Food & Drink

EVENT PREVIEW: What To Expect When You’re Expecting A Food Baby Fathered By Choice Eats 2014

by Lea Faminiano

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[Photo of Choice Eats 2013 (El Almacen!)]

You guys. YOU GUYS. IT’S ALMOST HERE. The Village Voice has been providing NYC with food and drink events galore lately, such as Choice Streets, Holiday Spirits, and Brooklyn Pour – but it’s their Original Gangsta event, Choice Eats, that’s had my heart since our first encounter last year. This year, it’s on Tuesday, March 25 (so soon!) and since the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, if you attend, you’ll be able to find love, too.

Choice Eats, a.k.a. food-coma central, is basically culinary speed-dating (or at least, what I imagine speed-dating to be like) – you scope it out, try a little of everything, and you go back for more (and more, and more) of what appeals to you the most – but the catch here is that every single item is highly appealing. Held this year at Basketball City, the delicious list of participants consists of a mix of veterans and newcomers that cover a variety of cuisines and neighborhoods, including well-known NYC staples such as The Meatball Shop, Ample Hills Creamery, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Queens Comfort, Ovenly, Doughnut Plant, and much, much more – I’m excited to try a little something from Grandaisy Bakery, Dirt Candy, and Egg, among many others!

You’re going to need a know a couple things in order to properly navigate Choice Eats, so here’s my secrets to making the most of your night. First, buy your ticket. Just do it. A couple other pro-tips: 1. Try really hard not to eat all day before the event. It’ll be hard, but trust me when you stuff yourself with enough food to sustain yourself for a couple days following the event. 2. Bring at least one friend (the more the merrier) to help hold your stuff while you’re taking food porn photos (don’t forget to tag @villagevoice and #ChoiceEats!). 3. Try everything! Don’t be scared. How many times are you going to be in a room with all these amazing culinary gems from around the city at the same time? Be adventurous and take advantage! 4. This is really important: wear either stretchy pants, empire waist/maternity clothing, or at least pants where you can easily unbutton the top button and they’ll still stay up. You will thank me for this.

Rosemary Jorda, Marketing and Events Director at the Village Voice, has graciously answered a few questions for us (as she has done for us many times in the past!) – so if you need more convincing than what I’ve already told you, read on to find out what other treats Choice Eats has in store.

The Couch Sessions: There are so many amazing restaurants in New York City, it’s always difficult to even choose just one for dinner. So far, we’ve seen tons of amazing eateries on the Choice Eats lineup, both returning and new – what was the selection process for this year’s participants?

Rosemary Jorda: Choice Eats is a great representation of the best food New York has to offer! Our food critics scour the culinary landscape in search of the best bites from all the NYC boroughs. They work hard to cultivate a good mix of cuisines, nations and dishes to excite our event goer’s palates. From returning Choice Eats restaurants like The Meatball Shop to new additions to the lineup like Jacob’s Pickles and Bunker, there is something new for everyone to try and our food critics work diligently to make sure the event is sure to please. To see a full line up and a sneak peek at the event map, visit the Choice Eats website.

Are there any restaurants you are looking forward to in particular – anything that you’ve never had but are excited to try, and are there any favorites of yours that you’re looking forward to having again?

Personally, I love them all! Lately I have been on a BBQ kick so I am looking forward to tasting Martha’s Pork Ribs, Queens Comfort’s Pork N’ Grits,  John Brown’s Smokehouse BBQ, Kuma Inn’s Braised Pork Shoulder and  Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue’s Dry Rubbed Texas Style Barbecue in VIP. But once I get my meat fix, there are so many more different cuisines and dishes to try it will be hard to not be excited by them all!

In past years, Choice Eats has been held at the 69th Armory – why the switch to Basketball City?

Yes, the Armory was our home for so many years and we do miss it there but Choice Eats has grown! With over 80 participants locked in for this year’s event, this will be our largest Choice Eats to date. Each year we see such a rise in the number of  amazingly delicious restaurants in New York,  that this event needed to grow to meet that demand. We wanted to showcase as much great New York food as we could at Choice Eats for our guests and needed room to grow! We also wanted to offer our attendees more than sampling, so growing into the space enabled us to build out a Food Demo area and invite more beers, wines and spirits for an even better time!

What can we expect from the Seventh Annual Choice Eats event that will differ from the past events?

More food! Aside from that, there will also be our first event Food Demos area, DJ sets by Brooklyn-based band DIIV and Choice Eats will be full of surprises!

Thanks so much, Rosemary! For more information on the event, check out the event website – there are still tickets available, but they’re going fast, grab yours ASAP, since the event is soon!