Edible Manhattan's Good Spirits

Good Spirits has certainly left us in good spirits!  We just went to the Edible Manhattan food event at La.venue (a really cool space, adjoining The Tunnel where we had beer, bourbon, and barbecue last month) and I came home with my purse stuffed full of: 2 loaves of bread (each the size of my head), 1 can of pear hard cider, 1 glass chalice, 1 can of beer, 2 bottles of San Pellegrino, and the latest edition of Edible Manhattan!  #swag

Let's rewind:

Unfortunately, busy day jobs (one of us is a tax accountant) kept us from arriving promptly, and by the time we got there a few stations were *gasp* out of food.  We made a beeline for Manhattan Cricket Club's table, which was making a riff on a Tom Collins called "Tommyrotter Collins" made with - guess what - Tommyrotter gin, lemon, agave, seltzer, and mace blade (whut???).  It was super refreshing and citrusy and not too strongly alcoholic, but I regretted not putting at least a little bit of food in my tummy first, when I was soon swaying and tipsy.

The first non-alcohol vendors we came upon was ROYCE' Chocolate.  If you haven't heard of ROYCE yet, that's a travesty because their chocolate is amazing.  I've had a majority of one whole box of the matcha chocolate and it is truly divine.  Their chocolates are soft, almost like the consistency of butter, and really melt in your mouth.  I spied a box of what looked like ruffled potato chips on the table and although my brain was thinking, "oooh, gimme gimme gimme," I think I managed a more polite, "Can I try one of those?"  Indeed, they were WHITE CHOCOLATE-COVERED POTATO CHIPS, a.k.a. my heaven.  The chips were nice big pieces with thick wavy ridges and one side was covered in white chocolate.  The chocolate isn't cloying, and while you crunch on the pieces in your mouth, you get the interplay of sweet and salty at the same time that feels so wrong but tastes so right.

We tried to do a quick tour of the other tables to find solid food.  The first thing we nommed on was a merguez-like sausage on a sort of stew of beans and lentils from Bustan.  We had been here not long ago and remembered the delicious spices of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare.  The executive chef was there, stirring the Crock Pot full of stew; I thought back to when we dined at the restaurant, he personally brought out freshly baked flatbread - drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and herbs - to each table.  What wonderful service that was!  The sausage reminded us a lot of the awesome baked-lamb-sausage-terra-cotta-bread-bowl thingy.

In another corner, we came upon a table heaped with loaves of bread.  This was Orwasher's Bakery.  I tasted a few cubes of bread they put out for us to sample, and one of them almost stopped me in my tracks.  Mmmmm, the sesame-covered loaf!  The bread on the inside was so soft and fluffy, while the crust was crunchy and nutty with toasted sesame seeds. This was almost an exact copy of the bread that I adore at Tomasso's in Bensonhurst, except it wasn't toasted and didn't come with a side of pesto and olive oil.  Since we arrived at the event near closing time, we noticed vendors were giving away goods towards the end and I managed to grab a huge chunk of a plain loaf and a sesame loaf.  Oh, the possibilities! I'm thinking a homemade avocado toast on the sesame one, or maybe just a thick smear of peanut butter or Nutella on the other...oh boy!

Okay so I've only had chocolate, one single potato chip, and three cubes of bread to soak up the gin and shot of apple brandy I've had.  Luckily, nearby we spotted some nice hearty meat dishes: first was braised pork from The Wren, in a tomatillo sauce with fried jalapeno and pickled onions.  The pork was tangy and tender and perfect to fortify my boozy belly.  Next door, Monument Lane was serving bourbon-braised pork shoulder, which was like a lightly sauced pulled pork. I have to say, though, of all the delicious porky portions, my favorite was from Almond: a cube of cured ham fried up on a hot plate so the sherry-honey glaze caramelized up.  I'm not going to admit how many bits of ham I had, but I had lean bits, fatty melt-in-your-mouth bits, and chewy pig skin bits.  Yum!

By the time we had made a couple of laps around, the event was wrapping up and vendors started giving away their wares, which is how we ended up with booze and bread in my bag.  The event was really well organized and had the perfect mix of delicious food and indulgent cocktails!  Huge thanks to Edible Manhattan for having us in the best spirits!