Blog: Luckyrice 2012- Epicurean Cocktail Feast
Any event that’s worth it’s salt in New York City must start with a bang. The criteria for a pitch perfect opening night party sounds simple, but its execution is an entirely different story. Said celebration must include but is not limited to, a stunning location preferably with a roof deck, expertly made cocktails, and decadent food prepared by the City’s elite chefs- not to mention a clientele that makes you feel fortunate just to be in attendance. Tuesday night’s kickoff of the annually fantastic LUCKYRICE Festival managed to exceed even our wildest expectations, preparing us for the unexpected for the week’s remaining events. Now entering its third year, the festival of all things Asian culture launched the 2012 celebration at the newly-famous Bowery Hotel. LocalBozo.com headed downtown to the ‘Bowery’ for LUCKYRICE’s Epicurean Cocktail Feast, an all out love letter to fine cocktails and delicious delicacies.
The excited crowd of attractive twenty and thirty-somethings ascended the stairs of the Bowery Hotel’s lounge area just before dusk. The layout of the sprawling space is part trendy bar paired with a classic lounge with brick walls and brilliantly ornate chandeliers. Instead of starting in one of these rooms, we opted for the outdoor terrace space, looking out to prime Bowery real estate. There we encountered a very lively crowd and our first drink and morsel of the night. In a new twist, this years opening party spotlighted New York’s most converted cocktail and food pairings, and the marriages worked together wonderfully.
We ponied up to the mixologist represnting Avenue A’s ‘The Beagle’ and picked up the “Ponzu Scheme” a Tequila, ponzu, Caracao, Campari, curry powder, and Szechuan pepper drink. It was a little sweet, but with all the spicy ingredients we definitely picked up the heat on this one. The pairing was a kitschy yet collaboration of ‘Spiced Boar Chili with Shrimp Chips.” The meaty boar brought forth some serious flavors, albeit a bit gamey- while the shrimp chips worked as a playful side for dipping.
Personally we feel with every tasting, a little adventure is in order. That’s where the Lower East Side’s ‘An Choi’ comes in. Their parings would be a challenge at first, then quite rewarding on the back end. The mixologists were serving up drinks utilizing a highly notorious Asian fruit called Durian that even famed bizarre food lover Andrew Zimmern won’t go near. At the Epicurean Cocktail Feast, ‘An Choi’ mixed pureed durian with rum, and while the nose of the cocktail yielded an offputting scent, we were pleased with a creamy and sweet combination that paired excellently with some liberally poured Bacardi. And after this culinary obstacle was completed we rewarded ourselves with a ‘Vietnamese Spring Beef Carpaccio.’ This two bite delight featured sweet raw meat in a pleasant spicy sauce, on a crunchy cracker.
Other highlights included Madam Geneva’s delicious “Coconut Chicken Salad” paired with fresh mint, snow peas and roasted peanuts, and B Flat’s “Sakura Bacon Tart,” deeply smoked with cherry blossom wood chips and a pink pepper and mayo sauce. As the evening wore on, the longest food line belonged to JBird, who was slinging some excellent “Umami Burger Sliders,” tenderly grilled and topped with a smoked tamari soy. The sliders could be downed with just a few bites, but were certainly worth the wait.
Monday night’s cocktail event was an outstanding precursor to what should be a fun week of high end food and cocktail pairings. And if the Epicurean Cocktail Feast was any indication, it might make sense to dust off your finest suit or dress (or perhaps, get it dry-cleaned), so that you can wine and dine comfortably with some of the City’s most beautiful representatives at one of the year’s classiest string of events.
- Jay Rubin & Jane Van Arsdale