As we mentioned before, Edible Magazine's annual Edible Escape is a must for anyone who likes local, multi-cultural, and sustainable food and drink, and this year Joonbug had the pleasure of attending. The packed event fulfilled all of our expectations, and then some: it truly brought Edible’s core values to the (literal) table in a way that was both fun and educational.
Here are some of the highlights:
The Escape was held at the The Angel Orensanz Center, on Norfolk St. in the Lower East Side. We had heard that it was beautiful, but we were truly taken aback when we saw it in person. The Center, situated in one of the oldest surviving gothic-revival synagogues in New York, was backlit in soft golden and bright neon lights. The neon-lit arched ceilings, alongside the traditional gold gilt and hardwood floors, was a perfect place to join local and global cuisines, paying homage to NYC cultural history while exploring the diverse cultural landscape of the present.
Global Cuisine, Local Food
Several popular NYC restaurants came out to the Escape, representing their unique takes on cuisines from all over the world. What was so interesting and integral to the message the Escape was trying to get across was the fact that many of these dishes, while being inspired by cultures and traditions thousands of miles away, used locally sourced and sustainably farmed ingredients. By highlighting local vendors and ingredients, the Escape line-up emphasized the centrality of local food while exploring global cuisines.
Pretty much everything at the Escape was delicious, but some of the local dishes struck us as particularly outstanding. East Villiage seasonal resturaunt and wine bar Edi and the Wolf explored the flavors of fall and the cuisine of Austria with their Fried Goat Cheese Dumplings ( served with Butternut Squash/Pumpkin Chutney and Pumpkinseed Pesto), while Marco Polo Ristorante did the same through an Italian culinary lens with Ravioli D'Anatra, a housemade Duck, Porcini and Smoked Mozzerela Ravioli topped with a creamy Buttermilk Pumpkin Sauce. The pumpkin theme was carried along elegantly by vegetarian haven The Splendid Spoon, whose Pumpkin Apple Soup paired Glebocki Farms Roasted Pumpkin and Red Jacket Orchards Apples with Saigon Cinnamon, Rosemary and Spicy Chiles. Our favorite local interpretation of global cuisine, though, was served up by Ofrenda. Their dish, the Arepa de Pato (Grilled Corn Cake with Duck Confit and a Rocoto Glaze, served with Scallion Fig Cilantro Salad and Toasted Peruvian Corn with Chili Piquin Dust) was a symphony of flavor that payed tribute to traditional Latin food while innovating creatively on the classics. Though it had formidble competition, the Arepa de Pato stood out even among the best local dishes.
Offerings from Abroad
Though local foods and vendors were duely represented, the Escape also featured epicurians and food from overseas. One of the most popular vendors (and for good reason) were a team of Chefs from Saga City, Japan. They served a deliciously umami Nori Pasta with Poached Quail Egg and Raw Nori, as well as Skuna Bay Salmon "Lomi Lomi" (a fresh tomato and salmon salad) and Ahi Poke Push Pops. Meanwhile, Spainish cuisine was also represented: a tasting of Spanish Olive Oil traversed all of the flavors the country’s oils have to offer. Each oil is characterized and influenced by the region where it was grown, so sampling them was like taste-touring the various Spanish regional topographies. Chef Alex Raij (of Txikito, el Quinto Pino, and La Vara also offered his own interpretation of Spanish food, using specialty imported ingredients in his traditionally-inspired Caballa con pisto y lagrima de aceite (Imported Olive Oil Cured Mackerel, served with Fall Vegetable Stew and extra virgin Spanish Olive Oil.)
Drink Around The World
Like the Escape's food line-up, the event also offered both global and local drinks. New York was represented by newcomer Radiant Pig Brewery ,pouring their flagship beer, a unique and delightfully tart Junior IPA, as well as an award-winning selection of Long Island Wines and Ciders and Half-Moon Gin from Tuthilltown Spirits.
On the international front, Montreal-based Unibroue served three of their signature brews: Belgian Tripel La Fin du Monde, Belgian Dark Ale Trois Pistoles, and--our personal favorite--Ephemere Pomme Green, a Belgian White Ale Brewed with Green Apples. Wines from South Africa joined those from Long Island, and the Saga City Chefs paired their food with three types of Junmai Ginjyo Sake. We particularly enjoyed the Pavan Autumn Sangria that accentuated the French liquer's natural muscat/orange blossom notes, as well as The Figaro, a cocktail dreamt up by mixologist Enzo Cangemi (of Ovest Pizzoteca) that muddles Fennel Seeds with Fig Marmalade, Lemon Juice, and French Grapefruit Liquor to brighten Rhum Clément.
In all, the Edible Escape was a lively, exciting event that embraced both global and local food in a comprehensive and engaging way. We definitely still think that it's a can't-miss event for any foodie. If you missed it this year, make sure you get out and go when the next one comes around!