Blog: Not My Day Job 2012
In an effort to keep up with the Joneses here in New York City or even the humble struggles to afford the style of living that we’re used to, we’re forced to take on employment that pays the bills. Despite the fact that many of us have extraordinarily creative talents worthy of showcasing, there comes a time when we need to face facts and draw a line between career and hobby. Although swallowing our pride might be the most difficult part of suppressing these talents, they don’t simply disappear solely by being unused. Sunday afternoon, the folks at Epicurean Management (L’Artusi, dell’anima, & L’Apicio) hosted a day long event giving employees of the food and beverage industry their creative voices back for 2012’s Not My Day Job. It was one part show, one part tasting event, with all of the proceeds going to benefit the likes of the Urban Arts Partnership and Greenwich House, both of which provide support for the New York City artistic community.
The Prince George Ballroom was once again decadently transformed into an array of vendor tasting stations surrounding the makeshift center stage that would house each talented act. From interpretive dance numbers to the vocal stylings of gifted singers, the talent show exemplified the inspired originality possessed by each brave participant. And the talent show provided an energetic backdrop for a day of eating and drinking some of Manhattan’s finest cuisine. The big band style anthems cranked out by The Hot Sardines served as a throwback of sorts, with their horn section and piano playing a glimpse back toward old New York while we were tasting some of its current eats. Many of the participating restaurants also donated silent auction items up for bid, all of which could be perused in the midst of all the goings on during the performances.
Without the benefit of so many outstanding participating restaurants however, Not My Day Job would never have been as wildly successful or as jam packed with hungry patrons. Guests went wild over dell’anima’s “Roasted 3 Squash Soup,” a piping hot collection of seasonal flavors that combined a rich sweet flavor with a smoked, peppery finish. Nearby, Fatty ‘Cue’s “Crispy Bacon” paired thick slabs of the fat filled cured meat with the garlic filled spice of a sweet salsa verde, while the newly opened L’Apicio’s “Braised Short Ribs” delivered the day’s most generous portion of tender meat atop a creamy polenta. Also worthy of mention was The Meatball Shop’s “Classic Beef Meatball,” which always seems to be a big winner at these events, and Mile End’s “Chicken Gizzard Confit” served on a stick, which we admittedly passed on.
Choosing our personal favorite was no easy option, with The Dutch’s “Snapper Ceviche” being the most distinctive dish of the event. The chilled dish was topped with salty popcorn for a truly unique touch for the tasty cold broth. Left Bank’s “House Made Merguez” sausage was a revelation in its own right, atop a bed of autumn vegetables. If pressed however, our pals at Swine brought the most flavorful sample, preparing bite sized “FG&J Sandwiches.” Their tasty morsels combined thickly cooked pieces of brioche enveloping foie gras torchon and a sticky strawberry balsamic jam, with a collection of ingredients and flavors that made your eyes roll back in your head- assuming you were brave enough to give it a go.
Having recovered from a long night out on Saturday, the idea of downing cocktails wasn’t really sitting well for us on a Sunday afternoon. But despite our initial hesitation, we managed to jump from station to station sipping on different varieties for the cocktail competition portion of the event. Anfora’s “Greenwich Bell Flower” took our vote for their light drinkable concoction of vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, and Angostura Bitters, but the Macao Trading Co.’s “Bashful Maiden” took home the people’s choice prize. And although the drawing card may have been the restaurants themselves, it was the entirety of the experience and the worthy causes benefitting from the ticket sales of the event that made the afternoon such a rewarding place to be. Hey, we all have to make little sacrifices for the lives we choose to lead. It just so happens that these performers look forward to putting their immense talents on display once every year.
- Jane Van Arsdale