of the diversity that makes this neighborhood great. We now have someplace to retreat to for fresh Indian cuisine at more than fair prices for those times when we retreat to Tompkins Square for some visual design inspiration, or on a hot toddy bar crawl and need some satisfying comfort food.

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The small restaurant boasts two locations, one in Kips Bay, and the other in the East Village, where we dined. The intimate setting is the perfect location to fully immerse yourself in Desi Galli’s delightful offerings. You’re surrounded by the wonderful smells before you’re even at the entrance. It’s almost like the wonderul aromas lure you into the restaurant by invisible hands. We sat down for an amazing five-course meal of the most delicious and fresh Indian streetfood we’ve ever had. While David’s palette was fairly new to this food genre, I’ve personally been enjoying it for years and Desi Galli did not disappoint. So get settled in as you journey with us on this magical culinary adventure into fresh Indian street food.

Course 1 – Desi Poutine

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DAVID: This poutine remix is pretty delish. It’s like Desi disco fries with the fragrant red curry that has a textural ragu-like thickness that balances nicely with the crisp fries. The creamy element of the cheese gives the dish that smooth topper that adds to the textural explosion. I liked that it was not greasy so like a classic poutine, the fries held up to the sauce.

GLASGOW: The fall season always puts me in the mood for savory, hearty meals that not only satisfies your hunger but also soothes your soul. That is what Desi Galli’s take on Poutine did for me. For those familiar with the Quebec dish, french fries and cheese curds are normally topped with brown gravy, in Desi Galli’s delicious spin, tikka sauce replaces the gravy, and grated paneer takes the place of the cheese. The result is a decadent dish that both vegans and meat eaters will thoroughly enjoy. An added bonus to the Desi Poutine is the fries remained wonderfully crisp under the tikka sauce, a huge plus for this fan of non-soggy fries.

Course 2 – Lamb Bhuna Kathi Roll

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DAVID: There is so much flavor here. The wrap or roll is very light but has a surprising denseness that holds the chunky lamb and veggie mixture that are seasoned quite lovely. The tender lamb is quite wonderfully balanced coupled with the herbal mint, cilantro, spinach and natural sweetener (Desi Galli’s secret) which adds a verdant pop of fresh flavor in the dish.

GLASGOW: I love a good Kathi Roll, but I usually go for chicken, so getting the lamb was a very nice change. The Lamb Bhuna Kathi Roll provided joyous levels of flavors that are almost…..almost indescribable. The hearty and slightly gamey flavor of the lamb seems to highlight the mint, cilantro and slight sweetness in the roll. It’s just flavor, upon flavor, upon flavor. It’s a definite must-try.

Course 3 – Palak Patte Ki Chaat

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DAVID: As someone who always looks for the meat in things, surprisingly, I didn’t miss the meat here. The layered vibrant texture of this dish creates a chunky, crispy, smooth satisfying loveliness as you hit each layer of coarse bold seasoning down to the finer more penetrating seasonings. My palette was quite satisfied especially with the added touch of pleasantness from the both sweet and slightly tart tamarind chutney.

GLASGOW: This dish is actually a new one for me as I tend to stick to the non-vegetarian side of all Desi menus, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect besides an assortment of flavors. The best way to describe this dish is to think of a layered dip, but more (if that makes sense). Not only was it an assortment of flavors, but textures as well. With the freshly chopped tomatoes, green chutney, mix of crunchy, crumbly, smooth, and crisp textures, and the multiple other spices, you are in for an explosion of palate pleasures.

Course 4 – Lamb Curry

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DAVID: This is a hearty lamb stew. The gamey tender lamb is kissed rather adoringly by the thick ragu-like curry. The filling robust weight of this stew was perfectly balanced with the fragrant basmati rice not only in flavor but also in depth. A stew like this needs a rice like this.

GLASGOW: Curry dishes are my favorite with dishes made with red and/or yellow curries being at the top of my list. I love curry everything, chicken, fish, shrimp, meat, vegetables….everything, so my take on this dish may be more biased than others. This time around,I continued the lamb journey continued with a wonderfully thick Lamb Curry made with Spiced Australian lamb chunks paired with the very fragrant basmati rice. It was heaven in every bite. This is the type of dish I’d happily enjoy every day of the season without getting bored of its flavors. It’s hearty, perfectly spicy, with its own touch of sweetness. Just writing about it is increasing my desire to have it right now.

Course 5 – Shrimp Biryani

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DAVID: This is such a fresh dish. The shrimp is very well-seasoned and has an airy freshness that turns into a spicy briny goodness. The yogurt sauce cools down this fragrant and zesty number with a cool and creamy crunch. Once again you may find yourself searching to figure out all the layers of the seasonings, but why bother, just napkin-up and dive in.

GLASGOW: Last but certainly not least is very flavorful and fragrant Desi Galli Shrimp Biryani, a dish boasting seasoned shrimp and fragrant rice containing tons of spices such as saffron, cardamom, ginger, etc, vegetables . Gluten-free. Served with raita (yogurt sauce . Biryani is another dish that’s high on my favorites list. It reminds me of something similar I grew up with called “Cook Up”, like Biryani, it’s a complete meal in one.

It was a pleasure to experience the fresh Indian street food from Desi Galli, and we’ll certainly be back again and again to indulge our appetite. If you’re near Tompkins Square Park, head over to the Desi Galli East Village location at 172 Avenue B; and if you’re in the Kips Bay area, you’ll find the Desi Galli Curry Hill at 101 Lexington Ave. If you love Indian food, make sure to bookmark these two locations. If you’ve enjoyed the food at Desi Galli, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Desi Galli East Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Village Voice Brunch Eats Food Event Recap

With the introduction of this latest culinary event to their roster, the Village Voice has once again created another hit for foodies. We had the pleasure of attending the first ever The Village Voice Brunch Eats Food Event, which celebrates all things brunch, and what many has been doing for years, eating breakfast food for dinner.

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Held aboard the top of The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s Flight Deck, foodies from around the tri-state area gathered to indulge in the delicious brunch offerings from the 26 area restaurants that participated in the inaugural The Village Voice Brunch Eats Food Event. The restaurant lineup included Barbounia, Bustan, Champs Diner, Distilled, Dough, Edi & The Wolf, Eggplant by Korilla, Ess-a-Bagel, Eugene & Co, Irvington, Jianbang & Co., Kingsley, Mezetto, Mr. Purple, Solber Pupusas, Tom’s Restaurant, Tygershark, Xe May Sandwich Shop, The Black Ant, Butter & Scotch, Calle Dao, Le Fond, Nha Minh, Osteria Cotta, Streets BK, and Underwest Donuts. Here are a few of the amazing culinary delights we indulged in:

The Black Ant – Torta de Pato: Corn Bun, Duck Carnitas, Crispy Potatoes, and Negra Modelo Morita Salsa

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Mezetto – Avocado Toast: With Hard Boiled Egg and Romesco Sauce

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Kingsley – Praline Bacon French Toast Bread Pudding with Pork Fat Frosting

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Breads Bakery – Mini Pastries, Assorted Crostinis, and Mini Burekas

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Jianbing Company – Original Jianbing with Bacon and Vermont Maple Syrup

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Tom’s Restaurant – Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

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There were so many extraordinary dishes to try at the Village Voice Brunch Eats food event, and we naturally we had several favorites. We reveled in some new foodie experiences, like Jianbing, a traditional Chinese street food similar to crepes but this version boasted a modern update with the addition of bacon and Vermont Maple syrup. We alternated between savory and sweet dishes until we barely had room for drinks. Check out a few more of the delicious dishes we enjoyed:

Attendees were treated to the soothing sound stylings of live band The Brooklyn Sugar Stompers, who regaled us with an homage to the 1920’s, Jazz’s Golden Age.

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As always, we had an amazing time with at the latest Village Voice food event. With the increase of more and more people enjoying breakfast for dinner, we see The Village Voice Brunch Eats as a must-attend foodie event annually. Do you enjoy breakfast for dinner? Will you be attending net year’s Brunch Eats?

Restaurant Review: Zengo Restaurant

There are so many amazing food experiences to be had in New York, and no we’re not talking about the tourist restaurants, we’re talking the hidden gems that you may walk by every day which boasts delicacies so delicious, it’s almost too sinful to enjoy…..almost. We had the pleasure of being introduced to Zengo Restaurant, an amazing food oasis located not too far from restaurant row and trust us when we say you’d definitely want to stray from the beaten path of restaurant row to delight in this foodie’s dream.

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First things first, the exterior of Zengo Restaurant does not do the inside justice…..at all (you’ll see what we mean at the end of this post). You can have a separate adventure on each of its three floors. For our culinary journey, we were on the main floor, which features the Latin-Asian food and drink menu (the lower level, the La Biblioteca de Tequila Lounge, is all Latin and boasts  over 400 Tequilas, and the upper, Asian level features an impressive variety of Japanese sakes, but today we were to indulge in the delicious results of combining these two wonderful bold flavors.

1ST COCKTAILS

WATERMELON SOJU MARGARITA

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David: With this drink in the Biblioteca Tequila bar,located downstairs at Zengo Restaurant, you get the unmistakable freshness of the watermelon that is cut with the starchy punch of the soju then infused with the lively tart punch of a margarita. Nice layers of flavor for a well-blended drink.

SMOKED GINGER

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David: This was like a perfect spiked ginger beer. The fresh ginger and lemon with the cloying honey made for a great fresh and sweet that married nicely with the spicy bourbon whiskey and the pop of the apricot brandy. A sneaky drink to enjoy and not even realize you’re 3 in before it hits you.

TROPICAL WHITE SANGRIA

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Glasgow: This white sangria was a refreshing mix of Macabeo white wine grape, rum, mango, orange, passionfruit, and pineapple. Fair warning, the lightly sweet drink goes down pretty quickly and smoothly, so expect to order more than one. I paired this delightful cocktail with our second appetizer and it really celebrated the spicy elements of the dish.

ACHIOTE HOISIN PORK AREPAS – 1ST APPETIZER

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David: This was highbrow Mexican street food with a dash of the Far East. It’s such a nice blend of the zesty hoisin pork on top of the rustic corn arepa. The creamy sour cream and fresh guacamole added a smoothness to the earthy flavors of the corn cake and the pork.

Glasgow: This was my first experience with Arepas and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but you can’t go wrong with crunchy corn cakes topped with the sweet and salty taste of Hoisin pulled pork. I loved the contrast of the cooling freshness of the crema Fresca and avocado against the spicy pull pork flavors and crunchy corn cake.

SLOW COOKED PORK RIBS – 2ND APPETIZER

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David: These ribs were so tender and savory with a sugary pop of spice while the cucumber kimchee added a fresh element of garden heat. The great flavor profile came from how each element was finished with the sweet smokiness to the pork and the tart heat to the cucumbers.

Glasgow: Talk about succulent and slow cooked to perfection. These juicy ribs slid off the bone with ease and were so flavorful, we considered placing another order. The sweetness of the roasted garlic chipotle glaze reminded me of sweet-style barbecue, and the spicy cucumber pickle added such a wonderful level of heat and flavor intensity, I found myself mixing the cucumbers into the glaze…yum.

SPICY LUMP CRAB GUACAMOLE – 3RD APPETIZER

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David: This dish was just easy textural loveliness. Fresh generous crab married with a chunky creamy guacamole served with thin tortillas. You got layers of meaty briny, garden savory creamy and rustic salty for a satisfying harmonious dish.

Glasgow: I am officially spoiled, thank you Zengo restaurant. From now on, I want all my guacamole to be topped with fresh crabmeat. If you’re looking for flavorful guacamole (ginger, yuzu, cilantro, and Thai basil bring zest and peppery flavors) with an element of fresh seafood (you can practically taste the ocean…..that’s how fresh the crabmeat tasted), you must try it. The thin, crisp tortilla chips allow the crab and guac to shine without distraction. You’ll never want ordinary guac ever again.

2ND/3RD COCKTAILS

FRESA SMASH

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David: What a delightful strawberry lemonade mojito on full blast. The powerfully smooth Blanco tequila met up with mojito nods like mint and citrus then mellowed out with this kick of agave nectar. This is another great sneaky drink that’ll send you into alcohol heaven without you even realizing.

TAMARIND-TOGARASHI MARGARITA

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Glasgow: Not many people like the tart and sometimes sweet taste of tamarind but I definitely do. This cocktail was an easy sell for me and is a wonderful drink for anyone who loves exotic flavors. The hint of citrus adds a fresh zing to the already delicious cocktail. I loved the smooth, clean taste of this cocktail and boasts a nice balance of sweet and tart. There was no harshness to it.

TEMPURA WHOLE FISH – 1ST COURSE

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David: The impressively displayed branzino is almost meat-like in its rich flavor but yet so tender and mildly sweet. The extremely light tempura batter is the perfect non-overpowering compliment. The dipping sauces add that element of sweet and tangy that marries nicely to the fish.

Glasgow: This must-try fish dish was a visual, aromatic and palate-pleasing euphoria experience. I would consider this the equivalent of a chef’s “mike drop”. What a work of art this Whole Fish Tempura is; our photos do not do it justice. The tempura was so light, I forgot it was on the fish. Every bite was perfectly crunchy, the crisp lettuce leaves,  spicy cucumber, bean sprouts, pickled vegetables, and black bean sweet & sour made the dish seem even lighter than it as already was. If you ever want to experience what it’s like to enjoy freshly caught fish cooked right on the beach at a restaurant, this Branzino is your best bet.

SHANGHAI STRIP STEAK – 2ND COURSE

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David: I love a steak medium since it is still tender enough to soak up the juices. With this dish, it was served with an earthy, smoky and tart broth that complimented the slightly bitter broccolini but created a great well-layered complex flavorful dish.

Glasgow: I only tried a small piece of this dish because I was pre-occupied with the fish but was immediately wowed by the juiciness of the steak and the sweetness of the caramelized shallots with the contrasting broccolini flavors. The Taro Chips were divine and have some great crunch and texture to the dish. A return to Zengo Restaurant will include this.

DESSERTS

PISTACHIO CREMA CATALANA

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David: This crème Brule remix is so fresh. The pistachio makes the dish so light but maintains the rich distinct nuttiness of the nut. The addition of the fruit on top makes it very seasonally vibrant in taste and display.

SUGAR & SPICE CHURROS

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Glasgow: This simple yet elegant dish will wow any chocolate lover and is great for anyone who wants a lighter dessert. The Churros were practically light as air, not hard yet retained a very nice crunch, which made enjoying it covered in the warmed, rich dark chocolate sauce doubly decadent.

4TH COCKTAILS

AVION ESPRESSO

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David: It’s tequila and espresso with a dab of fragrant sweetness. I have found a new after dinner love. Such a nice marriage for Avion that is a perfect soothing finisher with a kick for when you want a strong liquor other than a whiskey or brandy. The element of sweet saves the cocktail as the straight tequila with the strong roast could be too much alone. This was a great winner.

LYCHEE BELLINI

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Glasgow:  I know this is not the usual after dinner cocktail but I was looking for something along the lines of a refreshing post dinner cleanser and the Lychee Bellini was the perfect end to this euphoric culinary journey we experienced at Zengo restaurant, plus I adore lychee. The combination of the fresh lychee puree and the sparkling Cava was exactly what I needed to top off this great meal.

ATMOSPHERE/SETTING

Zengo interior

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David: This mash-up restaurant is a good idea both in theory and execution as there are many commonalities between Latin and Asian cuisines. The décor of Zengo Restaurant is pretty awesome with larger than life light fixtures and topiaries that bring to light the sculptural heritage of both cultures and also each culture’s love of nature and the land.

Glasgow: For years I’ve had no real excitement on fusion restaurants because I love cuisines with their original flavors, the local regional spices and cooking methods and I’ve been disappointed a few times with flavors that just didn’t mix well for me, but Zengo Restaurant absolutely got it right. If they were my first experience with fusion, my views would have changed a long time ago. Richard Sandoval perfectly celebrates these two distinct, bold flavors; nothing from the flavors or legacy of these two cultures is lost with Zengo’s flavor fusion. As we previously stated at the beginning, the interior is not what you’d expect when looking at the exterior. You will love being surrounded by all the wood and iron, it’s like being immersed in sculpture, there’s so much to take in.

Along with lunch and dinner, Zengo Restaurant also offers brunch on the weekend and happy hour, and for you cocktail connoisseurs, you’ll love their all night happy hour and reverse happy hour options. Check out the times below:

BRUNCH
Saturday – Sunday: 11:30am – 4:00pm

ALL NIGHT HAPPY HOUR
Monday & Saturdays: 5:00pm to close
La Biblioteca & Main Bar only

HAPPY HOUR
Tuesday – Friday: 4:00pm – 7:00pm (Main Bar only)
Wednesday – Friday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm (Mezzanine only)

REVERSE HAPPY HOUR
Tuesday – Friday: 9:30pm to close
La Biblioteca only

Zengo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

NY Yankees Steakhouse’s Priceless Collection of Yankees Treasures

Calling all NY Yankees fans. Although you still have to go to the Bronx to catch a game, when it comes to Yankees memorabilia, a trip to midtown Manhattan is all it takes. For those looking for a little bit of big league action without trekking all the way up to the Bronx, must check out the NY Yankees Steakhouse, located a block away from Rockefeller center. This baseball fan favorite restaurant provides an upscale all-American steakhouse dining experience while you’re surrounded by official Yankees treasures.

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The NY Yankees Steakhouse is the only place in Manhattan where guests can cross home plate upon entry into the restaurant with a newly installed official game-used home plate surrounded by infield dirt from the original Stadium, they can also see the priceless World Series rings from all twenty-seven Yankees championship teams dating back to 1923, and the official trophies from the 1996 and 1998 World Series.

World Series Ring Display and Trophy Babe Ruth Bill of Sale and Original Stadium Seats

Some of the other new Yankees treasures that Yankees fans can ogle at the midtown steakhouse include:

  • Two World Series trophies representing the 1996 and 1998 championships
  • A framed and signed Babe Ruth bill of sale from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees – the beginning of the “Curse of the Bambino!” The case also includes an authentic brick from the original Yankee Stadium which dates back to the 1920’s.
  • A centerpiece paying homage to the” Core 4” including autographed, game-used bases from their final season or the day their number was retired:
    • Derek Jeter – game used 3rd base from 9/20/14, 6-7th inning
    • Jorge Posada – game used 1st base from 8/22/15, 4th inning
    • Andy Pettitte – game used 3rd base from 8/23/15, 5th inning
    • Mariano Rivera – game used 1st base from 9/24/13, 2nd inning
  • Legends Bat Case’ including autographed bats from Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, and ten other New York Yankees’ legends
  • Four autographed & framed jerseys representing New York Yankee greats Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson and Bernie Williams
  • Two original stadium seats for guests to sit in and take photos
  • Two authentic signs from the original Yankee Stadium which were used to direct fans to their seats.
  • Two jumbo TV screens that bookend the elegant wine case, with the New York Yankees games on full display.

To celebrate the all-star lineup of never-before-displayed New York Yankees memorabilia, the spacious steakhouse held an event to tour the restaurant and its memorabilia showcase. Attendees included media, Yankees fans, and former Yankees greats, Cecil Fielder, Mickey Rivers and Charlie Hayes (pictured below):

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

Attendees also had a chance to enjoy the delectable cocktails and food offerings from the NY Yankees Steakhouse including the delicious Yankeetini, and Sour Smash cocktails (pictured below). we definitely advise you partake in these two wonderful drinks, but if wine is your preferred drink of choice, the NY Yankees Steakhouse also boasts an impressive list of nearly 300 wines from around the world.

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NY Yankees Steakhouse offers a delicious menu including tantalizing appetizers, five-star seafood, USDA Prime steaks and specialty entrees such as the 27oz dry-aged Long Bone Ribeye. Guests can have their Ribeye bone personalized by the chef to make the meal just as memorable as the experience; an example is shown below in the event’s customized Ribeye bone, which paid homage to the Yankees’ 27 World Series Championships.

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NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

NYY Steak media event, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for NYY Steak)

If you’re a Yankees fan who wants to enjoy the game and a great dinner experience at a location that’s much more than just a typical sports bar, we recommend heading over to 7 W 51st Street and indulging in all the pinstripe glory.

Restaurant Review: Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven

Our latest restaurant review took us to Harlem, not the usual neighborhood for great Italian food, but after our wonderful dining experience at Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven, we recommend hopping the train uptown for some mouthwatering Italian cuisine on Harlem’s Restaurant Row. Babbalucci, which translates to “snails” in Sicilian, offers a delicious and varied menu with the essence of slow food, with bread and pizza dough baked in-house.

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Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven is headed up by Chef/Owner Andrew LoPresto, his wife, and Managing Partner Christy Phansond, and childhood friend/Co-Owner Bobby Freid. Dinner signatures include Antipasti, Primi, Wood-Oven Pizzas, and Specialty Pizzas. Curated cocktails are developed by award-winning Italian mixologist, and Campari Brand Ambassador, Enzo Cangemi. Little did we know we were headed for a night of full-bodied flavors without the heavy feeling.

1ST COCKTAILS

EL VIEJITO

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David: Enzo Cangemi, the award-winning mixologist, created the entire drink menu for the Harlem eatery. My drink was a testament to his accolades. It was a sweet and smoky tequila-based drink that was nicely layered first with a nice equilibrium of sweet and heat, then a dry tartness from the grapefruit.

ULTIMATE FRIAR MULE

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Glasgow: I don’t usually like licorice but the addition of the spicy-sweet ginger marmalade and rum smoothed out the Frangelico so exquisitely that I had to restrain myself from finishing off this cocktail in three sips. One sip and you’ll know why Enzo Cangemi is an award-winning mixologist, the man knows how to flawlessly construct a cocktail.

CROSTONI – ANTIPASTI

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David: The house made duck prosciutto was firmer than its pig counterpart but just as flavorful as duck is a slightly more rich fowl. The cured prosciutto with the sweet fig and the tart balsamic reduction created a nice flavor profile layering salty, sweet and a tad of tartness all anchored by the hearty earthy crostini.

Glasgow: If you’re a fan of the combination of sweet and salty flavors in a savory dish, make sure to add the Crostoni to your dining experience. You’ll love the heartiness of the cured duck prosciutto, especially when topped with the sweet fig and sharpness of the balsamic reduction.

CARCIOFI – ANTIPASTI 2

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David: This was charred loveliness with a semi-sweet smoky crunch. The simplicity of this dish let the artichoke shine with just the fresh lemon and accompanying not overpowering herbs. This is a must order for the Spring Summer season.

Glasgow: I remember flavor, lots of delicious flavors, and this is coming from someone who would give you the evil eye if you put artichokes anywhere near her plate. I loved the varying textures and sweetness of the fried artichokes. This dish had me re-thinking my aversion to artichokes.

FRITTURA  – ANTIPASTI 3

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David: A simple dish allows you to taste what make its simplicity work. So with this dish, the breading was perfectly light and seasoned but not too much so that it overpowered the seafood but just enough so that it acted like a nice salting should where it just enhances the dish’s briny flavor and herbal freshness.

Glasgow: I love seafood but usually stay away from the fried calamari dish at Italian restaurants because they’re always oily, but you won’t have that issue at Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven. Not only do you get a mixture of fresh seafood (squid, shrimp, and white fish), everything (including the vegetables) was light, fresh, wonderfully delicious, and perfectly crisp….not a greasy hand was in sight. Adding to the dish’s perfection was the spicy marinara sauce. The red pepper flakes in the sauce provided a superb flavor kick that accented the freshness of the Frittura.

2ND COCKTAIL

HENNY DEAR FRIEND

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Glasgow: While David ordered another El Viejito, the Saint Germain lover in me wanted to try the above Henny Dear Friend just because I love anything and everything with elderflower. I’m not big on Hennessey but my goodness, Enzo Cangemi won me over with this cocktail. I loved it’s smooth, slightly sweet taste. I’m finding that Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven is an expert on making me love things I normally stay away from. **At this time I raise a glass to Robert J. Cooper, founder of St-Germain liqueur, who I sadly learned has just passed away. We thank you for your creation.**

MAIN COURSES

BABBALUCCI PIZZA

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David: Named after the restaurant, and I can see why. It’s clearly a star to me as it involves snails, which you don’t find on too many menus at all. I adore snails so this was pizza nirvana for me. The earthiness of the full-bodied snails was perfect with the flavorful salty gorgonzola, verdant semi-sweet tomato sauce and the simple fresh garlic and parsley. The pizza crust, made by the chef on site daily, was the right thinness but kept the right body to hold the toppings and to withstand the wood-burning oven’s heat. So you got the right amount of charring and softness to the crust.

Glasgow: My fear of not having room for dessert only allowed me one slice but that one was heaven (note to self: must return to fully indulge). The saltiness and earthy flavor of the snails were a great contrast to the slight sweetness of the tomato sauce.

RISOTTO

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Glasgow: Have you ever eaten a meal that just has you humming and doing a little happy dance? This diving Risotto was mine. It always seems that restaurants love to primarily offer mushroom risotto which I cannot eat, so when I saw this saffron beauty on the menu, I was elated. First, I love cooking with this flavorful spice and diving into this creamy goodness paired with a wonderful pea puree, and sweet and light char flavor of grilled scallops. Topped with a bit of trout roe, which added a touch of saltiness to each bite and you are in risotto heaven.

DESSERTS

HOMEMADE NUTELLA CHEESECAKE

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David: This is a perfect dish for a light but solid dessert. The cake itself was firm but melted so lovingly in your mouth with a good solid creaminess that together with the natural smoky, almost coffee-like bite of the hazelnut Nutella spread, created a rich satisfying finish.

HOMEMADE LEMON RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

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Glasgow: I usually can never eat cheesecake after a multi-course meal because I find it’s such a heavy dessert but this slice of heaven was so incredibly light, it tasted like it as whipped until it was as airy as the clouds. A perfectly rich dessert without it being overly sweet or heavy.

ATMOSPHERE/SETTING

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David: Love the fact that there’s more diverse food in Harlem. Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven is a mixture of traditional and modern Italian right in the heart of Harlem on a popular restaurant row. It’s quaint and delightful with subtle nuances of a charming Italian trattoria and a modern cosmopolitan eatery.

Glasgow: Andrew grew up in the restaurant industry, following his father and grandfather, who were longtime bread bakers. You can find this Chef/owner positioned at their wood burning oven, seamlessly churning out hundreds of his artisan pizzas for both take out and dining in orders. The restaurant has an affectionate homey feeling and a cool, relaxed vibe. I loved the eclectic energy of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it’s casual ambiance, and the coolness factor of Fela Kuti (or was it Femi Kuti) bursting through the speakers. It made me feel like I wasn’t in a traditional Italian restaurant, which made me love it even more.

Babbalucci Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven is located at 331 Lenox Ave, and is open for Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:00am – 4:00pm; Aperitivo: Monday-Friday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm; Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday, 4:00pm – 11:00pm, Thursday-Saturday, 4:00pm – 12:00am; and Weekend Brunch: 11:00am – 4:00pm.

Village Voice Announces Brunch Eats Breakfast-For-Dinner Event**UPDATE**

Calling all brunch lovers and fellow foodies, are you ready for an incredible brunch experience? The Village Voice has created some amazing curated tasting events with their Choice Eats and Choice Streets events, and they’re set to wow us again with their latest must-attend event, Brunch Eats. This new breakfast-for-dinner event is the first of its kind, with 20+ of New York City’s top restaurants and bakeries sampling their best breakfast bites, and mouth-watering brunch dishes.

Village Voice Brunch Eats

So far eight participants, have signed on to the event, including The Black Ant, Butter & Scotch, Calle Dao, Le Fond, Nha Minh, Osteria Cotta, Streets BK, Underwest Donuts, with 18 new restaurants announced: Barbounia, Bustan, Champs Diner, Distilled, Dough, Edi & The Wolf, Eggplant by Korilla, Ess-a-Bagel, Eugene & Co, Irvington, Jianbang & Co., Kingsley, Mezetto, Mr. Purple, Solber Pupusas, Tom’s Restaurant, Tygershark and Xe May Sandwich Shop. Along with the mouth-watering brunch dishes, themed cocktails including bloody marys, mimosas, bellinis, coffee and more will be available to enjoy, while guests enjoy music under a starry night.

As with their other tasting events, tiered tickets are available for purchase. VIP tickets go for $85.00, and General Admission is $60.00. All guests will enjoy samples from 20+ participants with complimentary beverages, music entertainment and full access to The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum ($22.00 value), and VIP guests will receive a VIP gift bag and have access to the VIP Shuttle Pavilion.

Guests will sample and sip from all attending vendors on the top of The Intrepid’s Flight Deck, surrounded by the same propeller planes that were used during World War II. VIP guests will be treated to a unique experience in the VIP Space Shuttle Pavilion, which houses the Enterprise space shuttle and will also get to enjoy additional sips and snacks underneath the Shuttle with a self-guided tour through the Pavilion.

Sponsors for the Village Voice Brunch Eats include Califia Farms, Whole Foods Market, Vita Coco, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Frames NYC, John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Polar Beverages, and Green Mountain Energy.

The full details of this sure-to-be-spectacular event is listed below:

EVENT DETAILS:

DATE: Wednesday, May 11th, 2016
VENUE: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
12th Ave & W. 46th St.
TIME: 8PM – 11PM

We recommend you get your tickets now, as the village Voice’s tasting events always sell out, and quickly. Get your Brunch Eats tickets online at http://bit.ly/BrunchEatsTix.

**UPDATE**

The event will also feature live music under the stars provided by The Brooklyn Sugar Stompers, an homage to Jazz’s Golden Age: the 1920’s. Check out a Menu Sneak Preview below:

Le Fond: Asparagus Royale with Country Ham and Black Truffle

Osteria Cotta: Biscuit topped with Smoked Salmon Mousse

Butter & Scotch: Mini BLT’s on a Biscuit

Calle Dao: Five Spices Mahi Mahi Eggs Benedict with Pea shoots, Tomate de
Arbol Holandesa Sauce, Soy, Tostones

The Black Ant: Torta de Pato – Corn Bun with Duck Carnitas, Crispy Potatoes, Negra Modelo Morita Salsa

Bustan: Bustan French Toast with Homemade Challah Bread, Crème Anglaise, Pâte Feuilletée, Crème Fraiche, Mixed Berries & Silan and Tahini Sauce

Dough: Assortment of Extra Mini Doughnuts

Edi & The Wolf: “Kaiserschmarrn” (Shredded Pancake) with Apricot, Mascarpone Cream, Seasonal Fruit

Eugene & Co.: Black sea bass and scallop “bloody mary” ceviche

Mr. Purple: Corned Beef Hash

Irvington Bar + Restaurant: Oatmeal with Pistachio Crumble and Blueberries

Champs Diner: Breakfast Sliders with Tofu Scramble, Soysage & Vegan Hollandaise

StreetsBK: Cuban Sandwich With Red Mojo Sauce

Mezetto: Avocado Toast with Hard Boiled Egg and Romesco Sauce

Nhà Minh: Green Duck Eggs and Vietnamese Ham in a Crepe Pinwheel

Tom’s Restaurant: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Tygershark: Brisket Congee with Quail Egg

Barbounia: Homemade Jerusalem Bagel with Salmon Gravalax, Labaneh, Cucumbers and Dill

Jianbing Company: Original Jianbing with Bacon and Vermont Maple Syrup

Kingsley: Crispy Pork Belly and Pickle Tot Hash with Eggs and Sriracha

Solber Pupusas: Pupusa Platter of Cornmeal Patties & Sides with Meat and Veggie Options

Xe May Sandwich Shop: Mean Green Sandwich

Restaurant Review: Temerario Mexican Restaurant

If you’ve been in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, specifically around 20th street and 8th avenue, then you’ve most likely seen the eye-catching mural by New York-based Graffiti Street Artist, Dasic Fernandez. The mural’s home is on the newest foodie paradise by the Jorge Guzman Hospitality Group, Temerario Mexican Restaurant, which celebrates the street food of Mexico, and Chef Mario Hernandez’s home, Cuernavaca in Morelos, Mexico. We had the pleasure of experiencing the bold flavors of Temerario, from appetizers to desserts, on a culinary journey that left us gleefully sated; and we’re not the only ones. The restaurant quickly filled with other diners ready to feast on the culinary journey Temerario Mexican Restaurant has to offer.

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Between the two of us, we tried a total of ten dishes from Temerario Mexican Restaurant (this includes appetizers, side dishes, and dessert) and two cocktails. We thought this was a great enough variety to really enjoy the robust tastes of the menu. Join us as we retell our culinary journey with Temerario Mexican Restaurant.

CHIPS AND GUAC: APPETIZER

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David: I love when the ingredients for chips and guacamole are chopped with enough bite to still taste each one. The guac was fresh with bite and the chips were a nice balance in between thick cut and thin. I liked the fact that they had both yellow and blue corn chips that created a more lively plating.

Glasgow: I love freshly made guacamole that’s perfectly seasoned and filled with big chunks of avocado in it, and that is exactly what we got. Add in the artisan style, dual sized, yellow and blue corn chips, and it’s a recipe for visual and gastronomic perfection. I couldn’t get enough of this, which as  a great start to the meal ahead.

COCKTAILS

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If you’re looking for a daring cocktail menu, the one at Temerario Mexican Restaurant is it. Created by Mixologist Christopher Reyes, the Temerario Margarita and One Night in Tijuana were both deliciously potent cocktails that combined exotic, tropical fruits like tamarind, and guava with the smokiness of Mezcal. They offered the right amount of palate cleansing and paired great with the dishes. For those of you who love the spicy, robust taste of Ginger Beer, the La Parka and Dear Carnal cocktails should be your number 1 and 2 cocktails. The addition of absinthe in the Dear Carnal upps the ante on this memorable cocktail.

1ST COURSE

SABRITONES

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David: This dish was textural, salty and crunchy with the classic crisp pork rinds that balanced nicely with the creamy heat of the jalapeno avocado sauce and the creamy salty pop of the queso fresco. The greens and fresh slaw rounded off the dish to add a lively verdant element to the plate.

Glasgow: I loved the texture, spiciness, and lightness of this dish. It felt like I was enjoying a dish found on the “lighter” side of the menu without giving up its decadent taste. These were the most sophisticated pork rinds I’ve ever had seen. The flavors were so bold and memorable. I can still taste the heat of the jalapeno avocado sauce, and the lightness of the Chicharrones.

LUPILLAS

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David: This was a beautiful marriage of potato and pork that was crispy and savory like a fresh croquetta. The balance to all the hearty base ingredients was a fresh Manzano cream and a salty smooth earthy manchego. Nice high-brow take on an easy delicious fried classic.

Glasgow: I must say on first impressions, I was not expecting a crunchy exterior and was pleasantly surprised with the rustic taste, and the contrast of the exterior and interior textures. While the outside was crunchy, the inside reminded me a bit of one of my favorite dishes, Shepherd’s Pie (if the mash potatoes were mixed in with the meat instead of on top), either way, I loved it, especially when dipped in the peppery Manzano cream. If you like a dish with heat, this is a must.

2ND COURSE

CARNE ASADA

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David: The perfectly seasoned steak was earthy smoky and flavorful which balanced nicely with the Negro Modelo molé sauce that was itself smoky with a blend of sweet. The accompanying salty pork chorizo was a different kind of earthy loveliness for the dish and along with the creamy avocado and fresh juicy tomato, wound up being non-competitive extras that added nice extra flavor profiles.

Glasgow: I’d order the steak just for that delicious Negro Modero based mole sauce alone!! Oh my god!!! Perfection..If allowed, I would pour that delicious sauce over everything and I almost did but of course, most of it went on the perfect hearty, medium steak. This dish had such a variety of texture and flavors, it was impossible to not enjoy it all. The steak as incredibly juicy, the chorizo had the right hint of savory sweetness, the avocado salad added a delicious freshness and the deep fried baby corn (a first for me) provided a unique crunch. A definite must for my return trip to Temerario Mexican Restaurant.

PESCADO VERACRUZANO

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David: This fish was cooked pretty perfectly. The lightness of snapper was maintained along with the subtle sweetness of this island fish and brininess of the sea. More salty elements like the olives and capers could’ve proved overpowering but they were herbal salty and married nicely with the acidity of the tomato and red onion.

Glasgow: If you’ve ever had fish caught, cooked on the spot, and handed to you then you will understand me when I say this snapper tasted like I handpicked it out of the ocean myself, and magically perfected it to my exact liking. The char was perfect, it didn’t overpower the flavor where you couldn’t taste the freshness of the snapper. It was the ideal balance of salt with a hint of sweetness; and although the menu states burnt potatoes, they were flawless and complemented the char on the fish.

HUARACHE CHIDO

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David: This was a flavor explosion of the salty smoky Serrano ham, the textural semi-sweet corn, the smooth iron richness of the refried beans, the gritty savory bite of the starchy potatoes and the herbal freshness of the tomato and greens made this a killer huarache.

Glasgow: This is what I think of when someone mentions a delicious, well rounded earthy meal. The variety of toppings (in this case, potato chorizo hash, arugula, serrano ham, and Tatemado salsa) layered on top of each other provided a great balance of flavor, color, and texture all at once. The saltiness of the serrano ham was especially wonderful directly on top of the arugula.

AGUACHILE DE CALLOS

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David: I love shellfish and this is why. This scallops dish was like a balance between lightly seared and vinaigrette based. The tart and citrusy vinaigrette came through and married lovely with the light tender brininess of the baby scallops. The fresh veggies of crisp red onion and vibrant tomatillo rounded out the dish and almost made if a perfect summer seafood salad.

Glasgow: It doesn’t take much to please this seafood lover, but luckily Temerario doesn’t do the bare minimum in flavor. If I wasn’t sharing this dish, I would have drunk the sauce directly from the plate after devouring the bay scallops. I loved the fresh clean with taste of the dish, it had a peppery, escovitch (marinated in an acidic mixture) flavor. I also loved the addition of the tomatillo, which gave it a nice fruity characteristic.

FRIED SWEET PLANTAINS: SIDE DISH

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David: This was a delicious combo of salty and sweet with the addition of the queso fresco topping the perfectly grilled and smoky plantains.

Glasgow: I’ve never had plantains topped with cheese before and was a bit apprehensive but the queso fresco topping gave the plantains a new flavor profile for me, sort of an elevated savory version of salty and sweet.

DESSERTS

GRASSHOPPER BEIGNETS

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David: This dessert had a very cool plating with an amazing flavor profile. The beignets were perfectly soft, doughy and warm and made even better flanked by the harmony of tart berries and sweet cream. The passion fruit jam for garnish dipping was an excellent citrus balance to the grasshopper toffee that was brittle, smoky, sweet and crisp with a wonderful melt-away quality.

LOS CHURROS

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Glasgow: There was barely room left but I had to try this old favorite. The tater tot-sized fried-dough pastry is accompanied by three dipping sauce varieties: Leche Quemada, Mole Ganache, and Cactus Berry Jam, were the ideal end to this spirited meal. Each sauce provided a different flavor experience that almost me want to find other things to dip in them, but alas, my stomach sadly had no more room.

DECOR/SETTING

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There’s something about countries in the Caribbean or near the equator that just embrace color so beautifully. The colors (an assortment of blue-toned ceilings, red bar stools, yellow, and orange) in the environment affect the peoples’ perspective and the same happens when you translate that into a restaurant in the States. The décor at Temerario Mexican Restaurant was lively and exuberant with the larger than life wall art and vivid graphics, like NYC’s Danielle Mastrion’s Luchador (shown directly above) that matched perfectly the restaurant’s atmosphere and the wonderful ingredients used for the reinterpreted dishes.

We can’t wait to go back to experience some of the other bold flavors that Temerario Mexican Restaurant has to offer. Are you open to trying out the daring flavors of this Mexican restaurant?

Village Voice’s Ninth Annual Choice Eats Tasting Event

Once again we testing our eating limits at the Village Voice’s Ninth Annual Choice Eats Tasting Event. While our eyes were definitely much bigger than our stomachs, we surrendered as much as we could during this fantastic, annual foodie event. Sixty-five handpicked restaurants (selected by food critics) from all five New York City boroughs were on hand to delight the vast crowd with their delicious menu offerings. The very diverse group of attendees indulged on cuisines from over thirty-five countries, including Vietnamese, Italian, Uzbekistani, Brazilian, Cambodian, Russian, Tunisian, Greek, Cajun/Creole, and much more.

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This time around, we wanted to experience the restaurants we’ve never tried before in the pursuit of discovering new foodie delights, so here are some of our indulgences from the Village Voice’s Ninth Annual Choice Eats Tasting Event:

The Meatball Shop – Shawarma Balls with Tahini Sauce

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The Handpulled Noodle – Spicy Cumin Lamb Ding Ding Chopped Noodles

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Quality Eats – Grilled Nueske’s Bacon with Peanut Butter and Jalapeno Jelly

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Streets BK – Peri Peri Wings over Mango Slaw

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Once again we tried our strategy of eating, taking breaks here and there to walk around, and go back to sampling. This time around we periodically drank Polar Seltzer Water to help in our digestion. Check out the other savory delights we indulged in before we hit the dessert tables, including an amazing chicken and rice dish from Fonda, the decadent Brussel sprouts creation from Queens Comfort, divine tacos from Javelina Tex-Mex and The Black Ant, yummy curry from the recently highlighted Awadh, and much more.

After we had our fill of savory, it was time to partake of the Choice Sweets portion of Choice Eats. We indulged in doughnuts from Dough and Doughnut Plant, eclairs from Sugar Couture, ice cream from Odd Fellows, and fair trade chocolate from Whole Foods and Barkthins.

When we were done, we were ready to be rolled out of the event. Once again the Choice eats does not disappoint when it comes to experiencing a wonderful variety of foods from many countries. Have you attended any or do you plan on attending a Village Voice Choice Eats Tasting Event? What was your experience like?