Part of last week as well as last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure to attend the 6th Annual Food Film Festival, which has come quite a long way since its inception. I really really enjoy going to this event each year, and this time was my third year covering it, which is always a pleasure.
For those of you who aren't familiar with this event, it was founded by LIC's very own, Harry Hawk of the former LIC Water Taxi Beach and Hamburger America's George Motz. Having a sixth run at this, I'm happy to say that the event just keeps getting better and better, now extending its reach also to Chicago later in November.
Held in three locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Food Film Festival took place in traditional (theaters) and non-traditional (NY Distilling Company) spaces. I personally attended events in the AMC Village 7 theater, which was set up nicely in their lower theater and event space. Enjoying some delightful bites before the movies started was fantastic, only to further munch down on food during the films and then once again chowing down for a concluding food and drink reception. If you haven't yet been, I highly encourage it, as the format is especially unique, and eating tantalizing food one sees on the big screen is quite the treat.
During the first evening I attended the Food Film Festival, the activities were centered around one of my favorite topics - meat (and pork in particular). Farm to Film to Table: Meat Your Butcher turned out to be an impressive showcase of New York's finest in butchery and meat expertise. You had restaurants such as Northern Spy Food Company, Jimmy's No. 43, August, Fleisher's Meats and LIC's very own, Alobar and Alewife representing.
In terms of the actual films showcased, we saw:
1. The world premiere of Meat Hooked, directed by Suzanne Wasserman
2. Farm to Table, directed by Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart
3. Farmer Poet, directed by Dan Fisher, Becky Liscum, and Gail Grasso
As I already mentioned, there was so much incredible food floating around, and the smell of all that smokey, delicious pork was just divine. Throughout the event, I enjoyed many tasty nibbles, but a couple stood out to me that I wanted to mention here.
Alobar's Pork Crostini with Quail Eggs - One of my favorite stations, I was amazed to see Chef Ian Kapitan at work, frying up an endless amount of petite quail eggs to top his pork belly crostini. It was a delightful combination, the egg really tying everything together and the slightly runny yolk permeating every crevice of the pork pieces. The bread was also perfectly executed, with slightly crunchy edges and a nice soft inside.
Fleisher's Chicken Liver and Homemade Sausage - The minute I saw a huge line, I knew it had to be for Fleisher's meats, as they're pretty famous. I love me some chicken liver and this one was strong in flavor, tasting a little bit gamey and oh so buttery. But the piece-de-resistance was the spicy homemade sausage that packed a mean punch, leaving a big exclamation mark on your tastebuds. For those of you who may not yet know, they've recently opened up a new outpost in Park Slope.
Dirt Candy's Mushroom Pate - A vegetarian's version of something meaty, leave it up to Dirt Candy's, Amanda Cohen to bring us something fabulous. I absolutely loved her rendition of pate, using mushrooms, further topped with a mixture of chunky 'shroom bits and caramelized onions. I rarely went back for seconds during this event, since the food was so heavy but for this, I returned.
Alewife's Berkshire Maple Bourbon Candied Bacon - Simple yet absolutely delectable, Alewife's bacon delivered and then some. You really didn't need much with it, as it provided the perfect little bite on its own - a beautiful combination of chewy texture and sweet-smokey flavor. Such perfection needs no companion.
After all the eating, we had the amazing experience to watch a live demo by expert butcher, Jeffrey Ruhalter of the legendary Jeffrey's Meat Market, as he broke down a pig in his characteristic theatrical style. Here are some videos that will further help paint the picture.
Breaking down a pig with butcher, Jeffrey Ruhalter - Part I, Part II, Part III
And besides this being a fabulous party and an entertaining event, a portion of the proceeds benefited the Food Bank for NYC. If you'd still like to make a donation, please feel free.