Just Food: Let Us Eat Local 2012

Centerpiece of vegetables and flowers Jacquie Berger, Executive Director of Just Food
Gramercy Tavern's Executive Chef Michael Anthony Microgreens passed around for sampling
Scenes at Let Us Eat Local: Centerpiece of local vegetables and flowers, Executive Director of Just Food Jacquie Berger, Gramercy Tavern’s Executive Chef Michael Anthony, and Microgreens passed around for sampling

Last night was the 5th Annual Just Food’s Let Us Eat Local benefit tasting at the Altman Building. There were 42 restaurants and small food vendors along with 13 local wineries and breweries within the New York City area.

Just Food is a non-profit organization that connects communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown, healthy food accessible to all New Yorkers. They help implement programs like the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Food Justice, and Community Food Education within the New York City area.

This tasting benefit featured many top tiered restaurants in the city with chefs created delicious dishes derived from locally grown and produced produce, meat and dairy. Don’t worry. This wasn’t a vegetarian event but it makes an omnivore (admittedly, with carnivorous leanings) really appreciate how good local vegetables taste. This was their first year with the pie judging contest that featured 5 contenders: First Prize Pies, Magnolia Bakery, Bubby’s, Pie Country, and Jimmy’s No. 43.


Here’s my personal favorite bites from this event:

Rose Water: Grilled Pork Belly, Charred Pear, Balsamic
Rose Water: Grilled Pork Belly, Charred Pear, Balsamic

Rosewater was one of the few restaurants that served a meat-flecked dish and those are one of the few treasured bites I’ve savored that evening. Luscious grilled pork belly with sweet-smoky charred pear with a bracing bite of balsamic and arugula made it all memorable.

Untitiled at The Whitney: Spice roasted cheese pumpkin, kale, and buttermilk polenta
Untitiled at the Whitney: Spice roasted cheese pumpkin, kale, and buttermilk polenta

Untitled at the Whitney cooked up this hearty, soulful spice roasted cheese pumpkin, kale, and buttermilk polenta. I wouldn’t have mind having a bowl of this during the chilly autumn or even winter days, as it’s remarkably flavorful from the sweet roasted pumpkin and savory braised kale. The creamy, richness of the polenta and I love the crunchy bites from the toasted pumpkin seeds to bring this dish together.

Hundred Acres/Cookshop/Five Points: Broccoli, Carolina Rice and Cheddar Custard with Bacon Jam Hundred Acres/Cookshop/Five Points: Chiccaron tree
Hundred Acres/Cookshop/Five Points: Broccoli, Carolina Rice and Cheddar Custard with Bacon Jam and chicharrón tree

The people behind Hundred Acres/Cookshop/Five Points has probably the most points for being whimsical for their broccoli, Carolina rice and cheddar custard with bacon jam in an egg and breaking out the chicharrón “tree.” The eggs were also delicious beyond its appearance.

Rouge Tomage's Baby Beet, Apple and Radish Salad, Housemade Ricotta, Honey Elixir, Hazelnut Crumble, Wild Arugula
Rouge Tomage’s Baby Beet, Apple and Radish Salad, Housemade Ricotta, Honey Elixir, Hazelnut Crumble, Wild Arugula

Rouge Tomate served baby beet, apple and radish salad, housemade ricotta, honey elixir, hazelnut crumble, and wild arugula. It’s a tasty complex salad that’s sweet, crunchy, creamy with a kick of bitter. It’s one of those few salads I wouldn’t be tired of and appreciate eating mostly vegetables.

First Prize Pies: Candy Apple Pie First Prize Pies: Candy Apple Pie
First Prize Pies: Candy Apple Pie

First Prize Pies’ candy apple pie was my favorite of the pies dished out. Most importantly, it’s not too sweet. The pie crust was impeccably flaky, tender and it held up just right to the thinly sliced apples. The hard red candy topping added a little nostalgic note to the candied apple and also gave it a slight crunch and sweetness. I ate multiple servings of this pie even with a stomach full of the food upstairs (in other words, the savory food) – and that says a lot in my book.

To view more of my photos of this event, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):

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Information:
Just Food: Let Us Eat Local 2012

Website
The Altman Building
135 W 18th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011
(Map)