Lucky enough to come in during the VIP tasting hour, I got a chance to sample everything before it got crowded. It was clear from the start that this event was well organized, thought out, and there were enough people helping out to keep it that way.
Here are some of the delicious things I tried:
Angry Pigs in Blankets - I loved Studio Square's take on this classic party appetizer, as it was spiced with some cayenne for that extra kick. The pigs didn't taste oily and the blankets were deliciously buttery. As you can see from the above pic, the presentation was creative and vibrant, taking these little piggys out for a stroll on the green grass.
Fried Green Beans - Again inventive with presentation, these were served out of Sam Adams beer cartons and they were delicious. Crispy on the outside with a nice crunch also when you bit into them, it was a fun take on a simple comfort food. The batter was infused with some smoky spices that gave the coating nice color, but not an overpowering taste.
Sweet Potato Chips - Wow! These were absolutely delectable - thin, crunchy, curly and sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon. They were a nice side with the meats and added an almost desserty element.
Chicken Wings - As soon as I spotted the glaze on these babies, I had a feeling they were going to be good. Sticky, mapley, a little spicy and also smoky, they had a touch of Asian influence in them. The actual meat was moist and delicious and after eating a few, you needed more than a handful of napkins to rectify the situation.
Bacon on a Stick! - My favorite appetizer, it was served simply on a stick. And what a beautiful sight it was to see thick slab bacon, cooked to perfection and glazed in a sweet maple mustard. Each bite combined my beloved flavors of sweet and savory, making this both an appetizer and a decadent dessert. Dessert not for the faint of heart, that is.
The Pig! - The whole roasted pig was truly a work of art, roasting beautifully on a large grill, brought in especially for this event. It was a treat to witness Chef David Burke basting the beast and then cutting off chunky pieces for all of us to enjoy. I had a few bites and had the pleasure of tasting the well done, charred skin, which was my favorite part. In terms of the actual meat, it was soft, succulent and slightly sweet, albeit fatty, which is a given with pig. Overall a splendid treat to top off the gluttony.
David Burke Signature Cheesecake Lollipops - I loved seeing a little dessert at the end of the buffet, with these signature David Burke treats. I grabbed a chocolate toffee creation that had dark chocolate crunchies on the outside and a cold, creamy-cheesecakey middle. I overhead some people call them ice cream pops, and they could've passed for just that. Mmmm...they were refreshing.
Besides all the food, Sam Adams, this event's official sponsor had all their big signature ales on tap, including my favorite, the Cherry Wheat. The serving cup size was considerably smaller than if you visited on a regular day, but the beauty was that you can go back as many times as you pleased, so it pretty much evened out.
If you hadn't had the chance to experience this awesome event this year, I hope you consider it next year. It was a blast!
Studio Square - 35-33 36th Street, Astoria NY 11106
N/Q Train to 36th Avenue or R/M Train to Steinway Street