Blog: Edible Escape 2012
In celebration of Edible Manhattan magazine’s 25th issue and of their four years of influencing the taste preferences of New Yorkers and beyond as the Edible empire expands, Wednesday evening the magazine returned to the Lower East Side’s Angel Orensanz Center for the second annual Edible Escape. The evening would bring together many of the more eclectic food and cocktail creations from local purveyors which are reflective of the vast international influences locally, both in culinary study and in travel.
The line of attendees extended well beyond the front doors of the Orensanz Center and down the street prior to the event’s 6pm start time. Guests were handed wine glasses and forks upon entering the majestic and colorful former Jewish synagogue space, which the artist whom after which the Center is named, elaborately renovated in 1978. The 2012 Escape was a much more comfortable experience than last year in that it was a bit less crowded, yielding much more room to explore the dual floored space. The venue itself is one that simply exudes cool- only in New York City would a transformed temple double as an artistically inspired host venue for special events. Upstairs, the three tiered ‘lounge’ was decked out with large pillows, providing comfortable seating for those looking to kick back and enjoy the goings on around them for awhile.
Once inside, guests were treated to a virtual cornucopia of distinctive worldly treats and tastes from around the globe. Olive oil from Spain, wines from Portugal, beers from the pacific northwest, and even some whiskeys from our own backyard were handed to waiting patrons, with different travel guides and informative materials from the likes of Austin, Portland, and Oregon to boot. We quickly grabbed a few pints of Samuel Adams and Stella Artois and headed toward our first food table. There, Williamsburg’s Cadaques Tapas Bar was shaving fresh hunks of pig cheeks in olive oil for guests to poke with a toothpick and devour. The freshly sliced cured meat was a mouthwatering precursor for the prepared dishes to come. Toward the very back of the main floor, Lowcountry’s “Pork Belly Sliders” were sticky and savory topped with a cucumber coleslaw for additional garnish, but in reality, the bites needed none.
After a few pours of vino courtesy of Long Island Wine Country, we headed up to the second floor to look down upon the now packed crowd on the floor beneath us, but also because that’s where most of the food was to be found. And our favorite dishes of the Edible Escape all happened to be sitting right in a row. Arthur on Smith started us off with an aperitif of sorts; their small, sweet salad paired the fresh crunch of heirloom tomatoes with aged balsamic vinegar and a creamy sheep’s milk ricotta cheese. The next two meanwhile focused more on main course type fare. The Bedford was handing out pig heavy pulled pork plates atop a delectable bacon slaw while our favorite sample of the evening, from Silk Road Tavern, was a crunchy wonton taco filled with barbecued pulled pork, a touch of cilantro, and some pickled root vegetables. Other notables included Veselka Bowery’s “Surf & Turf” (lobster pierogi topped with braised short rib) and the closer- Edi & the Wolf’s “Chocolate Ganache,” the best of the scant desserts on hand for the Escape.
Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn for that matter have become experts at finding distinctive and unique venues to host their many monthly events, offering attendees the opportunity to find new and exciting spaces in and around both cities. The 2012 iteration of the Edible Escape was, in a word, an escape from the honking horns and out of control yellow cabs swarming around outside the Angel Orensanz Center, and for just a few hours, gave event goers the chance to be transported to a palatial getaway from the headaches and the stress that our everyday experiences seem to create on their own.
- Jane Van Arsdale