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Archive for the ‘Foodie Events’ Category

 
Twas the day of the Chocolate Experiment
And all through the Bell House
Chefs busily prepped their stations
With hopes of obtaining some “wow’s”
 

Savory creations led the way
Their aromatic flavors filling the air
Succulent, tasty, and umami
They fearlessly challenged and dared

Yours Truly

Bonnie Suarez's Umami Chocolate Black Beans with Roasted Cauliflower & Pork Belly (My personal favorite)

Jill Strominger’s Ole! Mole, (And the sweetest "neighbor" I could ask for!)

The sweet and scrumptious treats
Each more decadent and sinfully rich
They lured you with their siren song
And your tastebuds they bewitched
 

Roopa Marcello's Winning Thai Chili-Lime Chocolate Ice Cream (Sadly, I didn't get to sample this!)

Jordon Goldstein's Mango Sticky Rice Lolipops (sweet and slightly tangy, and delicious filling)

Pervaiz Shallwani and Rebecca Marx’s Chocolate Hush Puppies (My personal sweet favorite – just the right amount of sweetness with a satisfying crunch!)
Lily Olive’s PB & Hot Chocolate Truffles (A nice dude brought these over in exchange for samples of my dish. The cayenne really gets you at the end and I found that to be a pleasant surprise)
Attic Sugar Bakery’s Hazelnut Brownies (Again didn’t get to taste this, but who am I to contest Andrew Knowlton & judge’s 3rd place pick?)
The voracious chocoholics came streaming in
Seeking the holy chocolate grail
The chefs didn’t disappoint
The chocolate poured in without fail
 

 
With a beer in one hand and plate in other
The crowd casted votes on a chocolate high
The judges sniffed, tasted, savored and licked
All the chilis, cookies, cakes, and pies
 

My plate of goodies brought over by one of my gracious helpers. Too bad it was knocked over before I could finish it all 😦

The judges deep in deliberation

The vivacious hosts Nick and Theo
Charmed the crowd with banter and cheer
The winners were announced
And congratulated with prizes and beer
 
 
An afterparty followed
Of which the Experimental Chef missed
Tired from the long long day
And a sick sous chef at home to kiss
 
So ends another Experiment
Hope you had your fill of cocoa craze
“Oh chocolate, how do I love thee
Let me count the ways”
 
Winners:

Judges Award
3rd – Attic Sugar Bakery – Hazelnut Brownies
2nd – Bonnie Suarez – Chocolate Black beans with cauliflower and pork belly
1st – Roopa Marcello – Thai Chocolate Ice Cream

Honorable Mention Sweet – Alyssa Lees – Deconstructed Truffles
Honorable Mention Savory – Lei Takahashi – “Pig in Drag”

Nick and Theo Prize – Pervaiz Shallwani + Rebecca Marx – Chocolate
Hush Puppies

Audience Award
3rd –  Team Peanut – Chocolate Chipotle Chili
2nd – Lei Takahashi – “Pig in Drag”
1st  – Roopa Marcello – Thai Chocolate Ice Cream

*Photo credits: The Lovely Irene, and The Effervescent Aurelia

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I have a confession to make.

“My name is Shelly, and I am NOT a Choco-holic.”

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my molten chocolate cakes and my hazelnut Ferrero Rochers from time to time. But unlike 99% of the female population, my face does not transform into a look of sheer bliss at its very smell; my lips do not part with the anticipation of that first taste with my tongue, and I do not make sounds of orgasmic pleasure as I savor its decadence in my mouth.

Yes, I am that 1% anomaly. Call me peculiar, call me crazy, but I rather snack on a bag of 90 calorie Popchips than devour a chocolate brownie square. My friends love sharing desserts with me, because I’ll take 2 mini bites before the chocolatey richness overpowered my taste buds, and then turn it over for them to ravage in ecstacy.

So I was the last person who would bet that I’d one day compete in a cookoff featuring chocolate, but indeed on November 15th, I will be a proud contestant at:

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The Brooklyn Food Experiment is brainchild of Theo Peck and Nick Suarez, 2 brilliant cookoff competitors themselves, and the chocolate experiment is the 3rd in the series.  Amateur chefs will compete in 3 categories (sweet, savory, & drinks). Judging will be at the mercy of the audience as well as an impressive panel of judges including Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52, Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit, and Nick Fauchald of TastingTable. It’s an event not to be missed. So if you live in the NYC area, please come out to join the ranks of competing chefs, or just to sample the succulent chocolate dishes and…support me!

With my lack of patience and the meticulous skills required for the art of pastry-making, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I will be entering with a savory creation of my own. I’m still tinkering around to perfect the recipe, so I’ll wait until after the event for the unveiling here on this blog, but here’s a clue: It’s a comfort dish that’s spicy, rich, hearty, & warm, with just the right hint of chocolatey smokiness. So come out and taste for yourself!

More details can be found on the website http://thefoodexperiments.com/. See you there!

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This week, I went to check out the Bon Appétit Supper Club (http://www.basupperclubandcafe.com), a pop up restaurant located conveniently in Midtown Manhattan ~10 blocks away from my office! I am a huge fan of the “pop-up” phenomenon – the thrill of catching a limited engagement just makes you feel so…”in the know”.

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The Bon Appétit Supper Club is only open to the public from 11AM to 3PM this week only, and it features simple cafe dishes (sandwiches, soups, desserts) from top chefs like Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, and Daniel Boulud. There are also cooking demos, book signings, and Q & A sessions throughout the day to keep you entertained.

I snuck out during lunchtime to try to get a taste of all the culinary delights. 

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As you can see, the space was set up just like any other NYC lunch spot, but the difference is that for the same price (under $10 a pop) you get food designed by renowned chefs! I headed straight for the sandwich section and snagged a yummy vegetarian sandwich with marinated peppers, zucchini and smoked ricotta by Nate Appleman. It was really simple,  yet the pepperonata (made with fennel, capers, red pepper, and red wine) gave it such a complex savory flavor that I was sad to finish it off.

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Next I hit the dessert section for a treat. And with all the selection under the $3 mark, it was indeed a hard decision to choose only one! I settled on a fluffy looking Venetian Apple Cake by Gina DePalma, and it certainly did not disappoint. The muffin/cupcake texture was moist, with just the right amount of sweetness and a bit of cinnamon spice. It tasted like a hybrid of apple pie, carrot cake, and pumpkin bread – deliciously appropriate for fall!

The Dessert Section

The Dessert Section

All in all, a wonderful break from the daily grind! I caught a glimpse of Daniel Boulud, who came in for his book signing at 1:30, but alas, had to rush back to the office for a meeting and could not stay 😦
You can read more about the event from High Low Food Drink’s blog here. They were able to get a picture with Chef Boulud (I feel my eyes turning green). Anyway, they gave a great recap with some fun pictures. Check it out! http://highlowfooddrink.blogspot.com/2009/09/bon-appetit-supper-club-and-cafe-our.html

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3 weeks until the long awaited NYC Food & Wine Festival sponsored by Food Network!

Foodfest

 Tickets are selling out fast but you can still get some at  http://www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com/2009/ 

I will surely be there lingering around Chelsea Market for goodies, attending a celeb chef demo (stay tuned for who it is!), and playing the starstruck foodie, hoping to catch Bobby Flay for a picture (In case you didn’t know, I have a huge crush on Bobby and his bold southwestern flavors). Wish me luck!

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This past Sunday, Brian and I went to check out the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment, a cookoff sponsored by Theo Peck and Nick Suarez, featuring 17 amateur chefs battling for the title of Cheese Champion, and 6 home brewers seeking the honor of having brewed the Best Beer. Winners were determined by audience votes and a panel of judges including Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appetit, among other cheese and beer gurus.

The event was well publicized, but maintained it’s Brooklyn lowkey cool, with good music, great venue at the Bell House, and enthusiastic foodies.

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The cheese dishes included a sampling of Mac N Cheese and Lasagnas, puffed pastries, a yummy ricotta cheesecake, an Indian dish, and fancy creations requiring torching, including a never-seen-before “Sushi & Cheese Polenta”.

My favorite was a toss-up between Bonnie Suarez’s frefreshing Tomato Basil Ricotta Soup with a crispy savory Parmiggiano, Piave & Provolone Cracker and the “Polenta Cheese Sushi by Noah Berland, creatively replacing rice with polenta, fish with mozzarella cheese, wasabi with a garlicky basil pesto, and soy sauce with some balsamic vinegrette, complete with a torching demo.

Tomato Soup with Cheese Cracker

Tomato Soup with Cheese Cracker

Polenta Cheese "Sushi"

Polenta Cheese "Sushi"

Although the soup had the best presentation, and was perfectly executed, my vote went to Noah Berland for the inventiveness of his “sushi”. Considering that I call myself an “Experimental Chef”, I feel a special kinship with those who like to take a little risk and do something I’ve never come across before.

Brian was partial to the “Righteous Burn” – Asian marinated beef on mini waffles torched with Swiss and Gruyere cheese. Since it wasn’t Herbivore friendly, I couldn’t taste it for myself, but I trust his judgment, and you’ll see that his tastebuds weren’t far off at all..

Team Pirates’ Booty - Righteous Burn Cheesesteaks

Team Pirates’ Booty - Righteous Burn Cheesesteaks

The home brews were also very impressive (I mean seriously, how many beer-makers do you know?) ranging from IPAs to wheat beers, to the “309” made with yeast and described by the girl as “funky tasting”… After making our round, we both unanimously voted for the Propeller IPA, which reminded us a lot of the Magic Hat beers. The guys were charismatic and knowledgable, explaining the brewing process and letting us smell the diferent type of hops they laid out on the table.

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And the final results?

Cheese:
Judge’s Picks:
1. Bonnie Suarez – Tomato Soup with Cheese Crackers (I sooo predicted that!)
2. Knafe Nabulysa w/Akkawi & Rose Water Syrup (which they ran out so I never had the chance to try!)
3. Fig & Blue Cheese Gruyère Puff (Also ran out by the time I got there – it was only 1 hr after the event!)

Audience Picks:
1. Team Pirate’s Booty – Righteous Bun Cheesesteaks (Looks like my sous chef does have good taste)
2. Bonnie Suarez – Tomato Soup with Cheese Crackers
3. Rebecca Lando – Homemade Ricotta Cheesecake w/Sea Salt Dulce de Leche (Actually it was so good I took 2 extra bites of it. I’m glad it placed 🙂

Beer:
Unanimous Judge and Audience pick for the Propeller Pale Ale!

What a decadent way to spend a lazy afternoon, stuffing ourselves with cheese and beer!  As we left, my wonderful and ever-loyal sous chef asked me if I was going to enter next year, claiming “Your food is much yummier. You could totally take them on!” Honestly he gives me too much credit, because that place was filled with rising culinary talent…but alas, the seed has been planted and the competitive spirit evoked, so don’t be surprised if you see some upcoming experiments featuring CHEESE!

I’ll conclude with other highlights and photos taken at the event:

“Stinky Slider” stuffed w/Morbier, on a Camembert Biscuit w/Roquefort Mayo.

“Stinky Slider” stuffed w/Morbier, on a Camembert Biscuit w/Roquefort Mayo.

Mac & Cheese with cinnamon bread crumbs

Mac & Cheese with cinnamon bread crumbs

Indian Paneer Cheese Dish

Indian Paneer Cheese Dish

Ricotta Cheesecake with Sea Salt & Dulce de Leche.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Sea Salt & Dulce de Leche.

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