Seeing and meeting so many of my food colleagues and fellow community members made the evening truly enjoyable. And the never-ending supply of food wasn't too shabby either.
Graciously and beautifully organized by The Chocolate Factory, an independent community theater that "supports the creation of new work in a variety of disciplines including theater, dance, music, multi media and the visual arts," the proceeds of this event will benefit their 2011 - 2012 programs.
With over 50 local restaurants from LIC (and Astoria!) represented, there was something delicious and interesting to taste in every corner of the tent. At times, it was some truly serious sensory overload, but who could refuse? Although I enjoyed nearly everything I tried, here are a few stand-outs of the night:
M. Wells Diner - Debuting their offering at this event last year with a slow roasted pork dressed with a sweet maple reduction, this year their goods included smoked oysters on a housemade water cracker and a crazy looking, stuffed-to-the-gills chili dog. The latter was by far my favorite and you can see its gluttunous contents above including chunky beef chili, onions and melted cheddar cheese on an oversized grilled hot dog. The chili had great spice to it and the actual hot dog was juicy with a slightly crunchy casing. I can tell you that I wasn't the only one swooning over this dish. 21-17 49th Avenue, LIC. 718.425.6917
Sage General Store - Always one of my favorites at this event, this year it impressed me again. I was a little sad not to have their bacon brownie again, but surprisingly what won me over was their strawberry salad. Consisting of hulled strawberries, mixed bitter greens, candied pecans and a strawberry buttermilk dressing, it was a refreshing summer dish and one I can see myself munching on for lunch or dinner. 24-20 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.361.0707
Malu - It was exciting to sample a new food establishment, on the brink of opening in just about a week. This new ice cream/chocolate shop located next door to Little Oven will serve homemade ice cream and nostalgic chocolate confections. I loved their cheery table at the event from which I sampled milk and dark chocolate rice crispy treats, corn flake clusters, chocolate covered animal crackers, gummy bears, swedish fish, pretzels and more. Everything was simple yet very clean tasting and delicious. Overall, a good foreshadowing for what's to come - I can't wait for it to open! 12-09 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.729-6258
Pachanga Patterson - I couldn't resist one of Pachanga's delicious spicy pork tacos, served on a Nixtamal tortilla, pickled onions and plenty of hot sauce. It left me with a hot taste in my mouth, that set my tastebuds aflutter. What a great reminder about why this new up-and-coming Mexican eatery shouldn't be missed. Their nearly empty table by the end of the event surely proved its popularity. 33-17 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718.554.0525
El Ay Si - Excited to see these folks dishing out their comforting grub, I had a heaping plate of spicy bacon mac n' cheese. Creamy, smoky with a bit of heat with each bite, it was hard not to finish the whole thing. It was clear that the quality of ingredients were wonderful and I'd certainly come back to have this anytime with some fried chicken to boot! 47-38 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.389.8781
Some of my other honorable mentions at the event include:
Testaccio - Pulled oxtail sliders. 47-30 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.937.2900
Gian Piero's Bakery - Assorted Italian cookies and loaves of bread that I took home! 44-17 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.8959
Bantry Bay Publick House - Bacon covered dates (gets me everytime!) 33-01 Greenpoint Avenue, LIC. 718.784.9500
LIC Market - Mellon soup with mint infused cream (so refreshing and summery) 21-52 44th Drive, LIC. 718.361.0013
Little Oven - Mini French macaroons that tasted like butta. 12-07 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.440.9438
Sweetleaf - Mango iced tea and almond and coconut cookies. 10-93 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.832.6726
Hope everyone who attended had as much fun as I did. I fondly look forward to next year's event!