Events — 01 October 2012
The Travel and Leisure Global Bazaar at The Lexington Armory

Blog: Travel and Leisure Bazaar 2012

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Sure, we have shown you plenty of exciting and thought provoking events over the past few years. But even though our outlet had thought we had seen it all, sometimes gets pleasantly surprised from time to time. Enter the 2012 “Travel and Leisure Global Bazaar,” a three day, continent spanning journey featuring the best in food, spirits, and multicultural travel all transpiring under one gigantic roof. The LocalBozo team made our way to this unprecedented “Bazaar” on its first night back in town. This would not be your run of the mill event; instead a capacity crowd was treated to an enormous party we will not soon forget.

As soon as we made our way to the cross streets that house the armory we witnessed a line that literally snaked around the entire building. At the building’s front entrance, guests clamored to gain entry even before the clock struck eight (which was the official start time for Friday evening’s kickoff party).   The armory, which is no stranger to our outlet from past events had been transformed, cloaking it’s historic yet aged walls with massively ornate displays around the sprawling space. Since Delta Airlines was the main presenter and sponsor for the weekend, it was only fitting that a Delta flight attendant would be the one to greet guests upon arrival. In a funny touch, these men and women handed event goers tiny packets of salted peanuts and cookies making one feel they were actually on board. If that wasn’t enough an entire Delta gate was erected to simulate the airport experience.

Since this was an all out party we had to get in the “spirit” ourselves. Right past the Delta attendants sat the first of many wine pouring stations. Our team went for a dry, yet fruity California Cabernet. The hearty pour carried us to our first food tasting of the evening near a table filled with delightful molecular  gastronomy creations. The first of which was a “Spicy Wahoo Poke with Citrus Bubbles.”  The dish featured the popular “foams” found in several now popularized gastronomy dishes. The fruit flavors along with the spices worked perfectly with the wine still in hand. This culinary team also created an  ”Acorn Squash Soup with Crispy Pork Belly and Apple Gastrique” that is also worth mentioning simply because the soup came in an eye dropper, with a chunk of cooked pork belly accompanying.

The travel motifs could be seen all around us. Each step placed you in another far off, exotic land just waiting to be explored. Tribesmen and women from Easter Island greeted us with a rousing battle cry and primal screams, before posing for pictures with anyone willing to briefly stay put. And literally directly behind them we saw representatives from Taiwan taking a ton of photos, dressed in traditional garb.  “The Travel and Leisure Global Bazaar”  also managed to make it abundantly easy and fun to sample delicacies from across the globe. Many other food based events will have lines and food shortages. This was simply not the cas here as lines were almost nonexistent. And if there was one, it moved so quickly you wouldn’t even have had time to think about it.

The smooth runnings continued as we hopped on the short wait for Chef Tim Love’s “Elk Sausage Slider with Foie Gras and Blueberry Jam.” Chef Love is based out of Texas, where everything is bigger- especially flavor. I know we can load this description up with puns about Tim’s last name, but “love” was most definitely a major ingredient in these sliders. The elk meat was sweet and juicy, without a hint of gameness. The addition of the foie gras and blueberry jam was nothing short of brilliant, providing us with an effervescent pairing of salty and sweet and the size was large enough to be almost a complete meal in and of itself.  Nearby, Chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta Restaurants set up shop in what appeared to be the “center ring” of this travel and food extravaganza.  This location provided the chef and his team with tons of foot traffic, all clamoring to sample his tastes. Conant’s “Ricotta Ravioli with parmesan froth and truffles” showed us the lengths to which you can take Italian cooking, in order to be innovative. This was hands down, my all encompassing favorite of the night. Savory is one of many words used to describe its taste and overall texture but it truly was the magic of the truffles that sent this dish into orbit. The highly sought after fungus was liberally shaved onto each plating, making this a total home run. It also didn’t hurt that we were able to view Chef Conant and his team cook and build out the dish before our eyes. This goes for the rest of the stations as well. Usually the actual cooking is a trade secret, but at this party, it was on full display.

With so much food for the stomach as well as the eyes, it was difficult to hit every booth. But we did sincerely make a valiant effort. To add onto the delicious dishes already listed, there were a handful of notable mentions. Our team kept it classy as we sampled decadent “Osteria Caviar topped with crème fraîche and served on a sweet bellini” while making our doctors happy with fruit creations by Johnny Luzzini. Chef Luzzini prepared a colorful, “Grilled Pineapple with curry cream, cumin meringue, and cilantro.” It’s character was sweet, but took on that great grilled sensation mostly associated with meats. This culinary and cultural celebration was a total whirlwind. The hours flew by without us checking our watches even briefly. “The Travel and Leisure Global Bazaar” encapsulated the one great aspect that all major events should present: substance. Our team was treated to an education and a fun one at that. Everyone in attendance can go out into the world with the memories of entertaining, huge party but also some real knowledge of the world beyond our own boroughs.   

- Jay Rubin

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